The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage in the Episcopal tradition begins with these words:
“Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of these two people in Holy Matrimony. The union of two people in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the gift of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God."
Marriage is a covenant made between two people (not a ceremony performed by a priest). Marriage is to be a joining of two people into a union of “heart, body and mind.” The church, represented by bishop or priest, blesses the union; but the couple, through the exchange of vows and rings, makes a marriage.
Church of the Servant happily celebrates both same-gender and mixed-gender marriages, and the same requirements exist for all people seeking marriage. Requests for wedding dates should be made at least 90 days prior to the desired date of the ceremony.
Prior to the wedding, the priest will have several counseling sessions with the couple at mutually agreed-upon times. If distance from Wilmington presents a problem, arrangements for counseling can be made via Skype, Zoom, or some other virtual meeting software/app.
If you are interested in planning a wedding at Church of the Servant, please read our Wedding Information Guide through the link included below. The rector and parish staff will work with you to create a meaningful service of worship and a good beginning for your marriage.
Other Important Details
- The canons of the Episcopal Church require that at least one of the parties to the marriage be a baptized Christian and the wedding ceremony is attested to by at least two witnesses.
- The couple is responsible for securing a marriage license in the State of North Carolina and should be provided to the priest at the time of the rehearsal.
- If either of the parties is divorced, a copy of the divorce decree must be given to the clergy at the beginning of pre-marital counseling. The priest will apply to the Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina for permission to officiate. The application is not onerous and is designed to offer a way to reflect on the relationship that has ended and the well-being of children (if any) from the previous marriage.
- Clergy from other traditions may be invited to assist in the ceremony, by invitation of the rector. Please speak with the clergy person about how to make these arrangements.
Blessing of a Civil Marriage
The blessing of a civil marriage can also be performed. Preparation for this is made in consultation with the rector, to whom a couple should speak directly. These could take place as part of the Sunday morning worship service, or they can be a stand-alone service, like a traditional wedding.