Thinking about Saint Michael’s Church for your wedding?
Please contact the Executive Assistant to the Rector for more information or to schedule a meeting with the Rector.
Wedding Policy at St. Michael’s Church
You are now embarking on the most magnificent journey of your earthly life. The Sacrament of marriage is a most powerful and life changing event. Not only is it an event, it is a brand new way of life! In the marriage service, we are reminded that the union of husband and wife 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 procreation 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.
What is Marriage?
Holy Matrimony is that sacrament in which the woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows. Notice in the vows it does not say, I take you to be my wife, to have and to hold… It says, In the Name of God, I take you to be my wife to have and to hold! Therefore, marriage is about making a vow to God, before you make a vow to your fiancée, which makes our pre-marital ministry so important in your walk to marriage.
So, What is Required of you?
Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, and deliberately. You will say these vows when you exchange rings, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The stakes in marriage are high. The Canons of the Episcopal Church require pre-marital instruction for couples to be married. Your first step toward a St. Michael’s wedding is for both the bride and groom to make an appointment with the Rector or one of the clergy team of St. Michael’s Church where we will discuss the pre-marital ministry. To do that, simply call Jeanine Branham, the St. Michael’s wedding coordinator at 843-724-7586. She will direct you.
Planning a wedding is a complex process. For this reason, the church will only discuss and take direction for wedding plans from the bride-to-be.
Before making any wedding plans for a service in St. Michael’s Church, the couple must have a preliminary interview with either the Rector one of the other members of the clergy team.
When can I set the date?
The initial meeting must take place before the wedding date is set.In some cases, after initial consultation with St. Michael’s clergy, arrangements may be made for a couple residing out of state to receive counseling from clergy in the community where they live.
Can I write my own vows?
The marriage rite of Holy Matrimony is not only a witness to a covenant of life-long union of fidelity and love, but also God’s benediction upon that covenant; therefore, the rite should be conducted in the church. Neither the priest nor the couple is free to alter the service beyond the permissible options as found within the Book of Common Prayer, which do not allow for writing one’s own vows.
What about music?
Once pre-marital instruction has begun and a date set, contact St. Michael’s Organist to plan music for the service. A sample CD is available, containing organ selections that can enhance your wedding service. It is entirely the Organist’s prerogative to play for all weddings at St. Michael’s. The Organist should be consulted prior to any contact involving soloists or musicians who might be asked to participate. The Organist must approve any instrumentalists and/or soloists prior confirming the date of performance. Vocal soloists and other musicians may participate under the direction of St. Michael’s Organist, who will provide appropriate organ and congregational music and will advise the Rector or one of the clergy team as to the suitability of music suggested by the couple. The use of recorded music is not allowed.
Should you wish to have the Tower Bells to be rung at your wedding, Jeanine Branham will provide you with the contact information.
What are the legal requirements?
The South Carolina marriage license should be obtained from any state marriage license office well in advance of the proposed wedding. Couples must apply together. There is a 24-hour waiting period before the license may be picked up. Licenses must be obtained with adequate time for it to be brought to the wedding rehearsal. All three copies must be brought to the rehearsal.
The church provides white silk damask hangings on the altar, reading desk, and pulpit for weddings. No other hangings may be used.
Once a wedding date is set, the St. Michael’s Wedding Coordinator, Jeanine Branham, will provide contact information for you for the flowers used in the Narthex and at the Altar. It is the preference of St. Michael’s that all wedding parties consider ordering their flowers for the wedding from Tiger Lily as they have intimate knowledge of the flower requirements and set up within the church guidelines. Flowers are to be delivered by 9:15 a.m. the day of the wedding. The St. Michael’s Flower Guild will arrange and place the flowers on the altar and in the center narthex. Only the two brass church vases may be used on the altar. No other arrangements may be added in the church. One ribbon-type bouquet arrangement may be placed on pews to mark family seating areas. These bouquets must be tied on the pews with no external material used hold them in place. Flowers used on the altar for weddings will be left in the church for the regular Sunday services. Proper recognition will be given in the Sunday service bulletins. Wedding flowers may not be used to decorate a reception hall or home.
The two regular branched candelabra used behind the altar are the only ones used for weddings, unless there is to be a celebration of Holy Communion at the wedding. In the instance of Holy Communion, the Eucharistic altar candles are also used. No other candles, mechanical or flame, may be used anywhere in the church.
A needlepoint kneeling cushion will be provided for the bride and groom to kneel at the altar rail.
If an aisle cloth is desired, make arrangements with your florist. Cloth should be a least 75 feet long, taped at the altar rail step, and arranged fold-on-fold or on a small roller. Note: Aisle cloths occasionally cause members of the wedding party to trip and are thus not recommended.
Pew decorations are not allowed.
What’s required to prepare for the actual service?
The officiating priest and the organist meet with the bride and groom and members of the wedding party for a rehearsal the evening prior to the wedding. The officiating priest will conduct the rehearsal and arrange placement of all participants. Please bring the Marriage License to the rehearsal! Signing of the license and the parish register will take place at that time.
Before the rehearsal, determine where you would like family members and close friends to be seated. In addition, decide which family members (traditionally, mothers and grandmothers) will be escorted to their pews after the general seating ends and just before the procession begins. Assign a groomsman to escort each of the mothers and grandmothers in before the wedding and out at the conclusion of the service.
The use of very young children as flower girls or ring bearers often seems like a good idea, but frequently proves to be a problem, with children refusing to perform as required. Be sure the children you invite to participate are able to do their part.
What about photographs and photographers?
No still photography (with or without flash) is allowed inside the church once the wedding procession has begun. A photographer may stand in the vestibule and take pictures as the bride and groom process out of the church. Videotaping from the gallery is permitted, provided the camera operator does not attempt to move about during the service. Please inform professional photographers of these policies, and advise family members not to take photos during the service. The wedding party may be posed in the church after the service.
Normally, members of the wedding party will find it more convenient to dress at home. If desired, different rooms can be provided for the female wedding party members in the Laura Hewitt Building and the male wedding party members in the Belser Building.
Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the property.
Holy Communion may be celebrated as part of the wedding service. If Communion is desired, please discuss this with the officiating priest during premarital instruction. When Communion is celebrated, it is open to the whole congregation.
No items are to be thrown or dropped anywhere on the church property. This includes, but is not limited to, rice, birdseed, flower petals, bubble or the like.
What if one of us has been previously married?
Please contact Jeanine Branham at the church office at 843-723-0603.
Can other clergy assist?
If the assistance of a minister other than a member of St. Michael’s staff is desired, please inform the officiating priest during premarital instruction. Non-Episcopalian ministers and Episcopal clergy from outside the Diocese of South Carolina must receive approval from our bishop.
A deposit of $500 is due when the date is set for the wedding. The balance is payable to St. Michael’s Church no later than thirty (30) days prior to the wedding.
Should the wedding be cancelled within two weeks of the wedding date, 50% will be refunded. After that time there will be no refunds paid.
Inclusive Church Use Fee
Includes: Organist/Choirmaster consultation, Organist at rehearsal and wedding, Bell ringers for wedding, Sexton for rehearsal and wedding, Flowers (arranging only), Service Bulletin (one page, 300 copies), Wedding Preparation Kit for pre-marital counseling
Church Wedding Coordinator
Non Member $3,250.00
Includes: Church Use Fee, Organist/Choirmaster consultation, Organist at rehearsal and wedding, Bell ringers for wedding, Sexton for rehearsal and wedding, Flowers (arranging only, Service Bulletin (one page, 300 copies), Wedding Preparation Kit for pre-marital counseling, Church Wedding Coordinator
Parish Hall Use Fee (optional)
Non Member $1,500.00
Payable to Individuals
Clergy Honorarium $500.00
Vocal Soloist(s) Starting at $150.00
Instumentalist(s) Starting at $75.00
Clergy Honorarium is traditionally the responsibility of the groom. It may be mailed with other payment for church fees prior to the wedding, or may be given to the officiating priest at the rehearsal. (Please note that it is included in the non-member fees.)
If using instrumentalist or soloists, separate checks are required for their payment. Their names will be provided by the Organist, and separate checks for these individuals should be given to the Organist at the rehearsal to pay the individuals the day of the wedding.
If you choose to have your service bulletin printed by St. Michael’s, you will need to meet with the Director of Communications to go over the bulletin and decide what information will be included. The deadline for this meeting is three weeks prior to the wedding. The bulletin is a standard template for all weddings. It is black ink, 8.5” X 14”, cream 60lb paper, double-sided, and folded in half.
If you wish to outsource your bulletin to another printer, we will be happy to e-mail a text file of what needs to be in the bulletin. Either way, the bulletin must be approved by the priest officiating the wedding before going to press.
Should you choose to produce your own bulletin, please make sure the following wording is included, “For the sake of reverence and because this is a worship service, no still photography with or without a flash is permitted.”