Congratulations! This is a major step in your life. St. Joseph Parish wishes to help in any possible way to make your wedding day joyous and to help you prepare for your married life together. Know that you will be included in special prayer during this time.
Congratulations as you prepare to receive the Sacrament of Marriage. The following guidelines are meant to help you as you plan to celebrate your love in the context of the Catholic Church. The last page of this document (download and print here or click the button above) must be signed by the bride and groom agreeing to all of these expectations and brought to the first meeting with Fr. Tim before a wedding date may be reserved.
Fr. Tim Renz
At least one of you must be a registered, practicing member of the parish, or your parents should be members. If you are an adult, living on your own in the Fort Atkinson area, you should be listed as a member in your own right.
You must contact the parish at least eight months prior to your planned wedding. The earlier we hear from you, the greater chance you have of obtaining the date you want. A date will not be given until you have your first meeting with the pastor and he is certain that you both are free to marry in the Catholic Church. Do not book your reception venue or other things that can't be cancelled or moved until you have a firm date with the church.
The parish priest is the usual presider at the ceremony, though a priest or deacon who is a friend or relative may perform the ceremony with the permission of the pastor.
The latest possible time for a Saturday wedding is 2 p.m. because confessions start at 4 p.m. and Mass is at 5 p.m. Therefore, photography in the church must be completed by 4 p.m.
Weddings are not normally scheduled on Sundays or Holy Days, or during Advent or Lent.
Sufficient time is needed to prepare for the Catholic marriage.
The preparation program will help deepen your love for one another and your commitment to God. Through your preparation, you may discover your strengths and also discuss possible areas of uncertainty in your relationship.
The bride and groom should meet with the priest as soon as possible to review the preparation program.
This program includes the following:
1. The FOCCUS Marriage Preparation Inventory with a specially trained couple from the parish or Fr. Tim. This process provides the opportunity to reflect upon the various aspects of your relationship. It is a tool to help you see how well you are communicating about important issues and to assess the strength and growth areas in your relationship. It is not a test you must pass, but it will help you to discuss important topics that will affect your marriage.
2. The Prenuptial Questionnaire (Fr. Tim will go through this with you)
3. Completing the Witness To Love process (Fr. Tim will explain in your first meeting).
4. Learning a Natural Family Planning Method which can be found at www.madisondiocese.org/nfp.
5. Planning the liturgy: The couple will be given a booklet (Together for Life) from which to select readings for the ceremony. The bride and groom should discuss the details of the wedding ceremony either in the first meeting or schedule another meeting closer to the wedding.
6. You must purchase a marriage license in the county where either the bride or groom lives. The priest/deacon may not perform the ceremony without the license. Note: There is a seven-day waiting period from the time you apply for a marriage license to when you receive it. The license, once received, is valid for 30 days.
The most important element of your preparation is spiritual, because this will be part of your marriage as the years go on. Your wedding lasts a day; your marriage is for a lifetime. We strongly encourage you to pray together and attend Mass. Studies show that couples who actively practice their faith have happier and longer-lasting marriages and better values to pass on to their children.
You are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before your wedding. This will help you to have a wonderful and spiritual beginning to your life together.
The wedding ceremony will take place in the parish church in which the entire faith community gathers to worship. On special liturgical seasons such as Christmas or Easter, the church decorations may not be removed. Any church decoration that is moved at other times of the year must be returned to its original position.
Nothing may be placed on the altar.
Once the wedding service (Mass or simpler form) has begun, participants are not to add to the ceremony beyond the rite (unity candles, mixing sand, wagons, signs, etc.).
Fr. Tim has the final say on how the logistics of the wedding party will take place since this is a sacrament of the Catholic Church taking place in a sacred space.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is one of seven sacraments that are at the heart of the Catholic faith. As such, the Church treats weddings with the dignity due a sacrament. During the rehearsals and the preparations leading up to the wedding, and of course during the wedding itself, the participants should conduct themselves in a manner worthy of a sacred place. Please dress appropriately for both the rehearsal and the ceremony. Voice levels in the church should be respectful and quiet at all times.
It is the responsibility of your ushers to see that the boxes, bows, programs (including those left in the pews) and other items are removed from the church after the ceremony. The church, including the bathroom, and other areas used by the wedding party or guests should be left clean and neat. Make a final sweep for any personal items.
If bows or other decorations are attached to the pews, you must use clips or elastic. No tape, thumb tacks, or other such materials may be used.
Receiving lines are discouraged at the church because they leave little time for photos after the ceremony and before the 4 p.m. clear out time.
Rice, flower petals, bird seed, confetti, bubbles, etc. are prohibited, since they create a safety hazard and a maintenance problem.
Absolutely NO alcoholic beverages are allowed on parish property surrounding the rehearsal and wedding day. It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to inform the wedding party of this policy. A wedding would be postponed if either the bride or groom showed the effects of alcohol consumption or the influence of any other drugs or medications because vows taken in that state would be invalid. Any members of the wedding party showing the effects of alcohol/drugs will be removed from the ceremony.
All music must be approved by the pastor. Contact Gina Diece, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to hire parish musicians/soloists.
The bishop of the Diocese of Madison recommends a minimum stipend of $75 for the priest presider for a wedding. The amount is totally at your discretion.
In addition, a fee of $300 is required for use of the facilities for registered parishioners who regularly give to the parish and $500 for others. This money is used for the maintenance of St. Joseph Catholic Church so that it can be an attractive and sacred site for your wedding.
Finally, fees for vocalist(s) and accompanist(s) will be communicated to you by the music minister when you meet with them.
If servers are requested for a wedding Mass, they should also receive a stipend for their service.
Bring fees for all services and the marriage license to the rehearsal.
Photographers/videographers should check with the priest prior to the wedding to be informed about any restrictions for taking pictures in the church.
The school cafeteria is available for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and wedding receptions. Ask the parish secretary for the policy and rental agreement sheet.
May God bless you on your wedding day.