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.
- All weddings at Unity Presbyterian Church must be approved by the session. The couple may check tentative available dates with a minister by calling the church office at 803.547.5543.
- The “Wedding Request Form” should be completed as soon as possible, so that your request can be taken to the next regularly scheduled meeting of session. Once your forms are completed and approved by the session, your wedding date will officially be placed on the church calendar.
- Persons who are active members of Unity may reserve the facilities for their wedding after approval by session. Non-members may reserve Unity facilities up to six months in advance if approved by the session.
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 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 time to meet with a minister of the church.
If the couple desires that another clergy person participate in the wedding ceremony, they should inform the officiating minister, who will issue an invitation.
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
Capturing this special day is important, but we do not want to see your ceremony disrupted by professional or amateur photographers. No photographs or videos, including cell phones, are permitted during the ceremony. Please put this message on your wedding bulletin “During the wedding service no photography will be allowed”.
- Once the ceremony begins no photographs may be taken inside the sanctuary.
- Flash photos may be taken prior to or following the service.
- Group photos taken in the Sanctuary must be completed at least 1 hour prior to the service beginning.
- For photographic purposes any part of the ceremony can be “re-staged” after the service is concluded.
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 camera movement in the Sanctuary is allowed at any time until the ceremony is over.
- The camera cannot block the organist’s view.
- Live streaming of your service is available on Unity’s website. Let the Wedding Director know if you would like to discuss live streaming.
Smoking is prohibited in all areas of church property, inside buildings as well as outside. Alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs are not allowed on Unity Presbyterian Church grounds at any time.
Unity’s Sanctuary will seat approximately 510 people.
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.
The Hospitality Room and Conference Room are available for the wedding party to use for dressing. The church building can be opened 3 hours prior to the scheduled ceremony time. Please arrange this time with the Wedding Director. These rooms should be left clean by the wedding party before leaving the church.
Weddings and receptions must be over by 10:00 p.m.
Once the wedding date has been placed on the church calendar, the Director of Music should be contacted. It is the responsibility and privilege of the Director of Music to assist you in planning appropriate and meaningful music that will enhance the beauty of your wedding ceremony.
The music for a wedding ceremony, as for all worship services, is a way to express gratitude and thanks to God. The Director of Music will guide the planning of all musical elements of the wedding service, including selection of music and approval of guest musicians and vocalists. To help with the selection of music, the Director of Music will provide a list of suggestions for processionals, recessionals, vocal and/or instrumental solos, and hymns that are suitable for your wedding. Prerecorded music may not be used.
The Director of Music’s fee is listed in the Schedule of Fees. This fee includes a consultation, preparation time, the rehearsal, and the wedding. Weddings requiring extra consultation, the contracting of guest musicians, practice with guest musicians or vocalists at a time other than prior to the rehearsal, or other such time demands may require additional compensation.
The Director of Music must approve all music selected for the ceremony at least four weeks prior to the wedding ceremony.
The church has bulletin stock available and will be happy to prepare bulletins for your wedding. The Wedding Director will have examples of the available bulletins. The fee for the bulletins is due no later than one week prior to the wedding. The bulletin information should be given to the officiating minister for review and approval at least two weeks in advance of the wedding. This information should include musical selections and the names of the wedding party if you wish them listed. The bride and groom must proofread the bulletin one week before the wedding to ensure all names are spelled correctly.
Decoration of Facilities
The following are guidelines for the decorations of the facility:
- The pulpit, Bible, baptismal font, and communion table may not be removed from the Sanctuary.
- The church does not furnish equipment for decorating the church except for two wooden floral stands and candelabra.
- No decorations of any kind may be installed or attached to permanent fixtures or furniture with screws, nails, staples or wires.
- All candles must be dripless.
- The piano and organ shall remain free of floral arrangements and any decorations.
- All decorations should 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 duplicate flowers are not ordered.
- 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. The couple should ensure the timely arrival and removal of wedding decorations to accommodate the church schedule.
- During Christmas the Sanctuary is fully decorated. These decorations should not be moved or altered in any fashion. The Christmas decorations will remain in place through Epiphany (January 6th).
- Any decorations used on the wrought iron railings in front of the church should not obstruct guests from safely holding the railings while using the stairs.
- The church will be opened three hours prior to the service. Deliveries of flowers and decorations should be scheduled during this time.
The Wedding Director will contact you as soon as possible after your wedding date has been placed on the church calendar to schedule an appointment. The Wedding Director is a member of Unity Presbyterian Church and will assist you in planning your special day. It is the Wedding Director’s responsibility that you understand Unity’s wedding policy. The Wedding Director will assist at both the rehearsal and wedding.
The Wedding Director will contact the Sexton with any information about the wedding. Any instructions should be written on the Custodial Instruction Sheet and given to the Wedding Director. It is the Sexton’s responsibility to make sure the facilities to be used are clean and in order prior to the wedding. Following the wedding and/or reception the Sexton is responsible only for vacuuming and sweeping the floors in both the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. Any other cleanup is the responsibility of the wedding party.
The custodian is also responsible for preparing the facilities for Sunday services. Please remove all personal items immediately after your service and/or reception so that clean up and the subsequent set up may begin
Other Important Information
Only registered guide dogs providing handicap assistance are permitted inside the church.
If you would like nursery and childcare, please indicate this in your initial request. All nursery and childcare workers must be officially certified through the church, and we have trusted providers who may help. We may not be able to schedule childcare for your service, but if we can, extra fees will apply.
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 or property of the church is the responsibility of the couple.
Fee Schedule and Payments
A fee schedule for members and non-members is attached to this policy. Fees for the Sexton should be paid to Unity Presbyterian Church. All other checks should be made out to each individual person. The checks should be given to the Wedding Director 30 days prior to the ceremony.
Please contact the church office 803.547.5543 for additional information, to check on available dates, or to request an application.