Preparations for a wedding are often started well in advance by setting a date and reserving a venue. Some churches or chapels are so popular for weddings that reservations have to be made up to one year in advance. For a church wedding in Espoo, reservations for the church, pastor and organist are made in the Service Center, but if the wedding is to take place somewhere else, contact the office of the parish in which the church is located. A pastor can also conduct a wedding ceremony in some other suitable place, such as at home or outdoors in nature or in a banquet hall.
If the bride and bridegroom so desire, the banns can be read in a Sunday service at the bride's home congregation (or, if the bride is from abroad, the groom's congregation). At this occasion the congregation assembled also prays for the intended marriage. At the couple's request their marriage can also be announced in a church newspaper.
The pastor contacts the couple well in advance before the wedding to set a date for a meeting to talk about what is to come. In this meeting the pastor gets to know the couple, and it is also possible to go through the order of the wedding ceremony and questions the couple might have. A church wedding is a worship service comprising of Bible readings, a short homily (speech by the pastor), prayers, questions to the bride and groom, and usually also hymns and other music.
When meeting beforehand, the bride and groom also tell the pastor what they are going to do with their family names (surnames) when they become married. They can both take the same family name or both can keep the family name they have had. It is also possible for one spouse to take a combined surname with his/her previous family name first, linked with a hyphen to the family name shared with the other spouse. (Details in Finnish and Swedish are available online at www.finlex.fi (search Nimilaki or Namnlag).