Congratulations on your engagement! The Church looks forward to the day she will be able to celebrate your marriage through the sacraments of Jesus Christ.
This guideline is meant to assist you in preparing for that great day. Included are some answers to the most asked questions and procedures in our parish churches. That being said, this instruction is by no means meant to answer all questions for all people for all circumstances. Specifics can be discussed when you make an appointment to meet with parish staff.
WHO MAKES THE CONTACT WITH THE CHURCH
Since this Sacrament of Marriage involves God, the bride and the groom, it is only the bride and/or groom that should contact the church, not parents or friends. That way there will be no misunderstandings when things get passed from one person to the next.
It is required that you contact the church at least six months before the hoped for date of the wedding. This will allow the time for paperwork to be done as well as determination of free to marry status in the church.
ELIGIBILITY FOR MARRIAGE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Everyone over the age of 18 is considered an adult in the Church and should be registered in the parish they worship. To have a wedding at either St. Augustine’s, St. Matthew’s or St. John’s, one of the following parties must be an active registered parishioner: the bride or the groom, a parent of the bride or groom. To be considered “active” means that the party has been registered for at least one year and practices their faith on a steady basis, especially by attending Mass on Sundays and participating in the life of the Church through good stewardship.
If you are not from any of the parishes in our faith community, there may still be an option to have your wedding at one of our three churches, though we will give first consideration of dates and times to those who are registered parishioners. In order to begin considering your request, we will need a letter from the parish where you are currently registered, stating that you are a registered and active member of that parish and that your pastor or other parish administrator is aware you are seeking marriage at another location and why. Please contact your parish offices for more information.
PREPARATIONS TO BE DONE BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY
Engaged couples will be required to attend pre-marriage sessions. There are a few options available and some require a series of sessions in which you must both be present.
WITH MASS OR OUTSIDE OF MASS
There are two different rites for celebrating marriage in the Church.
When both parties are Catholic it is preferred by the Church and encouraged to have Marriage within Mass. If either party is not Catholic, then Marriage without Mass will be celebrated.
WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK CAN WE SCHEDULE A WEDDING
Weddings can be scheduled for any day of the week according to the liturgical calendar. The most common times for weddings are Friday evenings, or Saturdays. There are two times available for Saturday weddings; 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. A Saturday evening Mass is also a possibility after the Mass of anticipation. For parishioners of the Boyne Valley Catholic Community, you may even choose to be married during one of our “regular” Saturday or Sunday Masses; it is allowed.
St. Matthew’s has a room where the bride and her attendants can ready themselves. St. Augustine’s and St. John’s does not have such a room; therefore, the bridal party needs to arrive ready for the ceremony. Someone must be assigned to clean things up after the wedding.
Since the wedding is taking place within the life of the parish, any environment (decorations) in the church is to remain in place for the wedding. Candelabras are available to rent at each church. All wedding decorations need to be approved before the day of the wedding. You may want to discuss this prior to ordering your flowers from the florist. The church requests that if flowers are used around the altar, they be left there for the weekend Masses, especially if things are moved around and it would look empty for the weekend Masses if they were removed. Since they seldom work well, aisle runners are discouraged.
ROLE OF THE PARENTS OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM
For most Catholics, and for many Christians, there is a time in life when one’s parents bring them to their church to be baptized into the community of the faithful. Those same parents usually bring their child to the church to celebrate the sacraments of Confirmation and first Communion. During one’s life it is by the example of parents that one grows in their faith life and relationship with God. Therefore, unless there is good reason not to do so, your parents now present you for the sacrament of marriage. Both bride and groom are escorted to the altar by their parents for this ceremony in the procession. This will be explained more during your conference with the parish staff. Exceptions will be very rare.
USE OF A UNITY CANDLE
The wedding rings are the sign of unity in the marriage rite. Since the “unity candle” is not part of the Catholic Rite, it is not allowed during the service. We will supply you a prayer for the lighting of a unity candle at your reception if you would like to use one there.
ATTENDANTS, FLOWER GIRLS AND RING BEARERS
The number of attendants should be kept to a manageable number for the space in the church. This number may vary according to which church you are going to be using. To help prevent disappointment the day of the wedding, flower girls and ring bearers must be over the age of seven years and mature enough to fulfill their role without help of an adult. However, the pastor holds the right to make the final decision as to them being in the wedding according to how they are at the rehearsal.
OTHER MINISTERS; READERS, COMMUNION MINISTERS
The sacredness of the sacrament is to be held in the highest regards. The Word of God must be well understood when proclaimed. Therefore, only trained lectors are allowed to proclaim the Scriptures. Also, since they are fulfilling a role in the liturgy they must be Catholic and in good standing in the Church. If no one in your family is a trained lector, a parish lector will be obtained for the ceremony. If you are having a Mass, you may have someone assist in the distribution of Holy Communion as long as they are commissioned in their own parish to do so. They will be asked to present such a document or letter from their parish stating so. Otherwise the parish will select Communion ministers.
Fashion changes with time and though your dress may be appropriate for the reception or in another locale, it may not be appropriate in the House of God. Modesty will be required and no tattoos should be seen during the ceremony.
IMMPEDIMENTS TO MARRIAGE
It should go without saying, but in order that one not have any impediments that could prevent them from making free consent for marriage, there is to be no alcohol or drug use on the church property at any time. If any of the wedding party, family or guests appears compromised, they will not be allowed to be part of the ceremony. No exceptions.
REGARDING RICE, BUBBLES, BIRDSEED, BALLOONS, ETC.
If you wish to do something on exiting the church, rice is not allowed because of the danger of slipping on it. Bubbles are suggested as an alternative if you wish. Confetti, sparklers or anything else that will need to be cleaned up after use is not allowed.
To cover the costs for pre-marriage sessions, the use of the church, the custodial staff and the presider, a donation of at least $250 is requested for registered and active parishioners. For those who are not part of the faith community, or not active, a donation of at least $500 is requested. In order to secure the date for your wedding ,we also ask that 50% of the requested donation be given up front. (We have many persons requesting wedding dates, and we want to make sure that everyone is given the chance to secure their date.) All of this money goes directly to parish income. The presider does not retain any of this money. If you would like to give the presider or the person who prepares you for marriage a gift for his or her services, you may do so separately; however, his or her salary is covered by the donation to the church. The musician is not covered in this amount and needs to be paid directly.
We have a music director for the faith community. Normally this person is the one you work with concerning music, even if you are going to bring in someone else for music, you must meet with our parish musician. The musician’s fee is worked out between you and the musician. A stipend for the parish musician may be requested even is you do not use his or her services as they may still have to be here for assistance to your musicians. The rates for the musician vary depending on the type of service, but again, it is to be worked out between you and our music director.
MINISTER OF THE SACRAMENT
Couples may request a different Catholic minister to witness the sacrament. This minister will be expected to follow all the guidelines of the parish and must present to the Bishop of Gaylord a letter of good standing in the Church. The minister knows about this and would know where to obtain it. Normally deacons are not given faculties to marry in the Diocese of Gaylord without permission from the bishop.
These guidelines are not meant to put an obstacle to your wedding, however, the integrity of the Liturgy of the Church must be maintained as all liturgies, including marriage and even funerals are liturgies of the Church first and foremost. As stated earlier, this guideline is not meant to include answers to every question you may have, but it should be a good start. Another good place to find answers for some of your questions is: www.catholicbrides.com.
“In order to reserve a date for your wedding, we ask that parishioners make a $100 non-refundable deposit and non-parishioners a $250 non-refundable deposit. These deposits can be applied toward the total fees for the wedding.”
If these guidelines meet your expectations and you still desire to work toward holding your celebration here, then please call the office at (231) 582-7718 to make an appointment with one of the parish staff to further discuss this great and blessed event in your life.