Wedding Planning Information

The following suggestions and statements of policy are offered to assist those inquiring about being married at Zion:

  1. The church building is a place set apart for Christian worship and is appropriately used for the weddings of Christians. There is no charge to active members of Zion for use of the building. Non-members are expected to attend at least two regularly scheduled worship services. When neither bride nor groom is a member of the congregation, they shall make a contribution of record of at least $100 to the operating budget of the congregation.

    Zion's Pastor will preside at the weddings of parish members held at other locations.

  2. The Pastor at Zion presides at all weddings at the church using approved rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. There are no fees for his services and the giving of an honorarium in recognition of his services is not expected. If the couple wishes to offer a gift to Zion or its Pastor in recognition of his services, the amount or value of that gift is entirely at the couple's discretion.

    The participation of the clergy of other Christian churches (or, in the case of an interfaith couple, of other faiths) to assist in the wedding service may be permitted when appropriate, but only at the discretion and invitation of Zion's Pastor.

    If the Pastor is invited to attend a rehearsal dinner and/or wedding reception, proper etiquette is to invite him in the same manner as any other guest would be invited.

  3. A Marriage preparation course shall be completed before the wedding by couples planning to be married by the Pastor at Zion. The course used by the Pastor, "Prepare/Enrich," normally requires at least 5 sessions over a period of about 8 weeks. More information can be found at There is a $35 fee for the materials. Marriage preparation will also include some Bible study and a review of the wedding service itself.

  4. The wedding service follows approved rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. A copy of the service, including liturgical options and some musical suggestions, is provided in a separate document.

    The center of the marriage rite is the exchange of vows and the blessing of God. The exchange of rings is the primary visible symbol of the vows. Other symbolic acts should never overshadow the exchange of vows and rings. Many rituals that have been added to weddings over the years fit well (or better) at the wedding reception.

    When both Bride and Groom are active members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, it is appropriate that Holy Communion be celebrated. When this is done, all Baptized Christians at the service who believe the Lord's Supper is the Body and Blood of Christ are invited to receive. Communion of only the Bride and Groom is not permitted in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

    Couples who regularly worship at Zion may want to consider having their wedding as part of a regularly scheduled worship service at Zion. The Christian Church has traditionally discouraged the celebration of weddings during the season of Lent, and they are not permitted at all during Holy Week.

    Wedding music must be appropriate to Christian worship and a Christian understanding of marriage. All music shall be approved by the Pastor. The singing of popular songs is usually more appropriate for the reception or party after the wedding service. Congregational hymns are always appropriate for worship in Evangelical Lutheran churches, including at weddings.

  5. Zion's Organist should be contacted as soon as the wedding date has been set if his/her services are desired. The use of another organist is permitted only at the discretion and permission of Zion's Organist and Pastor.

    If someone other than Zion's organist is to provide music, it is the couple's responsibility to make the necessary arrangements. The couple is also responsible for arranging for any soloist they might desire.

    Compensation for the church organist is $100, plus $15 for each solo for which she/he is expected to accompany, and should be paid directly to the organist by the wedding rehearsal.

  6. Zion's Custodian is to be compensated for the extra time and work involved in preparing the church for worship services. A minimum of $50 is paid directly to him/her by the wedding rehearsal.

  7. The use of flowers is optional. If they are desired, it is the responsibility of the couple to provide them. Artificial flowers are not permitted at the Altar or in the Chancel. At the Altar, two arrangements with vases are required. Any florist may be used. Zion uses Geier Florist in West Peoria for Sunday services. If another florist is used, arrangements for flower delivery will need to be made with the Parish Office.

    Often Altar flowers for a wedding are left for use at Sunday worship. If that is the couple's desire, the church should be informed at least 2 weeks prior to the wedding.

  8. Liturgical and decorative accessories such as an aisle runner, unity candle, decorative candles, banners, etc. may be used at the discretion of the couple. Except for candles already in the Sanctuary, the couple must provide such items. (Note: The aisle, from Chancel steps to Narthex, is approximately 45 feet long.)

    The color of the paraments on the Altar and Chancel furnishings is determined by the season of the Christian year, not the colors worn by the bridal party.

  9. Ushers must be properly informed as to the seating arrangements desired, the appointments of the Church, and procedures for the ceremony. They should, therefore, be present for the rehearsal whether or not they are also serving as groomsmen. On the day of the wedding, they ought to be at the church and ready to serve at least 30 minutes before the service is to begin.

  10. A photographer and/or videographer, if their services are desired, must be engaged by the couple. The taking of flash pictures by anyone during the ceremony itself is not permitted. The bridal party may, after the recessional, take flash pictures to re-enact actions of the ceremony. Cameras shall be placed in unobtrusive locations.

  11. The throwing of rice, or substitutes such as birdseed, is a carry-over from ancient pagan fertility rites and is strongly discouraged anywhere on church premises. It is not permitted within the church building.

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The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
1534 S. Easton Avenue
Peoria, IL 61605-3407
(309) 637-9150

Copyright © 2006-2010 Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria. All rights reserved.
Created -- 24 August 2006
Last Revised -- 2 October 2010