Wedding

So you want to get married?


This is designed to give you all the information you need if you desire one of our leaders to conduct your wedding ceremony. We understand that planning a wedding from start to finish is a busy affair and we want to make any involvement that we may have in your wedding be a simple and straightforward affair.

Harvest is all about Christ-centered weddings


Right off the bat, we want to be upfront with you about our beliefs and convictions on weddings. Within the stated by-laws of our church and our heart to honor the Lord in all that we do, Harvest Muskoka & Parry Sound Campus staff members only perform Christian weddings with a focus on Jesus Christ. Since God is the One that instituted marriage, we will strive to ensure that His name is proclaimed and His intentions honored when leading a couple through a marriage ceremony. It is our heart to bring everything, including marriage, back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

Due to the size of our church and the number of requests for weddings we have designed an approach to conducting weddings that ensures that we can meet the needs of our people by sharing the weddings across all our pastors and elders. We have a Wedding Approval Process to facilitate a reasonable schedule for our pastors and elders in respect to conducting weddings. The vast majority of weddings require a pastor/elder to invest 15-20 hours per couple doing the following:

  • Normally at minimum of two meetings with the couple to discuss their readiness for marriage as well as their desires for the wedding ceremony in addition to the pre-marital counselling they receive.
  • Ensuring they are informed of and participating in either pre-marital counselling or post- wedding (within the first year) counselling, typically done by their Flock Leader or a Harvest Pastor/Elder.
  • An evening to run the wedding rehearsal.
  • Oversight of and officiating the actual wedding.

By sharing the load across our pastors and elders we are able to ensure that no one pastor is carrying more than 4 weddings in a typical spring/summer/fall season.

At this time for a variety of reasons, our pastors and elders have chosen not to be licensed by the Ontario government to perform civil (legal) weddings. This does not mean we don’t preside over a wedding ceremony, it just means that we provide “spiritual leadership” only. The weddings we perform would appear very similar to any typical wedding except that when we pronounce a couple married we would say “As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ I pronounce you husband and wife” rather than saying “By the power vested in me by the Province of Ontario I now pronounce you husband and wife.” The rest of the ceremony is the same – processional, music, charge to the bride and groom (always based on some Biblical passage or topic), vows, rings, kiss, recessional, etc.

The Bible (theology of getting married) does not require the government’s involvement or approval to be considered ‘married’. However, according to Romans 13:1 and other passages, we are also called to submit to the government God has placed us under (unless they seek to force us to disobey Scripture or dishonor Christ). Therefore, the Elders require that each couple requesting a Christian wedding officiated by a Harvest leader to also satisfy the civil (legal) component. This means you must have someone licensed by the Province of Ontario to pronounce you husband and wife on or before the day of your Christian ceremony. There are a variety of ways this legal/civil component can be done including, but not limited to:

  • Have a ceremony at City Hall as they provide civil wedding ceremonies
  • Have a ceremony conducted by a wedding company
  • Hire a licensed individual to conduct a ceremony
  • Hire a licensed individual to attend your Christian ceremony and sign the marriage
    license.
  • Have a family member or friend who is licensed attend your Christian ceremony and sign
    the marriage license.

In the Wedding Application below you can request contact info for some of these options if required.

The process is very simple. If you would like an Officiant from our church to perform your wedding ceremony, please fill out the wedding application. Since none of our pastors or elders are licensed this allows some variety in who performs the Christian ceremony. We recommend that one of our pastors or elders perform the wedding ceremonies. Our team will assign an Officiant to you after we review the application.

All who are requesting a Harvest wedding must complete a Wedding Application. No congregant or pastor/elder is allowed to by-pass this process. All wedding requests must go through the Wedding Approval Process and individual pastors cannot agree to perform a wedding apart from the Wedding Approval Team’s agreement. We would ask that you not approach pastors or elders directly with wedding requests.
As a means to protect our pastor/elder’s family commitments as well as their overall health and balance we limit the number of weddings they can perform in a given year. Plus we carefully watch and direct the balance of weddings with their work and personal schedules.

During the Wedding Approval Process you will be assigned an Officiant for a wedding based on the following four criteria:

  1. Schedule availability of pastor/elder
  2. Number of weddings already assigned
  3. Request for a particular pastor/elder by the couple
  4. Relational connectedness of pastor/elder to couple

To be assigned a pastor/elder and thus receive Harvest leadership approval for a Harvest wedding you must complete this application in full, and submit it to the office. A reply will be returned within 2-4 weeks indicating acceptance and the pastor/elder assigned.

We realize some weddings are planned far in advance and some are last minute (hopefully not many). For our own planning purposes (officiates and churches) we require that requests not be submitted more than one year prior to the wedding day nor less than 2 months prior to the wedding day.
Currently (2017) Harvest does not have a church facility. We rent Sundays from Bracebridge & Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and the Parry Sound Mall. Therefore, we cannot provide a location for your wedding nor reception in the Muskoka area; however, arrangements may be made for use of our Parry Sound Campus*. Our mid-week and office needs are currently met by renting space as well. We cannot provide that facility for your wedding needs since it is not ours and exceeds the normal wear and tear on a building that daily business operations cause.
*If/when God provides a facility for Harvest Muskoka Campus it would be only available to rent for weddings/receptions for those who regularly attend Harvest and are members in good standing. This is the same for our Parry Sound Campus usage.
  • Audio/Video equipment: Due to the cost, complexity and storage issues of the Harvest gear required for Sundays and mid-week we cannot loan nor rent any of this equipment for weddings.
  • Other Harvest supplies: Due to wear and tear, breakage and difficulty at times on getting things returned we also do not lend out nor rent any other Harvest components such as table clothes, plates, cutlery, lighting, etc.
  • Office Equipment/Supplies: The office/photocopier cannot be made available to produce handouts or programs for the wedding.
Some Biblical injunctions regarding how to treat and care for pastors/elders as they give themselves to various ministry calls and requirements are found in 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Romans 4:4, and 1 Corinthians 9:3-18. In light of these considerations the Harvest leadership has set forth the following guidelines regarding costs for weddings. Please understand that these suggestions represent our desire to uphold the biblical injunction to be gracious, kind, considerate, and generous to those gifted and called by God to provide oversight to the family of God. This also recognizes their hard work in preparation, years of study and experience as well as their time/energy away from family during wedding functions.

Remuneration

  • For a wedding in the Muskoka/Parry Sound area, a suggested gift to the pastor/elder would be $250 to conduct the entire service. If sharing responsibilities with another minister $150 would be appropriate. Please pay by cash or a cheque made out to the individual not the church. Please ensure this is given to the pastor or mailed to the office before or on the day of the wedding.
  • If you require a pastor/elder to travel out of town his travel expenses should be covered fully (both ways).
  • If your wedding is over two hours from Muskoka/Parry Sound you are asked to offer to pay for a hotel room for one night at a mid-range level hotel closer to the venue. In addition any meals required while he is out of Muskoka/Parry Sound would need to be reimbursed. It would then be his decision based on schedule and time of the wedding whether he will stay over night or not.
  • Please do not ask a pastor/elder to stay in someone’s home as they need their freedom to study, prepare, relax, etc.
  • If you request a member from the Harvest worship team to participate in your wedding we would ask you to give them $200 for their part.