Marriage Preparation

Preparing for Your Marriage at the
Episcopal Church of the Nativity



Congratulations on your engagement! We at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity want your wedding to be perfect for the both of you. We are here to assist you in planning and preparing for what will certainly be the most important day of your life. Just as important, we want to assist you in preparing for your life together as a married couple.

Yes, there are so many things to consider in planning your wedding from the reception to the flowers, from choosing the bridesmaids and ushers to your honeymoon. But there is one thing we will encourage you to concentrate on because it goes to the heart of any successful marriage – true love for one another.

We hope the information and guidelines provided here will be helpful to you in getting a good overview of marriage preparation in the church. We want your wedding day to be a glorious one. We will take care of the setting and the rites. You bring your own deep earnestness, commitment and love.

At Church of the Nativity, we are happy to perform Christian marriage ceremonies. Please contact me to review our requirements and once approved we ask you to fill out the marriage information form either by using this Online Marriage Information Form, obtain the form from our office, or by clicking Marriage Information Form and printing it out.

God bless you both!

The Rev. Gary Nicolosi



You will need a civil marriage license. City Hall sells the licenses. The license should be presented to the priest at least one week prior to the marriage ceremony. Please note: the church is unable to marry any couple without a valid civil marriage license.


The couple should be members of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity, some other Episcopal Church, members of another Christian church, or commit to become members of Nativity. If the couple has no Christian background, in addition to pre-marital counseling, there would be a session on basic Christianity and at least one of the parties would need to be baptized.

Weddings outside the church are permitted with the consent of the priest. Sunday weddings in the church are discouraged. Due to staffing issues, no wedding is performed in the church on civil holidays.

Divorced persons may be married in the Episcopal Church, but we will need a copy of the final divorce decree.

We encourage couples to attend a marriage preparation course sponsored by the Diocese of Arizona or by another denomination or agency. Proper preparation for marriage would address lifelong commitment in the context of the sacrament of marriage, current issues and other topics such as communication, finances, sexual intimacy and family life.


Here is a list of some of the most basic details to discuss as you plan your wedding.

Date and Time – Reserve the date and time with the church. This should be your first order of priority, even before you plan the reception.

Rehearsal Time –The rehearsal is usually held the day before the wedding at a time convenient for everyone in the wedding party to attend, including those who may be reading lessons. You should plan on 45 minutes to an hour for the rehearsal. You should arrive for the rehearsal 15 minutes before it is scheduled to begin.

Flowers – The Altar Guild should be contacted well in advance about flowers or any church decorations. Any Unity Candles, if desired, would need to be purchased separately by the wedding party.

Decorations – Any church decorations would need to be approved by the Rector and would have to be removed immediately after the marriage service.

Music – The Music Director at Nativity is strictly in control of the organ and must approve any special requests, including guest musicians. The couple should meet with the Music Director to plan the wedding music. If you make no requests, you may be sure that suitable music will be played. Please note that our organist usually does not attend the rehearsal.

Organ and Piano Use – Permission to use the organ or piano must be granted by the Music Director. Should another organist or pianist be used, the Music Director must approve the person and there is a $200 gift to the Music Program to the church.

Photographers – Pictures may be taken during the Processional, Recessional, the lighting of the Unity Candle and the signing of the register. Other points in the service for photographs require the permission of the officiating clergy.

Video – Video taping of the service is permitted. All equipment should be set up at least 25 minutes before service begins. Most will need a tripod and extension cord. Be free to take your recorder off the tripod for the lighting of the unity candle and the signing of the register. Finally, to insure a solemn atmosphere throughout the service, we ask that any recording not be intrusive or distract the congregation.

Confetti – Under no circumstances may confetti, rice, birdseed or balloons be used during or after the service.

Final Decisions – In case of doubt or uncertainty regarding any aspect of the wedding, the Rector has the ultimate authority to decide the matter.

Parking – Parking on the church campus is available only during the period of time that a group has contracted to use the facility. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Any damage to vehicles is at the owner’s expense. The church is not responsible for theft or damage to personal property.

Security – Our church works to maintain a safe and secure environment within the facility. However, no systems are full-proof. We ask that wedding guests pay close attention to personal property and valuables, not leaving them unattended. The church is not responsible for theft or damage to personal property.

Fees – The basic wedding fee for a member of Nativity is $500. For a non-member the fee is $1,000. For exceptional pastoral circumstances, the Rector may waive some or all of the stated fees. No one should be denied Christian Marriage because of inability to pay. The wedding fee includes a contribution to the clergy discretionary fund, payment of the church musician, printing of service bulletins, HVAC and other services, and payment of the custodian. Additional fees may be charged if additional services are requested.

Payment – Payment should be made at the time scheduling the wedding. If the wedding is canceled for whatever reason, the deposit will be returned to the couple.

Promptness – Arrival times for the wedding ceremony are:

Ushers                                                 30 minutes ahead
Groom and Best Man                         15 minutes ahead
Bridal Party                                        10 minutes ahead

Length of Service – A typical wedding service takes approximately 30 minutes. If there is a Eucharist, the service takes about 50 minutes. Communion is not required.


Please select one or two readings for your marriage. If you are having a Eucharist, one reading should be from the Gospel.

Old Testament

  • Genesis 1:26-28… God created male and female
  • Genesis 2:4-9, 15-25… They become one flesh
  • Song of Solomon 2:10-13, 8:6-7… Arise, my love, my fair one
  • Ruth 1:16-17… Where you go, I will go
  • Tobit 8:5b-8… That she and I may grow old together


  • Psalm 67… God be gracious to us and bless us
  • Psalm 127… Unless the Lord builds the house
  • Psalm 128… May you see your children’s children

New Testament

  • I Corinthians 13… The greatest of these is love
  • Ephesians 5:21 – end… Husbands love your wives
  • Philippians 4:4–9 … Rejoice in the Lord always
  • Colossians 3:12–17… Bear with one another
  • I John 4:7–16… Let us love one another


  • Matthew 5: 1-10… Blessed are the poor in spirit
  • Matthew 5:13-16… Let your light so shine
  • Matthew 7:21, 24–29 … The house built on rock
  • Mark 10:6-9, 13-16… The two become one flesh
  • John 2: 1-11… The wedding at Cana
  • John 15:1-8… Abide in me
  • John 15: 9-12… Love one another



 Here are some suggestions to consider for music at your wedding. You will want to speak with our Music Director to select the right music for you.


  • All Things Bright and Beautiful
  • Amazing Grace
  • The Lord’s My Shepherd
  • Lord of All Hopefulness
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Come Down, O Love Divine
  • Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
  • The King of Love My Shepherd is
  • Morning Has Broken
  • Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven
  • Praise to the Lord
  • Holy God, We Praise Thy Name


Organ Music

  • Bridal Chorus (“Here Comes the Bride”) – Richard Wagner
  • The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – G.F. Handel
  • The Prince of Denmark’s March – Jeremiah Clarke
  • The Wedding March from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – F. Mendelssohn
  • Toccata from Symphony Number 5 – Charles-Marie Widor
  • Ode to Joy – Beethoven
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – J.S. Bach
  • Ave Maria – Franz Schubert
  • Ave Maria – Charles Gounod
  • Ave Verum Corpus – MozartPanis Angelicus – C. Franck