Who can have a church wedding?
In the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, a couple can have a church wedding if both the bride and bridegroom are confirmed members of the Church.
A couple can also have a church wedding if one of them belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the other to some other Christian denomination, including the following:
- The Orthodox Church of Finland
- The Catholic Church in Finland
- The Pentecostal Church
- The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Finland
- The Evangelical Free Church of Finland
- The Baptist Church in Finland
A complete list of Christian denominations approved by the Bishops’ Conference is available at the Finnish Ecumenical Council’s website.
A Christian wedding can also be officiated if one of the couple is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the other a member of a Christian church that operates abroad.
If neither the bride or the bridegroom is member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, a church wedding is not permitted. The Church’s notion of marriage also precludes church weddings for same-sex couples.
Church weddings can be officiated by a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland or a priest of the Orthodox Church of Finland. A few other religious communities also have the right to officiate church weddings.
Consecrating a civil marriage
If a couple has a civil marriage, their marriage can be consecrated at church if at least one of them is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The consecration of a civil marriage is even possible when neither spouse is a member of a Christian church.
Parishes have differing practices when it comes to praying with and for same-sex couples. This ceremony has no official script, and the couple can plan the ceremony together with a pastor or other parish employee.