Methodist weddings are much like other Protestant Christian weddings, with a traditional order of service, music and prayer, in addition to the vows and ring ceremony. There are more than 40 denominations that have descended from John Wesley's Methodist Movement, but possibly the most widely known Methodist denomination is the United Methodist Church. .
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Order of Service
The general order of service for a Methodist wedding begins with the minister's opening remarks, followed by his charge to the couple. Next is the declaration of commitment, to which the couple usually responds "I do" or "I will." At this point, the bride is presented to the groom and the vows begin. After the vows, the rings are exchanged and a Scripture selection is read, often from 1 Corinthians 13. The minister may choose to share some additional thoughts, and then the unity candle is lit and the declaration is made. The ceremony ends with the wedding prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the blessing, the kiss and the introduction of the newly married couple. Other elements that can be included are communion and special music selections.
Many Methodist churches allow the use of secular music, but it is customary for the couple to ask permission for secular songs. It is quite common to use an organ for much of the music, including the processional. Soloists or small groups of singers are also commonly used with piano accompaniment. Music often is inserted during the unity candle lighting and/or after the Lord's Prayer.
Photography and Videography
As in many churches, flash photography is strongly discouraged in Methodist ceremonies. Pictures are taken before and after the ceremony, and the Methodist minister might be willing to restage scenes from the ceremony for pictures at that time. Video cameras usually are allowed at Methodist ceremonies, as long as they do not impede the flow of traffic in the aisles or attract any undue attention.
When using a Methodist church building for the ceremony, it is important that the bride and groom follow the guidelines set forth by the leadership of the church. There are often time constraints because of church services or other events taking place in the building. Most church buildings also have decorating guidelines to protect the church property and avoid extensive cleanup.
As with any wedding, there are usually fees associated with a Methodist ceremony. There usually is a building use fee, though some churches waive this fee if you are a member of the church. The couple also is expected to pay the minister a fee, which usually is predetermined by the church. The couple also might have to pay for communion supplies and they might have fees to a sound and lighting technician, wedding coordinator, organist and/or custodian.
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