(Effective September 2022)
Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding. We at Stouffville United Church want to help you make this a meaningful event, and we are more than willing to work with you to make sure that it is joyful occasion. We recognize that every situation is unique and that in all likelihood you will have your own unique concerns, but here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.
In the United Church we see people as unique, loved creations of God and welcome all people to the full life of Christian community, including marriage. We believe God intends loving relationships to be faithful, responsible, just, healing, and sustaining of the couple and those around them, and that such relationships require preparation and nurture.
Stouffville United celebrates the marriage of
- same-sex couples
- previously divorced people
- couples of different religious backgrounds
Our minister is pleased to work with you to create a worship ceremony that will be meaningful to you. Our expectation is that our minister will officiate at your wedding.
1. Who are the people who may be involved with our wedding service and how do I contact them?
Rev. Dr. John Niles
Theresa and Brian Carr
2. How much will all this cost us?
These are the fees involved in most weddings in the sanctuary of Stouffville United Church.
The minister’s fee is
[Outside of the church sanctuary
the fee is $350.00]
(paid to Rev. Dr. John Niles)
The music director’s fee is
(paid to Daniel Mehdizadeh)
The custodian’s fee is
(paid to Theresa Carr)
Sanctuary usage fee is
(paid to Stouffville United Church)
AV Operator(s) fee is
$30.00/hr /person ($60.00 minimum)
Wedding Program fee is
(Includes prep and copies)
(paid to Stouffville United Church)
Please submit separate payments for each expense to the Stouffville United Church office and note that these fees are due one month in advance and are non-refundable. A fee for a wedding is not a donation to a charitable organization and cannot be receipted as such.
3. How often do I have to meet with the minister?
Normally, you would have several conversations with the minister. These may be in person, by phone, email or Zoom calls.
The purpose of these conversations would be, first, to get to know each other and to lay out the steps ahead, plan times for the rehearsal, assess special circumstances, and to take a first look at the actual wedding services themselves.
You will want to finalize details of your service and to have any questions answered that may have arisen.
4. Do we have to go through some kind of counseling?
No. You are not required to go through pre-marriage counseling; however, the minister is pleased to recommend opportunities for pre-marriage education.
5. Can we do a non-traditional service?
The answer to that is a qualified, “yes, within limits”. There are elements of the service that can be done differently, but note that if we are holding the wedding in the Church Sanctuary the wedding service needs to reflect an understanding of a Christian wedding service and respect the location. Non-traditional music and non-traditional readings may be used if they are first negotiated with the minister.
6. What sort of music can I have during the service?
Music is an important part of the service. Various instruments are appropriate but if the organ or our grand piano is to be used our Director of Music, or designate, will play for the service. The Director of Music should be contacted early in planning process to discuss the music.
7. What sort of audio/visual equipment does the church have?
Our church is equipped with microphones at the front of the church as well as an overhead projection system to three screens in the sanctuary. We also have the capability of recording the wedding or livestreaming to YouTube from three stationary cameras. The YouTube link would be private, and it would be up to you to share it as appropriate. If any of this equipment is needed our AV Operator(s) must be involved. Please discuss this with the Minister early in your planning process so that we can ensure the availability of our staff.
8. Can we take pictures during the service?
In the Church Sanctuary guests may take pictures during the processional, recessional and during the signing of the Register. We request that they refrain from taking pictures during the actual worship service. Special arrangements can be made for videotaping from a single location. ONE photographer may take pictures from the back of the church without flash in addition to the aforementioned times. This photographer should consult with the minister before the service begins. Ensure that your photographer is aware of this restriction. The point of these restrictions is to keep the focus on you and this special moment in your life while at the same time allowing space for the creation of lasting mementos of this special occasion.
9. What about the license? Who gets that? Where? How much is it? Who fills it out?
Licenses are available from your local town or city hall and according to Ontario Law are valid for 90 days following the date of issue. Please bring your license to the minister at least one week prior to the wedding so that it is ready and available for the service. Following the wedding service, the minister will mail the license to the appropriate government office.
10. Can I decorate the church with flowers?
Flowers for the decoration of the sanctuary are welcome, but not necessary. We advise that flowers for the wedding be delivered to your home and brought to the Church by an Usher or friend prior to the service. Please check with the caretaker if you are having flowers delivered directly to the Church and be sure you leave the caretaker’s name and telephone number with your florist.
11. Can we light real wax candles during the service?
Yes, you can.
12. Is it OK to use confetti, rice or birdseed?
No. Due to the damage these materials can cause to the inside of the church and sometimes wildlife, the use of any of these is strictly prohibited on church property.
13. Is the church wheelchair accessible?
Yes. There is a chairlift that will accommodate a wheelchair at the side entrance from the parking lot. There is an accessible washroom on the sanctuary level and there is space for a wheelchair among the pews on the south side of the church, near the front. If any of your guests will require use of the chair lift, please inform our custodian who will make the necessary arrangements
14. Do I have to pay an additional payment for a rehearsal?
No. A time for a rehearsal is included in your rental cost. The day and time will have to be mutually agreed upon based on availability of our sanctuary.
15. How do I get the process going?
Please contact our office administrator. She can check the availability of the Church Sanctuary as well as provide you with an application form to complete. You should also contact the minister in regard to your required ceremony date and time to ensure that they are available. The minister will also want to arrange a time to discuss your expectations for your marriage service and to begin the planning process.
We thank you for your attention to the above guidelines.
If you have any questions or concerns the minister is pleased
to discuss them with you.
Stouffville United Church
34 Church Street N.