Getting Married

Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church  (Modified as of September 1, 2015)

WHO MAY BE MARRIED AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP  pdf Wedding guidelines (868 KB)  

We are happy you chose to celebrate your wedding in our church. You have a canonical right to be married at the church to which you belong.  To be married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, at least one parent, bride, or groom must be registered and an active, participating member for one year prior to the time of booking your wedding. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church is not a wedding chapel. Those not registered as parishioners at Our Lady of Perpetual Help must present written permission from the pastor where they are registered or in which they reside. 

This short list of guidelines is intended to assist you in planning your wedding ceremony. 

RESERVING THE CHURCH 

On Saturdays, weddings are scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. Other days and times should be discussed with the Pastor, and the Priest presiding at the wedding. No wed-dings will be scheduled at times interfering with the regular schedule of services in the parish. Weddings are prohibited on Sundays, Holy Days of Obligation, and during the seasons of Advent and Lent. (If a funeral is scheduled on the morning of your wedding, it will have priority over wedding day church preparations.) 

Parishioners may reserve the church at any time before the actual date of the wedding. Non-parishioners may schedule their date eight (8) months prior the actual wedding date in order to allow our parishioners first choice. 

PRESIDING PRIEST 

For all parishioner weddings the local pastor is traditionally the main celebrant. Permis-sion can certainly be given that would allow another priest to preside or concelebrate at the service. However, before another priest is invited (for example: a relative or close-family friend) out of courtesy this should be discussed with the pastor. For all non-parishioner weddings, the couple is responsible for their own marriage preparation and presider. The guest priest is expected to observe all the guidelines set forth in this document. In the situation of an interfaith marriage, the non-Catholic may invite his/her minister to participate in the service. 

We strongly suggest the use of Our Lady of Perpetual Help servers for ceremonies with Mass. They are trained and are comfortable working with our pastor. If you do provide your own servers, they must have had server training in their own parish. 

MARRIAGE PREPARATION: All couples getting married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church must make arrangements with the Pastor at least six (6) months prior to the actual date of the wedding.. The purpose of this meeting is to gather necessary information for the Pre-Nuptial form, and go over the Wedding Guidelines and collect fees. Couples being prepared at Our Lady of Perpetual Help are required to participate in the following marriage preparation programs: 1) ENGAGED ENCOUNTER, which is a weekend retreat meant to assist the couple in discussing issues within their relationship in a spiritual atmosphere. 2) GOD’S PLAN FOR A JOY FILLED MARRIAGE, which is a pre-marital series discussing the sacred-ness and sacramentality of marriage. 3) NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING, which is an introductory session that discusses issues and methods of responsible family planning. 

(Marriage preparation being done elsewhere should be comparable to the program being offered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.) 

Several documents are required during the preparation of your marriage. They include baptismal certificates of both the bride and groom, and a Pre-Nuptial Declaration for mixed religion marriages. 

MUSIC: 

The lyrics of songs chosen for the wedding liturgy should express the Christian concept of life, rather than one which is purely secular. The liturgy of marriage celebrates not only the human love between two persons but also their relation to God who is love. The texts must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine, indeed they should be drawn chiefly from Holy Scripture, and from liturgical sources. Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, Vatican Council II, #121 

In order to assure the sacredness of the music it is required that you visit the parish Lit-urgist prior to the selection of your music. There are musical suggestions in this guide-line booklet as well as a Liturgy Planning sheet at the end for you to fill out and bring to your meeting with the liturgist. Since music is considered as “praying twice” we ask that considerable care be taken in choosing your selections of music so that the mass/service will truly reflect the sacrament. 

We encourage couples to utilize our parish organist and the parish vocalists. However, you may bring in your own. Please note that even if you do not use our organist or vo-calists, all music selections must be approved by our Pastor. Secular music such as country western, pop, rock is not allowed. No taped music or CD’S are allowed. 

WEDDING PARTY 

Except for the exchange of vows, only the bride and groom will be permitted in the sanctuary area. All other members of the wedding party will be located in the front pews. All attendants will come in as couples from the back of church in procession. We suggest that the couple seek to limit the number of attendants in order to maintain focus on the spiritual nature of the Sacrament of Marriage. Children under the age of 4 are discouraged from being members of the wedding party. 

DRESS CODE: It is important to note that Christian modesty should be remem-bered when selecting attire for the bride and her attendants. 

DECORATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church is very ornate. We ask, therefore, that you limit the decorations to maintain the beauty and sanctity of the church. You should discuss with the Pastor. ALL decorations that you will be bringing to the church, which includes but is not limited to flowers, pew decorations and programs. Flowers may be placed on the side shrines, by the tabernacle, and by the main altar. If pew decorations are brought in, they must be attached to the pews either with clips or elastic. Tape or nails of any kind are not to be used. 

If you bring in your own church decorations, please do not disturb or remove any of the existing decorations. This includes candles, banners, bulletin board notices, easels, flowers, greenery and other non-listed items. NOTE: At the time of your wedding sea-sonal decorations, such as flowers and banners, may be in the church. These decorations are not to be removed. These seasonal times include, but are not limited to, three weeks before Thanksgiving, four weeks after Christmas and two weeks after Easter. The Resurrection Christ statue and Easter banners are displayed for six weeks after Easter Sunday. 

Candelabras may be rented from the parish but aisle runners are prohibited in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. The throwing of rice, wheat, or confetti and the release of balloons is forbidden inside and outside the church at any time. 

Decorations may be put up in the church two to two and one-half hours before the cere-mony. Decorations must be removed immediately following the ceremony. The church does not have custodial staff on weekends, so please designate someone to make sure that the clean-up of the church and dressing area will be taken care of. The wedding party must vacate the premises by 3:30 after a 2:00 wedding. 

PROGRAM 

A copy of the program may be given to the Pastor prior to the printing in order that it may be checked for accuracy. 

PHOTOGRAPHY/VIDEOGRAPHY 

All posed church photographs of the couple and the wedding party are to be taken before the service on the day of the wedding. No photographs will be allowed after the wedding. Ample time is normally reserved for this activity (2 - 2 1/2 hours be-fore the beginning of the ceremony.) All photographs must be completed thirty (30) minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Photographs and/or videos may be taken during the ceremony by designated individuals only whose presence should not be a distraction and who should not interfere with the flow of the ceremony. If professional pictures/ videos are taken during the Mass, please inquire with the Pastor about appro-priate locations for the photographer(s) and/or video camera operator(s). The video camera must be positioned in one place and be inconspicuous; the video camera opera-tor may not move about during the wedding. NOTE: No photographers/videographers are allowed in the Sanctuary during the Wedding Mass. 

REHEARSAL 

The wedding rehearsal is usually scheduled the evening prior to the ceremony. One hour should be allowed for the rehearsal with all members of the wedding party present. The bride or groom needs to bring the following items to the rehearsal: Marriage Li-cense and two (2) copies of the program. Please contact the Pastor if additional time is needed for the practice of music or readings. (The additional time should be no longer than 20-30 minutes after the rehearsal). 

CONDUCT 

The couple should make their wedding party and guests aware that at the rehearsal, be-fore the wedding, and at all times in the church, respectful silence should be observed. This is the house of God and not a place for loud talking or boisterous laughter. Conduct should reflect the awareness that the church is a sacred place, and a wedding is a sacred ceremony. Absolutely NO eating, drinking (except water) or smoking is allowed in the church or in front of the church. ALCOHOL IS PROHIBITED ON THE PREMISES AT ALL TIMES! 

THE CO-HABITING COUPLE 

Cohabitation (living together before marriage) poses some serious difficulties. Sexual relations before marriage are gravely mortally sinful (Mark 7:20, Galatians 5:19). One can not prepare for a moment of grace (ie the Sacrament of Matrimony) while living in mortal sin. This behavior takes on the added dimension of scandal in the bad example it gives to others especially the young. As of December 1, 2013 there will be no “traditional” church weddings for co-habiting couples at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Couples expecting a traditional Catholic wedding are expected to be living a traditional lifestyle. 

LUNCHING FACILITIES (PARISH HALL) 

The Parish Hall may be used for lunch before the wedding as long as it is not in use by another organization. 

FEES 

The Church never charges for sacraments or services. However, offerings are needed to cover the costs of operating and maintaining a church, especially one as large and beau-tiful as Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 

REGISTERED PARISHIONERS: $50 is required from all tithing parishioners the day of booking. Those parishioners booking the church need to have been a tith-ing parishioner for a least one year. $50 will be refunded after the wedding if the church is left in good order. We ask that the fees be paid before the wedding date. 

NON-PARISHIONERS: $450 is required the day of booking for all nonparish-ioners. $50 will be refunded after the wedding if the church is left in good order. We ask that fees be paid before the wedding date. 

Personnel Fees include: Servers (2) $30, Cantor $100 and Organist $100, suggested priest stipend is $100.00.