First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh welcomes couples seeking to marry in a Christian ceremony. This page offers information for members interested in holding their wedding ceremony in our sanctuary, with one of our pastors officiating. Only church members and their children are allowed to get married in our sanctuary.
We believe that marriage is a gift from God for the well-being of the entire human family. For Christians, it is not only a civil contract, but also a covenant through which we pledge to live out our lives in discipleship before God.
A Christian wedding service is governed by the traditions and teachings of the church, as well as by state law. The focus of the service must be the worship of God, not the marrying couple. The pastor will discuss the service with you beforehand; however, the usual service at FPC includes the reading of appropriate passages from scripture, prayers, and often hymns. The couple will declare their intention to marry and exchange vows of love and faithfulness. In keeping with Presbyterian tradition, couples are not presented during the ceremony.
The officiating pastor at your wedding service is responsible for the conduct of the service and its participants. The pastor will explain the elements of the wedding service to you and suggest appropriate vows and passages of scripture to be read.
Although the marrying couple may make suggestions and can select the music, including any hymns that are sung, the officiating pastor must approve the content of the wedding ceremony, and the Director of Music must approve all musical selections. The pastor may offer the marrying couple some opportunities to select the vows to be read from a published list of appropriate vows.
Both of our pastors officiate at wedding services. Both require pre-marital counseling, which usually consists of 3 one-hour sessions with the officiating pastor. See our Staff page for more information about our pastors.
We typically offer the following wedding-related services to members:
- Wedding: A Presbyterian or Christian wedding ceremony in our sanctuary. A "Use of Facilities" fee includes the use of our sanctuary and the services of the pastor, sexton, wedding director, and sound technician. Our sanctuary can seat up to 550 people.
- Organist or Accompanist: Our very experienced and talented organist usually plays for all weddings. His fee includes his attendance at the wedding rehearsal.
- Videography: Using our built-in cameras, we can provide a recording of the ceremony in DVD format.
- Receptions: Many couples choose to have their wedding reception in one of our buildings. A nominal fee covers facilities usage and the services of our Church Administrator, Edward Bruce, who handles the basic arrangements associated with our facilities.
In addition to the officiating pastor, who will preside over the planning of the wedding service, FPC also offers the services of a Wedding Director and church musicians. The Wedding Director directs the wedding party during the wedding rehearsal, arranges the participants in the front of the church, and works to ensure that all members of the wedding party understand their role and arrive at the ceremony on time.
For couples who desire to hold their reception at our church, we typically offer the following choices of location:
- Memorial Hall—Accommodates up to 400 guests
- Baucom Parlor and a Connecting Area—Accommodates up to 100 guests
- The Vanguard Room—Accommodates up to 150 guests
Our Church Administrator handles all wedding receptions held in our facilities. They will meet with you to discuss details of your reception.
The following rules apply to all wedding receptions held at FPC:
- Alcohol is prohibited anywhere on church property.
- Food and beverages must be provided by an independent caterer.
- The Church Administrator will approve the decorations and music that are planned for the reception.
- Decorations may be brought into the church building on the day of the wedding and must be removed immediately afterwards.
- Our sextons will see to it that the facilities are clean for your reception. The caterers you hire, however, will be responsible for leaving the facilities clean behind them.
- A church staff member must be present to operate the church kitchen equipment if it is required.
- Rice and confetti may not be thrown on church grounds. Rose petals are allowed, however, and may be thrown as the couple exits the church or reception.
Parking and Facilities for the Handicapped
The church parking lot holds up to 87 cars. Six parking spaces are reserved for the disabled. In addition, the City of Raleigh maintains a parking deck one block west of the church on Morgan Street. This deck is generally available after hours and on weekends, but be aware of cultural events that might interfere with your parking needs.
Our church is well-equipped to provide access to all people. Wheelchair access to our sanctuary building is available via a side door on Morgan Street.
For other needs relating to access, make a list and give us a call.
How to Proceed
If you desire more information about any of the above, contact Sharyl Monkovich at the church office at (919) 821-5750. A printed booklet provides information, checklists, and contracts. We are so glad that you're considering us as you make your plans.