Sacraments are always celebrations of the entire Body of Christ. Therefore, your wedding liturgy has special meaning for the entire parish community and should be celebrated with the joyful dignity that this implies. It is a time of prayer, promise, joy and hope. This special celebration should be carefully planned with the mutual cooperation of the priest or deacon and the couple.
Your wedding will take place within the context of a ceremony which includes: questions regarding intent, the marriage vows and the blessing and exchange of rings.
Traditionally, the wedding ceremony of two Catholics takes place within the context of the Eucharist (Mass). However, the Eucharist is not something that should be taken lightly or assumed as a "nice background for our wedding vows." If the couple to be married are not active in their Catholic faith, serious questions need to be asked. If they do not regularly attend Mass each weekend, then how important do they consider the Mass in their lives? Why would they expect to celebrate their wedding in the context of Mass when they celebrate nothing else in that context?
Therefore, at Saint Kilian Parish, if a couple expects to celebrate their marriage vows in the context of Mass, they should be prepared to demonstrate that the Mass is important to them by their regular attendance at Mass long before their wedding takes place. If this is not the case, then they too will likely celebrate their vows in the context of a wedding ceremony. This includes readings from Sacred Scripture, the wedding ceremony (vows and exchange of rings), prayers, 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.
Scripture readings may be chosen by the couple in consultation with the priest or deacon who will witness the marriage. Readers may be chosen from family or friends to read the first two Scriptural passages. Any person who is doing a reading in church should be a good speaker, familiar with Catholic liturgy and feel comfortable in a church building. Remember, this is the proclamation of the Word of God.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist (Mass)
Every wedding in the Catholic Church is celebrated with the Liturgy of the Word and the actual wedding ceremony. Two Catholics who marry must be married within the context of the Eucharist (Mass). If one of those to be married in not a Catholic, the couple may request that the Mass be celebrated at the wedding, but it is an option. It is important for these couples to seriously consider this matter. There are compelling reasons why an interfaith couple may not choose to request the Mass. Among these are: so that non-Catholic family and friends may fully follow and participate in the celebration of marriage, that the symbols be those of unity and not disunity when non-Catholics are not permitted to receive Communion, and that the Eucharist not be celebrated amid a group of people many of whom lack an understanding of its meaning or faith in what is taking place.
The Entrance Procession
In recent years, several options have emerged for this aspect of the wedding. There can be an entrance procession similar to that seen at Sunday Mass whereby the congregation is asked to stand and sing an entrance song while the wedding party and ministers enter, usually in pairs (including the parents and bride and groom). Some brides are escorted down the aisle by their fathers (and/or their mothers). At some weddings, the attendants are escorted down the entire aisle, at others they walk alone and are met by the groomsmen at the front of the church. In any case, the couple's preference regarding the entrance should be discussed with the priest or deacon presiding at the wedding.
Symbolic Offering For the Poor
Another wedding custom is for the bride and groom to present symbolic gifts for the poor. This custom usually takes the form of a basket of canned goods or non-perishable items being carried with the bread and wine at the offertory procession (at Mass) or other appropriate time within a ceremony. This custom is encouraged as a sign that the bride and groom recognize that their wedding is taking place within a wider community about whose needs they and this parish are rightly concerned. You may consult the parish priests regarding the availability of baskets for this purpose.
If the Mass is celebrated at your wedding, you may choose to ask some family members or friends to bring to the altar the bread and the wine. This may include as few as two and as many as four people.
Exchange of Peace Before the Lord's Prayer
(at the Liturgy of the Word or at Mass) a sign of peace is exchanged. At that time, some couples choose to present flowers at that time to their parents (and grandparents).
Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary
An ancient Catholic wedding custom is the presentation of flowers at a statue of the Virgin Mary shortly before the conclusion of the ceremony. The bride may perform this gesture accompanied by her new husband, her maid (matron) of honor, her mother or the mothers of the bride and the groom.
Some couples ask a priest or deacon (relative or friend) other than ones assigned to this parish to be the official witness at their wedding. When initial contact is made with the parish, please indicate your intention to do so. That priest will then be contacted by Saint Kilian Parish. The guest priest or deacon, then, is expected to handle all the details of the wedding, including completing the Initial Assessment Form, obtaining the required documents, completing the other required forms, insuring that the couple is properly instructed, conducting the rehearsal and the wedding and submitting the papers to the parish following the wedding.
You are welcome to have a photographer take pictures and/or make a videotape of the wedding provided that there are no distractions during the liturgy. Taking pictures in the sacristy (before the ceremony) or in the sanctuary (during the ceremony) is not permitted. The operative principal is that the church is first and foremost a house of prayer and not a photography studio. Included with the marriage booklet
is a set of guidelines to be given to any photographer or videographer
you might include in your wedding plans.
Music at the Wedding Ceremony
Music is an important part of the celebration of marriage. It should not, however, overshadow the essential element of the commitment of the bride and groom to each other. Please contact the Parish Center for the names of musicians who are able to provide the music for your wedding. If you choose to obtain someone else, please insure that they contact the parish so that we can be assured that the musician(s) is capable of providing the appropriate music for a Catholic wedding and is familiar with the ceremony and the parish's musical instruments.
Listed below are various selections and the categories they would most likely fit when planning your liturgy. Please consult Mr. David Dreher
, Director of Music Ministries, for further information at 724.625.1665 x2113.*Please Note: These recordings are for planning purposes only and for private listening. They are not meant for general distribution and will be a violation of protected copyrights.
Click here for Sample Marriage Readings you may choose to use during your wedding ceremony.
Communion Songs (May Also Be Sung Before Mass)
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 (and church), you may arrange with the other couple(s) to purchase flowers together. Please inform the florist that no arrangements may be placed on the altar of sacrifice. 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.
A "crash" (a long white strip of cloth or plastic) is sometimes unrolled at weddings immediately before the wedding party proceeds down the aisle. While this has become a custom in some places, it is completely optional. It is our strong preference here at Saint Kilian Parish that a crash not be utilized. We have found that the carpet in the church tends to make the crash rip and tear almost every time. Not only is this unsightly and a nuisance but it is also a hazzard especially for elderly guests. If you insist on a crash, the church aisle is 60 feet long.
The use of a "unity candle" (a set of three candles) has become popular within the wedding liturgy. Two of these candles are lit before the ceremony and the center candle is lit by the bride and groom following the vows. The symbolism is that two candles (representing the baptism of the bride and groom) are now joined into one. If you choose to utilize this rite, please bring the three candle set to the church at the rehearsal.
Please ask those attending your wedding not to throw rice, confetti, birdseed, rose petals or anything else in the church or anywhere on church property. In addition to being a safety hazzard, 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 churches are not fit for use for other weddings or the parish Masses.
Receiving lines are better placed at the location of the reception than at the back of church. Nonetheless, if you choose to have a receiving line at the church, please note that this limits your time for pictures since other weddings or parish Masses are likely scheduled following your wedding and you must leave the church in time for preparations for these celebrations.
If you would like to include any other features in your wedding, they must be discussed with the priest or deacon beforehand.
Fees and Suggested Offerings
Please contact the Parish Office
for more information regarding fees (e.g. for the services of the organist) and offerings.
Altar servers will be provided by the church unless the couple has a specific choice. An offering given to the altar servers is usually handled by the best man sometime before the beginning of the ceremony.
Usually a rehearsal is conducted the evening before the wedding. The time is set after consultation with the priest or deacon who is to be the official witness for the ceremony, and after considering the parish schedule and the time of any other rehearsals already scheduled for that evening. It is the couple's responsibility to insure that the wedding party is on time for the rehearsal. The marriage license, offerings for the parish, servers, and organist (unless otherwise arranged) should be brought to the rehearsal and given to the priest or deacon.
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 after the rehearsal.
Reception of the Eucharist
It is the directive of the Catholic Church that only Catholics may approach the table of the Lord to receive Holy Communion. If Mass is being celebrated as part of your wedding ceremony, please make this directive known to non-Catholics who may be attending.
Ushers for the wedding (usually the groomsmen) should arrive at the church no later than 45 minutes before the scheduled time for wedding. They should be prepared to seat or otherwise assist guests. The groom and best man should go directly to the sacristy. Please do not bring any food or beverages into the church. No consumption of alcoholic beverages by any member of the wedding party on parish property will be tolerated either at the rehearsal or wedding. Any violation of this policy or any public display of intoxication may result in the priest or deacon not being able to conduct the ceremony.
Seating of Guests
Because the church is a house of prayer, talking and conduct in the vestibule and the church proper should be in keeping with the sacred character of surroundings. Ushers should promptly escort guests to their seats. The mother of the groom and then the mother of the bride should be seated a few minutes before the wedding is scheduled to begin. This should not be delayed to seat those who arrive late (they may seat themselves after the entrance of the wedding party). In fairness to others who are to use the church after you, weddings must begin at the scheduled time.