Getting Married at LBC
Thank you for considering The Little Brown Church in the Vale for your wedding ceremony. The Little Brown Church is one of the oldest and most famous wedding venues in the United States. Each year, we have the privilege of marrying couples from throughout America and abroad. Our hope is that we will be able to make your special day… even more special. The following page contains information that we hope will be helpful to you as you consider our church for your wedding venue. We would ask you to carefully read the information on this page before completing the booking form on the website. We hope that you will join the more than 76,000 couples that have been married in this beautiful, historic church over the last 160 years.
We are an active Christian Church and congregation. Your wedding (or vow renewal) at our church will be performed by our pastor and will be set within the context of the Christian Faith. Your vows will be made before God, and those present at your wedding ceremony. During the ceremony our pastor will share a brief instruction and encouragement from the Bible, and prayer will be offered for you (including the Lord’s Prayer) for your special day, and for your future life together. The service is generally traditional in content, however our pastor personalizes each wedding, creating an intimate and meaningful experience for each couple.
Pastor Drew McHolm performs all weddings and vow renewals at the Little Brown Church. He arrived at the church in August 2018 from Austin, Texas initially to serve as Interim Pastor. In March 2019, Pastor Drew was invited to become full time pastor of the congregation. Drew was born in Glasgow, Scotland and moved to the United States in 1988 to attend seminary where he earned Master’s degrees in Biblical Studies and Church Management. Drew has pastored churches in Scotland, Florida, and Texas over a period of 30 years. Drew brings a very personal (and often humorous) touch to each ceremony he performs.
Getting Married in Iowa
The following website contains the laws of marriage in the State of Iowa. Click HERE for details you will need in order to provide a valid marriage license when you check in with at our church office the day of your wedding. You can obtain an Iowa Marriage License from any county in the state of Iowa. PLEASE NOTE: There is a 3-day waiting period before a license can either be mailed to you or be picked up at the courthouse. The Iowa Marriage License does not expire unless it is not retrieved from the county registrar within six months of application.
At The Little Brown Church we view vow renewals similar to weddings and, as such, the ceremonies are very similar. You are not required to register with the State of Iowa – but for our records, we will need you to provide a copy of your certificate of marriage (by email or by bringing the original marriage certificate on the day of your vow renewal).
The Day Of Your Wedding/Vow Renewal
On the day of the wedding please arrive at the church office half-hour before your service time, along with your witnesses. The office is located across the highway from the church. This will allow you time to complete your paperwork, and to change for your wedding (if you intend to use the dressing rooms). Also note that, if you are using the dressing rooms, you will be required to take all your belongings with you when you leave for the ceremony, as there may be another wedding that will be using the dressing rooms immediately after you. If you are bringing items for a special ceremony – such as Sand, Unity Cross or 3-Fold Cord ceremonies – you will need to make sure that they are set up prior to the ceremony itself. Please make sure you have all the documents that were given or sent to you from the courthouse.
How many people can we accommodate?
Well, we are The LITTLE Brown Church! We can accommodate a maximum of 120 people in our sanctuary.
How many can I have in my wedding party?
Due to limitations of space at the front of the church we are only able to have eight members in the wedding party standing with the pastor. This would normally be the bride & groom plus three bridesmaids and three groomsmen. Other members of the wedding party can walk the aisle ahead of the bride but would need to be seated in the front side pews as soon as they reach the front of the church – and before the bride walks down the aisle. Because of space limitations, the front center pew is left unused. Immediate family members (moms and dads etc.) can be seated from the second center pew.
Can I bring my own wedding decorations?
For “Keeping It Simple” and “All The Frills” weddings the church is decorated, in advance, for you. These would include, wreaths on the front door, lighted lanterns, window and pew decorations. Because of the number of weddings we perform on a single day we do not allow wedding parties to bring their own decorations other than boutonnieres and bouquets for the wedding party.
Can my own pastor perform the ceremony?
The pastor at The Little Brown Church performs all weddings and vow renewals at the church. In “All The Frills” (60 minute weddings) your own pastor may be allowed to participate in the service (prayer, short word of encouragement). Any participation by outside clergy would need to be approved by our pastor at least 14 days before the service.
Is the church air-conditioned?
Are dressing rooms available?
Can we have an open flame unity candle?
In order to reduce the risk of fire we do not allow open flames anywhere in the church building.
What music is available?
For “Keeping It Simple” and “All The Frills” weddings we provide an organist who will play a traditional processional as the bride enters the sanctuary. The organist will play quietly throughout the ceremony. The recessional music is always “The Church in the Wildwood” as this is an important part of the wedding tradition at LBC. You may choose to have a special song played at a point during your ceremony. A playlist of approved music will be emailed to you once the date/time of your wedding has been established. This list contains many of the most popular wedding songs (both secular and Christian) available today. We can also offer a limited number of songs that can be sung live during your ceremony.
Can I use my own singers?
No. We only use local singers with whom we are familiar.
Do we perform same-sex marriages?
As a traditional, evangelical church we only perform marriage ceremonies between a man and a woman.
Is the church and bathrooms handicap accessible?
Yes. There is a ramp leading to the front door of the church and to the bathrooms located in the basement area downstairs. PLEASE NOTE: The changing rooms located in the basement of the church office/parsonage are NOT handicap accessible.