Weddings at UNITY
We are pleased that you plan to have your wedding at Unity Presbyterian Church. It is our desire to help you in every way possible. The following guidelines have been adopted by the session of Unity Presbyterian Church and are to be used in connection with all weddings performed at this church.
- Persons who are active members of Unity Presbyterian Church may reserve our facilities for their wedding. In extraordinary circumstances, permission may be granted for a non-member wedding. If approved by Session, non- members may reserve the sanctuary up to six months in advance.
- All weddings at Unity must be approved by the Session. The bride or groom may check tentative dates with a minister by calling the church office 803.547.5543
- Complete the “Wedding Request Form” as soon as possible so that your request can be taken to the regularly scheduled Session meeting. Once your forms are completed and approved by the Session we will officially put your date on the church calendar.
All weddings at Unity Presbyterian Church will be conducted by one or more ministers of the church. Arrangements for all weddings are to be made through a minister, who will help to set up a date and time for the wedding and rehearsal and discuss premarital counseling. Call the church office as soon as possible to set up a meeting with a minister of the church.
If the couple desires that another clergy person participate in the wedding ceremony, they should inform the Officiating Minster, who will issue the invitation. An honorarium (shown in the schedule of fees) is appropriate for ministers.
Pre-martial counseling is required before any wedding. The Officiating Minister expects to spend a significant amount of time in conference with the couple prior to the wedding examining the meaning of marriage and making preparations for the wedding service.
The rehearsal should be scheduled at the time the wedding reservations are made. All wedding rehearsals will be conducted by the Officiating Minister with the help of a Wedding Director designated by the church. Because a wedding is a worship service, the Officiating Minister shall have full responsibility for both the rehearsal and the wedding. The Wedding Director will make sure the couple understands the rules and procedures associated with a wedding at Unity and will assist at the rehearsal and the wedding. In the interest of conserving the time of the staff and others involved in the wedding, the rehearsal shall begin on time. The staff and facilities will be available for only one hour. Please keep in mind that the church is located on a busy street and traffic on Friday evenings could be heavy. Participants in the rehearsal should be informed of this, so that they can allow sufficient time to be punctual for the rehearsal.
You will want to have the following members of the wedding party present: Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Flower Girl, Ring Bearer, Ushers etc. Parents and grandparents may also want to attend so they can know how and when they will be seated.
While this is a jubilant occasion, we must insist on appropriate dress and conduct at both the rehearsal and the wedding service. Unity’s Officiating Minister reserves the right to cancel the rehearsal and wedding ceremony if the conduct of any of the wedding party member(s) is deemed to be inappropriate. No rehearsal or wedding ceremony will be conducted when any member of the wedding party is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to see that members of the wedding party are informed of this policy.
While we view marriage as a holy institution, The State of South Carolina recognizes marriage as a civil contract. The Officiating Minister cannot marry you without a marriage license; therefore, you must obtain a marriage license in advance of your wedding date. Please bring it to the wedding rehearsal and give it to the Officiating Minister.
Reproductions of the Service
We know you want to capture this special day; however, we ask that you remember this is a worship service. In this age of endless technology, weddings have been disrupted by mobile phones, pagers, and a bevy of enthusiastic professional and amateur photographers. Exuberant photographers and guests have also blocked the entrance of the wedding party and have, on occasion, caused great disruption of the service. Unity’s Officiating Minister may stop the service if cameras are being used during the ceremony.
We certainly do not want that to be the case at your wedding. Please speak with your family and friends prior to the wedding day to ask that they refrain from taking photographs and videos during the service. Please put this message on your wedding bulletin “This is a service of worship. No photography is allowed during the wedding service.” We will be glad to “re-stage” any part of the ceremony after the service is concluded.
Photography is not permitted during the marriage service, either by a professional photographer or by wedding guests. When the processional begins, no photographs may be taken inside the sanctuary. Flash photos may be taken prior to, or following, the service. The service is over after the minister has blessed the couple. Group photographs taken in the Sanctuary before the wedding service must be completed 1 hour prior to the service beginning.
Videotaping is allowed with these restrictions:
- One camera and camera operator are allowed in the balcony.
- One unmanned stationary video camera is permitted in the choir loft. This camera should be concealed as well as possible.
- No additional lighting may be used.
- No movement of the camera is allowed in the sanctuary at any time.
- The camera cannot block the organist’s view.
Smoking is expressly prohibited in all areas of the Church’s buildings. Alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs are expressly forbidden on Unity Presbyterian Church’s grounds.
Unity’s Fellowship Hall is available for receptions and rehearsal dinners. It can accommodate approximately 300 people standing, and approximately 200 if seated. A kitchen is available for caterers to use for setting up. The caterer or wedding party must supply all serving utensils, dishes, and equipment. The caterer is responsible for all kitchen clean up. Ice is available from the ice machine.
A hospitality room (Room M201) is available for the bridal party to use for dressing. Room M312 is available for groomsmen. The church building can be opened three hours prior to the scheduled wedding time. You must arrange an arrival time with the Wedding Director. Weddings and receptions must be over by 10:00 p.m.
A church wedding is a service of worship. Music suitable for the marriage service directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the church. Music selected for the wedding should embody the same high standards applied to the music chosen for worship generally.
The couple to be married will consult with the Director of Music concerning all musical selections for the wedding service. The organ music should be chosen carefully to reflect the joyful and worshipful nature of the occasion. The Director of Music will provide suggested selections for preludes, processionals, recessionals and hymns. You will also find examples of approved music elsewhere in the wedding packet. In the event that the church organist is unavailable, an organist must be approved by the church organist at least four weeks in advance. The couple should contact the church organist as soon as possible after the wedding date has been scheduled. The fee for the church organist is included on the list of fees in this packet.
Vocal or instrumental solos may be used in the wedding ceremony. The text of the vocal music used at weddings should be God-centered, petitioning God’s blessing on the couple and offering praise for the occasion. It is inappropriate to select songs of a romantic, personal nature. Favorite popular songs should be saved for the reception. Solos may be used during the prelude or during the service. If the latter, they should be brief and related to the service. A wedding prayer or a benediction is appropriate. The Director of Music will be happy to suggest solos that are suitable.
Final decision in all matters pertaining to the music of the service shall rest with the Director of Music.
The church has bulletin stock available and will be happy to prepare bulletins for your wedding. The Wedding Director has examples of our bulletins available. All bulletin information should be given to the Officiating Minister for review and approval at least two weeks in advance of the wedding. This includes music selections and the names of the wedding party, if you wish them to be listed. We require the bride and groom to proofread the bulletin one week before the wedding to ensure that names are spelled correctly.
If you choose to use another source for your bulletin, you must follow the Order of Worship that will be provided to you by Unity’s Officiating Minister. Please provide the church office with a copy of the bulletin to be used at least two weeks prior to the wedding.
Decoration of Facilities
Decorations should be planned to enhance the natural beauty of the sanctuary. Flowers, candles and other decorations, if used, should enhance the worshipers’ consciousness of the reality of God, and reflect the integrity and simplicity of the Christian life. It is the responsibility of the couple to provide the florist with the following information to assure compliance with the guidelines established by Unity Presbyterian Church.
- The pulpit, Bible, and communion table may not be removed from the sanctuary.
- The church does not furnish equipment for decorating the church, other than two wooden floral stands. There are also candelabra available.
- No decorations of any kind (flowers, candles, ribbons, etc.) may be installed or attached to permanent fixtures or furniture with screws, nails, staples, or wires. Candles must be dripless. No floral arrangements or decorations may be placed on the piano or the organ. All decorations must be removed immediately following the ceremony. If you wish to leave floral arrangements in the sanctuary for Sunday worship services, please contact the church office well in advance of the wedding so that double booking does not occur.
- No rice or confetti may be used inside or outside the church building. Birdseed or bubbles may be used outside.
- The florist should contact the church Office if there are any questions regarding these guidelines. It is the responsibility of the couple to ensure that times of delivery and removal of the wedding decorations are coordinated with the church schedule. A copy of this information should be given to the florist, to be signed and returned to the church office.
- During Christmas the sanctuary is fully decorated and decorations will remain through the first Sunday after Christmas. These decorations shall not be moved or altered in any fashion.
- If you choose to decorate the wrought iron railings in front of the church, please keep in mind that they are there to assist guests in climbing the steps and should not be obstructed.
- The church will be opened no sooner than three hours prior to the wedding service. Deliveries of flowers or other decorations should be scheduled during this time.
Please contact the Wedding Director as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to meet with her. The Wedding Director is a member of the church, and the representative of Unity Presbyterian Church. The director will be present at both the rehearsal and the wedding. Unity’s Officiating Minister and Wedding Director are under the authority of the church and will be solely responsible for planning and directing the rehearsal and wedding ceremony.
The Wedding Director will contact the custodian with any information about the wedding. Any instructions should be written on the proper form and given to the Wedding Director. The custodian will make sure that the facilities to be used are clean and in order prior to the wedding. Following the wedding and/or reception, the custodian is only responsible for vacuuming and sweeping the floors in both the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. They are also responsible for preparing the facilities for Sunday services. Please remove all of your personal items immediately after your service and /or reception so that clean up and the subsequent set-up may begin.
Other Important Information
Unity Presbyterian Church will not accept liability for any items not removed or picked up after the wedding service or reception. The cost of repairing or replacing broken or damaged items and property of the church is the responsibility of the bride and groom.
Fee Schedule and Payments
A fee schedule for members and for non-members is available on request. Fees must be paid no later than one week prior to the wedding rehearsal.