Details and Policies
The First Step
Those desiring to be married at Trinity should contact the Rector or other member of the clergy on the staff as far in advance as possible. This will allow us to tentatively reserve your date. You will also receive a copy of the marriage service contained in the Book of Common Prayer and other marriage services authorized by The Episcopal Church, and an Application for Holy Matrimony. At this time, an appointment with the member of the clergy whom you would like to officiate at your wedding should also be made.
Trinity Clergy are Honored to Celebrate Same-Sex Weddings
In 2012, The Episcopal Church authorized the celebration of same-sex marriages in those states where they are legally permitted, subject to the discretion of the local bishop. In 2013, following the Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriages once again legal in California, the Episcopal Bishop of California authorized all clergy and congregations in the Bay Area to celebrate same-sex marriages. The clergy at Trinity are honored to celebrate those weddings.
Please note that The Episcopal Church's understanding of marriage for same-sex couples is the same as our understanding of marriage for opposite-sex couples, involving the same commitments and preparation process. Please note that The Episcopal Church has authorized a special service or liturgy to be used for same-sex couples that avoid some of the obvious difficulties of the marriage service as it appears in the Book of Common Prayer.
Setting the Date
In The Episcopal Church, we do not normally celebrate marriages during the seasons of Advent (the four weeks prior to Christmas) and Lent (the five weeks leading up to Easter). When doing your wedding planning, please make sure you do not choose a date that falls in either of these seasons. The clergy will be happy to help you identify the dates you should avoid. Please note you should not consider any proposed wedding date to be finalized until after you have met with one of the clergy and been notified that the date is available.
If at least one of the people being married belongs to Trinity, and is a Communicant in Good Standing, The Episcopal Church requires that you give the clergy at least 30 days notice of your desire to be married. This notice may be waived by the Rector if good cause for doing so can be shown. However, it is very difficult to complete the preparation process in less than 30 days.
If neither party to the marriage is a member of Trinity, then at least 60 days advance notice is required. You should also be aware that the Rector of Trinity Church requires that you attend Sunday worship regularly during the preparation process, and that you seriously and prayerfully consider becoming a member of Trinity Parish or another church after you have been married. We believe that marriage in the church makes the most sense for those who intend to actively live the Christian life as part of a community of faith.
If One or Both People are Divorced
The canons (or rules) of The Episcopal Church require that a priest obtain permission from the Bishop before officiating at a wedding for a couple if one or both parties to the proposed marriage has been divorced. In most cases, the Bishop of California will grant permission for such marriages to proceed upon the recommendation of the officiating priest, who writes a letter to the Bishop indicating why he or she believes the marriage ceremony should take place. Couples who find themselves in this situation will need to present the priest with a copy of the divorce decree for each divorced party. The divorced parties to the proposed marriage should also expect to discuss with the priest in some detail the circumstances which led to the break up of the previous marriage.
Because of these requirements, couples in this situation should advise the clergy of their desire for marriage at least 90 days in advance.
The Episcopal Church requires that all couples being married in the church be prepared for marriage by the priest. This preparation will include a discussion of the couple’s relationship history, and is designed to assist the couple in identifying and talking about certain key issues in advance of their marriage. The preparation also includes some instruction about the nature and meaning of Christian marriage, as well as planning for the marriage service itself. This preparation process generally requires about 5 meetings with the officiating priest. In the event that the couple cannot receive their preparation counseling at Trinity, another person approved by the officiating priest may prepare the couple.
The Marriage Ceremony
All marriage ceremonies conducted at Trinity will be celebrated according to the service provided in the Book of Common Prayer or other rite authorized by The Episcopal Church. Within these services, there is room for personalizing the ceremony and choices for the couple to make. During the preparation process, couples will discuss the options given in that service, so they may make informed choices where those choices exist. It is important to keep in mind that although this is your wedding, it is also a service and sacrament of the church, and therefore the church’s service must be used.
Certainly, there are many creative additions to wedding ceremonies which may be attractive to you, and you should discuss your ideas with the officiating priest. However, please be aware that all decisions regarding such additions are the priest’s to make, and these decisions will be made with reference to the tradition of The Episcopal Church, and with a concern that the service be straightforward, without undue ostentation, and within the limits of good taste and faithful practice.
Normally, the wedding rehearsal is conducted the day before the ceremony. The couple and members of the wedding party, as well as parents and ushers, should plan to attend the rehearsal. Like the ceremony itself, the rehearsal is under the direction of the officiating priest and the volunteer wedding assistants of Trinity. No outside director should be employed for this purpose. Please remember to bring your marriage license to the rehearsal.
The organist at Trinity is to be consulted by the couple concerning music for the wedding. No secular music is permitted. The organist will adhere to established guidelines of The Episcopal Church with respect to suggesting music appropriate to the ceremony. An appointment with the organist should be made at least one month in advance. Note that Trinity will provide an organist for your wedding. Employment of a different organist as well as other musicians must be approved by the Rector.
It is customary at Trinity for two large bouquets of flowers to be placed on either side of the Altar for services. The arrangement and placement of flowers is under the direction of the Flower Guild Directress, who should be contacted well in advance. Her contact information can be obtained from the Office Manager. Additional flowers, other than those carried by those in the wedding party, should not be used in the church. Markers for the pews may be used; however, nothing is to be nailed or pinned to the pews. Pew end arrangements may be attached with plastic clips only, and florists are asked to ensure that these arrangements are completely dry before they are attached, to avoid damaging wood surfaces. Under no circumstances may flowers be placed on the Altar itself. The use of a cloth or paper runner in the main aisle is not permitted, and loose flower petals or other materials may not be used. Nothing is to be thrown at the couple either inside or outside of the church.
We encourage you to have as many pictures as possible taken either before or after the wedding. Photographers are to be instructed that NO flash pictures may be taken during the service itself. Photographers are permitted to take a single picture of each member of the wedding party as s/he enters the church, just before walking down the aisle. For these pictures, the photographer should stand no more than one third of the way down the center aisle, and is not to unduly slow the procession. In taking non-flash pictures during the ceremony, the photographer may not come more than a third of the way up from the back of the church. It is permissible for a photographer to be stationed in the choir pews, far enough back so as not to be a distraction, with the approval of the officiating priest.
Discrete videotaping of the ceremony may be permitted from the back of the choir stalls only with the prior approval of the officiating priest. Placement of cameras anywhere else in the church is prohibited.
You are responsible for providing service bulletins for the ceremony. The officiating priest will provide you with an order of service, based on the choices you have made for your service. A final draft of the service bulletin must be approved by the officiating priest well in advance.
Use of the Church
The church will be available for photographs beginning two hours prior to the beginning of the ceremony. All photography must be completed, and the wedding party must have exited the church no later than 30 minutes prior to start of the ceremony. The church will also be available after the ceremony for no more than 30 minutes following the conclusion of the ceremony. Space for dressing will also be made available two hours prior to the beginning of the ceremony, if you require it.
If you would like another Episcopal priest who is not on the staff at Trinity to participate in your wedding, or would like a cleric of another denomination or faith tradition to participate, this may be arranged with the officiating priest from Trinity. Normally, other clergy will be given a role in the service, but the priest from Trinity will preside.
Note: It is not normally our practice to allow other Episcopal clergy, or clergy from other churches or traditions, to preside at a marriage ceremony in the absence of a priest from the Trinity staff. If this is your desire, you must make an appointment with the Rector of Trinity and receive his approval to proceed.
If you would like to hold your wedding reception at Trinity, this may be arranged depending on availability. Trinity Hall is available for larger receptions, Angus Hall or the Courtyard are available for somewhat smaller receptions. You will be responsible for arranging for setup of the reception area, as well as clean up and take down afterward. We do have chairs and tables available for your use. Wedding receptions must conform to the Alcohol Use Policy of Trinity Parish. To check availability, and for other details, please contact our Office Manager. Please note that receptions must conclude no later than 10:00 pm, and those responsible for cleaning up afterward must leave the campus no later than 11:00 pm.
People to Contact
Clergy – The Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett
650-326-2083, ext. 3 (email@example.com)
Clergy - The Rev. Elizabeth Riley
650-326-2083 ext. 4 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Organist – Ron Valentino (email@example.com)
Office Manager – Alecia McDowell