What We Believe About Marriage

Christian marriage is solemn, public, lifelong covenant between a man and a woman binding themselves to one another with vows made in the presence of God.  In marriage we see reflected God`s faithful love for his people, and the union between Christ and his Church. And so, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but in holiness and honor, duly considering God`s purposes for marriage. These purposes include:

  • Firstly, God desires that a man and a woman, joyfully united as one flesh, may in every circumstance of life faithfully love and serve each other.
  • Secondly, God intends that children be born and nurtured in faithful and loving care, for their well-being and instruction, to the glory of God.
  • Thirdly, God gives marriage for the proper expression of sexual instincts and affections with which he has endowed us, that, living together in holiness, we may abstain from sexual immorality.
  • The church, rightly, joins together to witness the vows and to ask that God’s purposes and blessing will be fulfilled in the couple’s life.

Membership and Marriage

Because a marriage ceremony is a worship service it is required that one of the parties must be an active member of the St. Andrew’s church. Consideration may also be given if parents or grandparents are current, active members. If a couple are not currently members and desire to have their marriage service at St. Andrew’s, they may participate in the church’s pre-marital and membership processes concurrently. All other requests for special consideration must be made to the Rector’s office.

The staff at St. Andrew’s will help in every way to make your wedding a memorable and joyous occasion. Any questions after reading this information can be answered by the Rector’s Personal Assistant, Nancy Sapakoff (843.284.4324 or NSapakoff@StAndrews.Church).

Setting the Date

The Rector’s Personal Assistant will set the initial appointment with one of the Clergy and help to determine the availability of church facilities for the dates being considered. However, only after the Clergy has consented to the ceremony will a date be reserved on the calendar. The date is typically set after the first premarital session. Until this consent has been received and a date and time have been established, no plans should be made with any other organization or persons. No weddings may be performed at St. Andrew’s on the weekends of Palm Sunday, Easter or Christmas.

Reservation of Church Facilities

Reservations for the use of the church facilities for the rehearsal, wedding and, when desired, the parish hall and kitchen, will be made through Nancy Sapakoff, the Rector’s Personal Assistant, upon the approval of the Rector. The Rector reserves the right to require additional counseling (apart from the expected premarital counseling, see next section) for the couple prior to the wedding date. Weddings may take place at almost any time during the week, however, they are normally scheduled between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays. No more than two weddings will be scheduled on the same day in the same venue. There is no charge for the use of the church for members. There is a fee for members of other churches who wish to use our facilities in the Historic Church or the Ministry Center Sanctuary. (Wedding Fees).

Premarital Preparation

St. Andrew’s has two basic requirements concerning premarital preparation for couples:

  1. Complete the premarital inventory. Arrangements should be made via the Rector’s Personal Assistant, Nancy Sapakoff, to complete the FOCCUS personal inventory, an online tool used during the premarital process. There is no charge for this inventory. Once it is completed, Nancy will schedule your appointment with Andy Breaux, our staff member who coordinates the premarital process.
  2. Meet with your premarital mentors (assigned by Andy Breaux) for 7-8 subsequent one-hour counseling sessions. In these sessions, you will discuss the book, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. As such, you are required to purchase two copies (one per individual) of the book as well as 2 workbooks (one for the male and one for the female). The book and workbook may be purchased for $15 and $7 each respectively, in Common Grounds, the church bookstore.

Remarriage After Divorce

Provision for the marriage of divorced persons is given after discussing with the Clergy and receiving the written consent of the Diocesan Bishop. A divorce must have been final for one year prior to application to the Bishop and a copy of the final divorce decree must also be submitted. The Bishop requires at least 30 days to consider the application. Holy Matrimony is understood by St. Andrew’s to be a life long union of husband and wife. The provision for remarriage after divorce is based on God’s promise of grace and forgiveness to those whose sins are confessed and repented.

The Details of Your Wedding

A marriage license must be obtained from one of the County Clerk’s offices in the State of South Carolina. Charleston County accepts applications for and delivers marriage licenses online at CharlestonCounty.org.  There is a 24 hour waiting period for the license.

The license (all 3 copies received, as well as the return envelope) should be brought to St. Andrew’s at least 1 week prior to the rehearsal. This ensures that all of the proper documents are completed and at the church prior to the wedding.  At the rehearsal the bride, bridegroom, Clergy, and two witnesses are required to sign the official documents. This includes the license and the church marriage register. A copy of the license is given to the couple and the church will mail the other two copies to the Probate Office.


While we recognize that many people have played a role in the faith development of an individual, including clergy, all pastoral services at St. Andrew’s are officiated by the Rector of St. Andrew’s or his designated associate clergy. If you desire to include clergy not affiliated with St. Andrew’s we recommend that they take part in the wedding reception.


A wedding is a service of worship and celebration before the Lord, and the parish organist or one of St. Andrew’s worship leaders, acting on behalf of the Rector, will serve as your “Music Coordinator” to guide you through the music and musician selection process. Please contact a music coordinator before making any firm decisions.


If you prefer traditional organ music, please contact Mark Bebensee, St. Andrew’s Parish Organist (843.284.4357 or MBebensee@StAndrews.Church).

If you prefer contemporary/blended (guitar/keys-led) music, please contact Kristy Barry, Worship Arts Department Administrator (843.284.4351 or KBarry@StAndrews.Church)

A note about musician fees:

Fees for the Music Coordinator, a sound technician (required for “contemporary” music), and additional musicians and/or soloists are listed in the Fee Schedule.

Additional rehearsals (requiring additional fees) may be necessary for learning new music and/or incorporating guest musicians. New music and guest musicians may be included at the discretion of the Music Coordinator.

Lay Readers

One or more passages of Scripture are read during the wedding ceremony.  There are suggested texts especially appropriate for the marriage ceremony.   Questions about Scripture selections may be a part of the premarital process if that would be helpful.  The Clergy officiating or one or two lay readers may read the selected text(s). If lay readers are chosen, they should also attend the rehearsal.


The Sexton is responsible for providing access to the church for the rehearsal, opening the church facilities two hours before the service, having the church ready, and cleaning up afterward. Any special needs may be discussed the week before the wedding. The Sexton’s fees are listed in the “Fees” section. Please note that an additional fee is required if a reception is held in the church facilities.

Decoration of the Church Facilities

St. Andrew’s encourages simplicity of decoration. No nails or tape are allowed to affix anything to the structure of the church inside or outside. Bows should be affixed with an oasis hook on pews and shutters. The throwing of flower petals, rice, birdseed, or confetti is not permitted inside or outside the church.

If there is a question about the permissibility or appropriateness of any decoration, contact the St. Andrew’s Flower Guild (Penny Bagwell (pennybagwell@gmail.com) or Mac Langley (mac.langley@gmail.com) ) to discuss decorations.

Acolyte (optional)

St. Andrew’s will provide an Acolyte to carry the processional cross and assist the Clergy if desired. It is not necessary, however, to have an Acolyte for the service. If the couple provides their own Acolyte, the Clergy must be advised. The Acolyte must attend the rehearsal to receive training and be fitted with the proper vestments. The Acolyte’s fee is listed in the “Fees” section of this booklet.

Wedding Programs (optional)

Programs are not provided by St. Andrew’s, however, the Communications Director, Mr. Greg Shore (843.284.4323 or GShore@StAndrews.Church) may be contracted to produce a bulletin. Cost is dependent on the complexity and the size of the desired program.  If an outside agency prepares the program a draft copy should be presented to the officiating Clergy and the Music Coordinator for prior approval. Additionally, several copies should be brought to the rehearsal for distribution.

Wedding Flowers