General Policies and Guidelines
Reserving a DateCall the church office (978) 768-3690 or email the Wedding Coordinator at email@example.com regarding availability of the building on the proposed date of your event. If the office is closed, please leave a message and we will return your call promptly. If our minister will be officiating, it will be necessary to check her availability for the desired date. After settling on a date, an application must be completed (download at the bottom of this page) and returned to the office with a nonrefundable deposit of $50.00. Please make your check payable to First Universalist Church of Essex.
Finding an OfficiantOur minister, Rev. Tess Baumberger, can officiate at weddings as her schedule permits, for both church members and non-members. If she has a conflict with your chosen date, she will be happy to suggest the names of other officials. We cannot guarantee an available officiant, but we will try to assist you. If you choose to use our church but already have an officiant other than our minister, that person must receive permission from Rev. Baumberger to perform the ceremony.
Please note that if the officiant is an out-of-state member of the clergy, he or she must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. It is recommended that such an application be made well in advance of the wedding date. For more information, contact them at (617) 727-2836. It is possible for a non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative or family friend) to obtain special one-time permission to perform a marriage. For more information, contact the Governor’s Appointment Office at 617/725-4055.
Fees paid to the officiant are paid directly to that person. If you are using the services of our minister, the check should be made payable to Rev. Tess Baumberger. Please see the “Schedule of Fees” below.
Marriage LicensesObtaining a marriage license is the responsibility of the wedding couple. You may apply for a license at any Town/City Hall in the state. In Essex, applications are made at the Town Clerk’s Office in the Town Hall. Information is available on the Town of Essex website at http://www.essexma.org/Pages/EssexMA_Clerk/index There is a 3-day waiting period between making the application and the time you can pick up your license. You must bring your license with you at the time of the wedding rehearsal or make other acceptable arrangements with the officiant. Please be sure he or she makes a copy of the signed license and leaves the copy with the church office. The officiant will complete the license and return it to the appropriate officials.
The SanctuaryThe seating capacity in the sanctuary is about 100 people. We have additional chairs which can be set up on both sides of the central aisle and along the back wall of the sanctuary if needed.Music for your CeremonyThe First Universalist Church of Essex prides itself on having two professional pianists available to play for your wedding service. If neither one of them is available on your wedding date, we can help you find another qualified pianist. Please see their fees listed on the Application for Wedding .
Photography and VideotapingArrangements for recording the ceremony are the responsibility of the wedding couple. It is up to the officiating minister to set policy as to what restrictions he/she may want to put on the photographer.
Receiving LineIf you are going to have a receiving line and want to have it at the church, in good weather it works out nicely to have the receiving line outside as one exits, below the first set of stairs in front of the church.
DecorationsIt is important that any decorations used are appropriate for the interior of our sanctuary and that no damage is incurred. Please do not move or remove anything without consulting with the minister. If special arrangements for decorating the church must be made, check with the Wedding Coordinator a week in advance of the wedding date.
FlowersIt is the responsibility of the wedding couple to make arrangements for flowers either with a florist or some other party or individual. Large arrangements may be placed wherever you choose on the chancel—keep in mind the placement and number of wedding attendants when determining a good site for these. Flowers may also be put in the windows—there are six(6) in our Sanctuary. It is important to consult with the Wedding Coordinator when deciding on a delivery time for your flowers. If you are planning to leave your flowers behind after the service, please let the Wedding Coordinator know.
CandlesIf you plan on utilizing candles in your service, placement and location of each must be approved by the Wedding Coordinator in advance.The existing candelabras on the altar are available for use. It is essential that these be kept in their current place unless other special arrangements have been made with the Wedding Coordinator. A fee of $20 will be charged for use of these candles.
Pew DecorationsDecorations may be put on the end of the pews. It is essential that they be attached with clips that florists can provide, since these will not lift the finish when the decorations are removed. Please do not use tacks or tape at any time or in any place. You will be billed for any damage incurred. There are 8 pews on each side of the center aisle for a total of 16 pews.
Aisle RunnersThe church has a carpeted aisle, so a runner is not required. However, should you wish to have one, the center aisle is 35 feet from the front of the sanctuary to the entrance of the sanctuary. The church does not provide the aisle runners.
Other Information and GuidelinesChurch Representative – It is required that a Sexton (or other church representative) be present for the rehearsal and the ceremony. There is a fee for this person’s time. Please see the Schedule of Fees below.
Invitations – When planning your wedding invitations, the address is:First Universalist Church of Essex, 59 Main Street, Essex, Massachusetts, 01929. A map and directions for you to copy for the convenience of your guests can be found here:
Map and Direction to First Universalist Church of Essex
ParkingThe church enjoys close proximity to the town lot, located behind the Essex Fire Department at 24 Martin Street, with easy access via a set of public stairs. Parking is also available at free on-street spaces.
Pre-ceremony waiting sitePrior to the start of the ceremony, the wedding party can assemble in the lower church area, which has a separate ground floor riverside entrance, a large open room, a rest room and stairs to the sanctuary. At the main church entrance, there is also a “Brides Room” that can provide a space to wait before entering the sanctuary.
General Policies• No smoking is allowed anywhere in the building.• Food and drink are not allowed in the sanctuary.• No rice, confetti, or birdseed may be thrown in the building; birdseed may be used outside.• This agreement does not include use of the church kitchen. Activity is restricted to areas which have been reserved in advance.
Schedule of Fees*Make check payable to First Universalist Church of Essex** Make check payable to an individual as namedApplication for Wedding.pdf