We are delighted that you are considering celebrating your wedding at St. Paul’s. These guidelines are intended to help you to understand what options we can offer.
As an Episcopal Church, we believe Holy Matrimony to be the sacramental rite of the church in which two persons “enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 861). The union is understood to be intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord (BCP, p. 423).
Legal and Canonical Requirements
- Paul’s Within the Walls is not officially recognized by State of Italy and therefore you are required to have a civil marriage. This may be carried out at any time prior to the church ceremony, and a copy of the certificate must be presented to the Parish Office.
- At least one, and preferably both of you must be a Baptized Christian. If neither of you are Baptized, we cannot perform a sacramental blessing, but we can however make provision for a service of Thanksgiving. Please see below for details.
- The Clergy have the right at any time to refuse to perform the marriage ceremony, at their discretion.
Regarding Roman Catholics
If either or both of you are Roman Catholic, you should understand that the RC church does not recognize Anglican sacraments. While this may not be a problem for you, it may affect any children you may have, and you should discuss the matter seriously within the family before applying to St. Paul’s. Please note that it is not appropriate to apply to St. Paul’s merely as a way of circumventing another denomination’s requirements regarding marriage.
Regarding Divorced Persons
Where either or both of you have previously been divorced, you must obtain permission from the Bishop to have their wedding solemnized here. Details and forms can be obtained from the Parish Office.
Regarding Same-Sex Couples
Our clergy are authorized to provide blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples. The same legal and canonical obligations apply where possible.
You are required to have pre-marital counseling as part of the preparation for marriage. If you are not part of the congregation of St. Paul’s, this can be done with your local priest or a licensed professional. The Rector needs confirmation / certification from that person that counseling has taken place and that you are ready and able to sign the following Declaration of Intent:-
“We understand the teaching of the church that God’s purpose for our marriage is for our mutual joy, for the help and comfort we will give to each other in prosperity and adversity, and, when it is God’s will, for the gift and heritage of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of God. We also understand that our marriage is to be unconditional, mutual, exclusive, faithful, and lifelong; and we engage to make the utmost effort to accept these gifts and fulfill these duties, with the help of God and the support of our community.”
Canons of the Episcopal Church, Title I, Canons 18 & 19
Types of Service
- Marriage/Blessing of a Civil Marriage:
The form of the marriage service follows the Book of Common Prayer. It is advisable to have friends or relatives read the lessons. If you wish to use readings other than those suggested, they must be approved by the Rector.
- Blessing of a Civil Union
- The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant
This service is designed for same-sex couples who are not able to have a legal marriage.
- Thanksgiving for a Marriage
This is a service of prayer and thanksgiving in which vows and rings are exchanged, and is designed for couples who are not Christian or not Baptized but who wish to have a form Church service in celebration of their marriage. This applies particularly, but not exclusively, to Japanese or Chinese couples. As above, the couple must have first had a civil marriage. Please note that if the couple is not Christian this type of ceremony may be performed by a licensed lay person.
If both parties are baptized Christians we encourage you to include Holy Communion as part of your Marriage service. Please note that the Episcopal Church welcomes all baptized Christians of any denomination to take Communion: the following text should be inserted into your printed program:-
All Baptized Christians of any denomination are invited to participate in the Holy Communion. Baptized children may receive at the discretion of their parents. Those who do not wish to take Communion may come forward for a blessing: this is indicated by crossing your arms over your chest. Gluten free Communion is available.
Photographers should be discreet during the service and should remain in the nave. There will be opportunities at the end of the service to take photographs in front of the Altar. If you do not have your own photographer we recommend Goldfoto for photos/videos/live streaming.
Flowers are not provided by the church, but you are welcome to have flowers brought in. Please note that you may not put arrangements on the Altar itself, and access times must be coordinated between the florist and the church.
All music and musicians for the service should be arranged in consultation with out Director of Music. The basic fee covers the cost of the organist; we can organize a full range of other excellent musicians (soloists, a small choir, instrumental players) according to your needs, at extra cost.
Sacramental weddings cannot be performed during the penitential season of Lent, or on Sundays. Please do not send out invitations before the Rector has given his consent to perform the service, and the date and time have been discussed with the Parish Office.
Other Clergy / Weddings at Outside Venues
If you wish to use clergy other than ours, it must be discussed with the Rector in advance. He is not obliged to allow other clergy to celebrate at St. Paul’s. Weddings at venues outside St. Paul’s may be considered.
For further information on any of the above and for current fees,
please contact the Parish Office at +39 06 4883339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.