WEDDINGS AT SAINT PATRICK PARISH
The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is of the greatest importance to the members of our parish family. As a community of faith, we share the joy of engaged couples, their families, and friends. The members of our staff are eager to do everything possible to see to it that our parishioners’ weddings are deeply joyful experiences of faith and love. This guide outlines our parish’s wedding procedures and policies. All inquiries about marriage should be directed to our parish office.
Registered parishioners who wish to be married at St. Patrick’s meet with a priest or deacon at least six months before the wedding date. During the months before the wedding, the priest or deacon assists the couple in preparing for marriage. Normally, this preparation includes several meetings with the priest or deacon and participation in a marriage preparation program organized by married couples.
Reservation of the church building
Before scheduling a wedding at St. Patrick’s, every engaged couple must first meet with one of the parish’s priests or deacons. Absolutely no information about the availability of church facilities may be given to a couple by the parish staff before the couple’s initial meeting with the priest or deacon. At the initial meeting, the priest or deacon learns about the couple’s personal backgrounds, and discusses with them their freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.
If either the bride or the groom has at any time contracted marriage in the Catholic Church, or gone through any form of marriage outside the Catholic Church, this information must be discussed with the priest or deacon at the initial meeting.
Once a couple’s freedom to marry has been confirmed by the priest or deacon, the church building may be reserved for the wedding. Our parish’s busy liturgical schedule limits the times that the church building is available for weddings. Most weekday afternoons and evenings are available. On Saturdays, weddings may be scheduled from 10:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m., and from 5:30 p.m. on. Our parish’s liturgical schedule cannot accommodate any weddings on Sundays.
The church building may also be reserved for the wedding rehearsal. To arrange for wedding rehearsal, speak with the priest or decon who is preparing you for marriage.
After the wedding has been scheduled with the priest or deacon, couples need to contact the parishes at which they were baptized and/or confirmed, to obtain the records of those sacraments. When requesting baptismal certificates from Catholic parishes, couples need to request “the long form for marriage, with notations.” Sacramental records must be mailed from the parish directly to the priest or deacon at St. Patrick’s – not to the couple. If a person was baptized or confirmed at St. Patrick’s or Sacred Heart Parish, we have those sacramental records in our archives.
A marriage between two Catholics is normally celebrated within a Mass. If a couple has questions about this, they discuss them with the priest or deacon.
For a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, the couple discusses with the priest or deacon whether it is more appropriate to celebrate the wedding with or without a Mass.
Planning the liturgy
The priest or deacon assists couples in planning their wedding liturgy. Couples are offered resources for considering and choosing the various elements of the liturgy (readings, prayers, blessings, etc.).
Visiting Catholic clergy are welcome to celebrate weddings at St. Patrick’s, with the approval of the pastor. Non-Catholic clergy are welcome to participate in weddings at St. Patrick’s, with the approval of the pastor. If a couple wishes to include visiting clergy in their weddings, they should discuss that possibility with the priest or deacon at their initial meeting. Clergy from outside Massachusetts are responsible for registering with the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts prior to the wedding.
Couples should discuss with the priest or deacon any special decorations they would like to use in the church building during the wedding.
Flowers that are placed in the church for weddings are left in the church afterwards. Couples may not bring to the church flowers that they wish to remove after their wedding.
Runners may not be used at weddings at Saint Patrick’s.
Nothing – including rice, confetti, birdseed, or flowers – may be thrown in the church or at the entrances of the church. These present a real danger for people’s slipping on our tiled floor and steep steps.
Couples are welcome to have their receiving lines in the vestibule of the church building, after the conclusion of the wedding liturgy.
Music for all weddings at St. Patrick’s is planned in consultation with Mr. Bernie Choiniere, our Music Director. Engaged couple meet personally with Mr. Choiniere to plan the music for their wedding. This meeting is arranged by the couple after the priest or deacon has reserved the church building for the wedding.
Subject to the approval of Mr. Choiniere, visiting professional church musicians may participate in weddings at St. Patrick’s. Couples should not make any arrangements with other musicians until they have met with Mr. Choiniere and have received his approval.
The wedding liturgy is a wonderful time of prayer and rejoicing. To avoid photographers’ intruding upon this sacred reality, some restrictions are observed.
Photographers may not enter the sanctuary of the church.
Photographers should not interfere with the entrance procession or recessional, nor interfere in the flow of any liturgical action.
Only the lighting already available in the church may be used. No additional lighting may be brought into the church.
Flash photography is discouraged. If a photographer wishes to use flash photography, he or she should speak with the priest or deacon before the wedding to clarify how extensively flashes will be used.
At the couple’s initial meeting with the priest or deacon, they will be given a brochure that includes information about the offering made to the parish at the time of marriage and the fee for Mr. Choiniere.
All couples married in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must obtain a civil marriage license. Couples are responsible for obtaining this from a city or town hall, and presenting the license to the priest or deacon two weeks before the date of their wedding. Without a civil marriage license, no wedding can take place at St. Patrick’s.