Grace United Methodist Church Valley Stream

21 South Franklin Ave

Valley Stream, NY

(516) 825-1182

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey L. Hooker, Pastor


Services of Christian Marriage at Grace UMC Valley Stream will be conducted with appropriate dignity and propriety by a Pastor appointed to the church by the Bishop of the New York Annual Conference.  Each marriage service should be personal and should express the desires and ideals of the couple.  However, final decisions regarding all wedding arrangements are to be approved in advance by the officiating pastor.

It is expected that if you wish to assure that your marriage will be officiated by the pastor from the Grace UMC, you will make arrangements with the pastor before scheduling your wedding.  

Care should be given to assure that the church is available for your wedding before finalizing arrangements for your reception.  

The Standards and Requirements for Services of Christian Marriage 

in the Grace UMC are as follows:


All persons to be married will enter fully into pre-marital counseling sessions with the understanding that additional sessions may be added at the discretion of the pastor.  Pre-marital counseling will be conducted by the pastor of the Grace UMC or by persons authorized to provide such counseling.  Written proof that counseling has been completed will be required for persons who do not receive counseling through Grace UMC.  When deemed appropriate, the pastor may advise or require additional professional counseling and may make recommendations of professional therapists.  All decisions concerning any marriage will be made solely by the pastor.  


A rehearsal is required for all weddings unless it is determined by the pastor to be unnecessary.  The customary time for the rehearsal is the week or days before the wedding, though other arrangements can be made with pastor and the bridal couple.  It is not expected that the organist will be present for the rehearsal.  The pastor will direct the rehearsal.  The sanctuary will be reserved for one hour for the rehearsal.  Other participants are to be notified of these arrangements by the couple.  The couple is to bring the marriage license, rings (if they are to be exchanged) and any other special items needed for the ceremony to the pastor not later than the time of the rehearsal.  

The Service

The Service of Christian Marriage is provided for couples who wish to solemnize their marriage in a Service of Christian Worship that parallels in structure the Sunday Service.  Everything about the service is designed to witness that this is a Christian marriage.  In cases of an interfaith marriage, arrangements are to be made in advance with the pastor so that customs from both traditions may be honored.  Arrangements for the inclusion of other clergy or religious leaders and any additions to the service relating to other faith traditions are to be made with the pastor’s advice and approval.  If other clergy or religious leaders are to participate in the service, they must provide copies of their credentials to the officiating pastor before the wedding.  The pastor of Grace UMC will take the lead role in any wedding performed.  

The sanctuary will be reserved for the wedding for three hours, which includes time for flower set-up and photos to taken before and/or after the ceremony.   

Services of Christian Marriage planned for a location other than the church must be made with the pastor’s advice and approval.  


The organs/pianos in Grace UMC are reserved for the sole use of the church musician or their designated replacement.  If the bridal couple requests more than the customary amount of music, if additional rehearsals are required, or if the organist is asked to prepare special music with other soloists or musicians, the organist will set his/her own charges over and above the customary fee.  

Flowers and/or Decorations

Floral arrangements and decorations are to be appropriate for the service.  It is expected that there will be an arrangement or bouquet(s) on the altar.  Other floral arrangements and decorations should be simple and placed so that they will not detract from the wedding or create a hazard to people as they enter and leave the sanctuary.  Arrangements are to be made with the church administrator for flower delivery and placement of decorations.  Also, the couple is expected to make arrangements with the church administrator for any flowers that are to be left for the use of the church after the service.  Otherwise, it is expected that flowers and/or decorations will be removed within 1 hour following the service, or before the sanctuary is needed for the next service (whichever occurs first).

Pictures and Video Cameras

As a wedding in the church is primarily a Service of Christian Worship, the bridal couple is expected to inform their photographers, family members, and guests of the need to make arrangements for stationary video cameras with the pastor at the time of the rehearsal – or before.  It is expected that the bridal couple will make it clear to all photographers, volunteer and/or professional, that they are expected to be discrete and appropriate while taking pictures during the service.  

Traditional Send-off

To avoid excessive litter, only flower petals or bubbles may be used to greet the newly-weds as they leave the church after the ceremony.  

Cleaning Following the Service

The sanctuary and church premises are to be cleaned by the church maintenance staff following the rehearsal and the service (except for the removal of flowers and decorations – see above).  

Eileen Robertson, Church Administrator

Telephone: (516) 825-1182