Offering a beautiful worship space, a gorgeous front garden with flowers blooming throughout the spring and summer, and a gracious parish hall, The Church of the Holy is a wonderful setting for weddings and receptions. And, it seems, for wedding scenes in film and television. Charlotte and Trey of the television series Sex and the City, for example, held their wedding at Holy Trinity!
Because of its ideal setting, Holy Trinity extends hospitality to anyone seeking a location for a wedding, regardless of faith tradition or secular beliefs. If you are planning a wedding, you may choose simply to rent the church for a ceremony of your own design, with your own officiant. Or you may decide to request a Christian or interfaith wedding in which one of Holy Trinity's clergy works closely with you to plan a prayerful, meaningful ceremony and who offers you companionship and counseling as you prepare for your marriage.
If you wish to learn more simply about renting the church, garden and/or parish hall for a wedding, please contact Erlinda Brent, the parish administrator. Rental fees will depend on the size and staffing needs of your wedding.
If you seek a Christian-Episcopal or interfaith wedding involving one of Holy Trinity's priests, please continue reading.
Christian (or interfaith) marriage is a covenantal relationship established when two individuals make solemn and public vows to one another in the presence of God and God’s people. By vows of lifelong faithfulness and mutual love, care and respect, the wedding couple becomes a sacrament, that is, “an outward and visible sign,” of God’s steadfast love for creation and of Christ’s mystical union with the Christian Church. Holy Matrimony is, therefore, a gift to the Christian community, and we thank you for considering holding your wedding ceremony here.
The information on this webpage is meant to help you discern whether The Church of the Holy Trinity is an appropriate setting for your wedding within the Episcopal tradition. You will find information about who can be married in The Episcopal Church, how to plan for the wedding day, including expectations for your spiritual preparation, and practical considerations such as fees.
The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is a sacred occasion. We will do all in our power to make your wedding a time of solemnity and great joy. Please know of our prayers for you.
Before Setting Your Wedding Date
Who Can Marry?
Christian marriage presupposes a connection to the Christian community. In the Episcopal Church, at least one of the individuals to be married must be a baptized Christian. Also, the ceremony must be attested to by at least two witnesses, reflecting the public and sacramental nature of the solemn vows.
Couples who wish to marry in the Episcopal Church must agree to pre-marriage counseling with the parish clergy or, if distance is a problem, with an Episcopal priest or counselor near where they live. The purpose of pre-marriage preparation is twofold: First, a couple can discern whether they are truly called and ready for a lifetime covenantal relationship. Second, the couple will begin to experience the confidential and loving care of the Church as a helpful resource for them in their life together. Pre-marriage counseling usually consists of three to five sessions, sometimes in the companionship of other couples preparing for marriage. Couples are urged, therefore, to arrange to meet with one of the parish clergy well in advance of the anticipated wedding date. We recommend that an initial meeting happen six months prior to the proposed wedding date, after which the wedding will be scheduled.
If either of the individuals has been previously married, the clergy will wish to explore the earlier relationship and must apply to the Episcopal Bishop of New York for permission to consecrate the new marriage. The process of discernment and preparation usually takes longer; therefore, couples are encouraged to make arrangements to meet with one of the parish clergy significantly in advance of the wedding date. Only in very rare circumstances will a wedding be scheduled in less than three months of the initial meeting with the clergy.
Every wedding performed in the Episcopal Church is a public worship service. Although a couple may choose to invite only certain guests to a wedding reception, all members of the Christian community are welcome to attend the wedding ceremony. Guests offer witness of the marriage vows and, in the Episcopal liturgy, a pledge to support the couple in their marriage.
A wedding ceremony can be as simple or as elaborate as a couple wishes. More ornate ceremonies do require greater planning. To help you begin to fashion a wedding ceremony, here are some guidelines:
The rite for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is found in The Book of Common Prayer, beginning on page 423. The service consists of a declaration of consent, readings, vows, pronouncement, prayers, and the solemn blessing. The service can also include, if the couple wishes, an exchange of rings and a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In the Episcopal Church, couples must use the marriage vows of The Book of Common Prayer.
For most weddings at Holy Trinity, one of the parish clergy will serve as the officiating priest. If you wish for an Episcopal priest from outside the parish to officiate or for other clergy, regardless of faith tradition, to participate in the ceremony, you must speak first with the parish secretary. To initiate your request, please contact Erlinda Brent, the parish secretary, 212-289-4100, ext. 201, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleveland Kersh, the Director of Music at Holy Trinity, plans the music for all weddings. Either he or an assisting musician of the parish will play for your wedding. Any exception must be made with the consent of Mr.Kersh, and he receives his usual honorarium in order to compensate him for the time spent orienting guest musicians. Additional instrumentalists or vocalists, if desired, can also be arranged in consultation with Mr. Kersh. Further rehearsal or preparation will require a higher fee. If you wish for music to be played or sung at your wedding, please make an appointment with Mr. Kersh within at least six weeks of the wedding date to plan for music that will enhance both the joy and the liturgical integrity of the service. He may be reached at 212-289-4100, ext. 209, email@example.com.
If you desire, a wedding program outlining the Order of Service, together with a list of participants, can be prepared by Erlinda Brent, the parish secretary. This program will be simple in design and photocopied; Holy Trinity cannot offer printing services. If you prefer to have a program produced at a commercial printer, we can show you samples from previous weddings. A draft of the program must be approved by the officiating priest. The deadline for submitting materials is three weeks prior to the date of the ceremony. To coordinate production of the program, please contact Erlinda Brent, 212-289-4100, ext. 201, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because the wedding ceremony is a solemn occasion, no photographs are allowed during the service except from the balcony, and these must be without flash or noise. The same restrictions apply to video cameras. If ushers notice wedding guests with cameras, video equipment, or other recording devices, they should politely request the guests not to use them during the service.
The wedding party may arrange to have photographs taken immediately after the ceremony. The clergy will be delighted to re-create moments in the ceremony for the purpose of photographs. To schedule photographs after the ceremony, please contact Erlinda Brent, 212-289-4100, ext. 201, email@example.com.
The photographer and/or videographer engaged for a wedding must contact the officiating priest, in person or by telephone, at least one week prior to the wedding date and must complete a registration form to be kept on file in the church office.
You may arrange to have flowers placed on the High Altar, as a symbol of new life. Florists might also suggest, for the wedding procession, a center aisle runner; for safety reasons, however, Holy Trinity must prohibit such. We recommend Floraculture, 212-594-8600, although you may use a florist of your choosing. After the ceremony, flowers should be left to grace the High Altar during parish worship services. This gift will be acknowledged in the Sunday worship bulletins and in the parish prayers. If you do wish to use your own florist, please contact Erlinda Brent, the parish administrator, to learn the specifications for the parish’s altar vases, 212-289-4100, ext. 201, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A lovely way to adorn the sanctuary for a wedding is with pew candles, which create a stunning view down the center aisle. Pew candles, if desired, can be ordered by contacting Erlinda Brent, the parish admnistrator, 212-289-4100, ext. 201., email@example.com.
In order to be good environmental stewards, Holy Trinity must prohibit rice or confetti in the buildings or on the grounds. Couples who wish for guests to shower them with symbols of their good wishes may arrange for grass seed, flower petals, or bubbles to be showered once the wedding party is outside of the church buildings.
Some couples may wish to hire a wedding coordinator or planner to attend to the practical details in preparing for the wedding. On the day of the ceremony, the wedding coordinator may assist the wedding party leading up to the start of the ceremony, which for most weddings is the musical prelude. The officiating priest orchestrates the ceremony itself. The wedding coordinator must contact the officiating priest, in person or by telephone, at least one month prior to the wedding date, and must complete a registration form to be kept on file in the church office.
A Church wedding must conform to the laws of New York State, which require couples to have a New York marriage license. You must apply for a license together in person at an office of the City Clerk of New York; a convenient location is in the Municipal Building, One Centre Street, 2nd Floor South, in lower Manhattan (Brooklyn Bridge stop on the 4, 5, or 6 subway lines). A marriage license is valid for thirty days. For more information, visit the City Clerk's Marriage Bureau website or call 212-669-2400.
We recommend that the principal participants in the wedding ceremony attend a rehearsal on the day before the date of the wedding. Please remember to schedule the wedding rehearsal at the same time you schedule the wedding itself, in order to ensure that the sanctuary will be available. Please bring the marriage license to the wedding rehearsal, so that you will have one less detail to worry about on your wedding day.
Because Draesel Hall in St. Christopher’s House must be available for parish events and preparations for Sunday morning, we regret that Holy Trinity is usually not able to accommodate full wedding receptions. Weather permitting, the church garden may be used for light refreshments. In case of rain, this gathering would take place either in the Choir Room or, if it is available, Draesel Hall. The reception fee covers the space use, any set-up of tables and chairs, and clean-up afterwards. The wedding party is responsible for refreshments, decorations, and tableware, as well as servers and musicians, if desired. To schedule a reception, please contact Erlinda Brent, the parish secretary, 212-289-4100, ext. 201, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fees & Honoraria
Because the church buildings must be maintained throughout the year, Holy Trinity charges fees for use of the buildings, grounds, and decorations. We also request honoraria for the various professional services surrounding a wedding. If the costs present a financial hardship, however, you are welcome to discuss your need with the priest who will perform your wedding. No one will be denied the sacrament of marriage because of an inability to pay.
To obtain a schedule of suggested fees and honoraria, please contact Erlinda Brent, the parish secretary, 212-289-4100, ext. 201, email@example.com.
Scheduling the Wedding
If you would like to hold your wedding ceremony at The Church of the Holy Trinity, you may initially contact Erlinda Brent, the parish administrator, to express your interest and confirm that the sanctuary is available on your preferred date. She will then confirm with you the next steps for your marriage preparation. She can be reached at 212-289-4100, ext. 201, firstname.lastname@example.org.