A Roman Catholic Church

WEDDING GUIDLINES

WHO MAY BE MARRIED AT ST ANTHONY’S CHURCH
Church law guarantees active, registered members of the parish, who are in good standing, with the faith and morals of the Catholic Church, the right to marry in their proper parish church.To be considered an active, registered member of St Anthony’sChurch for the purpose of marriage, the bride or groom must have been “registered” and “active” in the parish for at least one year before the scheduled date of the ceremony.

ACTIVE REGISTERED
1. Someone who has been registered in our parish for one year before the scheduled date of themarriage; and
2. Someone whose contribution file indicates attendance and support; and
3. Regularly giving to our offertory collection or fulfilling a pledge to our parish.
* Children of “registered” and “active” parishioners are considered members for the purpose of marriage and may be married in the church if they are attending Masson Sundays and Holy Days.

NON-REGISTERED OR NON-ACTIVE
1. Indicates someone who has not been registered in our parish for at least one year before themarriage; and
2. Someone whose contribution file does not indicate attendance and support; and
3. Someone who does not regularly give to our offertory collection or fulfill a pledge to the parish
* If even one of the above criteria can be established, then you will be considered a non-registered ornon-active parishioner.

WHEN WEDDING CEREMONIES MAY OCCUR AT ST ANTHONY’S CHURCH
Wedding ceremonies may occur on Saturday mornings or afternoons. For wedding ceremonies within Mass, the ceremony may begin no later than 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon. For wedding ceremonies outside ofMass, the ceremony may begin no later than2:00pm on Saturday afternoon.

Photographs or other post-ceremony activities must be complete by 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon for theSacrament of Reconciliation and preparation for the vigil Mass of the Sunday obligation.

Members of the bridal party who wish to get ready at the church must make arrangements with the pastor or member of the church staff for entry into the Parish Meeting Room for such preparations.

SETTING THE DATE AND TIME FOR THE WEDDING

APPOINTMENT WITH THE PRIEST
The couple should make an appointment with the priest or deacon at least 6 months prior to the anticipated wedding date. If either party has been married previously, an annulment is required. This process may take up to one year to complete. No date may be scheduled until the annulment is obtained.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR MARRIAGE

1. BAPTISMAL RECORD
1.A certified copy of your baptismal certificate with notations is required. This means that you must contact the parish of your baptism and ask them to send you a copy of your baptismal certificate, with the parish seal stamped upon it. This record must be no more than six months old. The procurement of this certificate by the non-Catholic party is encouraged -at the least, the date and location of baptism is needed.

2. PREPARATION
Attendance at a diocesan approved marriage preparation program:
-Parish-Sponsored PRE-CANA program or
-Diocesan PRE-CANA Program or
-Engaged Encounter Weekend

Once you have attended a Pre-Cana or an Engaged Encounter (E. E.) Weekend, we will require your diploma or certificate for the wedding file. Please contact the parish office (978-685-7233) for details on program dates and locations.

FOCCUS –pre-marriage inventory and meetings with priest or deacon.

3. MIXED MARRIAGE PERMISSION
If this will be a marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic, please let us know at the time of your initial meeting with the clergy. Permission from the Bishop’s Office must be given for a mixed marriage.

4. DELEGATION
If the Catholic party is registered in another parish, he/she will have to contact their pastor at that current parish and request “delegation” from him. The clergy of St Anthony’s Church need written permission, which is “delegation”, from your current pastor to preside at the ceremony. Please have this sent to the officiating priest of your marriage.

5. MARRIAGE LICENSE
The couple must obtain a civil marriage license from Essex County in advance of the wedding, not more than sixty (60) days before the wedding, nor less than 24 hours before the wedding.
The marriage license should be given to the priest or deacon no later than at the
wedding rehearsal.

6. MARRIAGE INFORMATION FORM AND CONTRACT
1.The Pre-nuptial investigation papers. These will be filled out during one of the visits with the priest or deacon arranging the wedding.

2.Each of you will be required to have two (2) witnesses to complete affidavits. These forms should be completed at St. Anthony’s Parishor if necessary in your home parish then mailed to St. Anthony’s. The parents of the bride and groom are the preferred witnesses.

PLANNING THE LITURGY

A Church wedding is not only a personal event but also a liturgy of the Church. As such, the religious nature of the ceremony must be carefully preserved.

A Church wedding is not only a personal event but also a liturgy of the Church. As such, the religious nature of the ceremony must be carefully preserved.

LITURGY
Your wedding is a part of the faith life of our parish. You, as ministers of the marriage, have chosen to express freely your love and commitment to each other. The Rite of Marriage, highlighted by the exchange of vows and the blessing and exchange of rings, best conveys the Church’s desire to witness your vows, to strengthen your fidelity to them, and to prayerfully support you in your life together. As with all liturgical celebrations, the full and active participation of those present is desirable.

Ordinarily, the Rite of Marriage takes place in one of two contexts: within a Mass for two baptized Catholics, or outside Mass (ceremony) if either the bride or groom is not Catholic, or if one is not baptized.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
The Rite of Marriage includes selected scriptural readings and prayer from which you may choose those that are most expressive of your personalities.

MUSIC
All music must be approved by the Pastor. Only liturgically appropriate music may be used at weddings. Popular and secular music, such as Broadway/film music or Top 40 songs are not appropriate liturgical music for use in the Church during the wedding Mass or ceremony. This policy also refers to vocal or instrumental music performed during the Prelude. The Wagner and Mendelssohn wedding marches associated with secular operas have not been used traditionally in the Catholic Church and are therefore not permitted.

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE LITURGY

VISITING CLERGY
It is the responsibility of the visiting clergy to read and ensure that the parish regulations are followed.

Please contact the Secretary of State for information pertaining to the civil license necessary for an out-of state priest to preside over the ceremony:
CHOOSING OTHER MINISTERS FOR THE CELEBRATION
Friends and relatives of the couple may participate in the liturgy in various roles. You may wish to select individuals to serve as lectors, altar servers, and gift bearers at the liturgy. So that these ministers feel comfortable, they should be properly trained, prepared and rehearsed. Lectors who are not regular members and/or liturgical ministers in the parish need to be properly trained to fulfill these important roles in the wedding liturgy. The gift bearers should be Catholic and able to receive Communion.

You may wish to select children to take part in the ceremony as attendants -flower girl or ring bearer.

Because the acoustics of the Church create an environment in which very young children as attendants can be a distraction, children must be, as a rule, at least 5 years old.

ELEMENTS INVOLVED IN THE LITURG

ENVIRONMENT
Very simple decorations are needed to enhance the beautiful liturgical space of St Anthony’s Church.
Floral arrangements in the sanctuary should consist of natural flowers and materials and not be higher than the Altar of Sacrifice. No decorations are to be placed on the altar itself. It is customary at St Anthony’s Church  for floral decorations to be left for the altar after the ceremony, as a gift of gratitude to the Church.
For safety reasons and proper decorum, the use of candelabras, lamps and floral displays with candles are prohibited.

THE UNITY CANDLE
The Unity Candle is not a recognized part of the Catholic wedding liturgy, according to the liturgical documents of the Church. Therefore, it may not be used during the liturgy itself.
However, it may be done at the reception.
AISLE RUNNER
The use of an aisle runner for the ceremony is prohibited.
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographers are welcome to take pictures before, during and after the ceremony. In order to avoid distractions, those taking pictures and/or video recordings are asked to check with the clergy at least 30 minutes before the celebration to arrange the locations for pictures. Since preparations for the vigil Mass of the Sunday obligation begin at 4:00 pm, all picture-taking must be completed by this time for a Saturday afternoon wedding. There are no exceptions to this rule.

CHURCH ETIQUETTE

FURNITURE IN THE CHURCH
Furniture in the Church is to be left in place. This applies to microphones, the individual candlesticks located in the sanctuary and all other decorations.

SMOKING
Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the church property buildings.

PRACTICES NOT ALLOWED IN THE CHURCH

RECEIVING LINE AND GUEST BOOK
Receiving lines and the signing of the Guest Book are to be held at the reception only, not at the church. Please relay this information to your invited guests via the wedding program. The wedding party must vacate the church by 3:00 p.m. for Saturday weddings to allow for 3:00 p.m. Confessions and 4p.m. Mass.

RICE, FLOWER PETALS, BIRD SEED
No rice, flower petals, birdseed or balloons or anything else that will litter the grounds may be used as
part of the wedding celebration inside or outside of the church.

A TIME OF PREPARATION AND NEW BEGINNINGS

Marriage is a major moment in your life, and a very important sacrament for you as individuals and as a couple. Before your wedding day, you deserve a good experience of the mercy and forgiveness of God. At this important time in your lives, you can prepare for a better future together if you let God cleanse your souls of the sins of your past.

Catholics can do this by going to confession to a Catholic priest and in this sacrament of reconciliation receiving the forgiveness of sins which we call absolution. You can make your confession to any priest, including your pastor, but you are free to decide whom to ask.It is good to make your confession about one month before your wedding. That can also help you deal with the pressures of planning, and remind you to be good to the people who love you. Waiting until the final week, or hoping to talk with a priest on the day of the rehearsal, leaves too much to chance.
Your wedding is a milestone in your life and a great new beginning. Ask God to help you be worthy of your spouse’s love and the many gifts you have already received. Confess your past sins and promise to avoid them in the future.

Don’t miss your best chance in years to regain a totally clear conscience and a good new attitude about yourself. Plus, you’ll be starting your marriage being fully open to receiving and benefiting from God’s blessing.

FEES AND STIPENDS

FACILITY USAGE STIPEND
The facility usage fee is to assist the parish with the costs incurred during the time of the wedding rehearsal and the wedding day, including utilities and any maintenance required prior to or following the wedding ceremony.

The fee for active-registered members is $100.00; the fee for those who arenon-active/non-registered is $200.00, with a non-refundable $100.00 deposit due at the time of reserving the facility. This fee is to be paid no less than seven days before the scheduled marriage. The pastoral staff of St Anthony’s Church determines active-registered or non-active/non-registered status.
PARISH PRIEST
The stipend for the clergy is a donation made in view of the time and service the clergy has provided in the preparation process. The amount should be in proportion to the other expenses budgeted. If the couple is coming from out of town to be married at St Anthony’s Church, it is customary to offer the clergy a minimum of $200.00 for their assistance

POLICIES FOR FLORISTS

Saint Anthony’sChurch does not provide janitorial services on the weekends. It is therefore the responsibility of the florist or of the wedding party to remove all flowers, bows, potted plants by 3:00 p.m. on the day of the wedding
1. Florists will not move the altar furnishings or existing sanctuary arrangements to accommodate floral arrangements nor place anything on the Altar of Sacrifice.
2. The height of floral arrangements shall not exceed the height of the Altar of Sacrifice.
3. The flower girl or other bridal attendant is not permitted to drop flowers or flower petals in the main aisle during the processional.
4. Throwing rice, bird seed or any other objects is prohibited inside or outside of the church.
5. Pew markers/decorations may not be attached with tape because it damages the wood finish. Rubber bands are recommended.
6. No additional candelabras, lamps or candle arrangements from the florist are permitted.
7. No floral arches are permitted.
8. Decorating may begin at 11:30 p.m. on the day of the wedding.
9. Any non-artificial floral arrangements must be left for the Altar as a gift to the church.

POLICY FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS & VIDEOGRAPHERS

We welcome photographers and videographers, both professional and amateur, for still pictures and video tapes. However, we ask that the following directives be observed. The Church itself is
not a studio but a sacred place in which a community of believers worships. The photographer and video grapher should keep this in mind as they plan all their decisions before, during and after the celebration of Marriage.

1. All photography must be finished by 3:00 p.m. for weddings on Saturday afternoon. Please do not cause embarrassing situations by deciding to stay “for just one more shot!”
There are no exceptions to this rule.
2. Wedding photographs may precede the marriage ceremony. At least fifteen minutes before thewedding begins, the photographing of the wedding party ceases. At this time, the photographermay check in with the priest who is officiating the ceremony for any specific instructions.
3. Photographers and videographers may not enter the sanctuary. They may photograph from the side or rear of the Church only.
4. When the priest/deacon is at the pulpit for the Scripture readings or the homily, the photographermust be silent and still.
5. Formal portraits with studio equipment such as screens, props, etc., are not to be done in theChurch but at home, the studio or the reception hall.
6. No Church furnishings are to be moved for pictures.
7. Flash photography may be taken during the processional and recessional only and not during theceremony itself.
8. The photographer is not allowed to stop or slow the progress of the liturgy.
9. Photographers should be prepared to begin taking the formal pictures immediately after the wedding party leaves in the exit process.
10. Photographers and stationery video cameras are permitted in the choir loft of the Church as longas they are not on the organ or piano platforms or in the way of the organist and/or cantor.