In conversation with your officiant, the church, and the musicians, you may choose the day and time of your wedding. You will be given two hours before the wedding to place flowers and get dressed, if desired. There is an allotted time frame of two hours for setup and pre-ceremony photographs, up to one hour for the ceremony, and 30 minutes following for further photographs and clean-up, for a total of three and a half hours on site the day of your ceremony. More time may be negotiated, if needed.
The pastors and staff at Arch Street Presbyterian Church consider it a privilege to assist you in planning and executing your wedding ceremony. In addition to ensuring that the service is a beautiful beginning to a vital and successful marriage, the pastoral staff will continue to be available to you for care and support as your married life unfolds. ASPC’s ministers proclaim that marriage is a gift for all people, that everyone should be able to marry the person of their choice, and that all couples who wish for a minister to officiate and pronounce God’s blessing upon their union are welcome to be married at ASPC. If you have any questions, please reach out to Rev. David Norse.
Couples may have another clergyperson or public official officiate the wedding. Provide contact information to Rev. David Norse at least three months prior to the wedding so that he may convey basic information about our church and answer any questions. ASPC asks that the following brief statement about our community of faith to be included in the wedding program:
Arch Street Presbyterian Church is a growing, diverse, and welcoming community in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. It is a part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Learn more about ASPC at archstreetpres.org.
Whether an ASPC pastor or another officiant presides over the wedding, you will be assigned an ASPC wedding coordinator to handle the details of the worship service.
The Wedding Service
If an ASPC pastor officiates your wedding, he/she does so with the following understanding: A Christian wedding involves a community of family and friends who come together to seek God’s blessing upon the life-long promises made between two individuals who have chosen to enter into a loving, faithful marriage. If an ASPC pastor presides, your wedding will be an expression of your own faith and desire that God be an ongoing part of your lives together. The pastor will work with you to plan a worship service based on the Service for Christian Marriage of the Presbyterian Church (USA) with your unique personalities in mind.
Pre-marital counseling is a requisite of all weddings presided by ASPC pastors. Rev. David Norse, Minister for Pastoral Counseling and LGBTQ Belonging, is available for pre-marital counseling for couples of all sexual orientations, family structures, cultures, and ages. An optional component that explores the role of a faith community in your married life is available if you wish, but is not necessary. These sessions are offered on a sliding scale and serve as an invaluable pre-marital resource as you address issues such as finances, family dynamics, and mutual expectations in regard to children, sex, and vocation. If you would prefer to be referred to another therapist, or have a therapist you would like to conduct your pre-marital counseling, it must be approved by the presiding minister. Contact the Rev. David Norse, Minister for Pastoral Counseling & LGBTQ Belonging, with questions or for more details.
Wedding rehearsals are customarily on the late afternoon or early evening the day before the wedding and are scheduled in consultation with your minister. The minister will ordinarily conduct the rehearsal with the assistance of the musician and sexton. Your entire wedding party, including family members involved in the processional or recessional, ushers, and readers, should be present for instructions. Rehearsals last no longer than 45 minutes. Should your wedding party be more than 20 minutes late, the rehearsal is canceled. Bring wedding programs along with the marriage license and individualized staff honorariums to the rehearsal.
You may use your own musicians or engage our music staff.
ASPC’s Minister of Music and the Arts, Dr. J. Donald Dumpson, draws together the highest level of skill and passion to coordinate music with the theme of each worship service. To hear a sample from Dr. Dumpson’s work at ASPC, check our our music page. If you would like Dr. Dumpson to offer his gifts to your wedding service, the date of the wedding must be coordinated with him through Rev. David Norse. All music and musicians must be approved three months prior to the wedding by Dr. Dumpson. An additional fee will be charged for soloists and instrumentalists that Dr. Dumpson hires in coordination with the couple.
Guest musicians must contact Rev. David Norse to discuss production needs and to coordinate insurance coverage if any of ASPC’s instruments are to be used.
Professional photography and videography are welcome in our space. We suggest you print in your wedding program that other photography is prohibited during the ceremony. Professionals may take non-flash silent photography and stationary video without artificial lighting from the rear of the worship space without disrupting the service. Photographer or videographer must stay behind the gathered congregation during the ceremony. The balconies may be used in consultation with the organist. The photographer may photograph the recessional from the aisle, but not the processional. You may gather for photographs before or after your wedding ceremony within the reserved timeframe.
Flowers, Candles, etc.
You may bring two flower arrangements to set up on either side of the Communion Table. Consult with the church wedding coordinator to discuss permission for additional decorations. All seasonal church decorations must remain in place. A unity candle may be used given the candles are non-drip and the floor is protected. No decorations may be placed on the Communion Table. Due to safety concerns of our specific church, aisle runners are discouraged. No materials of any kind (flower petals, birdseed, rice, etc.) may be scattered or thrown inside or outside of the church buildings. Decorations may not be taped or nailed to the pews, walls, or columns.
The sanctuary seats 1,000 and is appropriate for any size wedding and is not air-conditioned. The Welsh Chapel seats 100 and is air-conditioned.
The church can accommodate small receptions in the Social Hall. This space can accommodate 50 persons seated or 100 persons standing. All food must be prepared by a professional caterer acknowledging the confines of our small kitchen. Additional fees apply.
The best means of transportation to the church is public transit as we are adjacent to Suburban Station. Parking is limited, but special permission for the wedding party may be attained for parking at a reduced rate at a local garage.
Both the sanctuary and the chapel are accessible by wheelchair. Unfortunately, our first floor restroom does not currently accommodate wheelchairs; however, we do have a wheelchair accessible restroom in another space. Our coordinator will show your ushers how those using wheelchairs can navigate the building.
Marriage License from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
A marriage license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is required to marry at Arch Street Presbyterian Church. Please bring your marriage license to the rehearsal. The presiding minister is the only one that signs the license following the service. The officiant is responsible for returning the signed license to the state. Note that licenses in the state of Pennsylvania must be used within 60 days and that there is a three-day waiting period prior to your wedding date. For information on obtaining a marriage license to be married in Philadelphia County, visit the county website.
The Marriage after the Wedding
It is our hope that Arch Street Presbyterian Church will be as much a part of your marriage as we are a part of your wedding—where together in Christ, we claim hope over despair, prefer truth to complacency, and seek to grow in faith and compassion for the world. We pray God’s blessings and love for your life together!
ASPC Full Wedding Policy – Printable