THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Sacraments are always celebrations of the entire Body of Christ, and we as a Parish are looking forward to celebrating your wedding day in the mind, body, and spirit of Christ. Your wedding liturgy has special meaning for the entire parish community and should be celebrated with the joyful dignity that this implies; a time of prayer, promise, joy, and hope. Incorporating all the joy and unity of love that marriage in the presence of God offers, can be done with special planning by the staff and volunteers at the church and you as a couple.
Wedding Coordinators: A Wedding Coordinator from Saint Mary of the Mount will be assigned to you to help with the planning of the liturgical aspect of your wedding. Your designated wedding Coordinator should contact you three months prior to your wedding date to discuss the selections you have made for your celebration, to set the wedding rehearsal date and time, and to answer any questions you may have. They will also be available to lead the wedding rehearsal and assist during the actual ceremony.
Your Wedding Ceremony: The essentials of the ceremony include questions regarding intent, the marriage vows, and blessings and exchange of rings - this can be done in two kinds of ceremonies - a Mass or a Ceremony of the Word
Two Possible Wedding Ceremonies: Traditionally, the wedding ceremony of two Catholics is celebrated within the context of the Eucharist (Mass), and we as a Parish do not recommend this if one of those to be married is not a Catholic, simply to keep all members of the congregation and any varying faiths fully included in the ceremony, without their unintentionally misunderstanding the sacredness of the Eucharist.
- Wedding within the Context of Mass: This includes the Liturgy of the Word, the wedding ceremony after the homily, and then the celebration of the Eucharist. Also included are the optional rites of the "unity candle" and presenting flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Wedding within the Context of the Liturgy of the Word: The wedding ceremony solely in the context of the Liturgy of the Word includes readings from Sacred Scripture, the wedding ceremony after the homily then concludes with the optional rites of the "unity candle" and presenting flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the sign of peace, the Lord's prayer and special blessings.
Planning the Wedding Liturgy at St. Mary of the Mount: “Together for Life”booket - Upon meeting with your chosen priest or deacon, the booklet “Together for Life” will help walk you as a couple through the selections and plans for your wedding ceremony.
Wedding Times: Weddings may take place on any day of the week except Sundays; most are celebrated on Saturdays or Friday evenings. The availability of our church on Saturday is either 1:00 PM or 3:00 PM These set times are reserved to allow various other church liturgies and activities to still take place.
Wedding Time Allotment: Two hours are allotted to weddings - On Saturdays a wedding scheduled for 1:00 PM takes place during the set time of 12:30 PM-2:30 PM and a wedding scheduled for 3:00 PM takes place during the set time of 2:30 PM- 4:30 PM. (Please Note: a there is a tight schedule in the church on Saturdays often with 2 weddings and a parish Mass at 5:00 PM, so no accommodations can be made for any wedding participants whose vehicles may end up blocked in the parking lot because they were not out in time
Other Considerations for the Wedding Ceremony Details
Crash or runner: A "crash" is a long white strip of cloth or plastic which is sometimes unrolled at weddings immediately before the wedding party proceeds down the aisle. This is not permitted at St. Mary of the Mount, as it can easily get bunched or torn becoming an unsightly safety hazard.
The Entrance Procession: Beginning in 2017, what we have consider a "traditional" wedding procession, where bridesmaids and bride walk the aisle and meet the groomsmen and groom up front, is no longer and option. The liturgical procession, which emphasises the movement of a people from one place in life to another, is now the norm throughout the United States.
- Liturgical Procession- This entrance procession is similar to that seen at Sunday Mass; the congregation is asked to stand and sing an entrance song while the ministers and wedding party members enter, usually in pairs (including the parents and bride and groom). This should be discussed with the priest or deacon presiding at the wedding.
Scripture readings- May be chosen by the couple. Readers may be chosen from family or friends for the reading of the first two Scriptural passages. Whoever is asked to do a reading should have a strong speaking voice, an understanding of the Catholic liturgy and a true belief that the reading is the Word of God.
Gifts of Bread and Wine - If Mass is to be celebrated, a few people may be selected to bring up the gifts of bread and wine, with their understanding of the Catholic liturgy and belief that the gifts offered are transformed for us into Christ, being present.
Optional Symbolic Offering for the Poor: Another custom at weddings is for the bride and groom to present symbolic gifts for the poor. This offering can be carried up and presented with the bread and wine at the offertory procession (at Mass) or other appropriate time within a ceremony. This custom is encouraged and speaks of the bride and groom's understanding and acknowledgment that their wedding is taking place within a wider community whose needs will not be forgotten.
Optional giving of flowers at the Exchange of Peace: After the Lord's Prayer, a sign of peace is exchanged. Some couples, at this time, opt to present of flowers to their parents (and sometimes to grandparents or others).
Reception of the Eucharist: if your wedding is to be in the context of Mass, it is the directive of the Catholic Church that only Catholics may approach the table of the Lord to receive Holy Communion.
(Please make this directive known ahead of time to non-Catholics who may be attending.)
Optional Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary: It is an ancient sacred Catholic wedding custom for the bride, accompanied by her new husband, to present flowers at the statue of the Virgin Mary shortly before the ceremony's conclusion.
Receiving Lines: A warm and personal way to greet loved ones and well-wishers after the ceremony, it is preferrable for this exchange to take place at your wedding reception location rather than the back of the church due to time constraints of the church, so as not to rush you as the new bride and groom through the beautiful emotional interactions and picture-taking. (Please note: If you choose to have the receiving line at the church, you and your guests must be out of the church when your alloted time is up.)
Post-Wedding Customs: The throwing of rice, confetti, birdseed, rose petals or anything else in the church or anywhere on church property is not permitted. In addition to being an insurance violation, it is a superstition ill befitting the celebration of Christian marriage. In addition, the parish does not have sufficient maintenance personnel for this extra cleaning on weekends and without it the church is not fit for use for other weddings or the parish Masses.
Additional Aspects: Pets or animals of any kind (except for trained service animals) are not allowed in the church. If you would like to include any other ritual or formal procedures in your wedding, they must be discussed with the priest or deacon beforehand.
Altar Servers: They usually are not be available from this church, so we don’t use them unless there is someone from the family. If there are servers from the family please share this with the wedding coordinator.
Photography: You are welcome to have a photographer take pictures and/or make a videotape of the wedding provided there are no distractions during the liturgy. Taking pictures in the sacristy (before the ceremony) or in the atlar area (during the ceremony) is not permitted. The operative principle is that the church is first and foremost a house of prayer and not a photography studio. Included with the resources on this site is a set of directives to be given to any photographer or videographer you might include in your wedding plans.
Flowers: Flowers have traditionally been a part of the wedding ceremony. They are, however, optional. If you choose to have flowers purchased for use at your wedding, arrangements should be made with the florist of your choice. If more than one wedding is scheduled for your date, you may arrange with the other couple(s) to purchase flowers together. Please inform the florist that no arrangements may be placed on the center altar. Flower stands should be obtained through the florist. It is customary to leave flowers in the church following the wedding as a gift to the people of the parish. Included with the resources on this site is a set of directives to be given to any florist you might include in your wedding plans.
Rehearsal: Usually, a rehearsal is conducted the evening before the wedding and can be scheduled with the Wedding Coordinator six weeks prior to the wedding. The time is set by Wedding Coordinator from Saint Mary of the Mount and after consultation with the priest or deacon who is to be the official witness for the ceremony. This is set after considering the parish schedule and the time of any other ceremonies already scheduled for that evening. It is the couple's responsibility to ensure that the wedding party is on time for the rehearsal.
Confessions: The bride, groom and wedding party may wish to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before the wedding. Please arrange for a time to do so well before the rehearsal, because there is usually little time to celebrate this sacrament appropriately before or after the rehearsal, and there may not be a priest present.
AFTER YOU HAVE MET WITH THE PRIEST OR DEACON WHO IS CELEBRATING YOUR WEDDING AND HAVE SCHEDULED THE DATE WITH US:
Please print this Wedding Policy Agreement, read it, sign it and send in with your deposit for the church.