Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage
Congratulations on your engagement and decision to enter into Catholic marriage! We at the Church of St. Mary will help you in your preparation to ensure that you make this serious and sacred step in your life a holy and happy one.
Spiritual preparation is a key part of this special time. Frequent participation in the sacraments during this time is important, particularly weekly Mass. It is also strongly recommended that you bring yourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this time of preparation. The engagement period can be particularly stressful at times, and the graces bestowed on you through Reconciliation and weekly Mass will be a great source of strength to help keep you focused and at peace. This spiritual direction will foster great growth and maturity for both partners.
The bride and/or groom should be registered member/s of our parish, actively supporting our community as good stewards of their time, talents and treasure. A bride or groom who has moved away but whose family remains registered and supportive of the parish will be given due consideration.
The day and time of the wedding must be arranged in person by the prospective bride and groom as soon as they feel called by God to enter into marriage. No arrangement can be made by phone or with parents. All arrangements should be made at least 9 months prior to the proposed wedding date. The normal time for weddings at the Church of St. Mary is Saturdays not later than 2:00pm. If you are interested in a Friday wedding, please contact the Parish Office.
This first meeting with the Pastor or Deacon may be scheduled by calling the Parish Office 518–449–2232, ext. 11).
- Please bring to this first meeting:
- for baptized Christians, a recent copy (6 months or less) of baptismal certificate.
- for unbaptized persons, a copy of birth certificate.
- if there was a previous Catholic marriage, a copy of the annulment decree.
- if there was a previous marriage by either party, no date will be set until this is discussed with the Pastor or Deacon.
Further guidelines for marriage at our parish will be presented at this first meeting. These guidelines are to be used throughout the preparation process between the bride and groom. Some of the issues to be considered are:
- The type of celebration that would be appropriate for the couple.
- If the marriage will be celebrated by persons of different religious traditions, it is highly advised that the Rite of Marriage be celebrated outside the context of Mass.
- If the marriage will be celebrated by persons regularly practicing our Roman Catholic tradition, it is advised that the Rite of Marriage be celebrated within the context of Mass.
- The ongoing process of discernment and decision-making in the coming months.
- The engaged persons are encouraged to continue discerning their call to marriage, particularly God’s call that they enter into marriage with one another.
- Various options for ceremony prayers will be given to the couple for their reflection and selection.
- Very often, one or both of the couple require additional formation (possibly some elements of counseling, etc.). Such will be considered and discussed.
- The spiritual life of the engaged persons interacting with each other and with God.
- Key to this process is the relationship that the bride and the groom continue to establish with themselves and with God. The couple will be exhorted and encouraged to engage not only among themselves, but also within the life of the Catholic parish, various ministries, and prayer & worship (liturgical) opportunities (including, but not limited to, the sacramental life of the Eucharist and reconciliation).
- Schedule the Blessing for an engaged couple at the Sunday Mass that the couple attends.
- The type of celebration that would be appropriate for the couple.
After successfully meeting with the Pastor and beginning to consider the various guidelines and elements of the formation process for marriage, the bride and groom will schedule a follow-up meeting at which time they will complete individual inventories of their personalities and psychological make-ups. These will greatly assist the formation process for marriage and will form the basis upon which future formation sessions are established. The couple and the Pastor or Deacon will meet to discuss the results.
Once the results of the inventories are produced, the couple is ready to begin a series of formation sessions that will be conducted with them by a married couple from our parish who are trained for such a ministry. Typically, these monthly sessions run throughout the course of five or six months. These sessions are of a confidential nature (between the engaged couple, the formation or mentor couple, and the pastor) and promise to be fruitful when couples enter fully into this process of growth. Once this step is complete, the formation or mentor couple apprises the pastor of the results that flow from their meetings with the engaged couple.
At least two months before the wedding date the engaged couple will want to schedule meetings with the Associate for Liturgy & Music, as well as with the Wedding Coordinator. It has been our experience that these ministers have proven to be of great comfort and benefit to engaged couples as they further approach the celebration of marriage. Both the Associate and the Wedding Coordinator offer very practical help in planning for the various practical details of the wedding ceremony. It is customary to offer a stipend of $200 to the Associate for Liturgy & Music (as well as $75 for a cantor, if requested).
At this time the couple should schedule a meeting with the Wedding Coordinator to finalize the wedding plans.
- For this meeting, the couple should bring their selections of prayers and readings chosen for their wedding ceremony.
At this point, the couple, along with the rest of the wedding party, prepare by rehearsing their ceremony with the Wedding Coordinator and the Associate for Liturgy & Music (typically, this occurs the evening prior to the wedding ceremony). Any issues relative to the ceremony should have already been decided with the Wedding Coordinator prior to this rehearsal. In other words, the Coordinator is the director of the rehearsal and is the Master of Ceremonies during the actual Rite of Marriage on the wedding day.
- For this rehearsal, the couple must give their marriage license to the Wedding Coordinator.
Simply put, this is the celebration of the Rite of Marriage! May this day be one among many yet to come; God bless you both.
Parish Office 518-449-2232, Ext. 11
Associate for Liturgy & Music (Carl Hackert) 518-449-2232, Ext. 15
Wedding Coordinator (Terry Kois) 518-449-2232, Ext. 11
The couple provides the wedding flowers for the altar. Florist should be advised to arrange delivery of the flowers with the Associate for Liturgy & Music or Wedding Coordinator.
If pew decorations are being used, they must be secured with a ribbon or some type of elastic holder as to not damage the wood of the pews.
There is no throwing of flower petals, rice, birdseed, confetti or other material inside or outside of the church.
Professional photographers and videographers are allowed during the wedding ceremony. Please ensure that they observe the following conditions:
- All photography and videography must be done from outside of the sanctuary area.
- The photographer or videographer may not intrude upon or interrupt the ceremony.
- Flashes are not allowed.
- Posed pictures may be taken after the ceremony, schedule permitting.
The suggested wedding offering for the Church would be $200 for those who have been an active parishioner for at least one year.
The suggested wedding offering for the Church would be $300 for non-parishioners.
These fees are used to provide ongoing maintenance of the church and grounds.
Associate for Liturgy & Music fee is $200 as mentioned in Step 3 and the Cantor is $75.
It is extremely important that the bridal party being on time. It is not fashionable to be late or polite to your guests. Also, the officiant may have another wedding or obligation scheduled after your wedding.
Groom/users/groomsmen should arrive forty-five (45) minutes beforehand.
The bride and her party should arrive at least fifteen (15) minutes before the ceremony.
The entire wedding party is asked to respect the sacred nature of this ceremony.
Guests should refrain from taking pictures with cameras or cell phones.
There is no smoking on the premises and the use of alcoholic beverages, or any other substances is prohibited before the rehearsal or before the wedding. If it is suspected that either the bride, groom, or wedding party are intoxicated, the wedding will be postponed.