Our picturesque waterfront view of Bayshore Boulevard will set the tone for your day to remember.

2515 Bayshore Blvd
Tampa, FL 33611
(813) 253-3771

Revised 11-2021




Church office phone: 813-253-3771

Office Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00am – 3:00pm or by appointment

Church office email:  

Pastor Cecelia M. Wilhite cell phone: 863-660-3906

Pastor email:

It is a privilege for the minister and congregation of this church to celebrate with couples of the church or the local community as they enter into marriage. This handbook is intended to acquaint you with the policies and procedures of this church as you plan your wedding. If you have questions that are not answered here, please feel free to call the church office at 813-253-3771.

Before the church will schedule your wedding, you must fill out our application and meet with the

Pastor to submit your date, which will be submitted for approval to our governing body, the Session.


Many couples begin their married life with the formal ceremony of a wedding. It is important to remember that a wedding is not the same thing as marriage. As you plan the details of your wedding, you will want to consider the ways you are also preparing the details of your marriage. Marriage is full of joys and challenges as two individuals learn to live and grow together. The following is a statement of what we believe marriage to be in the Presbyterian Church (USA):

     We believe that marriage is a good gift from God.

     The covenant of spouses to love and serve one another faithfully is intended to reflect the faithfulness of God.

     If married partners become parents, their care for their children is intended to reflect God’s love and discipline. [From “A Declaration of Faith”]


Our pastor will consult with each couple before scheduling a wedding date. The first meeting will allow the pastor and the couple to ensure that Bayshore Presbyterian Church is an appropriate venue for the wedding. Only after this initial meeting will the wedding date be brought to the church’s governing body, “the Session,” for approval. After the Session’s approval, the wedding date will be placed on the church calendar.

Important note: A non-refundable deposit is payable when the wedding is scheduled. This amount will be applied toward the total fees due (see the fee page).


Music suitable for the marriage service directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the church. The congregation may join in hymns and other musical forms of praise and prayer.

Our pastor will check your date with the pianist before the date is approved. However, if you will need to schedule your own pianist, we will need to contact them directly. 


We believe that a wedding is a service of worship to God. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is governed by The Book of Order, which states: Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the wellbeing of the entire human family.  Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people to love and support each other for the rest of their lives. The sacrificial love that unites the couples sustains them as faithful and responsible members of the church and the wider community.  In civil law, marriage is a contract that recognizes the rights and obligations of the married couple in society. In the Reformed tradition, marriage is also a covenant in which God has an active part, and which the community of faith publicly witnesses and acknowledges. [Book of Order W-4.06]

Christian marriage should be celebrated in the place where the community gathers for worship. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the minister and the supervision of the Session. The marriage ordinarily takes place in a special service which focuses upon marriage as a gift of God and as an expression of the Christian life. Others may be invited to participate as leaders in the service at the discretion of the pastor.

Important note: If you wish to have a pastor from another church or denomination lead your wedding ceremony, please contact our pastor as soon as possible. Pastors of other churches and denominations are allowed to lead wedding ceremonies with the approval of our pastor and the Session.

              Important information for your planning

Counseling: Bayshore Presbyterian requires a minimum of two sessions of one hour each with the pastor and each couple. These must be scheduled at least three months prior to your wedding date.

One meeting is for counseling, and the other is for planning the wedding service.

Sanctuary size and capacity: The sanctuary seats approximately 175 people comfortably.  (50 guests maximum during COVID restrictions).

Evening weddings: Please be aware that the church hosts many different groups in the evenings. Please check with the pastor to make sure your wedding time does not conflict with other groups who will be using the church as well as the parking lot. Saturday evening weddings are scheduled no later than 5:00 p.m. so that the church may be made ready for worship on Sunday morning.

Flowers: Please contact the church to schedule a time for your florist to deliver and set up the flowers. Flowers, decorations, and other appointments should be appropriate to the place of worship, enhance the worshipers’ consciousness of the reality of God, and reflect the integrity and simplicity of Christian life. (Book of Order, The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., W-4.9000)

FLOWERS MAY NOT BE PLACED ON THE COMMUNION TABLE. If you would like to leave your flowers for the Sunday morning worship service, please notify the church secretary or pastor.

Decorations: Decorations must be approved by the pastor. No confetti or glitter. No nails or thumbtacks.

Photography: Photography should be as limited as possible during the marriage ceremony, so as not to disrupt the service. Photographs of the couple entering and leaving the sanctuary is acceptable.

 If you would like to videotape the service, you may set up the camera in the balcony or in the corners of the side sections of the sanctuary. Please explain this policy to your photographer as well as to family and friends.

Candles: The bride and groom must provide any desired candles and candle stands. These should include drop cloths for wax drippings.

Music: You must contact the pastor if you wish to have piano music during your service. Other musicians will be allowed if approved by the pastor.


Children: If there are children in the service, please inform the minister. Children participating who are younger than six years old must be assigned to an adult, to ensure their safety and to assist them – if needed – to perform their role. 

Alcoholic beverages: The presence and/or use of alcoholic beverages on church property is not permitted.

Rice: For the sake of safety and wildlife, rice is not permitted to be thrown on church property. Flower petals or bird seed are suggested as alternatives. Nothing is allowed to be thrown inside the church building.

Dressing at the church. If your party chooses to dress at the church, you must be at the church at least 1½ hours prior to the service. The minister will show you the rooms you may use for dressing.

Access to the church: As with many small churches, our church administrator keeps limited hours, and the pastor is often away from the church. Please call and make arrangements whenever you need access to the church. This will include access for florists and caterers as well as for the wedding party.

The rehearsal: All weddings need to be rehearsed, and all participants in the wedding, including ushers, should plan to attend the rehearsal. A rehearsal should begin promptly and will usually last one hour.

At the rehearsal, you are not practicing the ceremony itself. You are only practicing walking in and walking out, making sure everyone knows where to stand. Since the officiant is one of the first people to enter at the beginning of the ceremony, it is not possible for the officiant to “cue” each group and tell them when to start walking. This is normally the responsibility of the coordinator at your ceremony site, or your wedding planner if you have one. Many of our couples will also ask a friend or family member to help run the rehearsal and cue everyone for their entrance to the ceremony, which is a great option. You want the same person running the rehearsal to be in charge of the ceremony on your wedding day as well. That continuity will really help ensure that there is no confusion on your big day.

Program: The Wedding Program must reflect the service which the pastor and couple have agreed upon.

The policies contained in this handbook are subject to change and may be altered by the pastor or church representatives at any time.

Church office phone: 813-253-3771
Church office email:,
Pastor email:

Revised 11-2021