Weddings at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
Welcome! We are pleased that you are considering the All Souls Church and/or Simpson House as the site for your wedding ceremony. Our congregation, and our staff and ministers, hope to help you arrange a fulfilling and memorable experience for this special day.
As a liberal religious humanist community, we value individual experiences and beliefs, honoring all world religions in our search for truth and meaning. Thus, we do not follow a standard text in performing weddings and services of union; rather, we seek to express the uniqueness of each person and each relationship. Working together with the minister, you will be invited to participate in designing a ceremony that is meaningful in the context of your spiritual life and values, and that reflects your individual personalities and your vision of the promises you are making. Interfaith couples often seek our assistance because of our appreciation for diverse faith traditions.
Our senior minister, the Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons, as well as the church’s current ministerial intern, are available to officiate at weddings and covenantal unions. Please call the main office (816-531-2131) to request an interview. An initial meeting should be scheduled well in advance of your wedding date, in order to check the calendar and to enable the minister and couple to become acquainted with each other. Successive meetings may then be arranged to plan the elements of your ceremony. Two or three one- to two-hour sessions are customary.
Wedding services are available to the larger community as well as to members. While membership is not required for weddings performed at All Souls, fees for non-members will differ from those for members. Due to time constraints, Dr. Gibbons does not normally officiate at weddings held elsewhere than the All Souls facilities, but interns or other clergy on staff may be available for these services. Use of the All Souls facilities for ceremonies conducted by other officiants will be at the discretion of the senior minister.
Weddings are an ancient ritual with many cross-cultural traditions. They are as varied as the people who enter into covenantal relationships with one another. Within the same religious or cultural tradition, expectations and personal taste may also vary widely. Traditionally, weddings have a structure that begins and ends with music, in between which are words and rituals of commitment. As you consider with the officiant how you will structure your own ceremony, you will be invited to include any special ideas you both may have, such as a unity candle, wine-sharing service, blessings by parents, children or family, or special features having to do with music or other rituals. You are invited to bring any resources to the planning discussions with the officiant.
Typically you will be offered a collection of optional readings from which to choose various components of your service. Parts of a wedding ceremony may include: Prelude, Procession, Opening Words, Invocation, Readings, Minister’s Reflections, Prayers or Meditation, Parental or Community Blessings, Expression of Intent, Vows, Blessing of Rings, Exchange of Rings, Pronouncement, Benediction, Recession. Other elements may be added at your suggestion. With the assistance of the officiant, you will be guided through a process for creating your own personalized vows. You may choose to involve your friends and family in various roles, such as reading, ushering, musicians, assisting with flowers, or other forms of participation, as these reflect your values and relationships.
Music contributes a great deal to the feeling of a ceremony, and wedding music varies widely. Our Music Director can assist you in choosing music for your ceremony and may be available to play at your wedding as the schedule permits. Alternatively, you may wish to contract your own professional musicians, or to invite musically talented friends to participate, or to combine the services of All Souls staff and an outside vocalist or musician. These arrangements should be confirmed as early as possible in the planning process. Please note that there is an additional fee for the use of the piano, as well as for the services of staff musicians.
Sound and Video Technology
The sound in Bragg Auditorium makes the use of a microphone necessary, if the ceremony is to be heard by those in attendance. The church office will arrange for a Sound Technician, who will set up microphones, and can play digitally recorded music, if desired. It is also possible to use video presentations as part of the ceremony; this may require additional technology assistance, and necessitate an increased fee.
Please advise relatives and photographers in advance that only photographs using available light may be taken unobtrusively during the actual service. Flash bulbs are immensely distracting both to the couple themselves and the officiant, as well as to others in attendance at the service. Following the ceremony, the officiant will be available to pose for photographs with the couple. Videotaping is welcome and should be arranged well in advance, especially if use of an electrical outlet is needed. Due to specific lighting challenges in Bragg Auditorium, a visit by the photographer or videographer in advance of the ceremony is encouraged.
Flowers and other decoration can also be an important element in shaping the overall feel of a ceremony. In consultation with a professional florist, some couples choose to rent floral and candle arrangements. Others invite family members to help create the desired atmosphere. The church has a limited number of flower stands and candleholders for the platform area. To arrange for use of these, or for questions on aesthetics, please consult the officiant. Also, please note that NOTHING may be placed on any part of the piano at any time.
Rehearsals are not always necessary for all ceremonies, particularly if your service will be brief or informal. A formal wedding in Bragg Auditorium involving a large wedding party or the participation of young children should include a rehearsal. The option of a rehearsal can be negotiated with the officiant during your meetings to plan the ceremony.
Bragg Auditorium seats 200 people; the adjoining lobby doors can be opened to allow 50 additional people to witness the ceremony from the lobby. There are separate dressing rooms available for the bride and groom and their wedding parties. There is a fellowship hall that can seat 60 people comfortably, and it opens to an outdoor patio which can also be available for people to eat and converse. The kitchen is next door to the fellowship hall and is available for staging a catered event. Additionally, there is the option of having the wedding ceremony in Bragg Auditorium and having the reception at the Simpson House.
Please note that building use fees are separate from fees for the services of the minister and musicians.
We request that birdseed or bubbles be used instead of rice — outside the building entrance only — following the ceremony.
Availability of the All Souls building for wedding events, including ceremonies, receptions, rehearsals, dressing areas, and time available in advance for decorating, must be coordinated through the church office. Once the church schedule has been checked to ensure that no other event is booked, a non-refundable deposit (Click Here) will be needed to officially reserve your date. In addition, a few forms will need to be completed.
If you wish to see the church, or to receive a packet of information including fees for All Souls and the Simpson House, please contact the Rental Coordinator, at 816 531 2131, firstname.lastname@example.org.