Celebrating Your Marriage
Planning Your Wedding
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and the education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1601)
Marriage is truly a great sacrament and we urge all couples to place as much importance on the spiritual aspect of marriage as on the material preparation.
The Church shares in your happiness and in a marriage celebration that is both solemn and joyful. It is in this spirit that the following directions are given to assist you in preparing for your wedding.
How far in advance do we need to prepare? Contact St. Peter’s at least 8 months prior to your preferred date, so that the Presider can set a date with you. Please do not secure a Venue for the wedding till you confirm the date with the Presider.
Documents Required for Marriage
MEETING WITH THE PRESIDER – The first meeting will be an interview with the priest or deacon who will guide you through the Diocesan Marriage Forms. This information is the demographic and religious practice information for the couple, their parents, and their witnesses.
LITURGICAL PLANNING GUIDE – Couples are invited to choose Readings and other selections for the wedding from “The Order of Celebrating Matrimony”, which will be supplied and reviewed with you by the Presider at your first meeting.
CERTIFICATE OF BAPTISM – Catholics are required to contact the place of their baptism to obtain a new and recent certificate dated within 6 months of your wedding. Other Christians are only required to obtain an original baptismal certificate.
MARRIAGE LICENSE – This may be obtained from any License & Registry Service office. A marriage license must be acquired within three months in advance of your wedding date.
MARRIAGE PREPARATION COURSE – You are planning to spend the rest of your lives together in marriage. Every step must be taken to ensure your happiness and a good knowledge of your duties and responsibilities. To this end, a series of marriage preparation courses are available, and it is required that you avail yourselves of this opportunity to grow together in love. This information will be supplied at your initial interview with the Presider.
STOLE FEES – As per Diocesan policy, the stole fee for the wedding is $200 (made payable to St. Peter’s Parish).
PREVIOUS MARRIAGE – If either the bride or groom have been married before, it will be necessary to demonstrate that you are indeed free to be married. This requires that you contact the Church immediately and set up an appointment. No date can be set until this issue is resolved.
MEMBERS OF ANOTHER PARISH – If neither bride nor groom is a member of St. Peter’s Parish, please contact your Parish Priest to arrange for permission to celebrate your wedding at St. Peter’s Parish.
VISITING CLERGY – If you would like a priest or deacon with a valid marriage license who is not on staff at St. Peter’s Parish to officiate at your wedding, he is warmly welcome. Since permission is required from the Bishop and, in some cases, from the Province, please inform the parish priest of your plans so that these permissions may be obtained well in advance. The couple is responsible to ensure that a proper honorarium is provided to the visitor (in addition to the church fee of $200 made payable to St. Peter’s Parish).
Planning the Liturgy
The couple is invited to meet with the priest or deacon in order to plan the liturgy to their marriage. There are many options in the Rite, and it is for the couple to determine which are most appropriate for their particular celebration.
CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST
• In the Latin rite, the marriage should take place in one of the Catholic party’s home parish, with one of the pastors or deacons as Presider. If for some very special reason a couple wishes to have another Presider, arrangements must be made with the pastor.
• For Catholics, marriage is a Sacrament. For this reason, the marriage must take place in the Church.
• For two Catholics getting married, the marriage ceremony may take place within the Mass, unless particular circumstances indicate otherwise.
• The reception of Holy Communion is a sign of belonging to the Catholic community and therefore only Catholics may receive Holy Communion.
• Where one party is not Catholic or not baptized, a liturgy of the Word is celebrated instead.
The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is a sacred liturgical event that requires the use of only sacred music. Music Coordinators from St. Peter’s are able to show you many options for suitable sacred music and assist you to make your selections. If you are choosing visiting musicians, we would ask that you contact Annie Chirka – firstname.lastname@example.org to guide you in your musical choices. Songs from movies, TV shows or stage productions find no place in the wedding liturgy. Favourite songs, meaningful to the bride and groom would be better suited for the wedding reception. Note that music must be live and not pre-recorded.
FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS
Flower placements must be completed 1 hour before your wedding. You are strongly encouraged to use real flowers. Check first to see if there are any other weddings scheduled on your wedding day. In addition to corsages, boutonnières and bouquets, many desire to place floral arrangements in the Church. Please observe the following when making arrangements with your florist:
• Floral decoration should never impede the approach to, ot the encircling of the Altar, Ambo (the place that the readings are read from), table for signing of the registration form or any of the ritual movement and action.
• A floral arrangement may be placed in front of (but never upon) the Altar. A floral arrangement may be placed in front of the Ambo. The arrangements must never exceed the height of the Altar. Setting up stands and vases elsewhere in the area near the Altar and Ambo is not permitted.
• A floral arrangement may be placed in the gathering space near the front doors of the Church. Such fragrant flowers would be a gracious sign of welcome.
• If flowers or bows are to be used to decorate the ends of pews, they should be used at regular intervals along the entire length of the aisles, enhancing the whole worship space and the assembly which fills it. Draping of ribbons between any Church pews is not permitted.
• All arrangements are to be attached to the ends of pews by hanging them over the ends of each pew with ribbon, elastic or string. All tacks and tapes of any form are strictly prohibited.
• For safety reasons, the use of candles (other than those provided by the Church) is not permitted.
• You are encouraged to leave some floral arrangements in the Church after the celebration of your wedding. Your flowers will continue to enhance our parish worship, especially at the weekend celebrations. Please remove all items from the Church following the ceremony including coverings & wrapping from flowers, etc.
PHOTOGRAPHY / VIDEOGRAPHY
The liturgy during which you celebrate your marriage is a sacred moment of rejoicing in prayer, song and gesture. While we understand your desire to record this moment, we ask you to observe the following so that the sacred joy of this day will not be marred by photo and recording equipment and those who operate it.
• There are designated areas that the photographers will be allowed. They must check with the Presider regarding this 30 minutes prior to the ceremony on the day of the wedding
• Photographers/Videographers are not permitted to roam about the Church once the liturgy has begun.
• Only the lighting already available in the Church may be used. No additional lighting may be brought into the Church. Flash photography is only permitted during the processional and recessional, never during the service itself.
• After the wedding, provided there is no conflict with other scheduled liturgies, the Church and/or grounds may be available for other pictures. Couples requesting these post-wedding photo opportunities must request and book such requests well in advance to confirm.
“The entrance rite of the marriage ceremony is meant to focus on the couple and celebrate their union not to single out the bride and draw attention to her beauty.” (Rite of Marriage, CCCB 1979, p.37)
It is possible then for the couple to choose one of two suggested options of entering the Church.
Option 1: The couple proceed together to the front, followed by the attendants.
Option 2: The bride and the groom are escorted to the front by their parents. They follow their attendants.
We are following the guidelines established for the sacrament of marriage for the solemn celebration. This is an important time in your life. See Pastoral note: 38 Introductory Rite
The rehearsal is usually held the evening prior to the wedding or at another mutually agreed time. It requires the attendance of the couple, the attendants, the ushers, the Readers and the parents of the bride and groom, and anyone else involved in the celebration.
Everyone needs to be on time for the rehearsal as being late inconveniences many people. Sometime there are other rehearsals scheduled in our Church, and so punctuality is an important courtesy.
It is equally important that everyone be on time for the wedding. Remember, it is neither fashionable nor polite for the bride and or the groom to arrive late. It shows a lack of respect for the community gathered for the wedding. The wedding party is asked to arrive at least 40 minutes in advance.
CONFETTI / RICE
Confetti, Rice, flower petals or birdseed is a serious janitorial problem and an environmental concern. Its use inside or outside the Church is forbidden – not following this expectation may result in a fee for clean-up being levied on the couple.
Now that you have taken the time to prepare for your marriage, please review the following check list:
• Arranged for your marriage preparation session?
• Chosen your readings?
• Chosen your music selections?
• Thought about any special requirements you might need to speak to the musicians about with regards to audio/visual needs?
• Chosen how you will recite your marriage vows?
• Looked at the information about photography and decorations to discuss with your suppliers?