Weddings & Unions

If you are reading this as a newly engaged person, please accept our congratulations!

It would be our honor to speak with you about your seeking God’s blessing on your life together. As clergy and members of this parish, we will do all we can to help you in your preparations for your marriage/union.

With that, one of the important aspects of exchanging vows at St. James’ is that the congregation not only to help you journey to your wedding/union day, but to be a source of strength and support in your life together. We take seriously the line in the liturgy which asks those gathered, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their life together?” The answer is a bold, “We will!” Therefore it is important that if you desire to exchange your vows at St. James’, you make it your parish home first. We hope that both of you will make that decision. Or, if you are visiting from off-island, that you are an active part of a congregation at home. Because the Episcopal Church is currently finding its way with the Blessing of Same-sex couples, currently diocesan bishops have been given permission to “offer generous pastoral in their diocese.” With that, at the moment, one member of the couple needs to be a member of an Episcopal congregation in the diocese/State of Hawai’i.

We also understand and respect that one member of the couple may be from a different faith tradition. In that case, it will be important to talk with the priest about how your life together will honor both of your religious backgrounds.

Frequently asked questions about weddings/unions at St. James’:

Why exchange your vows in the Church?
The Church believes that when two people enter into Christian marriage, they enter into a life long union, making vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.

Who can be married/have their union blessed in the Church?
At least one of the parties to be married must be a baptized Christian.

What if one of the persons is divorced?
If either party has received a divorce, annulment or otherwise had a previous marriage dissolved by secular authorities, special permission must be received from the Bishop for a wedding to take place. This process is entered into not less than 90 days prior to the proposed date of marriage.

What kind of ceremony can we have?
As a parish of the Episcopal Church, the service Celebration and Blessing of Marriage is given in the Book of Common Prayer. Two forms are provided, one traditional, and one which requires the couple to be married to work with the priest in writing major portions of the service. Either is permitted at St. James’ Church, but please be aware that the latter option entails extensive time and work in preparation. In either instance, the Marriage ceremony normally takes place in the context of a service of Holy Eucharist.

My partner is not Episcopalian, can we be married at St. James’?
Marriage between an Episcopalian and a person of another denomination of the Christian faith (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, etc.) are permitted under Church Law. Often times, it is possible for clergy of other denominations to be involved in the ceremony.

My partner is not Christian, can we be married in the Church?
Interfaith marriages are permitted in the Episcopal Church. Special care and planning must be taken in planning the service. Often times it is possible for the ceremony to utilize both Christian and non-Christian clergy.

What about premarital counselling?
At St. James’ it is customary to meet with the priest performing the ceremony at least four times prior to the service. During these meetings the couple and the priest will plan the ceremony,talk about the nature of Christian Marriage, and discuss issues facing the couple. If in the course of these meetings, the priest feels there are issues needing resolution before the wedding, the couple may be referred for further counseling.

What kind of music can we have?
Services of the parish organist are often available. If not, the Rector has a list of acceptable substitutes. Other musicians may perform, but only with the permission of the Rector. As the wedding service is a rite of the Church, there are some restrictions on what music can be performed, and the Rector must be consulted before selections are made.

Can we have photographers or video taken?
Both photographers and videographers are welcome as long as they remain unobtrusive and use no flash or special lights during the actual service. It is customary for the wedding party to gather after the service in the Church for flash photography.

How far in advance must we plan the wedding?
Six months is the minimum, but even a year is not uncommon in planning a wedding.

What about the marriage license?
The couple to be married is responsible for meeting all requirement of state and local governments before the marriage/union. No ceremony can be performed without the appropriate license.