Weddings are not scheduled for Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday, nor are weddings scheduled for those hours when Mass is read for the congregation.
Weddings at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church is celebrated on Saturday afternoons.
The Church makes certain requests of the bride and groom to help the couple with their spiritual preparation.
Appointments are setup by completing an Information Sheet at the parish office.
- Marriage preparation that will explain the requirements in the diocese.
- Baptismal Certificate copy
The Catholic partner still is required to promise to continue observing the Catholic faith and to do their best to raise children as Catholics. The promise is made in the presence of the non-Catholic partner, who no longer is asked to make any promise or commitment.
Many Catholic churches encourage the groom to greet their guests as they enter the church for the ceremony. The processional may begin with the priest meeting the groom at the entrance and then lead them and their attendants to the altar; or the priest and ministers proceed to the altar to receive the bride, groom and their attendants. Also, the processional might include the cross bearer, the priest and servers, as well as the witnesses, bridesmaids and groomsmen. The groom is encouraged to process in with his parents; and the bride with her father or parents.
If the bride is in the processional with her father only, he escorts her up the aisle, on his right arm. When he gives her hand to the groom, he then steps back and joins his wife in the first pew. (The escort, by tradition, is a man.) If the bride has no one for the role, she traditionally walks up the aisle alone. If step parents are involved, different suggestions are made.
After entry into the church, a greeting is usually issued by the priest, first to the bride and groom and then to their guests. This is followed by an opening prayer.The liturgy of the word includes readings from the Old and New Testaments, a re-sponsorial psalm, the “alleluia” before the Gospel, and a Gospel reading. The selections may be read by the priest or by honored members of the wedding party.
The homily, or sermon, elaborates on the marriage theme. If the priest knows the couple well, he may interlace his homily with personal references.
The exchange of rings follows the exchange of vows. The best man, who usually has both rings, gives the bride’s ring to the priest, who blesses it and gives it to the bridegroom, who places it on the bride’s finger. In a double ring ceremony, after the bride receives her ring, the blessing and presentation will be repeated for the bridegroom’s ring. Some brides may consider honoring the role of the Virgin Mary as Christ’s Mother, by presenting flowers at a side altar dedicated to Mary. (This is optional).
The Prayer of the Faithful follows which may also include personal prayer by the couple.
During a Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is said at this time. Those who are chosen to bring gifts of wine and bread to the altar carry out their role at this point and the liturgy begins.
The priest then offers the Nuptial Blessing.
The conclusion of a wedding without Mass is the Lord’s Prayer and a Blessing. At a Mass, the service ends with a Blessing and Dismissal.
Weddings and Masses may be performed in Spanish or English as requested by the couple.
Sacred or classical music may be played.The music of the wedding service should assist the assembled believers to express and share the gift of faith.
Churches permit floral decorations for a wedding. The Catholic Church feels that flowers that are part of the wedding scene take on the spirit of the sacrament.
The use of the Unity (memory) candle is allowed, however, each parish priest will make suggestions on this; follow his direction. A Candlelight blessing has been used in both Catholic and Protestant churches. It is acceptable because of the spiritual context of the blessing. In the Catholic tradition, the candle (flame) is a symbol of Christ, the light of the world.
The Unity candle that is lit by the bride and groom often symbolizes their separate lives being joined together, thus extinguishing the separate lights of the side candles and the combining to light the single large center candle. The Candlelight Blessing is a confirmation of that symbolism, and often follows the lighting of the Unity Candle.
Gifts and Fees
Although religion is a spiritual experience, places of worship are institutions which require financial support. Therefore, fees or offerings may be suggested, or requested, for the use of church facilities for a wedding. If such a request poses a problem for the parishioner, the Church may adjust the fees accordingly.The bride and groom are expected to present gifts to altar boys and church attendants. Fees for the organist and soloist are the responsibility of the couple.
When the ceremony takes place during a Nuptial Mass, the bridal party normally kneel, stand or sit during the entire ceremony. A kneeling bench is provided for the bride and groom, with the bridal party using the first pews in the congregational seating.The Roman Catholic church has changed much of its approach regarding the marriage of Catholics and non-Catholics. This issue should be discussed thoroughly by the couple and the priest or deacon who is presiding at the marriage. The Church may prefers both Best Man and Maid of Honor be Catholic, but no longer requires that one or both of them be. The other attendants need not be Catholic, but will be instructed in the required courtesies and reverences.
The Catholic Church encourages the couple to help develop and personalize the ceremony, within constraints. Particularly appropriate readings from the Scriptures, prayers and hymns have been identified and may be used. It is always recommended to discuss prayer or Scripture choices with the priest and music with the church music minister.