Church Policies and FAQs
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The wedding fee at all our parishes is $700. This should be made out to the parish (ex. Old St. Mary Parish). This fee includes the use of the church and the fees for the parish priest, organist/pianist, cantor, and sacristan. If you have a priest from outside of our parishes, the fee is $625. It is your responsibility to compensate your guest priest.
If you choose to use other instrumentalists from the parish, those fees are separate and also due at the rehearsal. Individual checks should be written out to each additional musician. Names of these musicians will be provided so the checks can be written in advance. If you have questions, please contact the Director of Music and Liturgy.
Guidelines Regarding Photography and Videotaping
- Photographic personnel are welcome to attend the wedding rehearsal. Please ask your photographer and/or videographer to speak to the priest before the liturgy. Photographic personnel are to observe strictly the time limits surrounding your wedding celebration, namely, a two-hour time block beginning one half hour before the liturgy is scheduled to begin. (Thus, for a 2:00 pm wedding, the time block is from 1:30-3:30 pm).
- Photographic personnel are expected to behave in a professional, courteous manner at all times. They are not allowed in the sacristy or the sanctuary (altar area) during the liturgy. They are not to climb on or move any furniture. Throughout the liturgy, they are to create no distractions, and are never to obstruct the view of anyone. They are to leave no litter behind.
- Flash photography is ONLY allowed during the entrance procession and the recessional. Movie lights are not allowed. During the entrance and recessional processions, photographic personnel may not stand in the center aisle, but rather must stand at the edge of the aisle within one of the rows of pews. There is to be no signaling of directions to persons in the processions.
- Photographers and videographers are welcome to use the balcony without interfering with the musicians who have an important role in the liturgy. Please have your photographer/videographer consult with the musicians prior to the ceremony before setting up any equipment in the loft.
- All posed pictures are to reflect a basic respect for the church as a house pf prayer; e.g. no garter shots of the bride or gag shots in or around the church.
- No flowers, candles, photographic equipment, wedding booklets, etc. are to be placed on the altar.
Please share these guidelines with your photographer and/or videographer prior to the day of your wedding.
Flowers and Decorations
Flowers are optional. Our churches are beautiful as they are. However, should you want flowers in the church, please keep these guidelines in mind:
- No flowers or centerpieces may be placed on the altar.
- Flower arrangements may be placed on either side of the tabernacle or ambo (where the reader stands). Other appropriate locations that work well (depending on the church site) may be approved by the Director of Music and Liturgy in advance.
- Pew bows or flowers may be used. They must be tied or clipped on the pew end. NO tape, tacks, or staples are permitted! Please consider spacing these decorations throughout the church to enhance the entire worship space. No hurricane lamps or votive candles are permitted on the pews.
- No guest books are allowed in the church. Please save those for the reception.
- NOTHING may be thrown in the aisle (flower petals — fresh or silk) or outside of the church (rice, birdseed, balloons, bubbles, or releasing of birds).
- Aisle runners are not permitted, as they are a safety hazard.
- No decorations outside of the church are permitted. This includes handrails or wreaths on the doors of the church — inside or outside.
It is most important to note that our parish environment has various seasonal decorations. These decorations cannot be disturbed to satisfy the varying tastes of individual couples. Please convey this information to your photographer as well.
Wedding Day Timeline
You may arrive at the church up to an hour early and have the church until an hour and a half after your ceremony time. Please confirm with the Director of Liturgy and Music that there is not another wedding scheduled on the same day before yours, as that will affect the timeline.
Weddings scheduled for 10:00 am have use of the church, parking lot and parish grounds from 9:00 am to 11:30 am.
Weddings scheduled for 12:00 Noon have use of the church, parking lot and parish grounds from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm.
Weddings scheduled for 2:00 pm have use of the church, parking lot and parish grounds from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm.
Please note: We start all weddings promptly! Photographers and bridal parties are asked to abide by these times to allow everyone to have an enjoyable day.
If you have a priest or deacon that you would like to be a part of your ceremony, please make arrangements with the parish priest you are working with regarding this request. Also, please take note of the following information:
Please clarify with our priests whether the visiting clergy will be doing your marriage preparation work or if you will be doing the work through one of our parishes. This includes paperwork, FOCCUS couple, and Enrichment Conference.
A priest requesting to preside at your wedding who resides outside the Archdiocese of Milwaukee needs to present a “Testimonial for Suitability for Ministry” from his Bishop or religious superior to the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. This must be done before the priest can be given delegation to officiate at your wedding.
If the visiting priest is presiding, the stipend to the parish is $625 via check made out to the parish where your wedding will take place (ie. Three Holy Women Parish). You as a couple are responsible for compensating your visiting priest.
Readers and Readings
The priest may proclaim all the scripture readings, but it is preferable that you ask friends or relatives to read the Old Testament reading, New Testament reading, and Petitions (or Prayers of the Faithful), so long as you know they will do well.
The priest (or deacon) alone is to proclaim the Gospel.
Readers do not have to be Catholic, but they must be capable of proclaiming the sacred scriptures with respect and clarity. Suggested scripture readings may be found on this website under “Readings & Petitions.” You are to select one reading from each section: Old Testament Reading, New Testament Reading, Gospel Reading, and Petitions (or Prayers of the Faithful).
The time of your wedding rehearsal should be scheduled with your priest. Please do this early in the process of planning your wedding. Everyone involved in the service is expected to be at the rehearsal (except musicians). Please tell all attending the rehearsal to be at church 15 minutes before rehearsal. Rehearsals last about 1 hour. Please bring the following to the rehearsal:
- Marriage license: the wedding can not take place without this!
- Fees: One check made out to the parish where your wedding will take place (ex.Three Holy Women Parish) for $700. If one of the priests from the parish is not the presiding priest, the fee is $625. Checks for other musicians (as arranged with the Director of Liturgy and Music) should also be brought to the rehearsal.
- Unity candles (if used); Memorial pictures (if used)
There is a parish sacristan who will assist at your rehearsal and on the day of the wedding. This person is available to answer any of your last minute questions and go over any instructions for the ushers, readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc. that are not clear from rehearsal. Services include: setting up the unity candle and memorial table (if needed), preparation of the altar, set up for the liturgy, and serving as the acolyte. Your florist or members of the wedding party are responsible for pinning on the corsages and boutonnieres. The sacristan’s services are included in the parish fee.
Ushers and Clean-Up
Take time to select two or more responsible people who will act as your ushers. The ushers can escort people to their pews, hand out the programs, and when the ceremony is over, they may assist in ushering your guests from the church. The presiding priest or sacristan will review the usher’s duties with them on the day of the wedding.
Please ask them also to pick up empty flower boxes and programs and dispose of them. Ushers should also remove other things left behind in the pews or other areas of church, including the entryway and bride’s room.