All Hallows Parish
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Weddings at All Hallows

The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage

In Christian marriage spouses enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and their Christian community, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows. At All Hallows we take marriage seriously and understand that loving and committed relationships are a gift from God. To be married in a church community is to indicate a desire to live one’s married life in the context of a community of faith, whether that is All Hallows or another parish.

All weddings at All Hallows are conducted according to the Book of Common Prayer and our theological understanding of marriage is embedded in the marriage rite itself. The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (found in The Book of Common Prayer, p. 423) begins with these words:
“Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of these two people in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation . . .”

Marriage is a covenant made between two people, not a ceremony performed by a priest. God established marriage to be a joining of two people into a union of “heart, body and mind.” The church, represented by bishop or priest, blesses the union; but the couple, through the exchange of vows and rings, makes a marriage.
The clergy and parish staff will work with you to create a meaningful service of worship and a good beginning for your marriage.

The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant

Beginning January 1, 2013, the State of Maryland began to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples.  Our Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Eugene Sutton, has authorized the clergy of this Diocese to perform marriages for same-gender couples at the discretion of the rector of each congregation.  The liturgy entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” for use at the weddings of same-gender couples, was approved by the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012. A copy can be downloaded via this link:

Getting Married at All Hallows

Step 1: Complete and submit a wedding application (contact the parish office to obtain the application)
The wedding application requests all the information we will need to consider your request to hold your ceremony at All Hallows. Requests for wedding dates should be made at least 90 days prior to the desired date of the ceremony.   Once we have reviewed your application and confirmed that the wedding date you request is available we will confirm the date with you and a clergy person will contact for further planning.

Step 2: Meet with clergy
After the wedding date has been confirmed, a clergy of the parish will contact you to set up an initial meeting to get acquainted, go over basic wedding details and plan for pre-marital counseling. A priest from another parish with whom the couple has a close personal relationship may assist in the ceremony and preparation by prior arrangement with the rector of All Hallows. The couple will have several meetings with the priest to discuss the spiritual significance of the wedding ceremony as well as scripture selections, music options, flowers and other logistics.

Step 3: Pre-marital counseling
All Hallows requires couples that wish to marry to take part in pre-marital counseling. Based on the circumstances, this pre-marital counseling may be conducted by our parish clergy or another approved Episcopal clergyperson in the area.  In the latter case, an additional cost will be required. A total of three to five sessions is required. We believe it is important that each couple begin their married life with a solid understanding of what it takes to have and maintain a healthy relationship.

Use of the Buildings
We have two churches: The colonial Brick Church and the Gothic revival Chapel.  The Brick Church can seat a maximum of about 125 people, while the Chapel can hold up to 250 people.  There is a paved parking lot at the Brick Church campus.  At the Chapel, parking will be on grass.  If you intend to use the Chapel for a large wedding party, then a parking attendant may be required for effective assignment of parking spaces.  There is a Parish House at the Brick Church campus, with a small kitchen, meeting spaces and offices.  Only a small reception is suitable at the Parish House.  For larger parties, we recommend looking into reception spaces in nearby facilities.  A tent may be set up outside the Parish House to afford more space for the receptions and caterers, if needed.  But couples should consider the unpredictable factor of weather before making this decision.  Please contact the Parish Office for further information.

Photography and Video
All weddings are worship services. It is important that efforts to capture the ceremony in photography or film be unobtrusive, so that everyone—bride, groom, wedding party, family members and guests—can give their complete attention to the ceremony.
 Flash photography is not allowed inside the church nave at any time during the service—from the entrance of the first member of the bridal party in the opening procession until the last member of the wedding party exits the nave at the end of the service.
 Photography is permitted during the service from unobtrusive locations using available light. Photographers must set up where they cannot be seen by the congregation seated in the nave.
 Once the bride enters the nave, only those engaged in the liturgy are to move about. To shoot from the balcony of the Chapel, the photographer must be in place before the bride comes into the nave and remain there until the wedding party exits.
 Video may be taken from one fixed camera by the designated videographer.
 The church is available for photography, with or without flash, 45 minutes before and 30 minutes following the ceremony.

Other Important Details
 If either of the parties is divorced, a copy of the divorce decree must be given to the clergy during pre-marital counseling. The priest will apply to the Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland for permission to officiate. The application is not onerous and is designed to offer a way to reflect on the relationship that has ended and that the well-being of children (if any) from the previous marriage is considered.
The couple is responsible for securing a marriage license in Anne Arundel County Maryland

The celebration of marriage at All Hallows is normally reserved for our members, adults who may live elsewhere but grew up in the parish and members of other congregations who would like to be married at All Hallows Parish. Of course, one may become a member of the parish as part of the marriage process. In addition to the marriage preparation we will be delighted to introduce you to parish life and witness.  We will consider marriage of non-members on a case-by-case basis.
The canons of the Episcopal Church require that at least one of the parties to the marriage be a baptized Christian and the wedding ceremony is attested to by at least two witnesses.

 We do not ordinarily celebrate marriage in places other than the church nave.  Weddings outside of the parish would be considered on a case by case basis.
In accordance with ancient church custom, marriage is not celebrated in the season of Lent.

The Episcopal Church requires that the vows be stated precisely as they appear in the Book of Common Prayer.

We are eager to help make your wedding a joyful and meaningful experience.  Congratulations on your engagement!