"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE?
The Sacrament of Marriage, also known as Matrimony, is a covenant between a man and a woman to live their lives as a partnership as they guide and support each other in the ways of Christian living.
TYPES OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATIONS
Marriage celebrations vary depending on various circumstances and the preferences of the couple.
Mass or Nuptials Only
A couple can choose to be married at a Mass, or they may choose to have a nuptials only service where they exchange vows without having a Mass.
Marriage versus Convalidation
At the typical marriage celebration, particularly in the United States, a couple will visit their county recorder's office to obtain a Marraige License. The couple will present the county license to the Priest or Deacon, who will complete the section of the license as the person officiating at the marriage. The Priest or Deacon is authorized to marry the couple on behalf of the state, so the wedding ceremony will marry the couple both civilly and in the Catholic Church.
In those cases where a couple has already been married civilly (by a government entity), the Sacrament of Marriage is conferred upon the couple so that they will also be married in the Catholic Church. This is called a Convalidation. This is common in most other parts of the world, where the church is not authorized to perform marriages on behalf of the state.
An important note: Remember that in the United States, a couple only needs to obtain their Marriage License from the county and present it to the parish -- they should not have a civil marriage before their marriage in the church.
STEPS IN PREPARING FOR A WEDDING
These are the steps and the things that would be needed in preparing for a wedding:
- The priest or deacon who will perform the wedding will have an initial meeting with the couple to set the date and obtain basic information.
- At other meetings, the bride and groom will fill out marriage forms that are standard in the Catholic Church, and both the bride and groom will have a relative or life-long friend fill out another form on their behalf called a "Witness Form."
- The bride and the groom will need to obtain a copy of their Baptism Certificate from the church or the diocese where they were baptized. The certificate must be dated, showing that it was issued within 6 months of the date that is planned for the marriage.
- There will be a pre-marital preparation program for the couple to attend. It is either a series of meetings or a weekend retreat.
- Two witnesses will be selected. Most often one is the Maid of Honor and the other is the Best Man.
- The couple will obtain their Marriage License from the County Recorder's office.
- There will be a rehearsal on the Thursday or Friday evening before the wedding.
- As part of the donation to the church, one flower arrangement is provided. The couple will provide the church information on the color scheme of the wedding so that the flowers can be coordinated to match.
- Additional flowers for the sanctuary and pew ends, and aisle runners/red carpet runners, are not provided by the parish. The couple will need to contract with a florist or rental company directly.
- The couple can select one of the musicians and/or vocalists that frequently serve at the parish to provide music, or they can hire a mariachi that is familiar with the music and of the Catholic Mass.
WHEN ARE WEDDINGS HELD?
Weddings are usually held on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. They are not held during the seasons of Lent or Advent. It is best to contact the church to indicate interest in having a wedding at least six months prior to the desired marriage date.
WHAT ARE THE DONATIONS AND FEES?
The following are the donations and fees for a wedding:
|Donation to the Church||$400.00|
|Honorarium for the Priest / Deacon||$100.00|
|Honorarium for the Coordinator (The coordinator guides the wedding party through the rehearsal and ensures everything at the wedding runs smoothly)||$150.00|
|Flower Arrangement Fee||$125.00|
READY TO START THE PROCESS?
To begin the process of marriage in the Catholic Church, complete the form below or call our office at 510-471-2609. Congratulations!