Wedding Policy and Procedures


We are honored that you have chosen to be married at the UCC, and it is a privilege to be a part of this important chapter in your life. It is our hope that in preparing for your wedding you will not only become closer to one another, but closer to God and to our community of faith. Couples wishing to be married at Union Congregational UCC, members and non-members alike, are ordinarily expected to:

• Participate in pre-marital counseling

• Conduct their wedding according to the church’s policies and procedures.


Our church defines marriage in the following way: Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which two people are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage a lifelong commitment is made by a couple to each other, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith.

It is expected that at least one of the persons to be joined is a professing Christian, and ordinarily an active member of a particular community of faith. Membership here is not a requirement


The pastor will endeavor to perform weddings of church members or their children at their mutual convenience. Generally speaking, no weddings are scheduled on Sundays, holidays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, during Holy Week, during our conference annual meeting or in the event of a previously scheduled church commitment.

Weddings of non-members are conducted solely at the discretion of the pastor. The decision not to perform a non-member wedding in no ways reflects on the worthiness of the couple. It simply means that the routine workload and previously scheduled events of the pastor sometimes prohibits additional non-member weddings.


Reservations for a wedding must be made through the Parish Administrator and the church office. General details of the wedding, including premarital counseling, the rehearsal and the reception should be discussed with the pastor before the date and time are confirmed on the church calendar. If you are planning a reception at the church, arrangements to reserve the Fellowship Hall should be made at the same time that the wedding ceremony itself is scheduled.


The pastor of the church, or a minister designated by the pastor, will officiate at all weddings. If the couple wishes another member of the clergy to participate, the invitation will be approved and extended by the pastor. The wedding service shall be under the sole direction of the officiating minister and will be based on liturgy in the United Church of Christ Book of Worship.

The pastor does not assume that the role of officiant at a wedding service necessarily includes an invitation to the rehearsal dinner or to the wedding reception, nor should couples feel obligated to include the pastor in this part of their celebration. If the pastor’s presence is desired for either of these events, a direct invitation, which includes the pastor’s spouse, should be extended well in advance of the wedding date. They will not attend without an invitation. Please be advised that they must coordinate it with their schedules, and as such, may or may not be available.


After the wedding has been scheduled, the couple should schedule the first pre-marriage conference with the pastor. Pre-marital counseling is intended to help prepare the couple for the challenges of married life, as well as to plan the ceremony itself. Ordinarily this will require 2 sessions with the pastor, and should begin at least 4-6 months prior to the wedding.

While it may be very rare, if the minister is convinced after discussion with the couple that commitment, responsibility, maturity, or Christian understanding are so lacking that the marriage is unwise, the minister shall assure the couple of the church’s continuing concern for them and not conduct the ceremony.


Music is an important part of the service. Because a wedding is a worship service, the music for the wedding should be appropriate for worship, directing attention to God and expressing the faith of the church. Various instruments are appropriate, but if the organ is to be used, the church organist (or another organist approved by the pastor) will play for the service. The officiating minister, in consultation with the organist, has final approval of all music for the wedding.

The couple should contact the organist early to discuss the music. If they want a soloist, they must secure their own soloist. Financial arrangements are between the soloist and the couple. The soloist should furnish the organist with a copy of any music to be sung. It may be necessary to schedule additional rehearsal time for the soloist and the organist, at an additional cost.


In decorating the sanctuary, simplicity is best. The sanctuary of the church was given a design appropriate for worship. It does not require decorations to make it a suitable place for a service of Christian marriage. Ostentation is to be avoided in the use of decorations. Carpets and furniture shall be fully protected against candle drippings and water spilling from flower arrangements. Seasonal displays and liturgical equipment placed by the church for regular worship are not to be disturbed. The common areas of the church building (entryways, stairways, and main hallways outside the sanctuary) may not be decorated. No nails, thumbtacks, or tape are to be used on the furnishings in the sanctuary. The throwing of rice or bird seed is prohibited. (Bubbles or rose petals are permitted.)


Nursery facilities are available upon request (the Church does not provide a nursery attendant - that is the responsibility of the wedding party.) The nursery should be left exactly as it was found.


Flash photographs may be taken during the processional or the recessional only. During the ceremony, existing light photographs may be taken from the back of the sanctuary. Pictures may be taken in the sanctuary following the wedding or in the sanctuary before the wedding, provided they are completed one-half hour before the service. Video recordings may be made from the back of the sanctuary, as long as the camera operator remains stationary throughout the service and uses existing light only. It is the responsibility of the couple to instruct their photographer on these policies.


Normally, a rehearsal is scheduled for all weddings the evening before the wedding day. If another date is desired, this can be arranged with the officiating minister. The entire wedding party should attend, along with parents of the bride and groom. Other friends and family are welcome to be present. Rehearsals will begin on time, so please make an effort to arrive early if possible.


A couple must have a valid Iowa marriage license to be married, and it must be given to the officiating minister no later than the rehearsal time. Call the County Court House, Office of the Recorder to get specifics as to the licensing process.


Since the wedding is a service of worship, reverence is expected on the part of all present. Smoking is not permitted in the church. Alcohol may not be served or consumed on church premises. The service may be postponed if members of the wedding party are under the influence of alcohol.


After the service, the church will be cleaned by the church custodian. The wedding party is responsible to pay for this service. The wedding party should also designate someone to pick up items left behind including decorations, personal items, clothing hangars etc.


If printed bulletins for the wedding are desired. They will be printed by the church. The officiating minister will determine with the couple the form and content of such a bulletin.


1. Urge all members of the wedding party to be on time for the rehearsal. Avoidable delays are an imposition on the time of busy people who are assisting in this matter.

2. If the Pastor or Church Organist is expected to attend any of the social functions associated with the wedding, invitations should be extended well in advance.

3. It is the responsibility of the bride to give the decorator, visiting musicians and the photographer a copy of regulations that relate to their functions.

4. No tobacco products will be used inside church buildings, including rooms used as dressing rooms by wedding party

5. Any damage incurred is the responsibility of the wedding party.

6. Our sanctuary safely seats 275-300.

7. Any food brought to the church on the day of the wedding by the wedding party should be eaten in the dining room only. There should be no food brought to the second floor of the church building. The church kitchen should be left exactly as it was found.

8. The church is climate controlled, thermostats throughout the building are not to be adjusted by members of the wedding party.


A beautiful facility like Union Congregational United Church of Christ is expensive to staff, operate, and maintain. Our church custodial staff are not full-time employees of the church. Since virtually all of the events associated with a wedding happen outside the regular hours specified in their terms of hire, the time they spend working and preparing for your wedding must be compensated directly by you. The honorarium paid to the pastor covers counseling sessions, rehearsals, service preparation, set-up of the facility and sound equipment and the wedding itself. The fee for use of space in the church is to help defray electrical and heating/cooling costs and wear and tear.

Below is the schedule of fees. The officiating minister and organist may be paid directly. Fees for church use and custodial personnel should be made out to United Church of Christ. All fees are to be paid in full on or before the time of the rehearsal.

Church Use $250

Minister $300 

Custodian $ 75




Organist (the church organists set their own fees, you’ll need to check with the organist with whom you are working)





Funeral Policy 


Funerals at Union Congregational United Church of Christ

Of all life's experiences, the death of a loved one is often the most painful and challenging that anyone can go through. Union Congregational UCC sincerely understands the pain endured by our families. The pastor will assist you in planning the funeral service of your loved one. We will provide comfort, direction and support from the initial death notification through the funeral service and after care if needed.


Our prayer is that the information below will stimulate your thinking and assist you in preparing for your loved one's service. The death of a loved can leave the survivors, lost and alone, or just unsure of ….

  • Who to contact

  • What to do and how

  • How to make the funeral arrangements

  • What to do after the funeral


What to Do When a Loved One Dies

Who to Contact

Family member(s) and/or friend(s) Inform family members and friends regarding the death of your loved one.

Funeral Home Contact a funeral home of your choice.

Call Union Congregational UCC office at (319) 788-6434

Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


What to Do

Schedule an appointment with the funeral home director. Ask family members to go with you to the funeral home. It will be helpful to take the following information with you when visit the funeral home: Date, time and location the family is requesting for the viewing/wake and funeral service

Information regarding the deceased's wishes for their funeral service

Insurance policy(s)

Full name of your loved one

Date and place of birth

Parents' name, living or deceased

Social security card/number

List of family members (i.e. spouse, children, brothers, sisters, uncle, aunts)

Church Membership name (if applicable)

Proof of military service

Memorial funds - donations (In lieu of flowers) - name and address of organizations or charities to which donations are to be made

Pallbearers - list of people who might be available to serve as pallbearers


Make a list of family and friends to be notified of the death of your loved one. Ask a relative or friend to assist with the following:

  • Making telephone calls

  • Answering the telephone or door (keeping a record of calls and visitors)

  • Child care arrangements (if needed)

  • Coordinating the supply of food and the preparation of meals in the home

  • Attending to household chores


Funeral services at Union Congregational UCC

  • Funeral services are designed to meet the needs of the family and every attempt is made to accommodate the family's requests.

  • The Pastor will meet or speak with the family to review the following:

  • Funeral date: Is the funeral date agreeable to the church, family and the funeral home?

  • Remarks from family – The family's request is considered, however the Pastor has final approval. No more than two (2) people, 3-4 minutes each.

  • Hymns

  • Favorite Scriptures (Old and New Testament)

  • Soloist/Soloist Request

  • Favorite Songs

  • Location of funeral service

  • Burial/Cemetery – Name and address of cemetery

  • Special sound request - Playing of CD

  • Ceremonies – such as Sororities/Fraternities, Masonic, Eastern Star are not part of the church service and must be held at visitation.

 Church Support


  • Church Funeral Support Fees – The family is expected to cover the church's related funeral expenses. Support fees will be discussed during the initial funeral planning and incurred based on the family's funeral services need. The following are the funeral support fees:

  • Minister $300

  • Musician $125 and up. The price is up to the musician.

  • Custodian $75

  • Visitation (other than the day of the service) at the church $200


Funeral Service for Non-Members at UCC

UCC will consider the usage of the church facility based on availability and upon Pastor's approval. Call the church office


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I am not a member, can my relative's funeral service be held at Union Congregational UCC?

YES, call the church office for more information.


Q. How do I inform the church of a death in my family?

Telephone the church at (319) 788-6434 OR Log onto the church's website


Q. Can I have a funeral service in the sanctuary?

 Yes, if the number of anticipated attendees is not more than 275 people.


Q. What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service?

 A funeral service is a gathering of family and friends with the decease's body-remains present. At a memorial service the body is not present.


Q. Is there a cost to have a funeral at UCC?

Yes, all funerals incur church related funeral expenses (i.e, minister, soloist, musician, custodian and lunch are applicable).


Q. Who selects the minister to do the eulogy?

The Pastor selects and/or approves the minister for the eulogy.


Q. Can the family request a Minister from another church?

Yes, however the Pastor must also be involved and must speak with the other minister before final approval.


Q. Who selects the menu for the lunch?

The lunch committee selects the menu. 


Q. Does the church have a policy that prohibits cremation?

No, the church has no say regarding cremation if desired; the family must make the cremation arrangement with the funeral home.


Q. Will UCC support a funeral service at the funeral home or another church?

 Yes, the minister will discuss with the family any needed support.


Q. Are after care programs available?

Yes, we are fortunate to have several options available for after care which the pastor will recommend to you.


We are deeply sorry for your loss. May the peace and hope of Jesus Christ be with you at this difficult time.

April 21, 2024



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