Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! If you are considering the First Congregational Church Bethel as a location for your ceremony, please call our office (203-743-1877) and ask if the church and a pastor is available. As an Open & Affirming Church, we fully support LGBTQ+ couples and their right to legal marriage in the State of Connecticut. Please be aware of these requirements and customs, and ask if the pastor if you have any questions.
Interview and Counseling
You should arrange to meet with the pastor before the wedding to discuss the relationship into which you are entering, and to plan the details of the service. Normally, two or three meetings are sufficient.
The license may be obtained from the Town Hall of your city/town of residence or from the Town Hall of the city/town where you will be married. It must be obtained within 65 days of the date of the wedding. Both parties must appear at the Town Clerk's Office. The license should be delivered to the pastor at the rehearsal. The pastor is responsible for signing it and delivering it to the town clerk after the ceremony. If you are planning a wedding outside of Connecticut and would like one of our pastors to officiate, please contact them about licensing requirements.
All marriages at the First Congregational Church Bethel must be conducted by or have one of the pastors of the church as a participant. If the service is to be performed with another clergyperson, advance approval is required from the pastor of this church in consultation with our diaconate. If this is something you desire, contact our pastor directly as soon as possible to insure proper preparation and approval.
Because the pastor acts in the name of the First Congregational Church Bethel in blessing a marriage, we choose to apply certain conditions to all that are performed in our church. Those conditions will be discussed in the counseling and service planning sessions. You may choose to discuss appropriate vows or scripture readings with your fiance prior to your counseling sessions.
Use of either strobes or flashbulbs is prohibited during the service. If desired, you may make arrangements with the pastor to recreate the ceremony after the service. Unattended video cameras can be used (discreetly) by prior approval of the pastor under certain conditions. No still photos may be taken at the front of the church during the ceremony.
The music to be used in your ceremony will be a joint decision between you, the pastor and the church organist. The organist will be happy to meet with you but this meeting should be at least two weeks before the rehearsal. You may use your own organist; however, this must be approved by the church organist and there will be a "bench fee" as listed under fees. If you are planning to use instruments other than the organ, this must also be cleared ahead of time with the church organist. If instruments or music not usual in UCC wedding services are desired, they must be approved by the organist and the pastor ahead of time.
A rehearsal is normally scheduled the day before the wedding. It will be conducted by the pastor, and the entire wedding party should be there a few minutes ahead of time. It should take 45 minutes and can be scheduled before a rehearsal party or dinner. Remember to bring the license and all payments to the rehearsal.
Please No Rice
Use something environmentally friendly like flower petals, lavender, birdseed, soap bubbles.
An aisle runner may be ordered through your florist. The aisle measures 21 yards from the altar to the inside of the outside front doors.
The church hall (Main Hall) is available for catered receptions for church members only. There is an additional fee for the use of Main Hall, in the amount of a $300 security deposit and $50/hour rental fee. These fees do not include setup or cleanup.
The church allows the use of alcohol with a signed waiver and by prior approval of the Trustees. There is an additional $25/hour rental fee if you will be serving alchohol, and a waiver must be completed.
The secretary can give you a copy of the church's alcohol policy and the application forms and fee schedule for renting the church hall.