Congratulations on taking the important step of planning your wedding in our church. This is an exciting time for you both and our parish wishes you well. In order to make the planning as smooth as possible, our parish has drawn up some guidelines for the celebration of weddings.
These are meant to help clarify (for you and the parish) the significance of what a wedding represents in the Catholic Church. We ask you to read them over carefully and discuss them with each other.
Spiritual Significance of Weddings
In the Catholic faith, marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the church. Because a wedding is part of the worship tradition of the Church, it belongs to the whole Church. Therefore all planning must be in conformity with the Church’s understanding of marriage as a sacrament, as something sacred.
Our primary purpose for gathering is to offer praise and worship to God through Jesus Christ. A wedding is the celebration of that same covenant love between God and his people that is now symbolized in the love of two individuals. In the wedding liturgy, we call upon God’s blessing upon the couple who come to give themselves to each other in marriage. The couple is certainly invited to add their own personal touch to the liturgy, but it must always be in harmony with marriage as a sacred event for the whole Church, not just for the bride and groom.
This means that all planning should keep the spiritual aspect foremost in mind. This would include such things as readings, music, and any symbols that might be used in the wedding. They all need to speak of the spiritual quality of what marriage represents.
Two Forms of Catholic Weddings
There are two forms of the wedding liturgy in the Catholic Church:
- If both are Catholic then the marriage is within Mass
- If the couple is of mixed religion (one Catholic and the other non-Catholic), the marriage ceremony is celebrated without a Mass. The reason for this is that a wedding is a celebration of UNITY between two people. But according to Roman Catholic teaching, only baptized Catholics are able to receive communion. So it doesn’t make any sense for the sacrament of unity that marriage represents to become divided when it comes time for communion, with one receiving and the other not receiving.
Those Who Can Be Married In Our Parish
Weddings are celebrated in one’s own parish church. A regular connection to Sunday Eucharist is essential. Anyone requesting marriage at one of our churches would normally be a registered and practicing member of our parish, but a strong local connection to the parish would also suffice.
No date for the wedding can be set until the couple phones the office and sets up an initial interview with the pastor. [Where one or both of those getting married have been previously married, no wedding date can be set until it is established that one is not still bound by that marriage].
It is possible for a priest from another parish to preside at the marriage…however, these guidelines must be followed including music and marriage coordinators.
Time and Place of Weddings
Weddings are celebrated in our parish on Saturdays at 12 noon and 2 pm.
When to Contact the Parish
We ask that you contact the office at least six months before your intended date.
- A formal Marriage Preparation Course is mandatory for all couples being married in our parish. Please contact the office. We ask that on completion of the course, the certificate be included with the other necessary documents.
- In addition to this, we ask our couples to participate in FOCCUS which is an instrument designed to deepen communication between couples. Please contact the office.
A recently issued certificate (within 6 months of the marriage date) is required for all Catholics. This document should also include Confirmation information. Non-Catholics may present a copy of their original baptismal certificate and proof of freedom to marry.
Music plays an important part in any celebration, whether sacred or not. Because of the sacredness of a wedding as discussed above, this means that the music that will play such an important part in the wedding must be appropriate to the celebration of the wedding as a sacred event.
Keep in mind that the wedding liturgy is meant to reflect the sacred covenant relationship between God and his people that was accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Civil Marriage License
A civil license is required for all couples. It is valid for three months prior to the date of the marriage.
All aspects of the wedding ceremony itself is under the direction of our parish marriage coordinator and their use is mandatory.
They will guide you through all the details for the rehearsal and wedding including discussing with you such things as the scripture readings you have chosen.
Your coordinator will also speak with you to set a date/time for the rehearsal. The coordinator will then contact the rectory with this information to confirm it.
This presents a particular challenge. A balance between the sacredness of a liturgical celebration and the couple’s desire to have a memory of such an important moment must be respected.
Please speak with your marriage coordinator about the priest’s instructions on this matter. Make sure you tell the photographer/video person(s) to speak with the priest before the ceremony.
Our parish is certainly a beautiful place to celebrate your wedding. If you intend to have flowers, your wedding coordinator will help you plan this with the appropriate areas to place them.The wedding candle is often used by couples and is placed on a table near the altar.
The wedding coordinator will also set the time for your florist to decorate the church. We do not open the church at other times. If you are going to have pew bows, make sure they are fastened in such a way not to harm the pews (no scotch tape). We do not open the church at other times.
There are certain donations and fees that are requested by the parish and music directors. These will be explained to you in the first interview.
Two Weeks Before Your Wedding
Bring the following to the office:
- Your Civil License (Do NOT fill it out. The rectory will do this)
- Your Marriage Preparation Course Certificate
- Envelopes with payment for the Church, Musician, & Marriage Coordinator