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St. Mary Guidelines for Weddings

  1. A date may be considered “fixed” for a wedding, only after the prospective bride and groom meet with the Pastor and the time and date are formally agreed upon and entered on to the parish schedule.  The wedding can only take place when the responsible priest judges that all requirements have been fulfilled.   Neither our parish nor the priest/deacon helping to arrange the wedding assumes any responsibility or liability if bride and/or groom should fail to comply with all requirements and guidelines.
  2. Spiritual Preparation:  Cohabitation before marriage is inconsistent with our Catholic faith.  Our Rockford diocese requires the prospective bride and groom to participate in an “Engaged Encounter” weekend and in a “Natural Family Planning” Seminar.   Various PreCana classes are offered in the area. Check the website links below to see what is available. Rockford Diocese Marriage Prep Offerings   Dubuque Archdiocese Marriage Prep Offerings  Madison Diocese Marriage Prep Offerings   Please schedule with these programs as soon as possible as they fill up quickly.
  3. Documents:  We will assist you with all these:  Bride and groom should obtain newly issued baptismal certificates, issued no earlier than six months before the wedding.  Pre-nuptial questionnaires will need to be completed, with the help of the deacon or priest arranging the wedding.  Both the bride and groom should arrange for two witnesses affidavits to be completed, with the help of family or friends who have known you for a long time.  A marriage license must be obtained from the Jo Daviess County Clerk’s office in Galena, no earlier than two months before your wedding.  Documents will be kept in our parish office.
  4. Music for weddings must be coordinated with our parishioners who provide music for Mass, to ensure that only appropriate, sacred music is used, both before and during the Mass.  Non-liturgical or secular music selections, in any form of musical presentation, are not allowed before a wedding as preludes, at any place during the celebration of marriage, or after the ceremony as postludes.  Normally, only parish members known to the Pastor may serve as musicians or cantors.
  5. Flowers:  Flowers are not permitted on the altar.  Any flowers brought into the Church are presumed to be a gift to the Church.  Flowers may not be removed after the ceremony, without explicit advance permission.
  6. All liturgy details (flowers, scripture readings, etc.) must be coordinated with the Parish Wedding Coordinator: Lourdes Gilloon 940/502-4225.
  7. Attire:  Members of the wedding party must be appropriately attired for participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Bride and bridesmaids should ensure their shoulders are covered and otherwise be modestly attired, in keeping with the sacred nature of the Mass.  Please remember that Jesus Christ is at the center of the Mass.  A scripture service, in lieu of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, could be a possibility if attire is inappropriate.
  8. “Unity candles” have no place in the sacred liturgy.  Many couples have found that a unity candle ceremony may be appropriate at their wedding reception.
  9. Bridal arches and lighted candles (other than those already in the sanctuary) in the aisles or elsewhere are not permitted.  All decorations must be picked up and removed from the church immediately after the ceremony.   Such things as bird seed, flower petals and confetti may not be used in the church
  10. Rehearsal:  As a courtesy to all involved, the rehearsal must begin at the scheduled time.  Bride and groom are responsible to ensure all participants arrive on time.
  11. Wedding Pictures:  To ensure a prayerful liturgy, flash photography is not permitted during the ceremony.  You may wish to include a note on this in your invitations.  Professional photographers should check with the priest or deacon before the ceremony begins, to discuss any movements during the wedding.  Formal pictures should not exceed 45 minutes after the conclusion of the ceremony.
  12. Holy Communion:  Except for practicing Catholics in a state of grace, others should not come forward to receive communion.  Anyone not receiving communion, for any reason, is most welcome to come forward to receive a blessing from the priest or deacon.  They may indicate they wish a blessing by crossing their arms over their chest.  Please be certain that all family and members of your wedding party are aware of Church teaching in this area.  A statement by our bishops is contained in the inside back cover of the missalettes.
  13. Alcohol and drugs are prohibited from all parish property.
  14. Wedding Programs are optional and may be discussed with the priest or deacon arranging the wedding.
  15. Church Offering:  There is no church offering required of registered parishioners.  If parishioners have not been regular contributors to our parish, we suggest a $100 donation.  If neither the bride nor groom is a registered parishioner, we suggest a $200 donation.  Fees for musicians are not the responsibility of the parish.  It is customary to give $10 to each altar server.  Other gifts are optional.