Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage at the Cathedral of St. Peter
Father Godfrey Mullen, OSB, Cathedral Rector
Sue Pederson or Carissa Reitano, Cathedral Office Staff
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Mr. Richard Thompson, Director of Music
Mrs. Aldara Henderson, Parish Wedding Coordinator
Dear Engaged Couple:
Congratulations! The time of engagement is a most exciting time as you prepare to live the rest of your lives together in marriage. St. Peter Cathedral Parish rejoices with you. We are privileged to walk with you in the preparations toward your permanent covenant of love.
This time of preparation provides an opportunity to reflect on your sacramental marriage as a living witness of God’s love for all of us. Our process of marriage preparation here in this faith community is designed to plan a prayerful celebration of your wedding and to initiate a life-long marriage covenant bonded in love.
We are here to help you plan a Liturgy. This is very different from a marriage ceremony. Our gift to you will be a memorable, prayerful, joyous celebration of your vows. This faith community is committed to assisting you prepare and celebrate a very sacred occasion.
This booklet is designed to assist you in this process of preparation and celebration. Our Director of Music Ministry and Parish Wedding Coordinator will share their time and gifts with you generously in this preparation.
Our prayer for you during these months of preparation is that you may come to an ever deeper appreciation of your marriage vocation and come to your wedding day to celebrate this call to be a living sacrament of God’s love. Together may you follow the way of love as Christ loves you (Ephesians 5:2).
Peace in the Living Christ,
Very Rev. Godfrey Mullen, OSB
Setting the Date
— Before scheduling the date for a wedding, the couple must first complete the WEDDING REQUEST FORM on the parish website: https://cathedralbelle.org/weddings/. The completion of this form must occur well more than six months before the desired date of the wedding. The pastor will need to determine if the couple is free to marry (no previous marriages of any sort, appropriate age, etc.) and if the church and priest are available on the desired day. Once the pastor determines that the marriage may proceed, only then will the date for a wedding be set.
— Weddings always take place in a church according the law of the Catholic Church. Outdoor weddings are not permitted. At St. Peter Cathedral, weddings may be planned for the main north nave (850 seats), the smaller south nave (425 seats), or the more intimate Blessed Sacrament chapel (75 seats).
— Weddings always take place at Saint Peter Cathedral either on Friday evenings, or at 1:00PM or 1:30PM on Saturdays. Confessions begin at 3:00PM, so all of the wedding festivities, including pictures, must be concluded by then.
— When two Catholics approach the Church for marriage, the presumption is always that the nuptial Mass is celebrated. According to the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, the official ritual book of the Catholic Church,
If a Marriage takes place between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, the rite for celebrating Matrimony without Mass should be used. If, however, the situation warrants it, the rite for celebrating Matrimony within Mass may be used, with the consent of the local Ordinary (bishop). …
If a marriage takes place between a Catholic and a catechumen (unbaptized person preparing for initiation) or a non-Christian, the rite given below (not a Mass) is to be used.
2A. First Meeting with the Pastor
–– Once the date has been scheduled, the First Marriage Preparation Meeting with the Pastor may be scheduled by contacting the parish office. This meeting must take place MORE THAN SIX MONTHS before the wedding date.
— At the first meeting, the couple will complete the Pre-Nuptial Investigation required by the Diocese of Belleville (a questionnaire to establish freedom to marry) and discuss feedback from the Prepare/Enrich inventory, receive affidavits for witnesses that they are free to marry, and determine which opportunities for Marriage Preparation they will choose.
2B. Pre-Cana/Engaged Encounter
— After the first meeting with the Pastor, couples preparing for marriage must commit to either (1) our Parish Sponsor Couple program (2 meetings with a married couple) or (2) an Engaged Encounter Weekend. The Sponsor Couple Meetings are guided by the workbook A Marriage in the Lord. Sponsor Couples are trained and ready to facilitate necessary conversations with the couple before marriage. After the completion of the Sponsor Couple program, the Sponsor Couple notifies the pastor that the couple is ready to proceed. If attending an Engaged Encounter Weekend, the couple should submit a copy of the completion certificate to the pastor. For more information on Pre-Cana, click here.
2C. Second Meeting with the Pastor
— The couple meets with the pastor the second time to discuss the theological implications of the sacramental bond and to plan the ceremony.
2D. Communication with Wedding Coordinator and Music Director
— The couple may begin communicating with the Parish Wedding Coordinator and the Music Director after the first marriage preparation meeting with the pastor.
Other Preparatory Details
— Both parties must be legally free to marry under Church and civil law.
— For Catholics, the parish staff must obtain a baptismal certificate issued within the last six (6) months from the original church of baptism for all Catholic parties. If you’re unsure when and where it took place, ask your parents. Please make sure to have this information at the first meeting.
— A valid Marriage License from the state of Illinois must be submitted at the rehearsal. Following the liturgy, the priest will give the duplicate copy to a responsible member of the family. The original will be sent by the pastor to the local County Courthouse. A wedding cannot proceed without a marriage license on file.
— Permission may be granted by St. Peter Cathedral staff for a priest or deacon from outside the parish to witness the wedding. For interfaith marriages, other Christian ministers, Jewish Rabbis, or other religious leaders are welcome to participate in the ceremony according to Church law. Coordination will be made with the pastor for these arrangements. The presiding priest will secure the necessary permissions from the Diocese of Belleville in order for the marriage to take place in such situations and a letter of suitability from a Catholic minister’s legitimate superior must be sent to the Diocese of Belleville at least one month before the wedding.
The Liturgical Celebration
— Couples being married at St. Peter Cathedral are required to use the services of our Parish Wedding Coordinator.
— In the Liturgy for the Rite of Marriage the bride and groom are the primary symbols and their most important action is the exchange of consent (the vows). Everything else is subordinate to this action.
— The Rite of Marriage asks for two primary witnesses.
— Readings from Sacred Scripture: All readings can be found below (#14). Couples may choose three readings:
First Reading from the Old Testament
Second Reading from the New Testament
Gospel Reading (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John)
— Catholic friends or family members with a good speaking voice can be selected by the couple to proclaim the first and second readings. Choices for the scripture readings should be given to the pastor at the second marriage preparation meeting with him. The Gospel is proclaimed by the witnessing priest or deacon.
— Flower girls and ring bearers may never carry anything besides flowers or a pillow for the rings (although the rings should be kept by the Best Man).
— Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion: When two Catholics marry, we always celebrate the occasion with the nuptial Mass and Liturgy of the Eucharist. Two Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will be needed to help with the distribution of Holy Communion.
— Servers are not needed, but can be utilized if they are family members or friends of the bride and groom.
Flowers & Decorations
— Church decorations are not typically needed for weddings. Our seasonal decorations and plants are typically sufficient. Therefore, they may not be taken down, rearranged, or moved.
— If additional decorations are desired these guidelines are to be strictly followed:
— No items in the church or in the sanctuary can be moved or removed. Wedding parties are not to move any decorative or liturgical items in the church.
— If additional flowers are desired, the parish wedding coordinator will show you where they may be placed. (No additional flowers for the sacrament of marriage will be allowed during the seasons of Advent and Lent, according to the Universal Law of the Church.)
— Real flowers are called for by Catholic Liturgical guidelines. They help us to witness God’s creation and Christ’s real presence among us.
— Decorations of any sort are not permitted on the top of the altar itself.
— Garlands are prohibited down the main aisle. We cannot block access in or out of the pews.
— Aisle runners are not permitted.
— Rice, birdseed, confetti, balloons and the like are forbidden inside and outside the church building and not permitted anywhere on church grounds. Throwing or tossing of any similar materials is not permitted. This is a tradition that you may use at your reception.
— Only white fresh rose petals may be used by flower girls during the procession and must be cleaned up afterwards by the ushers.
— Any acceptable decorating must be set up *during the two hours prior to the liturgy and removed during the 30 minutes following the liturgy. Someone must be appointed – outside the wedding party – to clean up all decorations. Remember to gather the guest book, flowers, and programs throughout the church and adjoining spaces.
Rehearsal & Procession
Rehearsal time is set at 5:00 PM the day before the wedding, or another mutually agreed upon time with the parish wedding coordinator if there is more than one wedding on a particular weekend.
— All rehearsals will be conducted by the Parish Wedding Coordinator.
— With timely cooperation of those involved, the rehearsal need not exceed 45 minutes.
— Present for the rehearsal: Bride & Groom, witnesses & members of the bridal party, immediate family.
The Procession may follow these options.
— Option 1:
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen enter as couples
Primary witnessing couple
(Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor)
Bride & Groom together
— Option 2:
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen enter as couples
Primary witnessing couple
(Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor)
Groom and his parents
Bride and her parents
— Option 3:
Bridesmaids enter from back of church
Groomsmen enter from sanctuary and meet bridesmaids in main aisle
Bride enters with Father (or both Parents) and meets Groom at altar
When extenuating circumstances such as disability, blended families, step-parents, etc. are involved, we are happy to make accommodations and other pastorally appropriate means can be discussed with us. We’re happy to talk with you about variations on these options.
Please forward a copy of this page to your photographer and videographer long before the wedding.
— Wedding party and guests must be cleared out of the church by 3:00PM on Saturdays.
— The church will be available no more than two hours prior to the start of the liturgy.
— Backdrops may not be set up in the sanctuary of the church.
— All photography must be handled as unobtrusively as possible during the liturgy. There should be a minimum of movement throughout the church during the wedding ceremony.
— No equipment, flashes, lights, decorations, etc. may be placed on the altar table.
— During the liturgy, photo & video persons are asked to remain outside the sanctuary and remain completely unobtrusive.
— Once the entrance procession is completed, the photographer may not be in the main aisle. Standing in the main aisle at the very back is permitted.
— Video recording is permitted with stationary cameras only from behind the congregation. These areas will be shown to the videographer by the parish wedding coordinator.
— No access will be granted to the church sound system to any party whatsoever besides church employees.
— Wedding Music must reflect the solemnity of the sacrament and the grace that is extended not only to the couple, but the entire believing community that is present.
— Our Director of Music, Mr. Richard Thompson, is prepared to help you plan beautiful and prayerful music that is appropriate for a liturgical celebration. He can be reached at (618) 234-1166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Every couple is required to contact the Music Director for a music planning session for your wedding.
— Trained cantors, preferably from St. Peter Cathedral, are to serve as cantors and soloists for wedding liturgies. Other arrangements can be made with permission from the Director of Music. They must be Catholic and/or have a working knowledge and experience with Catholic liturgy. Even when the musicians are not from St. Peter Cathedral, all music will be planned with the approval of the Director of Music Ministry.
— A program may be part of the preparations. Printing of the programs is the responsibility of the couple.
— The Director of Music Ministry can provide a list of organists, vocalists, as well as other instrumentalists that can add a very lovely and celebratory nature to the wedding ritual such as Flutists, Violinists, String Quartet members, Trumpeter, Brass Ensemble, etc.
— Friends or family members who are unfamiliar with Catholic liturgy can share their gift of music as a prelude to the ritual.
— In Church, all music must be liturgical music found in our hymnal, music with sacred texts, or classical music. The Director of Music in consultation with the pastor has the authority to approve musical selections. Care should be taken to ensure selections encourage prayer and reflect the nature of the scriptures and the liturgy.
— The playing or singing of secular music of any sort is not permitted in chuch. Recorded music is also prohibited.
Music within the Rite of Marriage
Prelude Vocal and/or instrumental
Processional Vocal and/or instrumental
Gathering Song (Optional) – congregation
*Gloria Cantor with Congregation
Responsorial Psalm Cantor with Congregation
Gospel Acclamation Cantor with Congregation
*Presentation of Gifts Cantor with Congregation or Instrumental
*Holy, Holy Cantor with Congregation
*Memorial Acclamation Cantor with Congregation
*Amen Cantor with Congregation
*Lamb of God Cantor with Congregation
*Communion Song Cantor with Congregation
* These selections are used when the celebration is a Nuptial Mass.
— Groomsmen or ushers are requested to assist the parish wedding coordinator in removing programs, picking up rose petals, taking down decorations, etc. for a brief period after the ceremony.
— The use of a unity candle is permitted, however it may not be placed on the altar. “Unity sand” is not permitted.
— Dressing areas should be checked for personal items and left in a tidy fashion.
— Flowers and plants are gladly accepted for church use following the wedding.
— No alcoholic beverages of any kind are allowed inside the church or in the parking lot before or after the liturgy. All food must remain in the areas designated by the parish wedding coordinator.
— Smoking is not allowed in/or around any of the church or parish buildings at any time. St. Peter Cathedral is a non-smoking facility and campus.
— Please remember there is a good chance that the day of your rehearsal and/or wedding there may be other things happening around the parish. Please be kind to others using the facility.
— Boisterous behavior such as running and yelling are not allowed in the church. Please remember to keep a sense of reverence for the worship space of the Church. Hats are not worn by men in church. Please attend to all children so that they will not be placed in harm’s way.
— Fees cover the use of the church and the stipend for the parish wedding coordinator.
— Fees are due to the parish office at least one month before the wedding.
Active Parish Member*: $500
*An active member of the parish – either bride, groom, or at least one of their parents – for at least six months will have been
1) registered in the parish,
2) regularly involved in at least one parish ministry,
3) regularly contributing financially to the work of the parish.
Inactive or Non-Parish Member: $2,500
$250 due at time of scheduling, non-refundable
These checks should be made payable to the Cathedral of St. Peter.
St. Peter Cathedral Accompanist: $225
St. Peter Cathedral Cantor: $100
This fee is due to the Music Director prior to the wedding date.
Other Musicians Outside of St. Peter Cathedral
These fees are set by each musician.
Suggested Priest Stipend: $100
This is a suggested stipend. If your priest must travel, please cover travel expenses and consider helping him to pay a substitute for any Masses he will miss in his parish.