Weddings at Storrs Congregational

Congratulations on your engagement!

You are at the beginning of an important journey, and we are honored that you want Storrs Congregational Church UCC to share in your joy on the day of your wedding.

The pastors and staff here at Storrs Congregational consider it a privilege to celebrate your wedding service here. In addition to assuring that the service is a beautiful beginning to a vital and successful marriage, we hope to continue to be available to you for consultation, support, relationship, and celebration as your married life unfolds.

The couple

In keeping with SCC’s legacy of inclusivity and welcome, we are happy to celebrate weddings for all couples: whether previously connected to our church or not, whether straight or gay, whether marrying for the first time or another time around – we are happy to guide you, support you, pray for God’s blessing upon you, and celebrate with you as you make your commitment to each other.

Do we have to be baptized, or be members of the congregation, to get married here?
No. There is no baptism or membership requirement to be married here.

Do you marry same-sex couples?
Yes. Storrs Congregational Church UCC is an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, and has been officially so since 1994. Performing a wedding for any couple, of course, regardless of gender, is always at the discretion of the pastor.

Are we required to have premarital sessions?
Yes. All couples are required to have a minimum of three premarital meetings, two of which are oriented toward premarital counseling and one toward planning the service. As a part of this process, couples typically also go through the PREPARE pre-marital assessment tool, which is completed online, with the results being received at the second premarital session. The three sessions are typically held with the pastor presiding at the wedding; however, in arrangement with the pastor presiding, all but the final meeting could be done with an alternate counselor or clergyperson. Alternate options (including, for example, video conferencing) can be discussed for couples who do not live in the area.

The service

Storrs Congregational Church UCC is a Christian congregation, and we consider weddings to be worship services of our church — and thus all weddings are conducted in alignment with the worship traditions and theological understandings of our faith tradition. A wedding service in our tradition belongs to the whole Church community and its worship practices, not to the couple individually.

Being a church within the Reformed and Free Church traditions of Protestant Christianity, though, we have a great deal of flexibility in our worship life. Within the framework of how wedding services are structured in our tradition, there are ample opportunities for a couple to shape a service that expresses their lives and faith commitments. We are able to incorporate elements and practices from other denominational streams, and from various cultural traditions as well, as may be appropriate. In all circumstances, though, as a service of worship, the wedding is under the sole direction of the presiding pastor, and all choices of liturgy, music, ritual, and other elements are subject to the pastor’s final approval.

Are we able to have an interfaith wedding here?
Yes. We are able with integrity to craft wedding services for interfaith couples, using language and rituals that honor and respect both partners’ religious traditions. We understand such interfaith cooperation and hospitality as an embodiment of our inclusive and expansive understanding of Christian faith.

Are we able to have a non-religious or secular wedding here?
Generally speaking, no. We do not feel that we are able, with integrity, to conduct purely secular or non-religious wedding services. This is not because we think people who don’t observe a religious or spiritual tradition are bad… indeed, we are very happy for you and your upcoming marriage! We tend to think, however, that there may be another, more appropriate venue than a church if a purely non-religious wedding is what you’re seeking.

Who can serve as an officiating minister?
All weddings at Storrs Congregational Church UCC are performed by a pastor on staff. However, with prior approval, a couple can ask the SCC pastor presiding at their service to extend an invitation to another minister to take part in the ceremony.

The music

Music for the wedding service is coordinated by, and chosen in consultation with, SCC’s Director of Music Ministries. Our Director of Music Ministries likewise coordinates the hiring of any additional musicians, such as vocal or instrumental soloists, and is happy to provide more information upon request.

Music selections must fit with the overall nature of the wedding as a worship service; this does not mean that you are limited to particular styles or genres of music, as the worship music of the Church has been expressed in many ways. This does mean, though, that purely secular selections should be saved for the reception or other festivities.

We strongly discourage the use of pre-recorded music, as live music best befits the nature of the wedding as a worship service and presents a more engaging experience for all in attendance.

The schedule

Saturday weddings can be scheduled to start anytime between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM. We cannot accommodate weddings on Sundays. We are happy to host weddings on other days of the week, as schedules of both worship space and officiating pastor may allow. The wedding rehearsal is usually held a day or two before the wedding.

The wedding service typically lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. This depends largely on choices made regarding music during the service, as well as whether or not the service includes Holy Communion. The wedding rehearsal typically lasts about 30 minutes.

You may request a wedding date as soon as you like; however, SCC will not confirm a wedding date more than two years in advance, i.e. June 27, 2012 until June 27, 2020. That said, we strongly encourage scheduling at least 6 months in advance, for best facility and clergy scheduling availability.

We do not accept wedding inquiries or wedding date requests from representatives of couples; requests must come directly from the couple.

The fees

The fees for wedding services are as follows:

  • Wedding service space:
    • Meeting House (the main church sanctuary): $400
    • Waggoner Chapel (very small weddings only): $200
  • Bulletin preparation and printing: $30
  • Pastor’s Honorarium: $400
  • Musician’s Honorarium: $375
  • Sexton’s fee: $50 weekdays / $100 evenings & weekends

Thus, the most typical scenario – a Saturday wedding in the Meeting House – will accrue a total of $1,305 in fees and honorariums. Additional fees may apply if there are additional musicians (soloists, instrumentalists, etc.) involved or in other special situations.

Significantly discounts to all of these rates are made available to our congregation’s members and/or active participants. The decision whether to assess the standard fees listed above or our member-discount fee schedule is at the final discretion of SCC’s senior minister. (For these purposes, a non-member would be considered an ‘active participant’ if they regularly attended worship with us for at least 6 months prior to the request to schedule a wedding date, and continued such active participation throughout the pre-marital process.)

What to do…

We’d love the privilege of celebrating your wedding day! For more information, or to make a formal wedding date request, please be in touch with our office: sccoffice@storrscongchurch.org or 860-429-9382.