We draw upon the world's secular and religious traditions,
respecting the perspectives of both doubter and believer.
to design the kind of
ceremony we wanted,
with excellent suggestions.
We were really pleased.
“Our families, from different backgrounds, were
Music -- live and recorded
For many family-focused weddings or other intimate
ceremonies, either no music or live music
might be more in
keeping with the atmosphere, since recorded music tends to create a
of artificiality instead of the immediacy appropriate for such
occasions. (Recordings, from a technical and artistic perspective, can
Tabitha Reist Steiner, firstname.lastname@example.org, is one of Kansas City's many wonderful harpists. She is shown above.
Flute and Harp Duo
Flute and Guitar
While I do not
recommend recorded music, Pilgrim Chapel has a Bluetooth speaker. If
recorded music is what you want, please check with
the Pilgrim Chapel staff to prepare by sharing your playlist,
preferably Spotify, via text to the Chapel phone, 816.753.6719, for
Rebecca Knechtel 913.299.7972
Many other fine photographers may be available.
Photographers may find this helpful.
Mike Algusin -- (913) 713-8096
Coordination -- Wedding Planners
Do-it-yourself planners may find this NYTimes article helpful: wedding planning apps
While weddings at Pilgrim Chapel do not require a wedding coordinator, some couples prefer to retain help to manage flowers, photographers, musicians, the reception, and other arrangements. Here is one experienced coordinator I've worked with recently with great sense of people, understanding how to achieve what the couple desires, and adaptability:
Kim GarnierSome wedding planners -- at least when it comes to the wedding ceremony, from entrances to departures -- are grossly incompetent and can easily sabotage what you want. I am amazed by the number of planners I have worked with who fail even to think of faux flowers for the bride to carry during the rehearsal, a choreographic detail important if a photographer is engaged. If you engage a wedding planner or co-ordinator, insist that he or she consult with me so that we are "on the same page." Don't let your planner's preconceived idea of how you should have your own wedding overrule how you want your wedding to be.
Working with Wedding
Every wedding is different, and some of this may not apply to the wedding you are photographing. Still, some of the considerations may be useful to you.
0. Clergy appreciate the care photographers take
in creating images by which a couple may remember and celebrate their
Though Pilgrim Chapel's size has its challenges for photography, it is
an extraordinary facility that lends itself to beautiful pictures.
I prefer using flash sparingly, and please use no flash up
when someone other than me is reading. Please do not invade the chancel
area during the ceremony. Thank you!
1. I work with each couple to plan a wedding that best suits their wishes. This link outlines is a generalized sequence many couples find useful to use as the basic structure for their ceremonies. Check with me about variations.
2. I usually arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony (15 ninutes for a brief rental), and when I am available, I prepare the license and certificate which the couple will have placed on the altar-table. Then I find the two witnesses and invite them to sign in the side room. You may want a photo of that, or reenact it at some point.
3. Except for a brief rental, usually after I am vested, just before the ceremony is to begin, I greet the guests informally from the floor with a few instructions, such as "Let's follow the traditional practice of standing when the bride appears." Sometimes a couple will ask me to ask their guests to refrain from using their smart phones or cameras to take pictures in order to minimize distractions. Often I conclude the informal greeting by lighting candles on the altar-table.
4. You will want to know among the various entrance, processional, and arrival styles, which will be used, coordinated with musicians or sound engineer. Often the bride is escorted by her father or other relative or friend. In the case of the father, I suggest he kiss his daughter on the check and place her hand in her groom's hand. The couple face each other. If she has carried flowers down the aisle, she retains the flowers for the next few moments so you can get a photo. An attendant may fluff or rearrange the bride's dress.
5. When the dad sits down, I formally welcome everyone to the happy occasion. Then I motion for an attendant to take the flowers from the bride for most of the rest of the ceremony.
6. You may want to photograph any readers or other participants as the ceremony proceeds. You should ask me how the presentations will be made, how vows (often from scrolls) and rings will be exchanged; and if the couple has selected special rites such as a "unity candle" or "handfasting," how that can be best photographed. I routinely discourage music except before and after the ceremony proper.
7. After I pronounce the couple married, an embrace
is customary.Then I turn the couple to face their guests and motion for
the bride's attendant to return the flowers to the
8. The ceremony usually concludes with everyone standing for the final benediction.
9. Among various options for recessionals and exits, you will want to know what the couple wants.
10. If the couple wants a photo with me after the ceremony, I'll be guided by your advice. If the weather permits, some couples like outside the front door with the couple on the sidewalk and me behind them on the
11. Let me know if you have questions and be sure to check with me concerning item 6.
12. Thank you for making wedding images to cherish.
The Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn
11. MASKS.-- Inside the building I will be masked. I do not require you to be masked, but it is a reassurance to others who may be masked about safe practices during the ceremony. (Ceiling fans and a floor fan in the chancel insure good ventilation.)
If the weather is prohibitive, I can remove my mask for a moment after the guests have departed. (This is subject to change depending on community health measures.)
0. Here is a
possible basic sequence
for the ceremony. I'll let you know of any variations that woud affect
your performance. Most ceremonies (from the Welcome to the Benediction)
run between 15 to 30 minutes.
2. I discourage music during the ceremony, even "background" music. You and I will honor the couple's considered wishes, however.
3. I will greet you as soon as possible after I arrive and outline the ceremony and answer any questions you may have.
4. Except for a 1 hour rental, usually after I am vested, just before the ceremony is to begin, I greet the guests informally from the floor with a few instructions, such as "Let's follow the traditional practice of standing when the bride appears." Often I conclude the informal greeting by lighting candles on the altar-table. If you are playing prelude music when I appear to present greetings, you can find a phrase to stop or continue playing in the background.
5. You'll want to be clear about prelude and processional music and cues for when to begin.
6. Usually the ceremony ends after the couple embrace, I turn them toward their guests, I ask the guests to stand, and I offer a concluding benediction. My last word is "Amen." Then you may begin music for the recessional or departures.
I embrace live music at weddings. The gift of
your music will make it a genuine occasion. Thank you.
Amplification equipmentMusicians needing amplification for weddings I have performed at Pilgrim Chapel have brought their own equipment as I don't think the Chapel has any. Most instruments, including acoustic guitar, don't need amplification because the acoustics in the Chapel are so good, but of course electric guitars do need amps. (Live music is so much better than recorded music because it makes a ceremony somehow more immediate.)
When couples have had ceremonies video-recorded, I've sometimes been asked to wear a mike for the recording to pick up the bride and groom (as well as me), but not for amplification in the Chapel which is usually not necessary.
Pilgrim Chapel was built for the Lutheran Congregation of the Deaf, and it is a wonderful irony that the Chapel acoustics are so perfect.
I've performed well over a hundred weddings at Pilgrim Chapel, and a microphone has never been used for the ceremony (except for video-recording, which was not heard over any loudspeaker). I advise keeping things as simple as possible.
I hate microphones. (Yes, I was provided one when I was in India and spoke to 500,000 on the banks of the Ganges River, but Pilgrim Chapel is indoors, and a bit smaller venue.) A microphone-loud speaker system is not necessary. It gets in the way. The acoustics in Pilgrim Chapel are splendid. The Bride and Groom will surely be able to hear each other, which is what counts.
I suggest vows on paper, rolled up like scrolls, to dramatize the vows for those in the back pew who can see what you are doing even if they miss a hearing word or two.
If you really want a sound system (you may need to rent it), of course I will cooperate because the wedding should be what you want, but you have my opinion about it as an unnecessary and troublesome complication.
A Possible Basic Wedding Sequence
Witnesses sign the marriage documents
(unless this was done at a rehearsal)
Minister greets guests informally
Lighting of candles
Seating of parents and special guests
Processional, often with music
Welcome by the minister
Consent and Presentations
Prayer if desired
Reading(s) if desired
[Any special rite such as Unity Candle]
Pronouncement and embrace
Benediction [all standing]