The pastors and staff at Arch Street Presbyterian Church (ASPC) consider it a privilege to assist you in having your wedding service here. In addition to assuring that the service is a beautiful beginning to a vital and successful marriage, the pastoral staff will continue to be available to you for care and support as your married life unfolds.
A Christian wedding involves a community of family and friends who come together to seek God’s blessing upon the life-long promises made between two individuals who have chosen to enter into a loving, faithful marriage. We presume that you want your wedding to take place in the church as an expression of your own faith and desire that God be an ongoing part of your lives together.
At this time, ordained PC(USA) ministers are not able to preside over civil unions on the premises. If you have any questions, please reach out to one of our pastors.
Reserving a Wedding Date
The sanctuary seats 1,060 and is appropriate for any size wedding. The Welsh Chapel seats 150. Weddings are customarily held on Saturdays and not on holidays. To reserve a wedding date at Arch Street Presbyterian Church our Pastoral Associate, Sudie Niesen (215-563-3763 ext. 25), who will advise you on availability.
Once you have decided upon a time and space, a non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to reserve the space (the deposit will be applied to your final church fees). Final payment and any additional fees must be paid four weeks prior to the wedding day.
We welcome those who are not church members to hold their wedding at ASPC, if they desire to marry before God in a worship service under the authority of one of our pastors.
As a community of faith, ASPC believes that God calls people to ordained ministry inclusive of age, gender and race. We ask that you accept this tenant as we assign a minister to you. Once you make your deposit, a minister will be assigned to your wedding based on scheduling. If you have a particular minister you would prefer, we will consider your request.
Once a minister is assigned to your wedding, please contact him/her to discuss pre-marriage meetings. Each minister determines how many times he or she will want to meet with you prior to the wedding. Be advised that if the minister is unable to schedule these meetings with you, he or she will not be able to preside at the wedding service.
The presiding minister from ASPC has primary responsibility for the order and conduct of the wedding service. Should you desire another clergy person to assist in the wedding service, please inform the ASPC minister. An outside clergy person may assist with the service at the invitation of the presiding minister.
Council for Relationships in partnership with Broad Street Ministry, our sister congregation, offers an excellent pre-marriage course we strongly recommend. These sessions are offered on a sliding scale and serve as an invaluable pre-marital resource as you address issues such as finances, family dynamics, and mutual expectations in regard to children, sex, and vocation. Pre-marriage counseling is a requisite of all wedding services at ASPC and must be approved by the presiding minister.
The Wedding Service
The Service for Christian Marriage of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the official service used for weddings at ASPC. Because the ceremony is a witness to the Christian gospel, the content of the service is under the supervision of the officiating ASPC pastor. Within the liturgy there are ample opportunities for a couple to shape a service that expresses their unique lives and faith commitments. The liturgy provides opportunity to make specific requests regarding music, readings, scripture lessons, hymns, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Because the wedding service is an act of worship, music is provided by musicians of Arch Street Presbyterian Church and should be planned in consultation with the Minister of Music. He will make arrangements for such soloists and other instrumentalists if requested. An additional fee will be charged for soloists and instrumentalists. Guest instrumentalists must submit a sample tape or CD to the Minister of Music of Music at least one month prior to the wedding and must subsequently be approved by him.
Adornments and Flowers
The communion Table and all seasonal and permanent church decorations remain in place. Please do not plan to place any decorations on the Table. If candles will be used, the couple or florist must provide non-drip candles and floor covering. No materials of any kind (flower petals, birdseed, rice, etc.) may be scattered or thrown inside or outside of the church buildings. Nothing may be attached or affixed to furniture or walls. Please arrange with the Office Manager if any flowers or decorations will be dropped off prior to the rehearsal or outside of the four hour time allotted for weddings.
Should you decide to use bulletins, you are responsible to produce them. Your pastor will give you the order of the worship service and needs to review the document no later than ten days prior to the wedding. Please bring your bulletins to the rehearsal.
Photos and Videos
With the understanding that your wedding is a worship service, guests are not permitted to take photographs or videos during the wedding service. Please indicate this in your bulletin. The worship service begins with the processional and ends with the recessional. At no time after the processional begins is a professional photographer or videographer allowed in front of the gathered congregation. Professionals may take non-flash silent photography and stationary video without artificial lighting from the rear of the worship space without disrupting the service. You may gather for pictures before or after your wedding ceremony providing you remain within the allotted time frame (two hours prior to start time and one hour after the conclusion of the service).
Wedding rehearsals are customarily on Friday late afternoon or early evening scheduled in consultation with your minister. The minister will ordinarily conduct the rehearsal with the assistance of the musician and sexton. Your entire wedding party, including parents of the bride and groom, ushers and readers, should be present for instructions.
The church can accommodate small receptions in the Social Hall. All food must be prepared by a professional caterer acknowledging the confines of our small kitchen. Please speak with Sudie Niesen, Pastoral Associate, if you are interested. Additional fees apply.
The best means of transportation to the church is public transit as we are adjacent to Suburban Station. Parking is limited, but special permission can be attained for parking along the West side of 18th Street. Please speak with Sudie Niesen. There is a paid lot across 18th Street from the church and a paid garage one block West on Arch Street.
Both the sanctuary and the chapel are accessible by wheelchair. Unfortunately our first floor restroom does not currently accommodate wheelchairs; however, we do have a wheelchair accessible restroom in another space. Please have the sexton show your ushers how to guide those using wheelchairs to navigate the building.
Marriage License from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
A marriage license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is required to marry at Arch Street Presbyterian Church. Please bring your marriage license to the rehearsal. The presiding minister is the only one that signs the license following the service. The church is responsible for returning the signed license to the state. Note that licenses in the state of Pennsylvania must be used within 60 days and that there is a three-day waiting period prior to your wedding date. For information on obtaining a marriage license to be married in Philadelphia County, visit http://secureprod.phila.gov/wills/marriagelicense.aspx.
In thanksgiving to God, couples are encouraged to give ten percent of the total cost of their wedding as a gift to the church. All fees are due to Sudie Niesen no later than thirty-days prior to the wedding date. Checks should be made payable to Arch Street Presbyterian Church with the exception of the honorarium for the minister which should be paid directly to him/her at the rehearsal. The security deposit is due before a wedding can be confirmed and will be applied to the final fees due to the church.
Security Deposit $200 (due to secure a date, applied toward the total)
Building Use — $1,000 sanctuary, $600 chapel
Minister of Music $500
Receptions $100/hour + $200 deposit
Additional rehearsal $150
Call Sudie Niesen, Pastoral Associate, to discuss a date, 215-563-3763 ext. 25
Send $200 deposit payable to Arch Street Presbyterian Church to Sudie Niesen, ASPC, 1724 Arch Street, Phila, PA 19103 once date is confirmed.
When your deposit is received, a pastor will be assigned. Please contact him/her to schedule a time to meet.
Arrange for approved pre-marriage counseling.
Between thirty and sixty days prior the wedding, obtain the marriage license.
At least thirty-days prior to the wedding, please send the balance due.
Ten days prior, approve bulletin text with presiding minister.
At the rehearsal, bring the marriage license, bulletins and honorarium for the minister.
The Marriage after the Wedding
It is our hope that Arch Street Presbyterian Church will be as much a part of your marriage as we are a part of your wedding–where together in Christ, we claim hope over despair, prefer truth to complacency, and seek to grow in personal faith and compassion for the world. We pray God’s blessings and love for your life together.