Ames
Weddings

Weddings

WEDDINGS

Weddings at Lutheran Church of Hope are a joyous celebration of God’s love – a time to worship our Lord as he joins together a couple in a life-long marriage as husband and wife.

Getting Started
If you are interested in scheduling a wedding at Hope, or inviting a Hope pastor to preside at your wedding, please email Wedding Director Heather Goeders, or call her at the church office: 515-222-1520 ext.123.

Due to the high volume of requests, we can only schedule weddings at Hope for those who are church members, or those who have made Hope their church home through regular attendance at worship or other ministry events.

Pre-Marriage Class
God established marriage as a life-long commitment. For this reason, and because we want to foster healthy marriages, all couples married at Hope, or by Hope pastors, are required to take a pre-marriage class.

Hope offers this pre-marriage class twice each year. To register for the next pre-marriage class at Hope, please click here.

Hope’s Same-Gender Wedding Policy
As a Bible-based church, we turn to Scripture for direction on all matters of faith and daily life. From the beginning of human creation (Genesis 2:24), God established marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. Affirmed by Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6), as well as the apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31), God’s intent for marriage is clear. As a result, we are unable to host same-sex weddings at Hope. 

As a Bible-based church, we also stand firmly against the oppression and bullying of LGBTQ people, too often carried out by self-righteous and legalistic Christians. Such behavior is outrageously unfaithful and a gross misrepresentation of Christ’s love. Jesus calls our love for God and others his greatest commandment (Mark 12:30-31). Without hesitation, Hope loves and welcomes all people — straight and gay — and we are blessed by the large number of LGBTQ people who proudly call Hope their church home, actively taking part in the life and mission of this congregation. 


Wedding Planning Timeline

Click here to view the Monthly Wedding Planning Timeline


Wedding Guidelines


How do I schedule a wedding date at Hope?
To begin the process, contact Heather Goeders, Wedding Coordinator, at weddings@hopewdm.org or 515-222-1520. After reviewing the policies and fees, she will work with you to reserve dates and times for the wedding and rehearsal. Please note the following:

  • Weddings are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A wedding date must be confirmed within two weeks of getting the date by sending the non-refundable deposit and the signed covenant. The covenant is a confirmation that you agree to the policies in this manual. It will be sent to you when a date and time are settled.
  • Hope typically schedules a 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm wedding in the Chapel almost every Saturday. The Chapel seats 300 comfortably.

Is there a premarriage class or counseling offered?
The pastors expect all couples to attend one of the Pre-Marriage Seminars offered at Hope. They believe that you should begin your married relationship with as many tools as you can gather for a lifetime of growth together. By participating in this seminar, you are making an important decision to invest more deeply in what God has given you - each other and your relationship.

The Pre-Marriage Seminar consists of six weekly sessions at which you will have the opportunity to look more intentionally at your relationship. Several presenters will share thoughts and insights into building a healthy and growing relationship that lasts a lifetime. You will also discover ways to ensure that your relationship thrives.


Who helps with weddings at Hope?
Hope’s Wedding Coordinator will be available to answer your questions as they arise in your planning process. The coordinator will meet with you four months before the wedding to discuss your plans. Please note that the Wedding Coordinator also serves other Hope members going through life milestones.


How do we schedule a pastor for our wedding?
A Hope pastor, chaplain or ministry director will be assigned to officiate your wedding. Officiants are assigned weddings based on availability. If you have a preference, please state that at the time you meet with the Wedding Coordinator. At one month before the ceremony, you can contact the church office (222-1520) to set up a meeting with your wedding officiant to meet and discuss the service.

Please note the following:

  • The officiants will do their best to accommodate requests; however, the final decision will be based on their schedules and commitments.
  • Typically, the officiant will not be able to attend your rehearsal dinner or wedding reception due to their weekend commitments at worship.
  • Senior Pastor Mike Housholder is available for only a limited number of weddings due to his preaching schedule and other weekend commitments. If you’d like to request Pastor Mike, you can do so, and if his schedule permits, he will be happy to preside at your wedding service.
  • Guest pastors are permitted. It is acceptable for a family member or friend who is a Christian pastor and is licensed to perform weddings in Iowa to preside at your wedding. Please let the Wedding Coordinator know to make the required arrangements.

When will the rehearsal happen?
The rehearsal is important and the entire wedding party should attend. Your wedding assistant(s) will coordinate this event. Rehearsals, usually held the day before the wedding, take approximately one hour and must begin and end on time. A rehearsal time will be assigned by the Wedding Coordinator at the same time the wedding is scheduled.


Are there guidelines for music?
Music is a very important part of the wedding ceremony. Lutheran Church of Hope is God’s house. For that reason, all music selected should be appropriate for a Christian worship service. The mission and values of Hope are to be a reflection of the life and ministry of Christ. Music that does not present a Christ-centered message will not be permitted, and you will be asked to consider those pieces for other parts of your day, such as your reception. To assist, the staff has developed a list of suggested music.

There are some questions to be asked about the music. If the answer is “yes,” then the music is likely appropriate.

  • Does this music/text reflect praise and/or thanksgiving to God?
  • Is it based on, or does it reflect, a scriptural theme?
  • Is this song in the form of a prayer?

If you wish to use music selections not found on the list, please discuss your ideas with the Wedding Coordinator. The coordinator can also schedule a pianist for the ceremony and provide a list of possible vocalists and their contact information. Hope remains open to your creative input and wants you to be aware of our willingness to help you select music that will give glory to our God, the source of all love!

Prelude Music
This music is performed as your guests are being seated. Normally starting about 15-20 minutes prior to your ceremony, the music selections are generally chosen by the organist/pianist. It is not necessary to list the titles of the prelude music in your program, although you may have that option if you choose.

The Processional
The processional will be performed as your bridal party enters the Chapel. Couples frequently choose three pieces; one for the seating of parents and/or grandparents, one for the bridal group and one for the entrance of the bride. When selecting processional music, keep in mind the style, tone and mood you want to create with your selections.

Worship Music
You may choose to have the congregation sing a worship song together. Print the words to the song in your wedding program. For an additional fee a production team member can put the lyrics on the screen.

Solo Vocal Music
Solos are usually performed in a variety of places within the wedding ceremony. Normally, one or two solos containing sacred texts that directly relate to and support the worship service are presented. Following is a list of suggested places for solos:

  • At the conclusion of the prelude (just before the processional)
  • Immediately following the processional
  • Immediately following the greeting/opening prayer
  • Following the reading of Scripture
  • Following the message
  • During the lighting of the unity candle
  • During the “prayer” section of the service

The Recessional
The recessional will be played as the wedding party exits the Chapel. Usually these pieces are joyous and festive.

The Postlude
This music is played as your guests leave. Normally, anywhere from 10-15 minutes of music will be performed. Typically, the pianist or organist will choose these selections. It is not necessary to list the titles of the postlude pieces in your program, although that remains an option.


How do I get a marriage license?
The marriage license must be purchased at least three days before the wedding. You must bring one copy of the license, the certificate and the return envelope to the rehearsal. Your wedding assistant will make sure it is correctly filled out and signed, and will mail the certificate to the county clerk after the ceremony. Visit www.polkrecorder.com/marriages.htm or www.dallas.ia.us/index/aspx?page=422 for more information.


What is allowed in the building?
Your wedding is a Lutheran Church of Hope worship service. Participants and guests should conduct themselves accordingly.

It is likely that your wedding will not be the only ceremony or activity in the chapel on your wedding day. For that reason, you will have four hours of use of the Chapel. An example of how this timeframe works will be sent to you when your date has been confirmed.

It is likely that other activities will be going on at the church on your wedding day. The Wedding Coordinator will work with the other ministries to make sure everyone is aware of when a wedding is taking place.

Hope is not able to store your wedding dress or decorations. You will also need to take all decorations and personal items with you immediately after the wedding. Thank you for helping Hope to serve others by doing this.

What about alcohol or smoking?
Alcohol is not permitted in any part of the church or in the parking lot. Lutheran Church of Hope is a smoke-free environment.

Hope asks that you review the policy with your wedding party and families. To clarify, Hope requests that:

  • You and your wedding party refrain from alcohol use prior to arriving for the rehearsal and the wedding
  • You and your wedding party refrain from alcohol and tobacco use before or after the rehearsal and wedding in both the church and the parking lot.

The pastors reserve the right to refuse to perform the marriages of couples who do not comply with this policy.


Are there guidelines for decorating?

Chapel Furnishings

  • Plants in the Chapel can be moved for your ceremony
  • The altar will be moved back toward the window to accommodate your wedding party
  • Any equipment, furniture or decorations on stage can be moved only with the approval of the wedding assistant.
  • Hope is unable to change the chair placements in the Chapel.

Aisle Runners

  • An aisle runner in the Chapel is not provided
  • The aisle is 75 feet long and 55 inches wide
  • Runners should be cloth and on a roll with a rope
  • A runner is required if flower petals will be tossed

Altar

  • The measurements of the Chapel altar are 36 inches wide, 72 inches long, and 38 inches tall
  • There is a damask table covering that blends well with either white or ivory
  • Personal altar coverings are welcome, but you will be responsible for getting any additional measurements
  • No staples or nails may be used to hang decorations

Flowers

  • Flowers may be placed on the altar or on flower stands
  • Glitter on flowers is NOT allowed
  • Pins or plastic clips may be used to secure floral arrangements or bows to the end of chair rows
  • No staples or nails may be used to hang decorations
  • Pedestals or stands brought from the florist should have floor protectors
  • Flower arrangements and bouquets should arrive at the church already assembled at the time the bride arrives
  • Decorations cannot be hung from the walls or ceilings
  • You are responsible for informing the florist of the policies and time constraints. This should be done at your first meeting with your florist.

Guest Book Table

  • Hope has a table available for your guest book. It measures 30 inches wide, 72 inches long, and 29 inches tall.
  • Hope has table coverings for you to use or you may bring your own.

Candles/Candle Holders

  • You must provide all candles. They need to be described as “dripless”
  • Hope has 6 graduated-height candle holders for your use. They hold candles with a 3- or 4-inch diameter of any height
  • Hope has a 3-piece glass unity candle set. It uses two taper candles (8-10 inches) and one 3- or 4-inch diameter pillar candle
  • Hope does not have candelabras
  • You may bring your own candle holders. Make sure they are substantial enough to contain the melting wax to protect the altar
  • Fire code requires that aisle candles have glass covers
  • Special care should be taken to ensure that candleholders in the aisle are very stable and do not block the aisles

Rice/Birdseed/Balloons

  • The throwing of birdseed is allowed outside. The throwing of rice is NOT allowed.
  • Balloons are discouraged to respect the environment.
  • Bubbles, bells, flower petals and streamers are options

Glitter

Glitter from decorations or clothing presents a difficult cleaning problem for the church staff. Therefore, Hope asks that you refrain from using body glitter, glitter on your decorations or glitter on the clothing of your wedding party. Please pass this information on to your mothers to guide them as they select their dresses.


Are there guidelines for photographers or videographers?

  • At the time the wedding is scheduled, you will need to decide if you (the bride and groom) will be seeing each other before the wedding.
  • If you are seeing each other, you will be able to start using the church 3 hours before the wedding start time. The photographer should arrive at the agreed-upon time and will have 30 minutes to set up and 1 hour and 45 minutes for photography.
  • If you are not seeing each other before the wedding, you will be able to start using the church 2.5 hours before the wedding start time. This will allow the photographer 30 minutes to set up, and 1 hour and 15 minutes of photography before the wedding and 30 minutes after the wedding.
  • Photographers must know the time constraints. It is not possible to change these times. A letter for you to give to the photographer will be included in the packet you receive once your date has been confirmed. Please give it to your photographer as soon as possible.
  • Hope requests that wedding photographers (and guests) not use flash photography once the ceremony begins. The ceremony begins with the processional.
  • Photographers are asked to remain at the back of the Chapel once the processional begins, to refrain from moving around excessively during the service, and to make sure that their equipment is not blocking aisles. This time to worship God is the highest priority, and Hope apologizes in advance if this prevents your photographer from getting certain shots.
  • Videographers must know to set up their equipment in a manner so as not to obstruct the view of wedding guests. The back of the worship area is the best option.
  • The photographer and videographer must be aware of the policies and time constraints at your first meeting. That will be helpful in reducing misunderstandings.
  • Hope is able to provide a mono or stereo line level audio feed via XLR connections for your videographer with advance notice.

What if I want to include video or recordings in the ceremony?

Audio
A member of Hope’s production staff will be provided to assist on the wedding day with:

  • Setting up and managing the microphones for the officiant, vocalists, musicians and Scripture readers
  • Playing CD music during the ceremony, if desired
  • Playing one video presentation, if desired

You may use music recorded on a CD at your wedding. Please record it on a playable CD in the order it will be used in the wedding. Provide one copy to the Wedding Coordinator two weeks before the wedding. 

Production technicians are typically present only on the wedding day. If CD music is to be used for any part of the processional or recessional, a technician will need to be present at the rehearsal for an additional fee of $25.

Video
A second member of Hope’s production team will need to be hired at an additional fee of $50 to operate the computer for your wedding if:

  • The congregation (your guests) will sing worship songs requiring the projection of the lyrics on the screens.
  • You are requesting more than one video presentation.

Please provide the Wedding Coordinator with a copy of your video presentation two weeks prior to your wedding day. This is necessary to ensure your specific media are compatible with the church’s production equipment.

The preferred format for video presentations is DVD.

Typically the video presentation is prepared without music and has live piano accompaniment. If you would like music included on the DVD, it is advisable to have the presentation professionally prepared. If you add music please remember to use the music guidelines and song list. Please record this presentation on a playable disc. Your media will be returned to you at the end of the wedding ceremony.


What about the program and order of service?

  • It is helpful to have a program at your wedding. An example of a general order of service to help you create the program is below. The officiant who will be officiating may individualize the service and will discuss that with you when you meet one month before your wedding.
  • Please provide a copy of the program text to the Wedding Coordinator once you have met with your wedding officiant.

Couples will go over the Order of Service with the officiant. This is a typical order of service.

Prelude - Special Music/Solo (optional)
Processional
Greeting and Prayer
Reading/s
Special Music/Solo (optional)
Message
Special Music/Solo (optional)
Vows
Giving of Rings
Unity Candle (optional)
Special Music/Solo (optional)
Marriage Blessing and Prayer
Lord’s Prayer (spoken or as special music)
Blessing
Recessional

The Wedding Vows

The promises you make to one another on your wedding day are among the most profound words you will ever share with each other. Great care and thought need to go into what you say as you make public your declaration of love and commitment and promise.

What follows are the typically used vows, both contemporary and traditional. Some couples have used parts of the following to write their own vows. As you plan with your officiant, you will have the opportunity to further discuss your wedding vows.

I take you,              name              to be my wife/husband from this day forward,
to join with you and share all that is to come,
and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.

or

In the presence of God and this community,
I,       name       , take you, to be my wife/husband;
to have and to hold from this day forward,
in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish, as long as both shall live.
This is my solemn vow.

The Exchange of Rings

The circle has long been a symbol for marriage. These circles are made of precious metal to represent the enduring and precious nature of your relationship. Being unbroken circles, each represents unending love. As often as either of you look upon these rings, may you be reminded of this moment, the love you have promised, and the commitment - the covenant in which you live.

                  name                , I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness.

or

                  name                , I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow,
With all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you,
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

For a list of suggested Bible passages, click here.


What are the costs associated with having a wedding at Hope?

  • The Wedding Coordinator will work with you on the exact fees you will owe.
  • The fees you owe will be due two weeks prior to your wedding. Payment should be sent to the Wedding Coordinator at the church payable to Lutheran Church of Hope.

Wedding Fees:

Full wedding in the Lutheran Church of Hope Chapel
Basic fee (contact Wedding Director for details)
Pastor honorarium: The amount of your choice

The basic fee includes:

  • Facility use (1 hour for the rehearsal and 4 hours for the wedding)
  • The assistance of the Wedding Coordinator to coordinate date, times, officiants, and wedding assistant(s), as well as planning of the ceremony
  • Wedding assistant to assist you the week of the wedding finalizing plans, to lead the rehearsal and walk alongside you and the wedding party during the day of the ceremony
  • Production Team assistance with sound and lighting during the ceremony

Optional Fees:

Pianist for your wedding and rehearsal $150
Sound technician at rehearsal $25
Computer operator at wedding $50
Computer operator at rehearsal $25
Vocalist for your wedding and rehearsal  Fees vary

A non-refundable deposit is due when wedding date is set and balance is due 2 weeks before wedding.

Small Family Weddings
If you would like a very simple wedding with just a few guests, Hope can help you with that as well. These weddings have 20 or fewer guests and are held in the Prayer Garden or the Prayer Chapel. We do not provide a person from the Production Team or Wedding Assistant for these ceremonies.

Fee (contact Wedding Director for details)
Pastor honorarium: The amount of your choice

The fee includes:

  • Facility use (1 hour)
  • The assistance of the Wedding Coordinator

Is it possible to leave personal items at the church?

  • It is a good idea to bring food to eat while the participants are dressing and during the pre-wedding activities.
  • All food, clothing, purses, etc. must be removed from both dressing areas before the wedding party walks down the aisle. It is the responsibility of the wedding party to arrange for the care of their property before, during and after the ceremony. Leave all valuable personal belongings and gifts in the care of parents or friends during the service. The church is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
  • If gifts are brought to the church, the church assumes no responsibility for them. You should select someone to be in charge of gifts at all times and ask them to be responsible for removing them from the church at the end of the wedding.

What are the responsibilities of the Wedding Coordinator?

  • Work with you to schedule the wedding and rehearsal dates and times.
  • Provide support via phone or e-mail.
  • Meet with you about four months before your wedding date to explain procedures and answer questions.
  • Update the officiant, musicians and others who are involved about wedding details.
  • Schedule wedding assistant(s) to assist you on your wedding day and familiarize them with your plans.

What are the responsibilities of the Wedding Assistant assigned to my ceremony?

  • Call the bride approximately one week before the wedding to review all the details of the wedding
  • Open the church for rehearsal and wedding
  • Lead the rehearsal (pastors and directors do not typically attend rehearsals)
  • Help with decorating of the Chapel
  • Work as a liaison between all involved parties on the wedding day to keep it as stress-free as possible
  • Work with the photographer and wedding party to keep everyone on schedule
  • Help the wedding party line up for the processional
  • Complete the marriage certificate and make sure it is properly signed
  • Help to clean the church following the service and return everything to its proper place

What is expected of the bride and groom?

  • Make sure the Wedding Coordinator is notified of any change in plans. A small detail may seem unimportant but could lead to problems.
  • Contact the Wedding Coordinator at any time if you have questions.
  • Remember to bring your license and certificate to the rehearsal. You can’t get married without it!
  • Check all sizes and colors of the wedding attire before the wedding day. It is nearly impossible to make alterations and exchanges just before the wedding.
  • Distribute a map to out-of-town guests with directions to get to the church.
  • Arrange for someone to keep the dressing rooms in order, collect personal belongings and tidy up the rooms. The church is not responsible for anything left behind.
  • Inform hired outside parties (florist, photographer or videographer) of all Lutheran Church of Hope policies and procedures.
  • Be responsible for the completion of a Pre-Marriage Seminar.
  • Make the appointment with the Wedding Coordinator four months before the wedding.
  • Call the church office to make the appointment with your officiant one month before the wedding to meet and discuss the order of service.

Checklist for the bride and groom:

  • Read through this manual.
  • Contact Heather Goeders, Wedding Coordinator at 515-222-1520 with date requests.
  • Once the date is set a covenant will be sent to you.
  • Return the covenant that will be sent to you after the date is set and the $100 deposit for your date to be confirmed. Your date will be held for 2 weeks.
  • Register for the Pre-Marriage Seminar at Lutheran Church of Hope.
  • Receive the wedding planning guide.
  • Set an appointment with Wedding Coordinator four months before your wedding.
  • Bring the completed guide to the meeting with the Wedding Coordinator.
  • Set an appointment with your officiant one month before wedding.
  • Deliver your program to the Wedding Coordinator.
  • Receive a letter with final arrangements one month before the wedding.
  • Two weeks before wedding, bring in your final payment, any CD and/or DVD to be used in the ceremony.
  • Enjoy your beautiful and meaningful wedding!

Questions?

Contact Heather Goeders, Wedding Director at 515-222-1520 ext. 123 or weddings@hopewdm.org.