Wedding Policies  

The ministers, staff and members of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) cordially welcome you to our church policy statement and fee schedule for your service of marriage in our church. Christian marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, their love giving birth to a new home and a new life. This union is possible when Jesus Christ is the basis of unity. We wish you every happiness in your marriage and want to help you in any way to make your wedding joyous and memorable.

You will find here wedding guidelines which have been approved by the administrative board of this church. These guidelines apply to both members and non-members of our church.

Member wedding - either the bride or the groom is a member of First Christian Church, 3501 Rogers Avenue , Fort Smith , Arkansas .

Non-Member wedding - neither the bride nor the groom is a member of First Christian Church.

If, after reviewing this brochure, you need further assistance, please call the church office at 783-1139.


`       The use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted on church property.

`       It is expected that members of the wedding party will refrain from alcoholic beverages before the rehearsal and before the wedding service. The bride and groom shall be under obligation to make this rule known to all other members of the party.

`       Smoking is not allowed inside or outside church buildings or on the church property.

`       Birdseed, rice, confetti, etc., may not be used inside the church buildings.

`       Birdseed or bubbles only may be used outside.

           `   The sound system may be operated by a staff member only.

  Non-members may move and replace the small benches and the piano microphone stands.

If these policies are not followed, a surcharge based on the seriousness of the infraction will be assessed.

(The Altar Guild reserves the right to amend these guidelines.)

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The Altar Guild

Two members of the Altar Guild of the church will be on duty for every rehearsal and every wedding taking place in the church. These volunteers serve to assist the bride and groom and their families. They also serve to protect the interests of the church. Their purpose is to make the wedding service a meaningful and memorable experience.

The bride should contact the church at 783-1139 for the names of the Altar Guild members who are assigned to her wedding and arrange for a time for a pre-wedding conference for planning the details of the wedding. This conference should occur during the earliest stages of her preparations.


The first person to contact is the minister who will perform the service. Before you set the date, order invitations or make any other plans, call your minister.

By law, an ordained or licensed minister must conduct the wedding ceremony. Visiting clergy are welcome to officiate with the approval of a staff minister. Licensed lay ministers must also be approved by a staff minister.

By law, ministers outside Arkansas are required to register with the Sebastian county courthouse before they can legally witness a marriage in the state of Arkansas . Please provide the name and address of visiting clergy so that he or she may be sent a copy of the wedding guidelines.

The rehearsal and the marriage service are the responsibility of the minister. His/her instructions will take precedence over any others (including wedding coordinators).

Two representatives of the Altar Guild must be present at all weddings conducted in First Christian Church facilities.


Marriage Counseling

Marriage counseling is required for anyone wishing to be married at First Christian Church. This will be conducted by the staff minister who performs the ceremony. The minister and the bride and groom should schedule times and dates for counseling as soon as possible. Arrangements for counseling by visiting clergy are subject to the approval of a staff minister at First Christian Church.

(The Altar Guild reserves the right to amend these guidelines.)


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The Ceremony

The Christian marriage ceremony is a service of worship before God, conducted within the house of God. Reverence is expected on the part of all present and the service will be under the sole direction of the officiating minister.        

Church Calendar

As soon as possible following initial consultation with the Wedding Guild and the minister of your choice, the dates for the rehearsal and the wedding must be placed on the church calendar by the church secretary. You will receive a letter from the church confirming the date you have selected. If the date changes or the reserved date is no longer needed, please notify the church secretary as soon as possible.

Since the church’s facilities are used extensively on Sundays, neither the Sanctuary nor the Disciples Hall may be used for weddings on that day. However,

The Disciples Chapel, Administration Building is available to be used on Sundays.

Weddings may be scheduled up to one year in advance.      


As soon as possible, make an appointment with the Music Director at First Christian Church (783-1139) to plan your musical selections. Some items to consider are:

¯¯      Prelude

¯¯      Processional

¯¯      Recessional

¯¯      Vocalists

¯¯      Other instrumentalists

¯¯      Hymns for congregational singing.

The organist’s fee includes:

1)      One-hour consultation with the bride and groom

2)      One-hour rehearsal with soloists or instrumentalists

3)      The rehearsal

4)       The wedding and preparation thereof

Further consultations or rehearsals may result in additional fees.       

The Music Director at First Christian Church must approve any guest organist. The guest organist may be required to attend an orientation session with the staff organist concerning the sanctuary organ.

Photography and Videography

The bride is responsible for obtaining a photographer and for scheduling photography sessions before and after the wedding, as well as plans for photography during the ceremony. A videographer may also be used. Please consult with the officiating minister for guidance with the photography and videography. By fire safety laws, aisles may not be blocked with equipment.

ZZZ Flowers and Decorations ZZZ

Scheduling arrangements for the florist must be cleared with the church office. The use and placement of flowers, decorations or candles will be the responsibility of the bride. Any damage resulting from such must be assumed by the bride. The bride is responsible for the actions of those she hires to decorate and should notify the florist and/or other decorators concerning the church’s damage policy.

1)                There will be no taping, gluing or tacking of decorations to any surface.

2)       Water must not remain on any surface.

          3)      Floral fixative (leaf polish) must not be sprayed inside the

                     church buildings.

4)      Drip-less candles must be used.

          5)      The communion table may be used for floral arrangements and/or candles.

Wedding decorations must be removed immediately

following the service.

A request for any special handling (other than discarding) of flowers or equipment must be made to the church office at least two working days before the wedding. Florists should return to the church no later than the Monday following the wedding to retrieve their equipment.

Many couples desire to have their wedding floral arrangements remain at the church for the Sunday worship services. Frequently, they wish to honor or memorialize loved ones with these arrangements. In order to be assured the flowers can be used, contact the church secretary as soon as possible so the information may be placed on the church calendar. Also, please provide the information to be used in the worship bulletin.

Wedding bulletins and guest book are to be provided by the bride.     

(The Altar Guild reserves the right to amend these guidelines.)


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The Rehearsal

For weddings with processional music, a rehearsal is necessary and is usually scheduled on the evening prior to the wedding. The bride and groom, their families, the attendants, ushers, ministers, organist and other musicians should be present.  Allow one to two hours for the rehearsal.

Be certain that all participants are aware of the time the rehearsal will begin. Also, on the date of the wedding, all participants should arrive at least one hour before the ceremony.

The wedding license shall be given to the officiating minister no later than the wedding rehearsal.

After the rehearsal, the bride and groom and their attendants will be shown the dressing areas and rest rooms available for their use. Please do not hang gowns or other clothing on light fixtures, furniture, etc., in those areas. Please note that the dressing areas cannot be guaranteed to be secure. All personal property, particularly all valuables and money, are the responsibility of the owner at all times.

The Reception

An Altar Guild member will meet with the bride to work out the details of having a reception in the Disciples Hall.

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) does not furnish food or drink. There are no catering services available at First Christian Church. If you are planning to have the reception catered, you must let us know so we can provide tables and chairs. Fees will be charged if the kitchen is not cleaned up by the catering service.


Sanctuary seats 400

Disciples Chapel, Administration Building , seats 60

Disciples Hall accommodates 400

Church custodian must be used (See fee schedule).


(The Altar Guild reserves the right to amend these guidelines.)



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Childcare and Nursery

Nursery facilities are available upon request (First Christian Church does not provide a nursery attendant - that is the responsibility of the bride.)


All financial arrangements for the wedding, reception, organist or any other First Christian Church staff member will be made in the church office before the wedding date.

One half of the fee will be due at the bride’s first consultation with the Altar Guild and the balance two weeks in advance of the wedding date, remitted to Altar Guild contact.

Fee arrangements between the bride and ministers, instrumentalists, soloists, etc., who are not members of First Christian Church staff are the responsibility of the bride. The church will not set, collect or distribute those private fees.

Fee Schedule

(The Altar Guild reserves the right to amend these fees.)

                                                            Member                                              Non-member

Minister                                          Honorarium                                                 $150


           Wedding and rehearsal           $100                                                       $250

           Wedding only                           $ 75                                                        $175

Pianist                                                  $ 75                                                        $100

Bell Choir                                     Honorarium                                                    $200

Sanctuary                                   Honorarium                                                    $500

Disciples Chapel                          Honorarium                                                    $250

Disciples Hall

           Up to 100 people              Honorarium                                                    $500

           Each additional 25 people      $ 20                                                         $ 30

Utilities first hour                             $ 30                                                        $ 30 

           Additional                                 $10                                                          $10

Table Linens                                 No charge                                                     $10 each

(The Altar Guild reserves the right to amend these fees.)

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  Custodial Services (Required)


                                      Members         Non-members


Monday-Thursday             $20                  $50
Friday-Saturday              $30                 $100

Disciples Chapel, Administration Building

Monday-Thursday             $20                  $40
Friday-Saturday              $20                  $40

Parlor                              $20                  $50

Nursery                           $25                  $100

(Bride must provide a nursery worker. Children may not be left unattended.)  

The following items are available for members use:

   1 Silver coffee service : (tray, sugar & creamer, tea and coffee pot)

   5 Silver trays

   2 Silver candy dishes

   2 Silver candle sticks

   1 Glass punch bowl (w/ ladle and large tray)

          110 Punch cups

   2 Glass candy dishes

   1 Glass divided candy dish

   5 Glass serving trays

   1 Cake knife

   173 Dessert plates

   113 Dessert forks

   Cake and pie servers


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