Celebrating Your Marriage in St. Josaphat Church
Indeed, so important is marriage in Christian life that it is called a sacrament. Great care is taken to see that the prayer for this special moment is reverent, graceful, beautiful and open to the movement of God's Spirit among us.
Our celebrations of the sacraments, marriage included, are always rooted in listening to the scriptures so that we can be nourished and strengthened by God's Word. We always celebrate the sacraments as community. We gather our sisters and brothers in faith and ask for their prayerful support.
These celebrations are incomplete unless they are filled with song, with prayerful gestures and with silence in which we hear the voice of God in our lives. In this spirit, St. Josaphat parish provides the following information and guidelines.
Remember, it is the love shared between the couple that calls down God's presence in the Sacrament of Matrimony. You are the ministers of this beautiful sacrament. As you schedule and work on all the details, try to relax. The ceremony will be beautiful because the people in attendance are choosing to be there, drawn to the church by your love for each other. In the rush of things, take time for each other, support each other.
Step 1: Wedding Inquiry
The priest or deacon will deal only with the couple and not with parents or wedding coordinators to avoid any confusion or miscommunication. We expect your full cooperation.
We ask that you remember that unlike a hall or a restaurant, the church is not "rented" for a wedding. As a place of worship it should be respected. It is also the symbol of the faith community before which you will be exchanging your vows.
The parish staff (priests, music director, altar servers, sacristans, etc.) is not employed by the couple getting married.
You are expected to be on time for the rehearsal and the ceremony. We will not delay the start of another ceremony in church because of a tardy start of yours. The church is open one half hour before the ceremony. All weddings have the church reserved for 90 minutes from the planned ceremony start time, and this should include picture taking.
Drinking of alcohol before the rehearsal or ceremony will lead to the expulsion of those drinking from the church. Failure to comply could mean the forfeiture of the privilege of marriage in St. Josaphat Church at the discretion of the priest or deacon at any point in the preparation or ceremony.
Step 2: Set The Date
Couples are expected to talk to a parish priest or deacon at least six months before the date on which they hope to celebrate their wedding. A wedding date cannot be set until a priest or deacon has met with the engaged couple, taking care of necessary documentation and arranging for their participation in a marriage preparation program. It is the responsibility of the engaged couple to secure the date with the church before making commitments with caterers, reception halls, etc.
ONLY the parish priest or deacon can confirm availability of wedding dates/times and this is done during your meeting. The Parish Office cannot confirm wedding dates or availability.
Weddings are scheduled with respect to the couple's wishes and the availability of the church building and parish ministers. Generally, we schedule no more than two weddings per weekend, at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm on Saturdays. You can see if a wedding is already scheduled by checking our parish calendar (if there is not a wedding scheduled, however, it does not mean that the date is available).
For exceptional reasons, weddings may be scheduled on Friday afternoon/evening ONLY AFTER 3:30 pm, or on Sunday afternoon. In the case of Sunday weddings, because of the schedule of Sunday Masses, weddings will be celebrated at a ceremony only -- no additional Masses are scheduled on Sundays. Wedding times are arranged to allow for Masses and other events in church such as Baptisms, Reconciliation, and funerals. As a result, weddings must begin at the scheduled time. The parking lot needs to be cleared between services to allow for adequate parking for the next service. On Saturday, the parking lot needs to be cleared by 4:30 pm because our Vigil Mass starts at 5:00 pm.
There are a few days in the liturgical year when a wedding cannot be celebrated. There are also times in the Church year when the liturgical calendar is less conducive to the celebration of weddings. For example, the season of Lent is a time of penance in the life of the church community; that spirit touches and colors all parish liturgies between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The priest or deacon will discuss this with you if your proposed ceremony date is affected.
We encourage you to avoid holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Remember that legal holiday weekends throughout the year often provide families and individuals with their only time to enjoy a break from their work schedule without fulfilling other social obligations.
The Rehearsal date and time should also be set with the priest or deacon.
Please note: It is not possible to guarantee a date for a wedding if either party is pursuing an annulment. The final notification of the annulment must be granted before a date can be finalized.
Step 3: Fees
The suggested wedding contribution is $1000 for parishioners, children of parishioners and alumni of St. Josaphat School. The suggested wedding contribution is $1500 for non-parishioners. Full payment of your contribution is necessary to secure the date and time for your wedding. No wedding will be scheduled without full payment of this non-refundable, non tax deductible contribution because of the scheduling restraints of so many wedding requests. If there is any financial difficulty, a wedding ceremony can be arranged for reduced or no cost. These fees support the mission of the parish and contribute to the preservation of our buildings.
The church will provide altar servers for your wedding. We encourage you to make a small offering to the servers of $10 - $15 for each server.
See the section on wedding music for details on music options and fees.
Step 4: Required Documentation
- A new Baptismal Certificate dated within six months of the day you wish to be married must be submitted by each Catholic party. In the marriage of a Catholic and a non-Catholic Christian, the non-Catholic is also to present a record of baptism, if that is possible. Writing or phoning the church in which the baptism took place easily obtains these certificates. Copies of original certificates are unacceptable.
- A Confirmation Certificate is also required for all Catholics (both certificates remain on file at St. Josaphat).
- A Civil Marriage License is required for the marriage to take place in church. This can be obtained at the Office of the Cook County Clerk, 118 North Clark Street, Lower Level Randolph Street in Chicago. It is good for 60 days from when it is issued, but cannot be used within the first 24 hours of receiving it. It should be brought to the wedding rehearsal. Currently, in Cook County, there are no blood tests needed to obtain a license. You need to go together and have proper identification. Obviously, no wedding can be witnessed without a valid license. If you have any questions regarding this license call 312-603-7790. Only cash is accepted at the County Office.
- In case of a marriage ceremony at a non-Catholic church involving a Catholic and a non-Catholic, a dispensation must be obtained from the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese before the wedding. Because of the time involved in such a procedure, it is advisable to complete all of the necessary paperwork as soon a possible.
- A statement of intention by both bride and groom, called a pre-nuptial questionnaire, is required.
- In cases where the priest preparing you for marriage does not know you or your family, two Witness Affidavits for each of you may be required. Adults who know you well complete these affidavits in any Catholic parish in the presence of a priest, deacon, or pastoral associate. Close family members (parents, sisters, brothers) are most acceptable since they can easily answer the questions asked. They need not be Catholic, but should be at least eighteen years of age.
- In case of a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, a dispensation must be granted. When the non-Catholic party is Christian and has a copy of his/her baptismal certificate, the parish priest can grant the dispensation. In cases where the non-Catholic does not have a record of baptism, the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese must grant the dispensation.
Step 5: Pre-Cana
Step 6: Mass or Ceremony?
First, let's understand the difference. Every celebration of Mass consists of a Liturgy of the Word (entrance rite, readings, homily, general intercessions) and a Liturgy of the Eucharistic (presentation of bread and wine, the Eucharistic Prayer, and Holy Communion). When a wedding is celebrated at Mass, the rite of marriage takes place after the homily and before the general intercessions; then the Liturgy of the Eucharist follows. When a wedding is celebrated outside of Mass it is celebrated in a Liturgy of the Word in which the rite of marriage takes place after the homily and before the general intercessions. The rite concludes with prayers and a blessing.
Step 7: Plan Your Liturgy
- Are the people who will be joining in your celebration mostly from St. Josaphat parish, or will they be coming from a number of parishes?
- If they are from many parishes, it will be necessary to take into account the music they are likely to be familiar with through their regular Sunday worship.
- Are most of those assembled going to be from the Catholic tradition, or are many from other Christian or non-Christian tradition? Because those assembled are your guests, it is important they feel comfortable in joining in the prayer of this joyous occasion. You may want to include touches from another religious tradition if a sizable number of your guests are from that tradition. If one of you is from another tradition, you may want to have your own minister present at the celebration. We welcome the participation of your minister and would like to extend a personal invitation from the staff member working with you.
- What is a "unity candle?" Should we have one?
- Should we "make a visit" to the Marian shrine?
- Are we supposed to bring roses to our mothers?
- Other customs (e.g., Arras, Lasso, Vinculo, Rosario, etc.)
Step 8: Select Ceremony Participants
Step 9: Plan Your Wedding Music with our Music Director
Finally, if you have a family member or friend that would like to participate musically in the wedding, please get in touch with me to make arrangements as soon as possible. Oftentimes, extra rehearsals need to be scheduled to rehearse and learn the music. An additional fee for these rehearsals will be charged.
Cantor: $100 - $175
Each additional instrumentalist - $225 (notable exceptions: harp and timpani are more expensive)
Step 10: Order Your Invitations
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Step 11: Create A Wedding Program (or not)
Step 12: Church Flowers and Decorations
Step 13: Photography and Videography
The still photographer may take pictures at any time as long as the wedding ceremony is not interrupted. The photographer is not allowed into the sanctuary of the church and should never stand between the couple and the congregation. Nor should any part of the ceremony (e.g., the procession up the aisle) be stopped by the photographer. Flash photography is acceptable. If time permits, the church is available for 90 minutes from your planned ceremony start time for the taking of pictures. There may be a Mass or another wedding after yours. If the services start on time, there will be more than enough time for pictures. St. Josaphat Community Park behind the church is usually available for pictures (except during Advent, when Christmas Trees are sold).
Please note: the photographer should never remove items from the altar or anywhere else before taking pictures.
Video taping of the wedding is certainly permitted by a professional. We ask that the taping take place from one spot only and without a sustained high intensity lamp turning on and off. The videographer is not allowed to walk around with his or her equipment nor set up a camera in the sanctuary.
Please show these guidelines to the photographers so they are aware of the restrictions and abide by our rules. Then, tell them they too must talk to the priest or deacon prior to the ceremony. These guidelines will help to make your ceremony more reverent, special, and prayerful. Photographers who do not follow rules will not be allowed to continue to photograph the wedding in church.
Step 14: Your Wedding Weekend
Enjoy your Day