Wedding Policy

St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church
20 Pope Avenue
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928

INASMUCH AS CHRISTIAN MATRIMONY is a holy undertaking and the United Methodist church is a vehicle of CHRIST’S ministry; the wedding ceremony is first and foremost a Service of Worship. It should be simple, reverent and in keeping with the rubrics of the Church. The congregation assembles to celebrate God’s gracious gift of unity in marriage reflecting Christ’s unity with his Church.

We are glad that you have chosen to make Christ and the Church a central part of your marriage. With praise and thanksgiving, we rejoice with you in this special event in your lives. We offer the following guidelines to help us celebrate a mutually fulfilling day in the Lord.

It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to become familiar with the policies below and to see that the wedding party, florist, caterer, photographer, and musicians observe them.


  • Reservations for the church facilities for rehearsal, ceremony, and/or reception must be made through the Church Office.
  • Reservations must be made no later than two (2) months prior to the desired wedding date. The church is not considered reserved until the reservation fee has been paid.
  • After setting the date, make an appointment with the Minister for you and your fiancé as soon as possible.
  • If the use of the Celebration Center is requested for a reception, an “Outside Group Facility Usage Form,” with additional charges, must be obtained from the office, completed and returned to the Church Office.

When considering St. Andrew By-The-Sea for your wedding, you will find your fees based on either an active member or non-member status.

The Active Member Fee Schedule is based on the following criteria:

The bride or groom or a member of their immediate family must be active members on the church rolls for a period of one (1) year prior to the wedding date. It is also necessary that the bride or groom or their immediate family actively support the church according to the requirements of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church as follow:

* 216.5 To be loyal to The United Methodist Church and do all in their power to strengthen its ministries;
* 216.6 To faithfully participate in its ministries, by their prayer, their presence, their gifts and their service;
* 218 Faithful discipleship includes the obligation to participate in the corporate life of the congregation with fellow members of the body of Christ.

Important Note: One of the ministers from St. Andrew By-The-Sea (or a substitute chosen by them) will perform all weddings held in our sanctuary.


  • Only candelabra with metal cylinders for the candles can be used. This is necessary due to airflow in the Sanctuary during heating and cooling cycles, which cause candles to drip, even those designated as “drip less.”
  • It is suggested that all candles be tested prior to the ceremony.
  • Any additional furniture or adornments brought into the church must be removed by members of the wedding party and are not the responsibility of the church or its custodian.
  • No aisle runners shall be used in the St. Andrew By-The-Sea Sanctuary.
  • Neither chancel furniture, altar cushions (kneelers), hymnals, Bibles, pew rack material, nor the sanctuary musical instruments are to be moved.
  • No food or beverages are to be served or consumed in the sanctuary.
  • Smoking and consumption of alcoholic beverages are not allowed anywhere on church property; nor will anyone who gives evidence of intoxication be permitted to participate in the wedding rehearsal or wedding.
  • No confetti or rice is to be used on the church property. For the sake of safety, birdseed may be used OUTSIDE ONLY.
  • The sanctuary will seat 355 downstairs and 155 upstairs for a total capacity of 510.


  • The Board of Trustees of St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church requires that the Wedding Hostess be present at all times during a rehearsal and wedding, unless instructed by the minister.
  •  To facilitate the rehearsal, the bride should return the rehearsal information document (provided in this packet) to the Wedding Hostess two weeks prior to the rehearsal date.


  • Flowers are not to be placed on the center table, which is the Communion Table.
  • Please give the florist a copy of this agreement.
  • Candles cannot be placed on the pews.
  • Florist wax, tacks, tape, pins or anything that is wet will not to be used on the pews or chancel furniture.
  • Any and all decorations and/or flowers that are brought in for the wedding must be removed immediately after the wedding. If an arrangement is to be left for a worship service the following Sunday for the altar or Narthex, this should be cleared well in advance with the church secretary so that proper recognition may be given in the church bulletin. (Only one arrangement will be accepted and it should be the same size as a normal Sunday altar arrangement…nothing large or oversized.)
  • To obtain a key for decorating, the florist should call the Church Office, 785-4711.
  • Only live flowers may be used in the altar area.


The Church Organist for St. Andrew plays for all weddings.

  • Should he be unavailable, you must submit for his approval the name of the person you wish to invite.
  • A wedding is a service of worship; therefore, SACRED MUSIC is to be used. The Church Organist will assist you with the selection of music and can provide guidance. You may wish to consider congregational hymns and the Methodist Hymnal in planning your music. The church organist has the right to refuse a piece of music that he is not familiar with. No recorded music is permitted.

In the event the church organist is not used for the wedding ceremony, it is still common professional courtesy to offer to pay his fee. (This is an international standard supported and endorsed by the American Guild of organists and its international affiliates.)


NOTE: The wedding ceremony begins when the music begins and ends with the playing of the recessional.

  • Pictures are a treasured possession and the church staff will gladly cooperate so that the most beautiful pictures may be made, but photographers must not interfere with the worship experience of the wedding party and the congregation during the ceremony. Therefore, no photos are permitted during the ceremony.
  • With the permission of the officiating Minister(s), photographs may be taken of the attendants as they enter the sanctuary to progress down the aisle and the bride and her escort as they enter the sanctuary for the ceremony.
  • Photographs with any equipment may be made following the ceremony in the Sanctuary. It is requested that any picture that includes the minister be taken first in order that he may be excused before the remaining pictures are taken.
  • The photographer must have a copy of this policy statement at least one week before the wedding and (s) he should contact the Director of Weddings BEFORE the day of the wedding to clear any matters about which (s) he has questions.
  • No one is allowed to stand on the pews for any reason and no one may sit on the backs of the pews.
  • All pictures made of the wedding party prior to the ceremony must be completed 30 minutes BEFORE the ceremony begins. Photos may be completed following the ceremony.


  • Videos may be made during the ceremony with Sanctuary lighting only and with camera equipment that is quiet and does not interfere with the ceremony.
  • The video camera may be set up ONLY in the balcony of the Sanctuary.
  • No video cameras are allowed at the front of the Sanctuary.
  • All equipment must be in place at least 45 minutes before the ceremony begins.
  • No tripod, drop cords or equipment may extend into any aisle or obstruct the guests’ view.
  • The bride is responsible for giving the videographer-photographer a copy of this policy statement at least two weeks before the wedding. The videographer/photographer should contact the Wedding Director BEFORE the day of the wedding to clear any matters about which (s) he has questions.
  • A Sound Board Operator is necessary since a wireless microphone is required for the pastor, and may be needed by a soloist performer.


  • The marriage license must be given to the Pastor at the time of the rehearsal and must be secured through a Probate Judge in South Carolina.
  • It is required that all participants are prompt for rehearsal and the time is to be set with the Wedding Director and church secretary.


The wedding service as written in one of the rituals of the United Methodist Church shall be used. Slight modifications may be made provided the Minister concurs. Instructions for worship shall be printed in the worship program.

The congregation shall remain seated during the processional and recessional until instructed by the pastor.

The Trustees and Administrative Board of St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church have established this policy. It has been adopted with the sacredness of your wedding in mind.


All weddings, regardless of size, require payment of fees. These fees need to be paid in full 30 days prior to the wedding date..