Wedding Policy

General Information

photo-church-inside1In The Episcopal Church marriage is a sacramental rite of the Church.  It is a solemn and public covenant. 

Christian marriage requires preparation and evidence of commitment.  All parties need to enter marriage with eyes wide open and will need the support of the community in maintaining their commitment to one another.  That’s why we require that couples participate in pre-marital counseling sessions with the priest and be involved in a faith community.  Couples that willingly make this commitment are appropriately married with the blessing of the Church.  Those that cannot do so are more suitably married by civil authorities.

Eligibility Requirements

Prior to granting permission for a couple to be married in the Church, they need to meet the following requirements:

  • The Episcopal Church requires that a least one of the parties to be married be a baptized Christian.
  • In the case of remarriage after a divorce, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona must grant written approval.  The request for permission to remarry must be received by the Bishop’s office at least 60 days prior to the date of the wedding.
  • The bride and groom must complete a course of pre-marriage counseling with the Rector prior to finalizing any arrangements.

Ceremonial Arrangements

  • All arrangements are made through the church office to make sure the date is available for the Rector, the Church and Maitland Hall
  • For non-members, a non-refundable deposit of $100 dollars is needed to reserve a wedding date
  • Under no circumstances will the date of the wedding be less than 30 days from the date of the reservation
  • All weddings are to be performed in the Church
  • The wedding service will be the customary Rite of the Episcopal Church

Initial Meeting

After reserving the date and meeting all the eligibility requirements, the bride and groom need to make an appointment to meet with the Rector to discuss the following:

  • Establish a course of pre-marriage counseling meetings, setting dates and times with the Rector:
  • Identify the wedding party and total number of participants, the ceremony participants such as readers and vocalist, and try to estimate the total attendance at the ceremony and reception
  • After the meeting, the Rector will convey the planning details to the Altar Guild, who is responsible for attending to many of the ceremonial arrangements


When wedding music is desired, arrangements must be made through the church’s regular organist.  If available, the regular organist shall provide music at all weddings requiring music held at the church.  The service of other organists may be used only with the permission of the regular organist.  In such cases, the regular organist shall receive the normal wedding fee.  Guest organists or other musicians shall not be engaged to perform musical functions without the prior approval of the regular organist.

The normal wedding fee for the regular organist is $175, payable before the wedding service.  This fee includes the following:

  • Consultation with the wedding party to select music
  • If requested, attendance at the rehearsal
  • Rehearsal with a soloist immediately prior to the service (music must be received from the soloist at least seven days prior to the wedding to allow for adequate preparation.  No photocopies.)
  • A short program of organ music preceding the ceremony and a recessional after the ceremony

Additional fees will apply to a separate rehearsal with the soloist, purchase and preparation of special music, etc. (a charge of $50 for the first half-hour, and $50 per hour thereafter)

Wedding Rehearsal

To ensure a smooth and meaningful ceremony, all participants in the wedding service must be present for the entire rehearsal.  The Rector will guide the wedding party through their parts including the coordination of vocalists, readers and bridal party.  Family seating and the usher order for mothers, stepmothers and grandmothers will be determined, as well as processional and recessional speed, who carries the wedding rings, whether to use pew ropes, kneeling cushions and so forth.  Music changes for the bridal attendants and bride should be well understood.

An Altar Guild hostess will note the decisions made at the rehearsal for guidance to the wedding party at the ceremony.

The marriage license and parish register will be signed at the rehearsal.


One bouquet is allowed under the cross and must be placed in Good Shepherd Altar vases and remain for Sunday services.  No dyed flowers or accent stems are permitted.  Please make arrangements with the Parish Administrator to have vase liners picked up by the florist.

Boutonnieres, corsages and bouquets are permitted.  All deliveries must be arranged during office hours, ie Monday-Thursday 9 am - 4 pm.


Photographs and videos are welcome before and up to twenty minutes after the Church service.  There will be no flash photography during the ceremony.

During the service, a video/still camera may be set up in the balcony for use with natural light.  All video/cameras must remain stationary during the ceremony. Please remember, the Sanctuary of the church is a holy place, consecrated to the worship of Almighty God and must be respected at all times.  The altar table is never to be used as an ordinary table and only traditional parchments and floral arrangements may be placed upon it.   If needed, please remind photographers of appropriate dress for a Church wedding.

Services of the Altar Guild

Your most frequent contact with Good Shepherd will be with a representative of the Altar Guild.  He/she will:

  • Find answers to any questions not addressed by the organist or Rector
  • Open the Church and Maitland Hall before the rehearsal and wedding
  • Regulate the lighting, heat or air conditioning for the facilities
  • Set up the altar for the service and re-set for the Sunday Eucharist
  • Help the Rector at the rehearsal to guide the family, ushers and wedding party
  • Guide the placement of the guest registry book and lectern
  • Guide the photographers on Church restrictions
  • Receive flowers and help distribute bouquets/boutonnieres
  • Provide kneeling cushions for the couple and pew reservation ropes
  • Light candles on the altar and alert the couple and attendants 30 minutes before the service
  • Remind the Maid of Honor and Best Man regarding their role with the wedding rings
  • Give 15 minutes notice to the bride and groom
  • Assemble and inform the ushers to escort to seat, prior to the service, the mother of the bride and the groom’s parents
  • Direct late guests to the balcony
  • Assemble bridesmaids in proper order
  • Cue the organist and alert the bride
  • Guide the procession speed
  • Alert the bride and father
  • Ring church bell at recessional
  • Guide the couple around the Church’s side door for re-entry for signing the marriage certificate and taking pictures.


Member - If the bride, groom or parents of either are members of Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, defined as pledging members in good standing, there will be no charge for the use of the Church. 


Maitland Hall is available for use by non-members for the reception.  There is a charge of $300 to defray costs of utilities, janitorial services and cleanup.

A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to reserve the date. The balance of fees is due prior to the rehearsal.


  • A caterer may use the kitchen facilities, but prior permission will be required for using dishes, plates, silverware, etc.
  • If set-up is required for the reception or patio, then at least two (2) weeks notice should be given to the office with a design and specific setup time.
  • No smoking is allowed in any areas or buildings of the church.
  • No alcoholic beverages may be served.

General cleanup is expected from members and non-members.


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