A wedding in a Christian sanctuary is a service of worship to God, celebrating not only the holy vows the couple takes but also God’s gift of and intention for marriage within the context of the Christian faith. 

Your wedding is one of the most memorable days of your life, and this church is a wonderful place to make that memory. Our pastoral staff and music staff will do their very best to provide a meaningful, fulfilling, and beautiful service for your marriage.

Weddings are customarily performed on Friday evenings and all day Saturday. Other requests will be considered on an individual basis.  Weddings are performed by clergy staff after counseling with the parties involved. Weddings are booked with the pastor.  Non-member weddings are welcomed, with a retired pastor officiating at the majority of these events.  Weddings must be held so as not to interfere with the Saturday Night Live worship service.

Preparation for Marriage Classes

Couples being married at Portsmouth United Methodist Church are expected to have premarital counseling. Couples will meet with the pastor a few months before the wedding to plan their ceremony.  Premarital counseling requires an initial meeting of about one hour, followed by three meetings a week apart that typically last one and a half hours, but varies with each couple.

Your Wedding Music

It is important to keep in mind that a church wedding is a worship service of the Church. The music should be in keeping with the reverence which is observed upon entering the House of the Lord. Although certain compositions of a secular nature are acceptable, music programmed for the concert hall may be inappropriate or unsuitable for the sanctuary.

The church organist will play for all weddings. The bridal couple should consult with the organist regarding all music selections. She will be happy to arrange for a meeting to discuss your music needs. When there is a soloist, it is the responsibility of the bride to see that the soloist contacts the organist at least a month in advance.

Wedding Decorations

Portsmouth has a center aisle sanctuary that seats 160.  Flowers may be placed on the altar and in appropriate containers elsewhere in the Chancel. Ribbons or simple arrangements of flowers may be placed on the pews. They should be attached with elastic, rubber bands or plastic clips.

Rose petals (artificial only ) may be sprinkled down the aisle by the flower girl.

Unity Candle that sits on the altar is provided by the family if they choose. The central unity candle typically have two side tapers for lighting.

Aisle runners are not permitted for safety and aesthetic reasons.

The Wedding Party

Prior to both the rehearsal and the wedding, it is expected that the members of the wedding party will refrain from using alcoholic beverages.  No alcoholic beverages may be served on the church premises at any time. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on church grounds.  No flash pictures are allowed by guests. It is the responsibility of the ushers to assist in making this known to the guests. It is the obligation of the bride and groom to make certain that the members of the wedding party are acquainted with these procedures.

Photographs and Videos

Photographers are permitted at the rear of the Sanctuary during the processional and recessional.  During the ceremony, photographers and videographers must remain out of sight and cannot move around or cause any distraction.  This is holy space and therefore No flash photography or additional lighting is permitted during the ceremony.

Because of the many requests for weddings in our building, each wedding is allotted a two and a half hour time period; an hour prior to the service and an hour following the service. Please let your photographer know that the time for taking pictures following the wedding must fall within this time frame.

Dressing Rooms

The large Youth Room under the sanctuary is provided for the bride and her party to dress at the church. The gentlemen may dress in one of the class rooms.

Marriage License

In the state of Rhode Island the couple should obtain the marriage certificate from the town clerk in the brides home town, if she is a resident of RI; or the grooms home town, if he is a RI resident; or if neither are residents, from the town where the ceremony will take place.   Bring in your marriage license one week prior to the wedding.

The Cost of the Wedding

Following are the general charges for the use of the facilities and the service. Non-members must pay the Sanctuary fee as a deposit at the time the wedding is booked.  The Premarital Counseling fee is due at the beginning of the counseling.  All other fees are due the week before the wedding.  The pastor will advise the couple to whom each check should be made payable. 

Member Charges
Sanctuary: Free
Honorarium to the pastor: $200
Organist: $200*
Candelabra rental: $20
Custodian: $75
Premarital Counseling: $150
Fellowship Hall: Free


Non-Member Charges
Sanctuary: $350
Pastor: $300
Organist: $200*
Candelabra rental: $30
Custodian: $75
Premarital Counseling: $300
Fellowship Hall (includes sexton): $250