St. John's UCC is pleased to offer wedding ceremonies to opposite and same gender couples.
The United Church of Christ allows and encourages, but does not require, that churches perform weddings for same gender couples.
While we are not bound either by UCC policy, or by Illinois law, we are grateful that we are permitted to offer the full rites of the church to any couple who wish to be married.
Please contact the church directly to inquire about getting married at St. John's.
Getting Married at St. John's UCC - A Guide
Congratulations! You are about to embark on the most exciting journey any two people can go on together, and we are pleased that you are choosing to start this journey here at St. John’s United Church of Christ. We hope this short guide to our guidelines will answer most of your questions. We are pleased to say that we believe in marriage equality, and will celebrate and bless weddings for any two people who wish to have a church ceremony, and can be legally married here in Illinois.
Weddings at St. John’s are first and foremost Christian services of worship. Therefore, the liturgy, music, and attire (for both men and women), and the service itself are to be respectful of the religious nature of the service.
2. First Steps
You’ve taken the first step in visiting our website for this information. Your primary point of contact is to be the Pastor. So, your next step is to set up an initial appointment with the Pastor to meet you. The Pastor will meet with you and help you, not only design a worshipful wedding service, but also help you build the foundation for a strong and long-lasting marriage. The Pastor will also direct you to others involved in your celebration.
While the Pastor is honored to celebrate God's love by officiating the institution of marriage, the Pastor reserves the right to decline to perform any wedding at St. John’s. Outside clergy are only permitted to co-celebrate with the Pastor, at the invitation of the Pastor.
The full wedding guidelines packet and the Contract are contained in the .pdf to the left, which includes current fees.
The Marriage Certificate must be obtained from the Illinois County in which you reside. The nearest Lake County office to St. John’s UCC is located at 18 N. County St, Waukegan, IL. You can connect to their website here. Licenses are valid for 60 days from issue.
Signing the contract and paying a non-refundable deposit of $100 constitutes a legal agreement on your part to fulfill and abide by all of the rules and regulations contained herein, and signifies that you agree to hold harmless St. John’s UCC for any cancellation or disruption in your plans. You also agree to treat the facility with respect and care, and you agree to pay for any damages beyond normal wear and tear on the building. St. John’s is not responsible for breakage or theft of your personal items.
There is no smoking anywhere inside of St. John’s. You may smoke outside.
Illegal substances and firearms are strictly prohibited, and will result in immediate forfeiture of all paid fees and immediate expulsion of the individual possessing such from the property, may result in cancellation of your ceremony or reception and may result in police involvement.
4. Scheduling Exceptions and Fees
All fees must be fully paid no later than the date of your rehearsal. Individual checks are to be written to the Pastor, the Organist or Music Director, and to others as directed. All other fees will be included into a final check made out to St. John’s UCC.
Additional outside musicians may be used, in consultation with the Music Director. It is your responsibility to find and compensate them.
No weddings are not scheduled on Palm Sunday, during Holy Week or Easter Weekend,
or on Christmas Eve or Day.
Weddings may be scheduled at the discretion of both the Pastor (and Music Director, if applicable) on Martin Luther King Day weekend, Valentine’s Day/weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving Day/weekend, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, but an additional fee of $300 will be charged if scheduled for any of the above dates. There may be other instances when events at the church preclude scheduling your wedding.
The Member rate is granted only to those who have been members in good standing of St. John’s for at least one calendar year prior to the ceremony. The Member rate may apply to immediate family members of those members in good standing.
The Use of Church fee includes full use of the church facility for the rehearsal and ceremony. You are allotted one hour for your rehearsal, and three hours on the day of your ceremony. You are expected to arrive on time for your rehearsal, and on time for your ceremony.
An additional fee of $50 will be charged for rehearsal with your soloist, if you have one. It is your responsibility to pay the soloist in addition to this fee for the church.
5. Guest Clergy and Wedding Coordinator Guidelines.
Guest clergy may co-officiate or assist with Weddings, with the consent of the Pastor.
Guest clergy may not be used in place of the Pastor.
Outside Wedding Coordinators are not really necessary. Our Pastor and our internal Wedding Coordinator will take care of all your needs here at St. John’s. The only thing an outside Wedding Coordinator may help with on the day of the ceremony is dressing, hair and make-up if you choose to do all of that here at the church.
6. Music Guidelines
It is up to you to arrange music for your wedding. The Music Director/Organist are available for your rehearsal and ceremony, and you are to contact the Music Director yourself. You may make other arrangements for music, in consultation with the Pastor.
Pre-recorded music is generally not suggested for Weddings in our sanctuary. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Pastor.
The Music Director will receive additional fee of $50 for rehearsal with your soloist, if you have one, and it is your responsibility to pay the soloist.
7. Photography and Videography Guidelines
Remember that your ceremony is primarily a service of Christian worship. Photographers and videographers are welcome to record your event for posterity, under the following guidelines.
Flash photography is permitted before and after the ceremony, and during the Processional and Recessional. Flash photography is not permitted during the ceremony itself. Photographers are not permitted up the center aisle, in front of the pews, or up on the sanctuary/chancel behind the clergy. No additional lighting for videography is permitted. No video cameras are permitted behind the clergy or couple up on the platform. Photographers and videographers are not to disturb guests, attendants, clergy, the Organist/Music Director or the couple for any reason. The Pastor will stay following the ceremony to re-stage any missed shots, if necessary. Failure on the part of the photographer or videographer to adhere to these guidelines may result in immediate expulsion from the church.
8. Ceremonial Matters
All persons participating in the ceremony (bridesmaids, groomsmen, attendants, ring bearers, parents, readers, couple, and any musicians) are to be present at the rehearsal.
Couples are generally discouraged from writing their own vows; the Wedding liturgy is provided to you in a separate booklet.
White aisle runners from florists are not permitted for safety and liability reasons.
A Unity Candle may be used during the ceremony, but it is the responsibility of the couple to provide it.
Only silk floral petals may be scattered on the carpet inside the church. These may be obtained from your florist, or from any good craft supply shop.
Rice, glitter, balloons or sparklers are not permitted at any time on the property inside or out. You may use bubbles or flower petals outside. Extra Custodial Fees will be levied if this rule is not followed.
Bows, ribbons or floral arrangements may be attached to the pew ends using only rubber bands or floral clips with a protecting cloth. Floral arrangements are to have their own stands, which the florist can provide. The Communion Table or other furniture may not be moved.
You may prepare your own service bulletin (containing an outline of the ceremony, and the names of participants, etc.). We will print it, if you wish, on paper that you provide for an additional fee of $50, paid to the Church Secretary.