About Your Wedding
Traditions and Policies for Weddings

A Word of Welcome
We welcome all those who come to Laidlaw seeking to be married. Laidlaw Memorial United Church is delighted to share with you both the love you have for one another, and the hope you have for the future. We hope our involvement with you as you are married will be an expression of our Christian love and care for you.

With these things in mind, we offer this information to you to assist you in planning your wedding at Laidlaw Memorial United Church in Hamilton.

 In Christian Love, The Members of Laidlaw Memorial United Church Council 


Your Wedding at Laidlaw
This information is offered as you make plans for your wedding. It is hoped that it will answer some of your practical questions about the possibilities and traditions of how weddings can be conducted in and through our church. We do our best to accommodate everyone who comes to us to be married. 

The United Church of Canada, and Laidlaw Memorial United Church, offers you a variety of ways to be married, in the church or at another venue, respecting and welcoming the wide diversity of traditions. 

At Laidlaw Memorial United Church, we are committed to doing all we can to respect and welcome all persons. We are committed to the equality of all persons before God. Laidlaw Memorial United Church Council has ruled that requests for marriage from all couples, including same sex couples, will be treated equally and without prejudice under this policy, and in accordance with the Laws of Ontario. 

It is possible in Canada for a wedding to be civil ceremony only, with legal, but not religious, implications. We try, as we are able, to be of help to all couples who come to us for assistance, and welcome all inquiries. 
Getting Started
If you would like to get married at Laidlaw Memorial United Church, the first step is to contact the Minister, Rev. Douglas C. Moore, B.Th., B.A., M.Div., who can be reached at his Residence in Hamilton, at 905-547-2021, at the Church Office 905-544-6536, or by email at When you first call the Minister, any question you may have about this policy can be answered. If you wish to be married at Laidlaw, you will be asked to make an appointment with the Minister to discuss your plans in detail. It is expected that both parties to the marriage will be present at this and subsequent meetings. 

It is expected that you will arrange appropriate marriage preparation with the Minister at Laidlaw Memorial at mutually convenient times. This preparation carried out with individual couples, can include a Taylor Johnson Temperament Analysis, and does not entail any additional fees. 

Booking a wedding 'at the last minute' will mean extra effort on your part and the part of the minister to ensure all preparations are complete. The Minister of Laidlaw Memorial United Church will be happy to work with you to make those arrangements. The facilities of Laidlaw Memorial United Church are not made available for weddings that are not being officiated by Laidlaw's current minister.
The Date and Time for Your Wedding
When you first speak with the Minister at Laidlaw Memorial, a date and time for your wedding should be discussed. Every effort will be made to allow you the time and date of your choice, but the schedule of the church and Minister, and others who have booked their wedding previously, must be respected. The time of the rehearsal should also be discussed. The Minister will confirm that the church facilities are available. This may take a day or two.

Once the date and time for your wedding is confirmed, it is reserved for you. Should you decide later that you would like to discuss changes in this date and time, contact the Minister promptly. Please inform the Minister promptly if you decide for any reason to cancel your wedding. Always ensure that the Minister has your current address and telephone number. 

At Laidlaw Memorial United Church, a date for a wedding is held once a deposit of $200.00 is received. This deposit is not refundable, but is transferable if it becomes necessary to change the date of your wedding. The new date must also respect the schedule of the church and minister.
Your Wedding Service
There are certain legal requirements that the service must include, and the Minister will communicate them to you. Also, your wedding service needs to be respectful of you as a couple, and of our church and community. Within that respectfulness, there is much freedom for expression and variety in your Marriage Service.
The License or Banns
Marriages for residents of Ontario may be conducted by license or by Banns. If both parties to the marriage have previously established a regular habit of attendance at worship in a particular congregation in Canada for a period of not less than two years, an announcement of Banns can be made over three weeks before the marriage. The marriage can then be solemnized on the basis of the reading of those Banns. A reading of the Banns must be included as a part of the wedding service order.

The more common option is to be married by license. When parties to the marriage have been married previously, the law requires a license. A license is obtained from the Civil Authority. In Hamilton, a Marriage license may be obtained from City Hall downtown, during regular business hours. A license currently costs $140.00. It is your own responsibility to obtain (and pay for) a Marriage License. You will be required to show identification. You must be 18 years of age, and if you are divorced, you must have the original copy of the certificate of divorce, with the file number. 

A marriage license expires three months (90 days) after the date it is issued. The license must be purchased and delivered to the Minister no later than one week before your wedding. It is important to check early if you have all the documents you need to obtain a marriage licence. Your wedding cannot proceed without a valid license or a valid announcement of Banns in the weeks before your wedding. On the day of your wedding, two witnesses over the age of 18 are necessary for the service to proceed. 

After your wedding the Minister will present you with a Marriage Certificate provided by the Church. The statement of marriage will be sent to the Office of the Registrar General for Ontario by the Minister, and the Minister will register your marriage in the church's Marriage Register. The Marriage Certificate presented to you is legal proof of your marriage. 

You will need to provide the Municipal Authority with information for the provincial registrar. This information will also be entered in the church register. This will include: your date and place of birth, your parents' birth names (middle names and maiden names), and their places of birth, as well as your current residence (if rural, we need the address as it appears on your driver's license), and your type of employment. 
The music (or lack of it) at your wedding is your choice. You are encouraged to discuss your intentions with the Minister as well as your musicians. 

The Church Musician at Laidlaw would be happy to assist with music at your wedding. The minister at Laidlaw will be happy to arrange this for you. In addition, it is possible for you to provide a musician for your wedding, or to use recorded music. A pipe organ and two keyboards are available at Laidlaw, as well as a sound system capable of connecting to musical instruments or music players. 
At The Rehearsal
Unless waived by the Minister, it is understood that there will be a rehearsal for your wedding at a mutually agreed time. The rehearsal is an important opportunity for you and your wedding party to become comfortable in the church with the Minister and musician(s), so that your day can be devoted completely to celebrating your wedding. 

All members of the wedding party, including parents and guardians, are strongly encouraged to attend the rehearsal. Usually, a wedding rehearsal takes between 30 and 50 minutes.
Laidlaw Memorial United Church Sanctuary accommodates about 180 people on the main floor, with an additional 125 seats in the balcony. There is a two-manual Pipe Organ installed in the sanctuary and two keyboards available.

The Church Hall at Laidlaw Memorial can accommodate banquets for up to 180 people. If you are interested in these facilities, please ask for the Facilities Rental Policy.

Bookings for the use of the Church Hall should be made through the Church Office, at 905-544-6536. 
Decorating the Sanctuary
It is your responsibility to arrange for decorating the sanctuary. It needs to be understood that decorating will not involve any permanent damage to the building or furniture. Please do not use nails, pins, tacks, or tapes. It is your responsibility to provide candles or sand ceremony vessels, if you wish them. Laidlaw owns a set of wedding candelabra, and you are welcome to use them, though candles are not provided.

The decorating you do must allow for others who also may be celebrating an occasion in the building that day. It may be necessary to refrain from installing your decorations until another event has taken place. Decorating usually takes place at the time of the rehearsal. If there is a need to decorate at another time or to enter the church to plan for decorating, please contact the Church Office to arrange a time.
Photographers are welcome in our church at weddings and rehearsals!
Alternatives to Confetti
Please do not use Confetti of any kind anywhere at any time. If the wedding party desires an expression of joy, we strongly encourage the use of bubbles. You are welcome to use flower petals (silk or real) in the aisle of the church.

The Church, Your Wedding, and Money
It has been our experience that persons who wish to be married at Laidlaw Memorial United Church appreciate straightforward discussion of finances and their wedding. However, under almost all circumstances, what we ask is reasonable. 

It is expected that when a Wedding is held in our Sanctuary, Laidlaw Memorial United Church will receive a fee of $200.00 to cover the costs associated with opening and heating or air conditioning the facilities. If a wedding takes place in a location other than Laidlaw United Church, the fees for the opening and cleaning of the church do not apply.
The Minister will assist you in preparing for marriage and planning your wedding service, officiate at the wedding service, and take legal responsibility for the proper registration of your marriage. The honorarium for the Minister is $200.00.
Our Church Musician will make every effort to be available for your wedding and your rehearsal. When our Church Musician provides music for your wedding, an honorarium of $150.00 is required, which includes the wedding and rehearsal. If other musicians are being asked to provide music for your wedding, you will need to discuss their expectations for a fee or honorarium with them.

The fee for the use of the church must be paid at the time of booking your wedding. The honoraria for the minister and/or musician must be paid in full two weeks prior to your wedding. It is expected that the wedding fees and honoraria will be paid in cash, and not by personal cheque. 

Please note that the Revenue Canada Act, under the Tax Treatment of Public Charities, section 02.184 demands that Laidlaw Memorial United Church, as a registered charity, require members and contributors pay the same honoraria, charges and fees as non-members and non-contributors, in order to retain Registered Status as a Charity.
Thank You! for taking the time to read this information. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Minister. We ask God's blessing on you as you plan not only for a wedding, but also for a lifetime together! 
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