Members Use Policy

Planning a Wedding at United Methodist Church of the Dunes

(Policy for Church Members)

Church Address:   

717 Sheldon Road

Grand Haven, Michigan 49417

Phone: (616) 842-7980


Why the Church?

We are pleased that you have chosen the church as the place for your wedding. It is our hope that here you will sense the presence of God as you begin your married life together. A wedding  service is a worship celebration in which two people, surrounded by a community of faith, seek and find God’s blessing as they give themselves to each other.


Planning in advance will be a benefit to both the wedding party and those from the church working to serve them. So we suggest that as far in advance as possible (usually six months or more) the bride and groom call the pastor to determine whether the date works with our schedule and to review other important issues. We require couples to participate in some type of pre-marital preparation, typically meeting with the pastor for three sessions using a relationship inventory, as well as to plan the wedding service.


The sanctuary has a seating capacity of about 250. With overflow seating in the “Cry Room,” about 350 guests can be accommodated.  There are three possibilities for receptions held at the Church of the Dunes. The Wiltse Center can accommodate 250 guests, the Social Hall (under the Sanctuary) has a capacity of about 150 guests, and the Ryder Lounge, located adjacent to the sanctuary, is available for very small receptions.

Policies for Photography               

Due to the nature of a wedding performed within the church as a service of worship, we have established the following guidelines for photographs and videos taken during weddings:

1. No flashes or spotlights shall be used during the ceremony.

2. Photographs or videos may be taken—without flash or other lighting—during the ceremony, from the rear of the center aisle or the rear of either side aisle.

3. Close-ups, flash pictures, or other “angles” may be re-posed after the ceremony.

4. Pictures of the wedding party may be taken during the processional or recessional from no more than halfway down the center aisle.

5. Photographers shall be given these policies by the couple before the wedding day, and shall check in

with the officiating pastor on the day of the wedding, to be sure the policies are clearly understood.

6. Photographers who knowingly violate these guidelines will not be allowed to perform their services at the Church of the Dunes.


The selection of music for your wedding is an important decision, one that will set the tone for the service.  In this regard, reverence and discretion are the principal guides. It is preferable to use any of the great Christian celebratory and wedding hymns and other sacred music for this service.  Secular music will fit more appropriately into your plans for the reception.

It is preferable to use our staff organist for weddings here (either for organ or piano music). Exceptions must be discussed with the pastor and approved by our staff organist. Currently this is:

Mrs. Jean Schuitman (231) 739-2559 Cell: (231) 750-6676

The organist should be consulted early, and will help you select appropriate music.

Steps to Follow

1. Read this information carefully.

2. Make an appointment with the officiating pastor to confirm your requested wedding date and make other arrangements.

3. Contact the organist and plan music. Contact a soloist, if desired.

4. Take care of financial arrangements in the church office.

5. Check with the County Clerk’s office concerning your marriage license requirements.


Weddings vary from the simple to the elaborate. What you choose to include in your wedding and reception will determine your total cost. Here are the costs for the various services and facilities available here:

Item Amount

Use of Sanctuary— No charge

Use of Social Hall—$25.00

Use of Wiltse Center— $50.00

Use of Kitchen—No charge

Kitchen Overseer— $12.00/hour

Custodial Fee for Weddings— $80.00

Custodial Fee for Receptions— $100.00

Organist (if provided by the church)—$150.00

Premarital preparation—$35.00 or $75.00

Pastor’s Fee—Honorarium

Total Amount Due to Church: ____________________________________

Total Amount Due to Organist: ____________________________________

Total Amount Due to Soloist: ____________________________________

All financial obligations should be paid prior to the wedding, by paying the church office or by giving the fees to the pastor on the evening of the rehearsal. Checks in payment of the church fees should be made payable to the U.M. Church of the Dunes. Other checks (for the organist and/or soloist, plus the pastor’s honorarium) should be made payable to the individual providing the service.

Services Available

A couple being married in the Church of the Dunes receives the following services and facilities:

Assistance in planning a church wedding

Premarital counseling

Dressing rooms are available for the bridal party and groomsmen

Candelabras (including the Unity Candelabra)

Wedding Banners

Adequate parking area


1. Throwing of rice or bird seed should occur only outside, in front of the church, far enough from the building that it will not be tracked in on the carpeting.

2. Alcoholic beverages are NOT permitted on the church premises (including the church lawn and parking lot).

3. No smoking in the church building.

We appreciate your cooperation with these policies, which will help ensure a safe and special event for all.


…We want you to know that we care about you and your marriage. Nothing can compare to the bonds of love, freely given and accepted, with God at the center of it all. Our prayer is that the Lord Jesus Christ will give you grace at this special time in your lives, and that together, we may all find an eternity of joy!