Holy Matrimony is the solemn public sacrament by which two people enter into a lifelong union by making vows before God and the Church. Our covenantal life with God is expressed in relationships of commitment and faithfulness. It is the Church’s joy to celebrate these relationships as signs of God’s love, to pray for God’s grace to support couples in their life together, and to join with these couples in our shared witness to the gospel in the world.
In the Episcopal Church, it is required that at least one member of the couple be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the Canons and Constitutions of the Episcopal Church and Diocese of North Carolina. Members as well as non-members may be married at St. Peter’s if:
- One member of the couple is an active member of St. Peter’s or in the process of becoming a member of St. Peter’s;
- One member of the couple is a member of another Christian tradition and intends to remain active in that faith community; or
- A pastoral emergency circumstance exists and the couple is in consultation with the Rector or a staff priest.
Members must be involved regularly in parish life through worship and more, including an annual financial pledge on record with the Treasurer. Non-members are subject to wedding fees greater than fees to be paid by members. It is customary for non-member Episcopalians to provide a letter of recommendation from the Clergy of their parish to the Rector of St. Peter’s upon request for marriage.
Couples must meet with the Rector or a designated staff priest before approval for marriage at St. Peter’s may be granted and a ceremony date is confirmed. Thereafter, the priest connects the couple with the Wedding Coordinator to discuss logistics associated with the ceremony. Pre-marital counseling is required and administered by a staff priest and/or visiting clergy; services of a licensed marriage counselor may also be important to the process. The Episcopal Church is also open to the re-marriage of divorced persons, but it does require requesting the permission of the Bishop of North Carolina. Weddings at St. Peter’s are open to both opposite and same gender couples.
Ceremonies at St. Peter’s are ordered according to the “Celebration and Blessing of Marriage” in The Book of Common Prayer or the “Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” as approved by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and include a celebration of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion, Mass, Supper of the Lord). The Holy Eucharist upholds our parish observance of the ancient custom by which couples have begun new life for centuries after the exchange of marriage vows.
Inquiries about marriage guidelines, fees, and available dates for ceremonies, receptions, and rehearsal dinners begin with Elaine Wood, Ministry Associate (704‐749‐6141, firstname.lastname@example.org) who then collaborates with the Parish Wedding Coordinator, Clergy, and Staff on the next steps related to the administration of this sacrament.