The Details of Your Wedding
The Marriage License
A marriage license must be obtained from one of the County Clerk’s offices in the State of South Carolina. Charleston County accepts applications for and delivers marriage licenses online at CharlestonCounty.org. There is a 24 hour waiting period for the license.
The license (all 3 copies received, as well as the return envelope) should be brought to St. Andrew’s at least 1 week prior to the rehearsal. This ensures that all of the proper documents are completed and at the church prior to the wedding. At the rehearsal the bride, bridegroom, Clergy, and two witnesses are required to sign the official documents. This includes the license and the church marriage register. A copy of the license is given to the couple and the church will mail the other two copies to the Probate Office.
While we recognize that many people have played a role in the faith development of an individual all pastoral services at St. Andrew’s are officiated by the Rector of St. Andrew’s or his designated associate clergy. If you desire to include clergy not affiliated with St. Andrew’s we recommend that they take part in the wedding reception.
A wedding is a service of worship and celebration before the Lord, and the parish organist or one of St. Andrew’s worship leaders, acting on behalf of the Rector, will serve as your music coordinator to guide you through the music and musician selection process. Please contact a music coordinator before making any firm decisions.
- Mark Bebensee, Organist/Choirmaster (843.284.4357 or MBebensee@StAndrews.Church). Contact Mark if you prefer traditional music and hymns.
- Kristy Barry, Worship Arts Administrator (843.284.4351 or KBarry@StAndrews.Church). Contact Kristy if you prefer contemporary music.
One or more passages of Scripture are read during the wedding ceremony. There are suggested texts especially appropriate for the marriage ceremony. Questions about Scripture selections may be a part of the premarital process if that would be helpful. The Clergy officiating or one or two lay readers may read the selected text(s). If lay readers are chosen, they should also attend the rehearsal.
The Sexton is responsible for providing access to the church for the rehearsal, opening the church facilities two hours before the service, having the church ready, and cleaning up afterward. Any special needs may be discussed the week before the wedding. The Sexton’s fees are listed in the Fees section. Please note that an additional fee is required if a reception is held in the church facilities.
Wedding Programs (optional)
Programs are not provided by St. Andrew’s, however, the Communications Director, Mr. Greg Shore (843.284.4323 or GShore@StAndrews.Church) may be contracted to produce a bulletin. Cost is dependent on the complexity and the size of the desired program. If an outside agency prepares the program a draft copy should be presented to the officiating Clergy and the Music Coordinator for prior approval. Additionally, several copies should be brought to the rehearsal for distribution.
Instructions for Photographers & Videographers
Because the wedding is a service of Christian worship, distractions during the service are discouraged. Photographers should be unseen, unheard, and unnoticed and should dress appropriately, keeping in mind that the wedding is a worshipful celebration.
Photographers and Videographers who wish to look at the church and facilities prior to the day of the wedding should contact Nancy Sapakoff (NSapakoff@StAndrews.Church or 843.284.4323). Most requests to see the building during working hours can be accommodated.
- Photographs may be taken before or after the ceremony in any part of the building. The empty, decorated church may be photographed before any guests are seated. Photos taken before the ceremony must conclude 30 minutes before the marriage ceremony begins.
- No flash photography or video lighting equipment may be used during the ceremony. Timed exposures (no flash) may be taken from the rear of the Nave if it can be done quietly during the service. Flash photos may be taken of the bridesmaids, ring bearer, flower girl, the bride and her father as they start down the aisle. These photos should be taken within the back half of the nave.
- Flash photographs will be permitted as the couple comes down the aisle during the recessional. The wedding party may return for photos after wedding guests have departed, if they wish.
- Photographs of the bridal party may be taken outside of the church before the ceremony as long as it does not interfere with or delay the start of the service.
- The bridal party may be photographed at the rear of the church before the procession begins and as they reach the rear of the church after the ceremony. No flash pictures are allowed to be taken during the service by the photographer or guests.
- The photographer may shoot from a fixed, unobtrusive position. The photographer and videographer may not move about the church at any time during the ceremony. A video camera with no artificial lighting may be used in the balcony only.
- The wedding party may return to the church following the ceremony for additional pictures. Pictures should be completed in 30 minutes so the church can be prepared for other services.
On the day of the rehearsal, one of our sextons will make himself known to photographers and videographers. This same sexton will also be present at your ceremony. He is very knowledgeable of everything that will happen before, during, and after the ceremony. Consider him as a resource. You may also receive instructions from him about what may or not be appropriate or permitted. Be assured that the sexton speaks with the authority of the Rector of St. Andrew’s. Keep in mind that his aims are the same as yours – for this wedding to be a joyful occasion while maintaining the reverence expected in a worship service.
Download Instructions for Photographers and Videographers (PDF) for emailing or printing.
Instructions for Florists
The amount of floral decoration in the church sanctuary will naturally vary with each wedding. The florist should Contact the St Andrew’s Flower Guild (Penny Bagwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mac Langley (email@example.com) ) to discuss decorations, to arrange the time of delivery, and decorating of the church.
Standard protocol for a wedding at St. Andrew’s is that the couple leaves the wedding flowers placed in the Sanctuary as an offering to God. The flowers will be used at the regular weekend services. Should the wedding take place on Sunday afternoon, the flowers should be in place before the first service on Sunday morning.
Additional guidelines are as follows:
- All decorating must be completed one hour before the service is scheduled.
- All fresh greenery should be prepared prior to arriving at the church.
- No nails, tacks, screws, staples, pins, or tape are to be used in any part of the building or on any furniture.
- Only ribbon or specially designed pew clips may be used to secure bows and flowers to pew ends.
- The candles on the Table are the only open flames that may be used. Brass stands for covered candles on the end of the pews are available through St. Andrew’s. If desired please notify Penny Bagwell or Mac Langley. Electric candles may be used in the window sills of the old church sanctuary.
- Flowers need to be placed where there will be no water damage or other stains. No flowers shall be placed on the musical instruments.
- No furniture shall be moved or rearranged without specific permission.
- Removal of all decorations, other than the flowers in the Sanctuary, must begin immediately after the service. A crew sufficient to adequately remove decorations must be provided by the florist.
Download Instructions for Florists (PDF) for emailing or printing.
Decorating the Church
St. Andrew’s encourages simplicity of decoration. No nails or tape are allowed to affix anything to the structure of the church inside or outside. Bows should be affixed with an oasis hook on pews and shutters. The throwing of flower petals, rice, birdseed, or confetti is not permitted inside or outside the church.
Any florist may be used, however, the Flower Guild must approve all arrangements, vases, window treatments, and other decorations. When more than one wedding takes place on a given day, it may be possible to coordinate the floral decoration of the church with the other couple. The Flower Guild will assist in this process.
In the Historic Church, there are two stands on either side of the Communion Table for flowers. Many florists may have liners for these vases. If not, or if they are not familiar with St. Andrew’s, the bride and florist should visit the church and meet with the Flower Guild.
Flowers should not be higher than the cross behind the Communion Table. Arrangements behind the cross are not permitted, nor are artificial flowers. Florists must remove any equipment or decorations, other than the altar arrangements, as soon after the service as possible.
After the ceremony the wedding flowers are left in the Historic Church or Sanctuary as an offering to God. The flowers will be used at the regular weekend services. Should the wedding take place on Sunday afternoon, the flowers should be in place before the first service on Sunday morning.
If there is a question about the permissibility or appropriateness of any decoration, contact the St. Andrew’s Flower Guild (Penny Bagwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mac Langley (email@example.com) to discuss decorations.
St. Andrew’s provides white silk damask hangings or tapestry brocade hangings. No other hangings may be used in the Historic Church or Ministry Center Sanctuary.
The Altar Guild will place branch candelabras on the Communion Table. Nothing may be attached to these. There are also eight brass stands for candles at the end of some of the pews in the Historic Church. Please contact Nancy Sapakoff if you are interested in using these pew candles. No other candles will be used in the buildings as the fire marshal prohibits the use of any additional candles. If a Unity Candle is desired, it may be a part of the reception but not the marriage ceremony.
Accessing the Church
The Sexton will open the church two hours prior to the service. Please note: The church is not staffed or open on Saturdays unless prior arrangements have been made with the Rector’s Personal Assistant.
Dressing for the Wedding
St. Andrew’s has limited space for dressing. If the bride and attendants plan to dress at St. Andrew’s, the Sexton will open the building two hours prior to the wedding and direct the wedding party to the room set aside for this purpose.
The bridegroom and his party should dress elsewhere and arrive one hour before the ceremony. The Sexton will direct the bridegroom and his party to the space reserved for them.
Please be advised, the church cannot be responsible for any articles left at the church or in the dressing areas.
About the Ceremony
The ushers’ responsibility is to escort all guests to pews. Except for those pews reserved for the respective families, pews should be filled from the front to the rear of the church with minimal regard to the bride’s and bridegroom’s “sides.”
Immediately before the ceremony begins, the groom’s mother, followed by the bride’s mother, will be escorted to their pews by an usher. At this time, no more guests will be seated until the bridal party has entered.
As for any worship service of the church, it is expected that the marriage ceremony will begin on time. The cooperation of all wedding party and family members, photographer, etc. is requested to ensure this happens.
During the service, the Clergy will prompt the congregation about when to sit or stand.
Guest registers and receiving lines are more appropriate as a function of the reception.
A Note about Children
While inclusion of young children in the wedding ceremony may be desired, for family or personal reasons, we suggest that children under the age of 5 not be included in the wedding party. Developmentally, young children do not possess the maturity necessary to “behave” through, what to them, is a long and boring ceremony. Experience has shown us repeatedly that when placed under substantial expectations implicit in such an environment they generally become disruptive to the ceremony, diverting attention away from the bridal couple and the ceremony. Ideally, children in the wedding party will be 7 years or older. As with every other aspect of the ceremony this guideline may be discussed with the Clergy during premarital preparation.
Rehearsal Dinners and Receptions
Requests to have a rehearsal dinner or wedding reception at St. Andrew’s must be made with the Nancy Sapakoff when arranging the wedding date and will be considered based on church facilities availability. Dinners or receptions may not last longer than three hours and the caterer is responsible for clean-up. Alcohol is not permitted.
No alcoholic beverages may be consumed and no smoking is allowed on the premises at any time. No one under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be allowed to participate in the rehearsal or the wedding. Usage of either on church grounds may result in the immediate cancellation of the wedding.
Fees for Members
Historic Church or Ministry Center Sanctuary Use – none
Music Coordinator (required) – $250
Additional musicians/vocalists per person – $175-225
Additional Rehearsals/person – $25
Sexton – wedding only (required) -Historic Church $200; Ministry Center Sanctuary $250
Sound Technician (required for contemporary music) -$125
Wedding Programs (contact Greg Shore) – varies
Ministry Center Sanctuary Reception – $600 + $250 sexton
Sams Hall, Rehearsal Dinner or Reception – $300 + $200 sexton
Fees for Non-Members
Historic Church or Ministry Center Sanctuary Use – $2500
Music Coordinator (required) – $600
Additional musicians/vocalists per person – $175-225
Additional Rehearsals/person – $100
Acolyte – $50
Sexton – wedding only (required) $500
Sound Technician (required for contemporary music)$250
Wedding Programs (contact Greg Shore) – varies
Ministry Center Sanctuary Reception – $1500 + $500 sexton
Sams Hall, Rehearsal Dinner or Reception – $1000 + $500 sexton
Nancy Sapakoff -Bishop Wood’s Personal Assistant
Dr. Mark Bebensee
Traditional Music Coordinator – Organist/Choirmaster
Mt Pleasant Contemporary Music Coordinator
City Church Worship Leader
Park Circle Worship Leader
St. Andrew’s Flower Guild
St. Andrew’s Flower Guild