Wedding Planner

05.18.15 | Advice | by Gale Davis

    Advice and Directions for Planning a Wedding at St. Paul's.

    St. Paul’s Church  Wedding Planner

    Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding. We are pleased that you are considering marriage at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Nantucket. The celebration of your marriage is a unique moment in your life, and preparation for it is important, so please read this Wedding Planner carefully.

    Who can be married at St. Paul’s?

    At least one of the person’s to be wed is a baptized Christian.

    One or both are active members of a church

    Scheduling your wedding

    Generally, no later than 4:00pm on Saturday is the preferred day and time for weddings at St. Paul’s in Nantucket. Weddings are not permitted during Lent and Holy Week by church canon. There will be limited time during Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas when weddings can take place due to church services. Please talk with the Rector before you schedule your reception to make sure that we can accommodate you.

    The Wedding Rehearsal

    The rehearsal is usually conducted at 5 PM on the evening before the wedding. It is important that all participants be present and ready for the rehearsal promptly at starting time. It usually lasts at least an hour so be sure that plans for the rehearsal dinner are planned with that in mind.

    Divorced Persons

    Persons who have been divorced must make a copy of their final divorce decree available to the Rector no less than 60 days prior to the wedding date. The Episcopal Church accepts the civil process for dissolution of marriage, but the consent of the Bishop must be obtained before re-marriage in the church. That request requires additional counseling with the Rector so it is important to begin your pre-marital counseling sessions well ahead of time.

    Pre-Marital Counseling

    The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and St. Paul’s Church require that couples being married within this diocese complete at least four counseling sessions with our Rector. These should be scheduled well in advance with the clergy directly. However, if you live off island, you may seek counseling at your local Episcopal Church. It is preferred that an Episcopal priest do the counseling. A written report of the counseling sessions must be sent to our Rector. In such instances, we ask that you find time to talk to our Rector to review the report.

     The Officiate

    Our Rector will officiate at all weddings. Other clergy, either of the Episcopal Church or of other denominations, who have a special relationship with either the bride or groom, may be invited, at the discretion of our Rector, to assist in the service.

    Wedding Service Details

    The “Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” as contained in the Book of Common Prayer (on page 427) is used as the liturgical form for the service. The couple is asked to choose the scripture lessons, the readers of the lessons, the music (hymns: processional, recessional, etc...) whether or not they would like Holy Communion, and other particulars relating to the service. If there is Holy Communion, all are invited to partake of the bread and wine.

    Secular Readings are permitted, as long as you have two readings from the Bible and the Rector has approved the readings prior to the printing of your ceremony program.

    Holy Communion

    Holy Communion is a festive, holy meal in which Christians celebrate Christ’s love in their lives. We believe that the Holy Communion, or Holy Eucharist, is the ideal context for the sacrament of marriage. When the service includes Communion, the couple is sharing with the congregation in this feast of God’s love as their first meal together as a married couple. This is something to discuss with the officiating priest.


    The bride and groom may designate an official photographer to take pictures during the ceremony. A video camera may be used if the location is unobtrusive and if the camera is on a tripod and left there throughout the ceremony.

    Wedding Program

    Programs for a wedding ceremony can be helpful if guests are not familiar with the Episcopal liturgy. Our office can make a simple program for you or you may choose to have one printed up by a professional printer so they match your wedding announcements. When a printed program is to be used, be sure to get it approved by the Rector before it goes to the printer. Our fax number is 508-325-4920 or you can email it to:


    The bride and groom are responsible for the cost of altar flowers for their wedding. We prefer you order from Flowers on Chestnut (508-228-6007) as they are familiar with our altar measurements and will be able to provide exquisite arrangements in keeping both with your plans and the season of the church year. It is customary for your flowers to remain on the altar for the Sunday worship services. If you wish to use another florist, it is possible with approval from our Rector and with the understanding that they decorate in keeping with the understated environment of St. Paul’s Church.

    Candles, Confetti, Aisle Runners and Seating

    The candles on the altar are lit during the wedding service. In addition, we have a freestanding candelabrum available for weddings when it’s dark. Unity candles are not part of the Episcopal tradition and will not be allowed. Rice, confetti and other durable items are not allowed. However, rose petals are permitted outside the church, but nothing may be thrown inside the church. St. Paul's Church does not permit the use of any aisle runner. St. Paul’s Church seats about 300 people.

    Wedding Music

    Music is used as an offering for the glory of God and to help the congregation in their worship. It is important that music at a wedding support this purpose. Ann Colgrove, Music Director and Organist, will play organ music as her schedule permits. Please contact her at 508-228-0916, ext. 14 or She will be happy to assist you with musical selections.

    Marriage License

    The marriage license required by the State must be picked up at the Town Clerk’s Office, 1st floor, 16 Broad Street, Nantucket. Please call 508-228-7217 for more information.

    We ask you to bring the marriage license to the rehearsal.


    The fees for being married at St. Paul’s will be supplied to you by the office. We require a nonrefundable deposit of 25% at the time of booking to hold your date. The balance must be paid at least 1 month prior to the ceremony date. We will make every effort to have the church building in excellent condition for your wedding. If, however, an emergency arises that requires an alteration of the church’s normal condition, then the wedding will be expected to take place on the scheduled date. We will not provide a refund under such conditions.

    Making the Call

    If what you’ve read so far fits who you are as you seek God’s blessing upon your marriage, then call St. Paul’s office at 508-228-0916 to request a meeting with the clergy. We urge you not to make any firm wedding plans until you have first talked with the Rector about your wedding.

    We acknowledge that everyone leads busy lives; nonetheless, the bride and groom are the ones who need to handle the details with the church.

    Please do not hesitate to call with any questions you may have. We will do our best to answer your questions and to make your wedding day a joyous beginning for your marriage.

    St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Nantucket PO Box 278
    Nantucket, MA 02554-0278

    Phone 508-228-0916
    Fax 508-325-4920


    If you would like to pursue a wedding at St. Paul's please click on the attached link that will take you to a form that should be completed and sent to the Church Office.