Wedding Policy for Our Lady of the Mountains Parish
1. A wedding in the Catholic Church is a sacred event. An engaged couple must meet with one of the parish clergy at least seven months before the proposed date of the marriage so that there is adequate time for the preparation. Meeting with the priest or the deacon is the first step in planning your marriage, please do not make any definitive plans until after this meeting. Please call the Parish Office to set up this first meeting. The parish staff wishes to work with you in preparing for a beautiful Wedding Ceremony and in developing a strong, healthy relationship with one another and with God that will lead to a Sacramental commitment and a life-giving marriage relationship.
2. The wedding preparation is designed to help the couple assess their readiness for a sacramental marriage. It may happen that during this time of discernment an issue may surface that deserves more time and attention. An example of such an issue may be a prior bond (marriage) of one or both parties that requires an annulment (this is separate from a civil divorce). It is better to address such issues prior to the wedding, during the preparation stage.
3. This preparation time includes:
__meetings with a member of our parish clergy ( Fr. John Paul Kuzma, OFM Cap will be your initial contact)
__understanding and accepting the Catholic theology of marriage,
__filling out the Pre Nuptial Investigation Form designed to determine the eligibility of a couple to receive the sacrament of Marriage,
__participation in an Engaged Encounter Weekend/Marriage Prep (pre Cana) Seminar,
__meeting with the parish music director regarding the music for the Ceremony,
__planning the Ceremony with the Presider/Officiant of your Wedding,
__obtaining a marriage license from the Allegany County courthouse. This is to be brought to the Presider/Officiant at the wedding rehearsal.
4. As you begin to plan the Ceremony and choose music and various symbols, remember that everything during your Ceremony is a prayer
5. Most weddings are scheduled for Saturdays between 10AM-2PM
6. Baptismal Certificates: Catholics are required by Canon Law to show proof of baptism. You are asked to contact the church of your baptism and request that a copy of your baptismal certificate be sent to you or to the priest working with you in the preparation process. A copy made from the original certificate that you or a parent may have is not acceptable. It must come from the church of baptism and be dated within the last six months. Non-catholic baptized persons are asked to show proof of baptism as well. You may do this by obtaining a certificate from your church of baptism or a letter from the church or a parent stating the date and place of baptism.
7. The Catholic party must be a registered and an active member of a Catholic parish. If neither party is a registered member of our parish, the Catholic party must have proper permission from his or her Catholic parish. If a Catholic party wishes to marry in a non-Catholic church for the sake of his non-Catholic fiancée, permission must be obtained from the Diocese and the guidelines for preparation must be followed.
8. According to Diocesan and Church law, the Marriage Ceremony may not take place in a garden, a home, or some place other than the church.
9. It is assumed throughout this process that the couple (or Catholic party) is attending Mass on Sunday and actively practicing his or her Catholic faith. It would be hypocritical and senseless to seek marriage in the Catholic Church unless one intends to continue practicing this Faith.
10. It is also the expectation that the couple not be co-habiting prior to marriage.
11. Our guidelines for church use include the following: no throwing of rice or birdseed at the church door or property; no food or drink in the gathering space or church, except bottled water; and no alcoholic beverages in the church, gathering space, or on church property.
12. Photographers and videographers are not supposed to be the center of attention. They should be invisible to the congregation. See the presider of your Ceremony for suggestions.
13. Aisle runners are discouraged. The possibility of tripping is very real and it makes the runner counter-productive.
14. Pew bows may be hung over the pews; no tape or thumbtacks may be used. Flowers may be placed to the sides of the altar and in front of the ambo.
16. The normal church-use fees are as follows: $250 for registered parishioners; $800 for non-parishioners; $325 for music (cantor and organist); $100 for setup and clean up; $50 – $100 for officiating priest or deacon. Payment option includes either a lump sum check or 3 smaller installments made payable to: Our Lady of the Mountains Parish and due no later than 30 days prior to the wedding date. These fees are negotiable; Christians have the right to a Church wedding even if they cannot afford to cover the fees associated with it.
17. It is appropriate for the bride and/or groom of the Catholic party to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.