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Weddings

Covenant Marriage Ceremony

HISTORIC FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

Charleston, South Caroline

Covenant Ceremony Purpose Statement

First Baptist Church is pleased to serve your family during this unique experience! Biblical marriage is a commitment in which the woman and man 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. For this reason, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. {Matthew 19:4-6}

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1

BOOKING

Please read our policies before you book!

We wish for your ceremony experience to be one that is memorable for you and your family. In order to protect the historical sanctuary and to maintain high standards for all of our weddings, our church leadership has established wedding policies that must be observed.

BRIDES with PLANNERS 

See Section 5 Regarding Communications

BOOKING CONSULTANT/INFO:

Lori Putnam

lori@fbcharleston.org

Tel: 843-722-3896, ext. 1

SANCTUARY TOUR by APPOINTMENT ONLY:
M-F (9 am - 2 pm)

Catherine Brewer

catherine@fbcharleston.org

Tel: 843-722-3896, ext. 2

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of CHARLESTON, SC

Parking: 48 Meeting Street

Sanctuary: 61 Church Street

Mailing: 48 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401

PARKING and TRANSPORTATION INFO

Please see Section 6 for more details

STEPS TO BOOKING

  1. Contact the booking consultant to inquire about a date.

  2. Once a date has been determined, you will be penciled in as tentative. An application form will be e-mailed to you.

  3. Once you are penciled in for the date, you will have three weeks to submit your application and pay the fee. We prefer to receive the entire fee at the time of booking, however, we will allow for a deposit of half of the fee to book the date. The remainder is due two months prior to the date of the wedding.
     

Please keep your contact info up to date

Contact the wedding booking consultant with your latest phone numbers, emails and confirm times for rehearsal/wedding.

Fee: $3,250.00*

The fee includes:

Rehearsal (one hour, please arrive 15 minutes prior to start time)

Sanctuary (arrival 1.5 hours prior to the ceremony)

Supplies (various candelabras and dripless candles)

Organist (Wicks Pipe Organ) or Pianist

Ceremony Coordinator (rehearsal and wedding)

Parking lot (rare find in downtown Charleston!)  

Parking lot attendants (45 minutes prior to wedding)

Maintenance Crew (set-up and clean-up)

 

The fee does not include vocalists, extra instrumentalists or an officiant honorarium.

 

*Fees are not lowered by asking to reduce staffing. Our ceremony coordinators and organist/pianist (all music approved by) are required.​

2

OFFICIANT + COUNSELING

Covenant Ceremony Purpose Statement

First Baptist Church is pleased to serve your family during this unique experience. Biblical marriage is a commitment in which the woman and man 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. For this reason, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. {Matthew 19:4-6}

Can my minister officiate the ceremony?

If you prefer to invite the pastor of your home church or an ordained family friend to officiate, please have your minister submit the officiant information form along with your application to our booking coordinator. This step must be completed when you book if you wish to use your own minister. First Baptist Church will make every effort to accommodate your wishes as long as the officiant and the service represent the values and traditions of First Baptist Church. If you have questions, please contact Lori Putnam.

 

I'm not a member or I live out of town. Will the pastor of FBC officiate our ceremony?

If you wish for the pastor of FBC to officiate your wedding, please contact his assistant, Lori Putnam, via email or phone 843.722.3896, ext. 1.  

If the pastor is available, he will be happy to officiate your ceremony. He will meet with you one time prior to the wedding to get to know you and go over the details of your ceremony. We strongly recommend couples to go to pre-marital counseling. We may also provide recommendations. Please contact his assistant no later than three months prior to your wedding date to set up an appointment to go over your ceremony needs.

 

What type of ceremony does the pastor use and may I use readings in the ceremony?

The pastor customizes a basic ceremony for each couple (please see PDF file in Resources section) and additional scripture, readings (i.e. poetry) and the unity candle may be added to this ceremony. Readings are permissible upon approval. Please submit your readings to his assistantLori Putnam, via email to have the pastor review. 

 

What does the officiant honorarium include?

The $300 honorarium includes a meeting with the pastor to go over the details of your ceremony and his services at the rehearsal and wedding. Customarily, this honorarium is given by the groom's family. The check should be mailed to the church address two weeks prior to your wedding date. 

 

Do we need to go to pre-marital counseling?

We strongly recommend you go to pre-marital counseling either with a local minister or Christian counseling professional. If you are not a member of First Baptist and you need recommendations for the Charleston area, please let us know.

 

If you live in the Charleston area and do not have a church home, we invite you to attend the Bible Study class for pre-married and newly married couples led by the pastor on Sunday mornings. This is a great way to meet couples who are in the same life stages!

 

We also recommend couples read the book "The Meaning of Marriage" by Timothy Keller - an extraordinarily insightful look at the keys to happiness in marriage.

 

3

DESIGNATED FLORIST

Why does First Baptist require a Designated Florist?

Our designated florists protect the historic sanctuary and furnishings, they guide brides through the process of required floral policies, and they have security and entry access to our facilities.

DESIGNATED FLORIST REQUIRED

Weddings at First Baptist will be required to use one of our designated florists. The bride and/or groom will directly communicate with the designated florist of choice.

The church does not include this service in the fee. You will be responsible for paying the florist independently. 

You are not required to use these florists for your bridal and bridesmaids' bouquets, boutonnieres, or reception arrangements, however, you may want to inquire about pricing for those needs as well. 

Branch Design Studio 

info@branchdesignstudio.com

843-847-7996

Festoon

Whitney Randall

843-998-4131

whitney@festooncharleston.com

Lisa Ferguson

LisaFergusonflowers@comcast.net 

843.200.4591

 

Vero Designs

Megan Chandler

megan@veroevents.com

  

REQUIRED POLICIES

A floral arrangement in the baptistry is to be left for the following Sunday.

The silver urns must be used to fill with the greenery of your choice (you may also choose to use flowers) and will be left for the following Sunday.

 

OTHER

  • Furniture and rugs are not to be moved.

  • Stands are available for guest books, etc.

  • No additional electrical lighting (white lights/Christmas lights, etc.) 

  • First Baptist provides all candles for the candelabras and candlesticks (included in the fee).

  • We do not allow the use of an aisle cloth for safety purposes.

 

MEET WITH A DESIGNATED FLORIST

When you meet with the florist, you may view and choose from the following arrangements:

  • Two white candelabras

  • Aisle candles

  • Kneeling bench

  • Unity candle (if applicable to ceremony)

 

4

CEREMONY MUSIC

Your ceremony and vows of commitment to God and one another is a sacred act of worship. First Baptist is pleased to personalize your ceremony with music while honoring the worship of God.  

 

ALL music is approved in writing via email by the organist*** Even if you do not wish to include the pipe organ (i.e. strings only) in your ceremony music, she must provide recommendations for approved instrumentalists and review your selections.

The bride and/or groom will directly communicate with the organist.

Please contact Beverly Bradley to discuss your music selections:

Dr. Beverly C. Bradley

Bradley.bunch@att.net

LISTEN ONLINE and GUIDE!

A great resource for ceremony music selections! Listen online first and contact our organist, Beverly, for additional questions. Once you have contacted Beverly and confirmed your music choices, please download and fill out the "Rehearsal Forms" on the Resources section.

 

 

POLICIES

***Music should be discussed and approved in writing via email no later than one month prior to the wedding date. If the music is not discussed and approved by our organist by 3 weeks prior to the ceremony, she will choose all music (from our listening guide link above) for the Prelude and the pieces for Seating of Mother/Grandmothers, Wedding Party Processional, Bridal Processional, and Recessional.

 

Recorded music is not permissible.

The sanctuary was designed to amplify acoustically, however, a lapel mic is available for a visiting officiant if needed.

 

Vocalists or approved instrumentalists contracted through the organist must be paid two weeks prior to the wedding. Individual fees vary. Checks should be made out to the individual and mailed to the church address.

Vocalists and/or instrumentalists may rehearse with organist/pianist one hour prior to the start of the wedding or by appointment with the organist.

 

Any music from outside vocalists/instrumentalists not approved by Beverly will not be allowed during the ceremony. 

Our organist attends the rehearsals but it is not required should a schedule conflict arise.

 

 

PLANNERS, MEDIA + MISC

5

PLANNERS (effective May 2022)

We appreciate and respect planners and their expertise in helping you plan a memorable wedding celebration. Planning a ceremony at First Baptist is a personal covenant act of worship, therefore the church will only communicate with the bride or groom. 

  • The bride and/or groom will directly communicate with the designated florist of choice and the organist.

  • Rehearsal and ceremony directing will be conducted by one of our ceremony coordinators. Planners cannot be present at the rehearsal. A planner's assistant may be present on the day of the wedding to only assist with personal bride/family needs or errands.

  • Your planner can be a great resource in assisting you with the rehearsal information forms regarding logistics for seating mothers and lining up attendants. Forms are to be submitted by the bride or groom by one month prior to the wedding date.

PHOTOGRAPHERS and VIDEOGRAPHERS:

Please see the ceremony coordinator upon arrival

Professional photographers may use flash during the processional and recessional only. Walking down the aisle, onto the stage and around the wedding party, or posting in front of the first pews during the ceremony is not permitted.

 

Videography must be taken from the back doors or balcony. 

Group pictures are limited to 30 minutes following the end of the ceremony in the sanctuary. Maintenance staff will be arriving for clean-up and set-up for Sunday services.

ARRIVAL and DRESS

The sanctuary will be unlocked one-and-a-half (1.5) hours prior to the wedding. Since we have a full-time school on our campus and most of our facilities are booked during the week, the church reserves allotted time on the weekends in the event we must schedule a funeral or other special worship or prayer events on Saturday mornings or early afternoons. We cannot allow keys to be borrowed due to liability purposes. 

 

The conduct and dress of the attendants at the service and the rehearsal will always reflect the proper dignity and respect for the house of worship.

 

First Baptist Church does not have a dressing room. The bride and the bridesmaids may slip on dresses in the balcony foyer. Please come hair and makeup ready. Mirrors and screens are available for use. 

 

The balcony foyer is where the bride and the bridesmaids will wait prior to the service. 

 

The church cannot be liable for items if damaged, lost, or stolen.

FOOD and DRINK

Unless you have a medical need, please do not bring food or drink inside the sanctuary. The only allowance is drinking water.

 

ON THE PROPERTY

No smoking in the church or on church property.

 

First Baptist Church is an alcohol and drug-free campus. 

Rice, birdseed, bubbles or sparklers are not allowed inside the sanctuary on the portico or the steps leading to the sanctuary. 

 

 

FORMS + RESOURCES

6

GUEST SEATING

How many guests will the sanctuary seat?

Lower level: approx. 250-300

Upper level: approx. 150-200

INVITATIONS

61 Church Street or 48 Meeting Street?

Your invitation should reflect the sanctuary address which is located on 61 Church Street. Some invitations include the parking lot address at 48 Meeting Street on the bottom corner in a smaller print.

 

PARKING LOT

Depending on size of vehicles, we usually are able to accomodate approximately 100 cars. Our parking lot attendants will assist guests when they arrive. Off-street parking is also available on the weekends at no charge.

 

TRANSPORTATION

We do not know all of the available transportation companies in Charleston, but we do know some company buses or trolleys cannot or will not drop off on Church Street. Be sure to ask and confirm in writing before booking!

REQUIRED REHEARSAL FORMS

Rehearsal Forms Due No Later Than One Month Prior to Your Date

These forms will help you plan logistics for your ceremony seating, placement of attendants, and allow for a streamlined rehearsal. Please fill out the "Rehearsal Forms" documents, save and email (or print, fill out, scan and email) by one month prior to your wedding date. Please submit your wedding program along with the forms for our ceremony coordinator to use as reference.

CHURCH CEREMONY COORDINATOR

First Baptist will assign one of our coordinators (director) to conduct the rehearsal and your ceremony. The rehearsal forms help you prepare for your rehearsal. In addition, your rehearsal will flow efficiently and you will get to your dinner on time! If you have additional questions, please contact Lori Putnam,

 

RESOURCES
Covenant Ceremony Sample

The sample document is a basic ceremony that may be personalized. If the pastor of First Baptist is officiating your wedding, please contact Lori Putnam, for additional samples.

 

Ceremony Worship Program Sample

The church office does not format or print wedding programs. A pre-formatted Word document is available above. If you need the graphic of the Mills drawing of the sanctuary, please contact Lori Putnam.

 

Special Thanks:

Slides 1-5 // Shannon Oleksak Photography  // Church Florals: Lisa Ferguson // Bride Bouquet: Out of the Garden // Planning: Katharine Marie Weddings