A celebration of commitment between two people should be a memorable occasion. It is a rite of passage as they leave behind the single state and embrace being a couple. It is not only an opportunity to affirm their intentions to love and support each other, it is their chance to invite their community to see them and treat them not only as individuals but as a unity. We celebrate these relationships of trust and commitment with a ceremony, a ritual, that harkens back to powerful roots and feelings.
The ministers regard the opportunity to help couples celebrate their weddings, commitments, vows renewals, and unions as both a privilege and a responsibility. A successful service is a true celebration. It requires planning and a deep understanding between the minister and the couple. For this reason, our ministers rarely do wedding services without several months’ notice and several appointments for planning and premarital counseling.
Marriage in Unitarian Universalist Thought
Primary to all aspects of Unitarian Universalist theology is our belief in the spiritual authority of each individual. We impose no creed on members; we cherish the right of each of us to come to our own beliefs and to symbolize those beliefs in our own way. This autonomy applies to our beliefs about marriage as much as our beliefs about theology.
We consider the ceremony of marriage to be covenantal rather than sacramental. That is, the ceremony is primarily a celebration of a covenant between two people and their community rather than a blessing or visiting of the divine. The minister merely facilitates this process. Guests, even if there are only a few friends, are essential, for affirming that, in the eyes of the community, the two peoples’ status has changed.
UU ministers perform marriages and vows renewals. Our society has a great interest and stake in healthy families of all kinds. Unitarian Universalists mostly believe, and our institutions support, the formation of family by couples of same and opposite sexes, and work for the full rights in society of same-sex couples.
Getting Married at First Unitarian
Our sanctuary comfortably seats between 350 and 400 people, which means that services of 25-30 often seem uncomfortable. (A garden, a living room, a restaurant, or the party room at an apartment complex can also be lovely spaces.) Judicious use of candles or flowers can make almost any setting seem very special.
Music can add a great deal to a service, and it is traditional to have an extended musical prelude as people gather for your service. You may use recorded music or hire a live musician.
A rehearsal is needed when you will have many attendants or when young children are involved in the service. The minister will go over the details of the service and do a walk-through with you, but will not attend the rehearsal, leaving rehearsing of processionals, recessionals, and small children to you or a friend you appoint. There is an extra charge for rehearsal time if the minister attends the rehearsal, otherwise it is included in your rental fee.
The minister’s fee for a wedding begins at $400. Click here for room rental fees.