Weddings at Holy Ascension
To avoid misunderstanding, confusion and disappointment, those desiring to be married at Holy Ascension should discuss the requirements for marriage with the priest at the earliest opportunity. Some general information is set out below.
Before any date is set for a wedding, the couple must speak to the priest. There are many days in which weddings are not normally performed, and printing wedding invitations prior to confirming the date of the wedding will not constitute such an emergency.
Both partners must be members in good standing of the Orthodox Church in general and of Holy Ascension in particular. This is to ensure that our Church is not treated as a drive-thru wedding chapel.
If either partner has ever been previously married in the Church, and subsequently has divorced, they must have obtained an ecclesiastical divorce, and will need to have the blessing of the bishop prior to the wedding taking place.
The couple will need to obtain a civil marriage license prior to the wedding, and have it on hand before the service.
The couple must be willing to meet with the priest to discuss the seriousness of the sacrament of marriage and to prepare them for entering into marriage.
Please note: A non-Orthodox Christian who marries an Orthodox Christian does not automatically become a member of the Orthodox Church, and is therefore not permitted to receive Holy Communion or other sacraments in the Orthodox Church.
Preparing for the Service
There must be two sponsors, one of each gender, who are Orthodox Christians in good standing. You may have non-Orthodox friends or family that you may wish to have stand with the wedding parties, but the actual sponsors must be Orthodox Christians.
Unlike traditional western weddings, the bride is not "given away" by her father, although the father may escort her to the Narthex of the Church.
Rings are exchanged, and unlike the usual western practice, wedding rings are worn on the right hand, rather than on the left.
Holy Ascension Orthodox Mission has both Greek and Russian-style wedding crowns, which the couple is welcome to use.
If Russian-style crowns are used, the sponsors hold the crowns over the heads of the couple for a portion of the service.
The service is done entirely in English and according to the Orthodox Tradition, and so within the Church, there will be no special music selected by the couple, and no special vows for them to compose for the service.
Photos and video may be taken of the service, but if you have a non-Orthodox photographer, you should probably discuss ahead of time what they will be doing during the service so that they do not interfere with the solemnity of the occasion.
As with any sacrament, there is no charge for the service. The couple may make a donation of whatever amount they may desire, but this is not obligatory. Please place the donation in the donation box in church.