Weddings at Sparks United Methodist Church
We rejoice in the opportunity to share the blessings of holy matrimony with you. Whether your sacred occasion will include 20 or 200 people, we provide Christian marriage ceremonies in the Methodist tradition for couples desiring such a ceremony. Church membership in any denomination is not required in order to be married at Sparks UMC, it is important that participants have a sincere desire to acknowledge the sacred covenant of Christian marriage.
Our sanctuary has traditional stained glass windows, a grand piano, an organ, wood pews, and most importantly, a warm, welcoming ambiance that accommodates up to 200 of your family and friends in a traditional setting. Evaporative coolers keep the building comfortable on all but the hottest of days. We're conveniently located on the corner of Pyramid Highway and Oddie Blvd. and have a social hall, a large parking lot, as well as a small park.
If you don’t have a home church, we invite you to join us any Sunday for our worship service which is designed to connect you with God. We believe a couple's relationship with God sets the foundation for a great marriage in the years ahead. As you start a new life together, we would like to get to know you and support you through all the changes that lie ahead.
Although you don’t have to be a member of the congregation to hold your wedding here, one of our pastors will officiate. A premarital counseling session with our pastor is required. We want to provide you with every possibility of success in Christian marriage.
Click here to download our fee structure. (Note: please do not let financial constraints hold you back from contacting us; we’re happy to work with any budget.)
THE MARRIAGE SYMBOL
Christian marriage is a covenant between two people who are in covenant with God. The covenant which God has made with people is God’s promise to be their God and the privilege of a people to be God’s children. God’s covenant with humanity is a covenant of love offered as a gift of grace. The Cross is a reminder of the covenant which God has made with us. The rings are an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace: the love of God experienced and expressed between two people in the covenant of marriage.
Detailed Information for Wedding Planners
CELEBRATE YOUR WEDDING WITH US!
We are delighted that you are considering our church as the setting to begin your lifelong commitment to each other in marriage. Planning a wedding can be time-consuming, complicated and stressful. With this information, we hope to make your preparation a little easier. Feel free to call with any questions or problems you might have regarding your wedding at Sparks UMC. We will try to help in making your wedding a meaningful and memorable moment in your lives.
Please note, weddings are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis pending availability of our facility and/or pastor and staff.
Sparks United Methodist Church, located at the corner of Pyramid Way and Oddie Blvd. in Sparks, has a sanctuary recognized for its beauty in a traditional style with a long center aisle leading to a raised platform (“chancel”) where the wedding party is visible to all. It will seat approximately 250 people. There are evaporative coolers used during the hot summer months.
In addition to a digital organ, there is a grand piano in the front of the sanctuary. A series of beautiful and colorful stained glass windows line the sanctuary walls providing an atmosphere of warmth and dignity.
The women can dress prior to the wedding in our Music Room which has a full-length mirror. There is also a room for the men to dress, if needed.
A total of five restrooms are located on either side in the back of the Social Hall and near the nursery in the Education Wing.
The Social Hall may also be reserved for your reception. It has a capacity of 100 people for a sit-down meal. No smoking is allowed anywhere in the building and no alcoholic beverages may be served for the reception (this includes no Champagne to toast the bride and groom).
Included in the charges for use of the Social Hall are the following items: tables, chairs, coffee urns, punch bowl, stove and refrigerator. Arrangements for the use of the kitchen will need to be made through the church office. You may decorate the Social Hall and set the tables/chairs where you want. You are responsible for all of the clean-up and relocating the chairs and tables when the reception ends.
Should you choose Sparks United Methodist Church for your wedding, please come by the church office to reserve your date and time on the church master calendar. This should be done as early as possible. We require a $100 deposit to put your date on the Church calendar. The deposit is refundable only with 30 days notice prior to the selected wedding day. The fees paid allow you the use of the church sanctuary for three (3) hours. This would allow for 2 hours prior to the wedding for pictures and half an hour after the service (the service takes approximately ½ hour). If you require more than half an hour after the service your earlier time will be shortened. You must inform your photographer of the time limit. An additional fee will be charged for extra time.
Our wedding hostess will be working with you. Her task is to answer any questions you may have that are not covered in this booklet. On your wedding day, she will work with the wedding party, florist, photographer, and pastor.
Our pastor will officiate at all weddings celebrated at Sparks United Methodist Church unless special arrangements are made by the bride and groom with the pastor ahead of time. The pastor will want to meet with the couple for wedding counseling. This should be done at least a month prior to the wedding date. The purpose of the meeting will be to get acquainted, review wedding plans, and discuss the importance of the marriage.
CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PARTY
The choice of your attendants in your wedding party is an opportunity to honor family members and/or close friends. It is not necessary, however, to have everyone you wish to honor by having them stand with you during the wedding. Additional ways to honor such family/friends is to ask them to be ushers (without also serving as groomsmen), guest book attendant, acolytes, or give them a position of importance at the reception.
If you choose to have a ring-bearer and/or flower-girl, please remember that the behavior and cooperation of a child under five is unpredictable, and often adorable. The wedding hostess will have suggestions as to how this can be done in a way that dignifies the ceremony and does not place undue stress on the child or parents.
THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
In Nevada a marriage license is issued by any County Clerk and is valid in any county. The bride and groom must appear together in the clerk’s office. No documents are needed, unless either the bride or groom is a minor (under 18 years of age). In that case, documents may be required. No blood test is required. The wedding license can be used immediately and is valid for a period of one year. The cost is $60.00 (as of May 2018). In Washoe County the license may be obtained at the Washoe County Courthouse, 75 Court Street, in downtown Reno. Note: We cannot perform your wedding without a valid marriage license with you.
Following your wedding ceremony the pastor will give the couple an official marriage certificate. The copy (with the recorder’s information) will be forwarded by the pastor to the county recorder as required by law. Information to obtain a certified copy of the marriage license is found on the back of the certificate.
The church’s Director of Music Ministries provides the music for weddings at Sparks United Methodist Church - both accompaniment on piano or organ, and vocal soloist are available if requested. If you would like any additional instrumentalists and/or vocalists to participate, it is your responsibility to contact and make arrangements with them. The Director of Music Ministries is willing, however, to recruit additional musicians (for an additional fee), if requested to do so.
Since the music can add much to the beauty and sanctity of your wedding, careful selection should be made. There are many fine compositions appropriate for use in the worship service. The Director of Music Ministries will be happy to consult with you on various options.
Please contact the Director of Music Ministries directly to make arrangements for music, including any rehearsal times necessary for soloists. Soloists are expected to supply their own music (with a copy for the accompanist at least two weeks before the wedding). They are also expected to learn their music prior to rehearsal with the accompanist.
The pastor will consult with you on the placement of various musical selections in the order of service. The sound system in the Sanctuary, if required by musicians, is to be operated by trained church members only (no exceptions).
The couple will make their own arrangements for any photographic record of their wedding. If you plan to have family or friends serve as your photographers, please give them a copy of the “photographic rules” sent in the information packet you will receive from the church approximately a month before your wedding. If you require more than 30 minutes for photos after the ceremony, arrange with the wedding hostess for time to have your photographer arrive early to take some before the service. You may come up to two hours before the scheduled time for the ceremony which will give any photographer ample time to take extra pictures. Make sure your photographer checks with the wedding hostess before the ceremony to discuss rules. Photographers are to remain behind all seated guests or in the back one-quarter of the sanctuary during the procession and wedding service.
Flash pictures are not to be taken during the ceremony. Photographers will often take ‘time exposure’ pictures from the rear. The wedding hostess will direct your ushers to inform guests who may arrive with cameras of this policy.
Video recording is permissible. No extra artificial lighting is allowed. However, we do require that the camera be stationed at one spot and not be moved during the service. In addition, camera equipment is to be set up and in place 30 minutes prior to the wedding. You will be sent a diagram and an agreement of understanding as to the two locations video cameras may be placed. Please leave a copy with your video person and return the signed copy to the wedding hostess at your rehearsal.
There are NO exceptions to these rules.
The Pastor will conduct your wedding rehearsal. This is an opportunity to practice the procession, the movements, recession, and to get everything coordinated so that the wedding day will run smoothly.
It is important that all members of the wedding party be present at the rehearsal. A wedding rehearsal date and time will be arranged when you come by to make your reservation and deposit for the wedding. Usually, the rehearsal is held the evening before the wedding.
The wedding rehearsal lasts approximately 45 minutes to one hour depending on the size of the wedding party. It is important to be on time, for both the rehearsal and the wedding. You are asked to come at least one hour early on the day of your wedding. If you require more time for pictures beforehand you must arrange for the additional time (up to one hour) with the wedding hostess. The wedding license should be brought to the rehearsal, as well as the balance of the wedding fees, and given to the wedding hostess. You will be sent marked envelopes for the balance of the fees to be placed in individual payments as detailed on the fee structure.
THE WEDDING SERVICE
A Christian wedding is a service of worship and celebration. Therefore, words and actions in the service, musical selections, flowers and other decorative items, and the photography, are all influenced by the design to enhance the worship of God and the celebration of God’s gracious love.
You will be discussing the marriage service with the pastor during your second pre-marital counseling session. The pastor makes the final decisions regarding any proposed changes in, or additions to, the wedding service. All arrangements for music will be made in consultation with the church’s Director of Music Ministries. Couples who desire to write portions of their own service are asked to make arrangements with the pastor well in advance of their wedding date.
FLORAL AND DECORATIVE PREPARATIONS
Flowers should be arranged with the florist of your choice. The church has two white column-like stands (5 feet tall by 1 foot in diameter) upon which arrangements may be placed. Other flower containers should be provided by the florist. When ordering your flowers, it is not necessary to include one for the pastor, as he/she will be wearing a robe.
The sanctuary has 15 pews on each side of the center aisle and bows may be placed on any or all of the pews provided that the hangers or tape do not cause harm to the pews.
The church can also provide two candelabras, two tapers (used to light candles), and a unity candle holder. The candelabras each hold seven candles, while the unity candle requires three candles. There is no charge for the use of the unity candle holder or the candelabra if you furnish your own candles. Twelve (12) or fourteen (14) inch tapers are recommended when you buy candles. Please bring 2 or 3 extra candles – some may break!
None of the church equipment may be removed from the premises, even for decorating by the florist.
BIRDSEED AND RICE
Due to the fact that it is very slippery and can cause people to fall, rice and birdseed are not allowed to be thrown here at the church.
AISLE RUNNER AND FLOWER PETALS
Because aisle runners are made of such lightweight material, they can be quite dangerous and tripping is a very common occurrence; consequently, guests must enter the Sanctuary through the side doors. The center aisle is to be used by wedding party only. Also, flower petals can be ground into and stain the carpet. You must use silk flower petals if you want your flower girl to drop petals. Fresh petals are not allowed!
Couples holding their wedding reception in our Social Hall should make their own arrangements for the wedding cake, food, napkins, etc. The wedding hostess and/or her representative will be present during the wedding reception. There is an additional fee for this service.
The wedding hostess will assist you in the use of any equipment the church makes available to you. She will also supervise the clean-up and have the responsibility to see that church policies are observed. You will be responsible for clean-up and/or the returning of tables and chairs to proper places. The bridal couple is to inform the wedding hostess as to the time and length of the reception.
A sheet with all costs will be presented to you at the time the wedding deposit is made. The balance of the fees are to be paid with cash and in the separate marked envelopes sent to you by the church approximately a month prior to the wedding. They should be given to the wedding hostess on the night of the rehearsal.
Any money given by the couple to musicians that they obtain, should be paid directly to them by the couple. If we arrange the soloist or special accompanist, then the fee should be in a separate marked envelope presented to the wedding hostess.
(a) Church Policies: In keeping with a long standing tradition in United Methodism, no alcoholic beverages are to be served or consumed on the premises. It will be necessary to cancel, or postpone the wedding a few hours if either the bride or groom arrive in an inebriated condition. The Sparks United Methodist Church cannot be party to either the sacred or legal aspects of marriage vows exchanged with either person in a state of diminished capacity due to overuse of alcohol. Any other member of the wedding party who has overly imbibed prior to the wedding will be asked not to function in his/her role.
No smoking is permitted within the church building.
The wedding couple is responsible for the replacement or reimbursement cost for any damage/breakage of church furniture or equipment.
It is considered the responsibility of the bride and groom to inform their guests of any church regulations applicable, including the “no flash photography during the wedding” rule.
(b) Change in plans: If you should have a major change in your wedding plans, please contact the church office as soon as possible.
(c) Suggestions: Please do not leave your valuables unattended during your wedding. The Music Room will be locked by the wedding hostess and re-opened after the wedding for clothing to be claimed.
Please plan to remove all belongings, flowers, etc. of the wedding party from the sanctuary and dressing rooms as soon as your photographer has finished taking pictures. Appointing someone who is not involved with the pictures to gather all things together is very helpful. Wedding party members have enough hassle without having to worry about details of cleaning up. Removing all clothing, etc. to your car as soon as you are dressed before the ceremony will lessen chances of forgetting something.
Couples wishing to leave flowers should know that they will be used in the Sunday morning worship service. We appreciate the flowers and will mention in whose honor the flowers are given during the worship service. If possible, please inform the church secretary well in advance that you will be leaving the flowers for the Sunday worship service.