Hope+Elim Weddings

Weddings at Lutheran Church of Hope are a joyous celebration of God’s love – a time to worship our Lord as he joins together a couple in a life-long marriage. If you are interested in scheduling a wedding at any of Hope’s campuses, or inviting a Hope+Elim pastor to preside at your wedding, please email wedding director Heather Goeders, or call her at the Hope West Des Moines church office: 515-222-1520 ext.123.

Two people lighting a unity candle at wedding

Scheduling a Wedding at Hope

Due to the high volume of requests, we schedule weddings at Hope for those who are church members, or those who have made Hope their church home through regular attendance at worship or other ministry events. Weddings are scheduled in the Worship Center on Friday evenings and Saturday at/or before 2:00 pm. The rehearsal is scheduled at 5:30 pm the night before the wedding.

To begin the process, contact Heather Goeders, Wedding & Events Team Leader, at [email protected] or 515-222-1520. After reviewing the policies and fees, she will work with you to reserve dates and times for the wedding and rehearsal. 

Heather Goeders

Wedding & Events Team Leader
[email protected]

HeatherGoedersUpdated copy

At Hope West Des Moines

Pre-Marriage Class

Hope pastors expect all couples to attend one of the pre-marriage classes offered at Hope. Hope believes couples should begin a married relationship with as many tools as they can gather for a lifetime of growth together. By participating in the class, couples are making an important decision to invest more deeply in what God has given—each other and a loving relationship.

The Pre-Marriage Class consists of five weekly sessions or one weekend class where couples look more intentionally at their relationship. Facilitators share thoughts and insights into building a healthy and growing relationship that lasts a lifetime. Couples will also discover ways to ensure the relationship thrives. Hope offers the Pre-Marriage Class four times each year.

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Wedding Fees

Full wedding in the Lutheran Church of Hope Chapel

Fee for 2024/2025: $300
Pastor honorarium: The amount of your choice
The full wedding fee includes:

  • Facility use (1 hour for the rehearsal and 4 hours for the wedding)
  • The assistance of the wedding director to coordinate date, times, officiants and wedding assistant(s), as well as planning of the ceremony
  • Wedding coordinator to assist you the week of the wedding finalizing plans, to lead the rehearsal, and walk alongside couples and the wedding party during the day of the ceremony
  • Production team assistance with sound during the ceremony

The optional fees include:

  • Pianist for the wedding and rehearsal: $175
  • Production technician: $35

The checklist for the bride and groom:

  • Contact Heather Goeders, Wedding Director, at 515-422-9123 with date requests.
  • Once the date is set, a wedding packet will be sent to you.
  • Return the covenant after the date is set and the $100 deposit for your date is confirmed. Dates will be held for two weeks.
  • Register for the Pre-Marriage Class at Lutheran Church of Hope.
  • Set an appointment with the wedding director four months before the wedding.
  • Bring the completed planning guide to the meeting with the wedding director.
  • Set an appointment with the officiant one month before the wedding.
  • Email your wedding program to the wedding director.
  • Receive a letter with final details one month before the wedding.
  • Two weeks before the wedding, bring in the final payment and any recorded music.
  • Enjoy your beautiful and meaningful wedding!

Frequently Asked Questions

A Hope pastor, chaplain or ministry director will be assigned to officiate at your wedding. Officiants are assigned based on availability. If you have a preference, please let the wedding director know when you meet with her.

Please note the following:

  • The officiants will do their best to accommodate requests; however, the final decision will be based on their schedules and commitments.
  • Typically, the officiant will not be able to attend a rehearsal dinner or wedding reception due to their weekend commitments at worship.
  • Senior Pastor Mike Housholder is available for only a limited number of weddings due to his preaching schedule and other weekend commitments. If you’d like to request Pastor Mike, you can do so, and if his schedule permits, he will be happy to preside at your wedding service.
  • Guest pastors are permitted. It is acceptable for a family member or friend who is a Christian pastor and is licensed to perform weddings in Iowa to preside at your wedding. Please let the wedding director know to make the required arrangements.

The rehearsal is important, and the entire wedding party should attend. Your wedding assistant(s) will coordinate this event. Rehearsals, scheduled for the day before the wedding, take approximately one hour and must begin and end on time. A rehearsal time will be assigned by the wedding director at the same time the wedding is scheduled. 

Music is a very important part of the wedding ceremony. Lutheran Church of Hope+Elim is God’s house. For that reason, all music selected should be appropriate for a Christian service. The mission and values of Hope+Elim reflect the life and ministry of Christ. Music that does not present a Christ-centered message will not be permitted, and you will be asked to consider those pieces for other parts of your day, such as your reception. To help, the staff has developed a list of suggested music

If the answer to the questions below is “yes,” then the music is likely appropriate: 

  • Does this music/text reflect praise and/or thanksgiving to God? 
  • Is it based on, or does it reflect, a scriptural theme? 
  • Is this song in the form of a prayer? 

If couples wish to use music selections not found on the list, please discuss the idea with the wedding director. The director can also schedule a pianist for the ceremony and provide a list of possible vocalists and contact information. Hope+Elim remains open to creative input and is willing to help select music that will give glory to our God, the source of all love! 

Prelude Music

This music is performed as guests are being seated. Normally starting about 15-20 minutes prior to the ceremony; the music selections are generally chosen by the organist/pianist.

The Processional

The processional is performed as the bridal party enters the Worship Center. Couples frequently choose three songs, one for seating parents and/or grandparents, one for the bridal group and one for the entrance of the bride. When selecting processional music, keep in mind the style, tone and mood created with the selections.

Worship Music

Couples may choose to have the congregation sing a worship song together. Print the words to the song in the wedding program. For an additional fee, a production team member can put the lyrics on the screen. 

Solo Vocal Music

Solos are usually performed in a variety of places within the wedding ceremony. Normally, one or two solos containing sacred texts that directly relate to and support the worship service are presented. The following is a list of suggested places for solos: 

  • At the conclusion of the prelude (just before the processional) 
  • Immediately following the processional 
  • Immediately following the greeting/opening prayer 
  • Following the reading of Scripture 
  • Following the message 
  • During the lighting of the unity candle  
  • During the “prayer” section of the service 
The Recessional

The recessional is played as the wedding party exits. Usually this is joyous and festive music.

The Postlude

This music is played as guests leave. Normally, anywhere from 10-15 minutes of music will be performed. Typically, the pianist or organist will choose these selections.

Your wedding is a Hope+Elim worship service. Participants and guests should conduct themselves accordingly. 
It is likely that your wedding will not be the only ceremony or activity in the Worship Center on your wedding day. For that reason, couples have four hours of use of the Worship Center. An example of how this timeframe works will be sent to you when your date has been confirmed. 
It is likely that other activities will be going on at the church on your wedding day. The wedding director will work with the other ministries to make sure everyone is aware of when a wedding is taking place. 

Hope+Elim is not able to store a wedding dress or decorations. Couples need to take all decorations and personal items with them immediately after the wedding. Thank you for helping Hope+Elim to serve others by doing this.

Alcohol is not permitted in any part of the church or in the parking lot. Hope+Elim is a smoke-free environment. 
Hope+Elim asks that you review the policy with your wedding party and families. To clarify, Hope+Elim requests that couples and wedding party members refrain from all alcohol and tobacco use before and after the rehearsal and before and after the wedding in both the church and the parking lot. 
The pastors reserve the right to refuse to perform the marriages of couples who do not comply with this policy. 

Worship Center Furnishings 

  • All band equipment remains on stage for the ceremony
  • We are unable to change the placement of pews and additional seating. 


  • The measurements of the Worship Center altar are available from the Wedding Director. 
  • There is a damask table covering that blends well with either white or ivory. 
  • Personal altar coverings are welcome, but couples will be responsible for getting any additional measurements. 
  • No staples or nails may be used to hang decorations. 


  • Flowers may be placed on the altar or on flower stands. 
  • Glitter on flowers is NOT allowed. 
  • No staples or nails may be used to hang decorations. 
  • Pedestals or stands brought from the florist should have floor protectors. 
  • Flower arrangements and bouquets should arrive at the church already assembled at the time the bride arrives. 
  • Decorations cannot be hung from the walls or ceilings. 
  • You are responsible for informing the florist of the policies and time constraints. 

Guest Book Table 

  • Hope+Elim has a table available for a guest book.  
  • Hope+Elim has table coverings to use, or couples may bring their own. 


  • Hope provides flameless candles for couples to use. 
  • Hope has six graduated-height candleholders for use. 
  • Hope has a three-piece glass unity candle set. It uses two taper candles (8-10 inches) and one 3- or 4-inch diameter pillar candle. 
  • Hope does not have candelabras. 
  • You may bring your own candleholders. Make sure they are substantial enough to contain the melting wax to protect the altar. 
  • Fire code requires that aisle candles have glass covers. 
  • Special care should be taken to ensure that candleholders in the aisle are very stable and do not block the aisles. 


  • The throwing of birdseed is allowed outside. The throwing of rice is NOT allowed. 
  • Balloons are discouraged to respect the environment. 
  • Bubbles, bells, flower petals and streamers are options. 


  • Glitter from decorations or clothing presents a difficult cleaning problem for the church staff. Therefore, Hope+Elim asks that you refrain from using body glitter, glitter on your decorations or glitter on the clothing of your wedding party. 
  • Photographers and videographers must know the time constraints. It is not possible to change these times. A letter for the photographer is included in the wedding packet given to the couple when the date is confirmed. Please give it to the photographer and videographer as soon as possible. 
  • Hope requests that wedding photographers (and guests) not use flash photography once the ceremony begins. The ceremony begins with the processional and ends as the recessional begins. 
  • Photographers and videographers are asked to remain at the back of the Worship Center once the processional begins; to refrain from moving around excessively during the service; and to make sure their equipment is not blocking aisles. This time to worship God is the highest priority, and Hope apologizes in advance if this prevents your photographer from getting certain shots. 
  • Videographers should know to set up their equipment in a manner so as not to obstruct the view of wedding guests. 
  • The photographer and videographer must be aware of the policies and time constraints at your first meeting. That will be helpful in reducing misunderstandings. 
  • With advance notice, Hope+Elim is able to provide a mono or stereo line level audio feed via XLR connections for a videographer. 

A member of Hope’s production team will assist on the wedding day with: 

  • Setting up and managing the microphones for the officiant, vocalists, musicians and Scripture readers. 
  • Playing a flash drive during the ceremony, if desired. 
  • Playing one video presentation, if desired. 

You may use music recorded on a flash drive at your wedding. Please record it on the flash drive in the order it will be used in the wedding. Provide the recorded music to the wedding director two weeks before the wedding. 

  • It is helpful to have a program at your wedding. An example of a general order of service to help you create the program is below. The officiant may individualize the service and will discuss that with the couple when they meet approximately one month before the wedding. 
  • Please provide a copy of the program text to the wedding director before it is printed. 

Couples will go over the Order of Service with the officiant. Here is a typical order of service: 

  • Prelude – Special Music/Solo (optional) 
  • Processional 
  • Greeting and Prayer 
  • Reading/s 
  • Special Music/Solo (optional) 
  • Message 
  • Special Music/Solo (optional) 
  • Vows 
  • Giving of Rings 
  • Unity Candle (optional) 
  • Special Music/Solo (optional) 
  • Marriage Blessing and Prayer 
  • Lord’s Prayer (spoken or as special music) 
  • Blessing 
  • Recessional 
  • It is a good idea to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages while the participants are dressing and during the pre-wedding activities. 
  • All food, clothing, purses, etc. must be removed before the wedding party walks down the aisle. It is the responsibility of the wedding party to arrange for the care of their property before, during and after the ceremony. Leave all valuable personal belongings and gifts in the care of parents or friends during the service. The church is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. 
  • If gifts are brought to the church, the church assumes no responsibility for them. Couples should select someone to be in charge of gifts at all times and ask them to be responsible for removing them from the church at the end of the wedding. 
  • Works with couples to schedule the wedding and rehearsal dates and times. 
  • Provides support via phone or email. 
  • Meets with couples four months before your wedding date to explain procedures, answer questions and talk through the planning guide. 
  • Schedules wedding coordinator(s) to assist on the wedding day and familiarize them with plans. 
  • Updates the officiant, musicians and others who are involved about wedding details. 
  • Calls the couple approximately one week before the wedding to review all the details of the ceremony. 
  • Opens the church for rehearsal and ceremony. 
  • Leads the rehearsal (pastors and directors do not typically attend rehearsals). 
  • Works as a liaison between all involved parties on the wedding day to keep it as stress-free as possible. 
  • Works with the photographer and wedding party to keep everyone on schedule. 
  • Helps the wedding party line up for the processional. 
  • Completes the marriage certificate and makes sure it is properly signed. 
  • Helps to clean the church following the service and return everything to its proper place. 
  • Makes sure the wedding director is notified of any change in plans. A small detail may seem unimportant but could lead to problems. 
  • Contacts the wedding director anytime they have questions. 
  • Remembers to bring the license and certificate to the rehearsal. Couples can’t get married without those! 
  • Checks all sizes and colors of the wedding attire before the wedding day. It is nearly impossible to make alterations and exchanges just before a wedding. 
  • Distributes a map to out-of-town guests with directions to get to the church. 
  • Arranges for someone to keep the wedding room in order, collect personal belongings and tidy up the rooms. The church is not responsible for anything left behind. 
  • Informs hired outside parties (florist, photographer or videographer) of all Lutheran Church of Hope+Elim policies and procedures. 
  • Is responsible for the completion of a pre-marriage class or counseling. 
  • Makes the appointment with the wedding director four months before the wedding. 
  • Calls the church office to make the appointment with an officiant one month before the wedding to meet and discuss the order of service. 

Ready to book a wedding at Hope+Elim?

If you’re interested in booking a wedding at Hope+Elim or inviting a Hope pastor to preside at your wedding, please email Heather Goeders
Please note: Due to the high volume of requests, we schedule weddings at Hope for those who are church members or those who have made Hope their church home through regular attendance at worship or other ministry events.