PLANNING A WEDDING?
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! The members and friends of First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Kalamazoo wish you joy and happiness as you prepare to share your lives with one another on this journey of love. If you are thinking about having your wedding at historic First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo, we hope this page will answer your questions. The most significant reason for having a church wedding is that the couple taking the sacred vows of marriage, and those in attendance, believe they stand on holy ground and in the presence of God. The covenant of marrige was established by God, whose blessing upon the marriage is invited and necessary.
WHO CAN BE MARRIED IN FUMC?
Anyone who has a valid marriage license may be married in First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo.
BEFORE THE WEDDING
1) Call the church at (269) 381-6340 to discuss available dates. We encourage you to contact the office as soon as you have decided on a wedding date. Please visit the church to pick up a Wedding Ceremony Application, or request the form by email from Administrative Assistant Christi Landreville at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the time of application, a $200 non-refundable deposit is required.
2) Begin discussions with a pastor. After your first contact with the office, a pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo will be assigned to officiate at your wedding. The assigned pastor will call you to begin conversation about wedding details. Our officiating clergypersons are:
- Rev. Stephen M.G. Charnley
- Rev. Julie Kline
3) Attend pre-marital counseling. The wedding couple will participate in pre-marital counseling. The pastor that will be officiating at your wedding will set up a marriage counseling schedule with the bridal couple at least six months in advance of the wedding.
4) Contact the organist. It is important to keep in mind that a church wedding is a worship service of the church. An FUMC organist will play at your wedding. In the event that the organist is unavailable, we will find a substitute. The wedding couple should discuss music plans with the organist at least three months prior to the wedding. You may contact Bernie Foulk, the organist, at email@example.com. Couples are welcome to invite their own soloists and other musicians to take part in the ceremony. Recorded music is also an option, although live music is preferred.
5) Obtain the marriage license. Application for the marriage license is the responsibility of the wedding couple and should be obtained from the county clerk’s office where you reside in the state of Michigan. Michigan is one of the few states that still requires a waiting period before you can get married. You need to wait three (3) days after you apply for your marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your wedding date. Please bring your license to the wedding rehearsal and give it to the pastor.
The time frame for a wedding will not exceed a period of four hours. This includes time for photos before and/or after the ceremony, decorating the sanctuary, the wedding service and the receiving line.
The sanctuary seats approximately 350 people on the main floor and 700 total if the balcony is used and is air-conditioned! There are 18 pews on each side of the sanctuary with a central aisle. The chapel is another option for a small wedding party. It can seat approximately 40 guests and is also air-conditioned.
Two rooms are set aside as dressing rooms. These rooms are air-conditioned and large enough to accommodate several attendants.
Prior to both the rehearsal and the wedding, alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the church or on the church property. No alcoholic beverages may be served or consumed on the church premises at any time. Smoking is also not permitted on church grounds.
We suggest that you have a professional photographer for your wedding. Photographers are permitted at the rear of the sanctuary or chapel and may take flash photographs during the processional and the recessional only. Non-flash photography is permissible during the service from the balcony or narthex. This applies to both professional photographers and guests. Photographers may not exceed the four-hour time limit of the church. Because we are a historic church, the architecture and stained glass allow for several spots on the church grounds that are quite conducive for lovely photographs.
Videotaping may be done from the balcony, narthex or handicap access pews. This applies to professional videographers and guests. Cameras, cords or other photography equipment must not obstruct aisles and walkways. It is the responsibility of the wedding couple to make sure the photographer and guests are aware of church policy.
Once you have set the wedding date, you should contact a florist to discuss floral arrangements. Flowers may be placed on the altar and in appropriate containers in the chancel if desired. The florist should arrange for the decorations to be in place well before the guests arrive. Ribbons or simple arrangements of flowers may mark reserved pews. They should be attached with pew clips, which your florist will provide or which may be borrowed from the church.
Two pairs of brass candelabras, each holding seven oil candles, are available at no charge. A unity candle holder, with two white taper side candles, is also available at no charge. The wedding couple must provide the central unity candle. All candles used in the building must be dripless.
The tile floor in the sanctuary is beautiful and makes the use of aisle runners unnecessary. Artificial flower petals may be dropped by the flower girl.
Throwing confetti, birdseed or rice is not permitted. Bubbles are acceptable. Please make sure bubble bottles are distributed to the guests outside the church after the ceremony.
Two rooms are set aside as dressing rooms—one for the bride and her attendants, and the other for the groom and his attendants. These rooms are air-conditioned and have mirrors.
THE WEDDING HOSTESS
Our wedding hostesses are invaluable on the day of your wedding. We will provide a wedding hostess (or two, if the wedding is large) to assist the officiating pastor in conducting the rehearsal and to coordinate activities on the day of the wedding. She handles emergencies, meets the florist, trains the bridesmaids and ushers in their duties, and whatever else is needed to make this a special day for the bridal couple. The services of a wedding hostess for a small chapel wedding are often not needed.
A rehearsal will be scheduled the day before the ceremony and should take place before the rehearsal dinner. All members of the wedding party should be present, as well as parents of the bride, readers, and soloists. The rehearsal will last for about an hour. Being on time for the rehearsal and the wedding is imperative, as the minister and organist have other commitments. Please be sure to bring the marriage license to the rehearsal.
All fees must be paid in FULL one month before the wedding. A receipt will be provided. The $200 non-refundable application fee that is paid when the wedding date is reserved shall be applied to the total wedding fee.
The wedding fee includes:
- Four-hour use of the building on the wedding day
- Use of facility for a wedding rehearsal
- Two dressing rooms – one for the bridal party, one for groomsmen
- Security personnel at the door
- Sound/light technician – at rehearsal and ceremony
- An audio recording of the ceremony
- Wedding Hostess – at rehearsal and ceremony
- Organist fee
- Custodial fee
- Use of candelabras, kneeling bench, unity candle holder, taper candles
- Premarital sessions with our officiating clergy
- Clergy honorarium
AFTER THE WEDDING
You are cordially invited to make First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo your church home and to attend worship services. We have traditional worship on Sunday at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m., and Coffeehouse Worship service at 9:30 a.m. on second Sundays of the month. Our worship schedule changes during the summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day) with one worship service at 10:00 a.m. Please join us!