|The celebration of marriage, like any other sacramental experience, is first and foremost the worship of the Church. Regardless of the event or occasion, sacraments are always an encounter with God for all who are present, and are not to be isolated to involve only a particular set of individuals. It is important to understand that the celebration of marriage is a sacrament, a religious ritual that celebrates not just the union of two people, but the reality of God’s love known in all people. Truly, a celebration of the Christian life. It is a call and challenge for all of us to deepen that love and to share the love of Christ throughout our entire lives. Marriage is a vocational call to a lifestyle. It is more than a witness contract agreed upon for the sake of financial stability; it is a vocational call to a lifestyle. The committed love of the couple must lead them to be of service to all God’s people and to help build and nurture the kingdom of God. We celebrate your decision to undertake this permanent and faithful covenant with each other and with God. Since it is your life vocation, it should be thoroughly prepared for and seriously considered.|
Couples are expected to complete the FOCCUS assessment, an aid for your marriage preparation. It can help you study, understand and communicate openly about many things that are important to your relationship. It is not a test or a way to predict the future. It is designed to help you target the topics you need and want to talk about as a couple.
The person assisting in your preparation will review the assessment with you.
Pre-Nuptial Investigation and Documents
1. The Pre-Nuptial Investigation form must be completed with the person helping you prepare for your marriage and will be kept on file at the parish where the marriage takes place.
2. You will need to provide a Baptismal Certificate dated within 6 months prior to the wedding date. When requesting the Baptismal Certificate, ask that they include the date of Confirmation and if possible the date of First Communion. When calling the Church where you were baptized, have them send the Baptismal Certificate directly to St. Peter’s.
3. If you have been married previously, please discuss the process of annulment with the priest. A wedding date cannot be set until your previous marriage has been annulled. Information regarding annulments can be found on the diocesan web site. Diocesan Annulment Information
Marriage Preparation Workshops
St. Peter’s offers two programs for couples contemplating marriage in the church. Please choose one of the following:
· Pre-Cana Day
· Engaged Encounter Weekends
The person who is assisting you in your marriage preparation can provide you with dates.
Scheduling the Rehearsal
Please remember to schedule your rehearsal time when you schedule your wedding liturgy with the priest/deacon. The time and day of the rehearsal are dependent upon the availability of the priest/deacon who will preside, the wedding party, as well as the availability of the Church.
Meeting Your Wedding Coordinator
St. Peter Church utilizes a Parish Wedding Coordinator to provide guidance in Church etiquette for the couple and their wedding party both during rehearsal and on the day of the wedding. When you contact the priest/deacon for the first time to schedule your wedding and rehearsal, they will provide you with a list of coordinators. We encourage wedding parties to contact their coordinator as soon as possible.
License for Marriage
A marriage license from any county in the State of Missouri is valid. Locally you may obtain the license from:
Cole County Recorder of Deeds
311 East High Street
Jefferson City MO 65101
A marriage license is valid for 30 days. When applying please bring with you a driver’s license or social security card. If the couple applies together they will receive their license in about three days. If the couple does not apply together the license will be issued three days after the second person applies. The Recorder of Deeds does not take checks, so please be prepared to pay in cash.
The license must be brought to the priest/deacon preparing you for marriage prior to the wedding.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Before entering into the Sacrament of Matrimony, you are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You may receive the Sacrament on your own a couple weeks prior to your wedding or you may receive the Sacrament on the evening of your rehearsal.
PLANNING THE WEDDING LITURGY
The goal of the liturgy is to encourage the full and active participation of all who will be gathered to celebrate your marriage. You can achieve this goal in two ways: first, by regarding those who gather as participants in prayer rather than guests to be entertained; second, by using every means available to let those who are gathered know that they are invited to participate. The couple is expected to actively plan the liturgy. The person helping you to prepare for your marriage will assist you.
Church law does not require that Mass be celebrated with the Sacrament of Marriage; however, when both partners are Catholic, it is encouraged. The person helping you to prepare for your marriage ceremony will give you a copy of The Two Shall Be One by Kathleen McAnany and Peter Schavitz which gives you the actual texts of scriptures and prayers.
Two forms are available for your convenience and to assist you in planning your wedding liturgy. For a wedding liturgy that includes Mass, click on this link to print the appropriate form.
For a wedding ceremony only, click here for the appropriate form
You are encouraged to invite family and friends to take part in the wedding ceremony through the various ministries, namely: lector, Eucharistic minister, altar server, musicians, cantors, presenters of gifts, celebrant-concelebrants, deacons, and clergy of other faiths. Generally, the people that you choose for these various ministries should have some experience fulfilling that particular role. During the early stages of your planning, provide the names of those assisting in these ministries to the person helping you prepare for marriage. All of these people are expected at the rehearsal. The person(s) asked to be the Lector needs to be thoroughly familiar with the reading so that the Word of the Lord is truly proclaimed to the people, not just read. The Lectionary is always used for the readings, rather than missalettes or loose paper.
Music at your wedding Music should be considered a normal and ordinary part of (this) liturgical celebration (Liturgical Music Today, #13).
The music used should establish a spirit of prayer and celebration to strengthen the expression of faith. The words should clearly express Christian faith and serve to deepen prayer. Music at your wedding has the power to encourage or stifle the participation of the assembly. At St. Peter, we use music which invites all to participate, with Sunday Mass being our model. For a list of appropriate music selections, click here,
Selection of Music
Careful application of the Church’s three judgments of music; musical, liturgical and pastoral leads to the conclusion that some songs which have been widely used at weddings are unsuitable. Pop music, Broadway music and music written for other media are not music written for use in the Church. Texts which are limited to personal dialogue between two people in effect negates the communal dimension of worship. Texts which violate the form of liturgical language, neither representing God speaking to us nor our addressing God, are also inappropriate. Music such as secular ballads and love songs, while they have personal meaning to the couple, are best left to the reception where other dimensions of the wedding celebration prevail. Once again, music known to the couple from attending Mass on Sunday is the model we follow.
There has been much discussion of the use of the "The Bridal Chorus" ("Here Comes the Bride") from Wagner’s "Lohengrin", and "The Wedding March" from Mendelssohn’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" for processional or recessional music. Many couples are unfamiliar with these two operas and what this music represents in each. This music accompanies the actions of a forced marriage with an unwilling partner, which ends in murder and suicide; and a staged, illicit wedding, set up to be ridiculed. Neither piece of music represents the marriage of two people committing their lives to each other in Christian love. Both operas mock what we understand as Christian marriage and the music that accompanies them has been determined inappropriate by Church authorities. As such, this music is not acceptable.Musicians at your wedding
Take care in the selection of the music ministers at your wedding, i.e., the musicians and singers. Pastoral musicians are best suited to provide the music. They are familiar with the flow and rhythm of the liturgy, and are able to suggest suitable music and are skilled at leading and inviting the assembly to join in the sung prayer. Relatives and friends who are musicians and singers, but are not familiar with the liturgy or with your assembly, must work closely with the Liturgical Music Director and the pastor in planning the music for this liturgy.
As soon as you have set the date for your wedding at St Peter’s, you are expected to contact one of the approved musicians. You must schedule them at least three months in advance. This length of time is necessary for proper planning. It allows time for you to meet with the musician and cantor you have selected, plan the music with them and allows the musicians time to rehearse the music.
St. Peter's Church has a beautiful pipe organ that supports the music of our parish liturgies. This wonderful instrument is very expensive to maintain and repairs can be very costly. To prevent unnecessary damange to our pipe organ, the policy of the parish is that only parish musicians are permitted to play the pipe organ for weddings in St. Peter Church. If you wish to have an organist other than one of the parish musicians then they must be approved by the Pastor and Lisa Fender, Liturgical Music Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). They can be reached at the Parish Life Center - 573-636-8159. It is permissable for guests to use the piano without prior permission. You may select a cantor from the approved parish musicians list or, if necessary, contact the Liturgical Music Director.
The fee for the organist and cantor is negotiated on an individual basis. This fee includes: planning the music for the wedding liturgy with the couple, rehearsal of the music individually and together, and playing for the actual wedding. If you request a musical selection neither organist nor cantor have, you need to provide it for them. It is also your responsibility to give the musical selections to the priest who is helping you prepare for marriage. It is not necessary for parish musicians to attend the wedding rehearsal.
Most bridal couples want to convey an atmosphere of gracious welcome for their guests. Flower arrangements in the church can help guests feel welcome. How one decorates the church is a matter of personal taste and budget, but there are a few general guidelines you must follow.
"Flowers, plants and trees, genuine, of course, are particularly apt for the decoration of liturgical space, since they are of nature, always discreet in their message, never cheap or tawdry or ill-made: (Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, para. 102).
"Decoration should never impede the approach to or the encircling of the altar of any of the ritual movement and action, but there are places in most liturgical spaces where it is appropriate and where it can be enhancing" (EACW, para 102).
"the whole space is to be considered the arena of decoration, not merely the sanctuary" (EACW, para. 102).
Flowers and Plants
Flowers are not required, but are welcomed, Fresh flowers are the ideal for any sacramental use, signifying the sacrifice of Jesus’ life for our salvation. Flower arrangements and a pair of candelabras belonging to the parish may be rented. If you would like to see these, please consult the Wedding Coordinator. You must have your decorating plan approved in advance by the St. Peter Parish Wedding Coordinator. Please consider that we have many seasons and special feasts in our liturgical calendar and the church is decorated accordingly. (i.e. Advent and Lent are purple; Easter is white; Pentecost - Red; Ordinary Time - green). Seasonal decorations cannot be removed or disrupted for a wedding. The Wedding Coordinator may allow flowers to be moved or banners taken down, but they must be stored carefully in the working sacristy and must be replaced immediately after the wedding.
Aisle and Pew Decorations, Candles and Candelabra
The presence or lighting of the paschal or Easter candle would be welcome as a symbol of the risen Christ in our midst. This candle is a symbol of the baptismal call to live in the light of Christ.
Aisle runners no longer serve any practical purpose and, for the sake of the bridal party’s and guests’ safety, we ask that they not be used. Ribbons, flowers or candles may NOT be taped to the pews, but should be affixed in a manner that will not cause damage to the pews. If candles are used, they should be dripless and/or have glass chimneys and be freestanding. The Baptismal Font may NOT be moved.
We do NOT PERMIT use of rice, birdseed, balloons or confetti in or around the premises of the church or our halls. If these are used beyond your control, you are responsible to see that someone cleans up afterwards.Additional Information Programs: It is helpful to have a worship program to show the order of the service for all your wedding guests. It is particularly helpful to include in the program the songs and their reference in the Gather Comprehensive Hymnal and acclamations in which the assembly is asked to participate. Programs are also a good memento for your guests.
Photography and Videography: Please ask your photographers to be understanding and respectful of the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle of our Church. Consider taking many pictures before the ceremony in order to reduce the time guests have to wait for you afterward. Please ask photographers not to take pictures from the area of the sanctuary or pose pictures during the ceremony. Please consult with the priest/deacon or Wedding Coordinator should you have questions.
Room for Dressing: The bride and her attendants are asked to dress in the Parish Life Center, Bishop Marling Room. The groom and groomsmen may dress (if necessary) in the Chapel Sacristy. Please discuss with the groom and groomsmen the necessity of maintaining reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and those praying in the Chapel. Please leave all areas in the same order as it was found.
Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages: The consumption of alcoholic beverages in or around the Church in connection with wedding rehearsals, marriage ceremonies, or picture taking before or after the wedding, is forbidden. Food or beverages are not allowed in the Church or the Chapel Sacristy.