Congratulation on your engagement! This is an exciting time for you and your fiancé.
“The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures and spiritual attitudes” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1603). Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church in which the bride and bridegroom are the celebrants, and the priest (or deacon) is the official witness for the Church. The ceremony will reflect the distinctive beauty of our Catholic Liturgy, following the appropriate marriage rite.
I look forward to meeting you and assisting you as you prepare for your wedding. Since the vocation to marriage is of such importance, we invite you to read through the Marriage Guidelines listed below. These will guide you through this journey of preparation and help to ensure a successful lifelong partnership in Christ. Once you have read through everything and are prepared to take the next steps, please fill out the Wedding Registration Form, and we will can move forward together.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Coordinator of Liturgy and Music
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
How to choose a wedding date and time at the Sacred Heart?
Weddings on Saturdays must begin by 2:00PM so the church can be cleaned up and empty by 3:45PM to allow time to prepare for the Saturday evening Mass.
The time for weddings during the week vary based on the Parish schedule.
Weddings may also take place during the weekend Masses.
Your wedding date MUST be at least 6 months from the time you contact the parish office with your request. If you do not hear from the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music within three business days after you submit the online form, please contact the parish office at 231-264-8087.
You can begin by filling out the Marriage Registration form at: http://www.sacredheartelkrapids.org/weddings/
After we receive your contact information and the date of inquiry, The Coordinator of Liturgy and Music at Sacred Heart will contact you about your request and the wedding planning process. PLEASE DO NOT schedule your reception or other vendors until you have heard back from the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music at Sacred Heart. Please note that at least one of the spouses must be Catholic, and currently we are not accepting non-parishioners with little to no connection to the parish. All visiting clergy from other Dioceses need to provide a Letter of Good Standing to the Diocese of Gaylord prior to the wedding.
The Marriage Preparation Process
Marriage Preparation Outside the Diocese of Gaylord
If you are living in another diocese, you will be prepared in the parish where you reside. You must contact the parish where you attend to begin your marriage preparation. This will include filling out a Pre-Marriage Inventory, FOCCUS, providing baptismal certificates, and Marriage Preparation Program. You must complete all of the requirements of your local diocese. The priest, deacon, or lay person who is helping you in this process will mail your marriage file to the Tribunal of your local diocese. They will certify it and mail it to the Tribunal of the Diocese of Gaylord. Then the Tribunal in Gaylord will also certify your marriage file and deliver it to Sacred Heart. Please allow extra time for this process. The marriage file must be at Sacred Heart ONE MONTH before the wedding.
Marriage Preparation outside of Sacred Heart but within the Diocese of Gaylord
If you are being prepared at another parish, please have the priest, deacon or lay person mail the marriage file with the Pre-Marriage Inventory, FOCCUS, baptismal certificates, and Marriage Preparation Attestation to Sacred Heart at least ONE MONTH before the wedding is to take place. This will allow sufficient time for us to review the file and to make sure everything is in order.
Marriage Preparation at Sacred Heart
Once we receive your online Wedding Registration Form, we will send you the Pre-Marriage Inventory File and FOCCUS Couple Inventory. FOCCUS must be completed by both the bride and the groom separately. Following the completion of FOCCUS, you will be contacted by the someone at Sacred Heart in order to set up an initial meeting with the priest. Please remember to leave at least 6 months before your wedding for your marriage preparation and the needed paperwork. There are approximately 10 meetings with the priest and/or the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music. This includes the rehearsal. There is also a Natural Family Planning course that must be completed.
The 1st Meeting
The first meeting with the priest provides an opportunity for him to get to know you and vice versa. It is also to verify the completion of the Pre-Marriage Inventory, to discuss the marriage preparation process, and answer any questions you might have. This initial meeting will take place at Sacred Heart (the parish office is in the large building South of the church and brick rectory), 143 Charles Street, Elk Rapids, MI 49629.
The 2nd Meeting
The second meeting is to go over the results of your FOCCUS Couple Inventory with the priest. FOCCUS is a great tool for understanding where both you and your future spouse stand regarding some important marital topics. It also helps facilitate discussion in order to work through your differences with good communication. The topics are: Communication, Problem Solving, Family Origin, Finances, Readiness, Intimacy, Parenting, Religion, Spirituality, Values, Friends and Interests.
The FORMED: Beloved Series Meetings
The next meetings are to go over the Beloved Series and will be conducted by either the priest or the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music. There are 12 videos (roughly 20 minutes each), so each meeting you will go over two or more of the videos.* They are to be watched at home and then discussed in the meeting. The Beloved Series can be found on www.formed.org. There is also an app for your phone/tabled called FORMED.
*please note that this portion of the process may be completed in varying formats, to be determined by the couple and the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music at Sacred Heart.
Attend a Natural Family Planning Course
The priest will explain this in your initial meeting or when you go over FOCCUS. Every engaged couple is required to attend a course on Natural Family Planning (NFP). Couples will be instructed on the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning: www.creightonmodel.com. The course is conducted by certified NFP instructors.
The 9th Meeting
This meeting is to plan your wedding by selecting the readings, the form of consent you would like to use, and any other options that may be available. All readings for weddings can be found at https://www.foryourmarriage.org/readings/. You will need to pick: Old Testament (1st Reading), Psalm (will be sung), New Testament (2nd Reading), Gospel. We will also use this meeting to go over music selections and other options related to the music and liturgy.
The 10th Meeting: The Rehearsal
The rehearsal is typically scheduled the day before the wedding.
Important Contact Information
Parish Office: 231-264-8087 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Hardesty, Coordinator of Liturgy & Music: 231-264-8087 | email@example.com
Tribunal: (989) 705-3501
Diocese of Gaylord: (989) 732-5147
Other Helpful Information
It is customary to make an offering to the parish, and should be directed to Sacred Heart Church. An amount should reflect generosity to the hospitality you have been given as well as the actual costs. If you wish to give a gift to the priest, this separate donation needs to be addressed to the priest directly in order for him to accept it as a gift. Suggested donations can be made available at your request.
Music and Musicians
All music will be coordinated with the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music. The fees for musicians will be determined on an individual basis.
The church will be decorated according to the liturgical season being celebrated by the Church. Because the wedding is being celebrated within the life of the parish, any decorations in the church will remain in place. You are welcome to donate flowers for the sanctuary. Please discuss your wishes with the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music. Flowers are not permitted on the altar, but may be placed in front of the altar, near the ambo, near the ambry or on pews with appropriate clips (nothing that will leave holes or any kind of residue will be permitted). Aisle runners and scattered flower petals are not allowed. Rice, birdseed or confetti may not be thrown outside.
Pictures may be taken before, during and after the ceremony. A quiet and respectful presence should be maintained by the photographer. Photographer should discuss parameters with parish staff prior to the start of the wedding. Video cameras may be used from the back and sides of the church. Use of the choir loft (balcony) is not permitted without prior permission from the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music and/or all musicians present. Reverence is expected at all times.
Dressing rooms are available for use. It is expected you will leave the room as you found it. Garbage bags are provided and should be placed in the dumpster after the wedding. Items left overnight, are left at the risk of the wedding party. The bride’s room can be locked, but Sacred Heart Church is not liable for any items left prior to, during, or after the wedding, e.g. wedding dress, purses, etc.
The parish can provide a printed program. If the couple chooses to print their own program, a proof copy must be submitted to the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music two weeks prior to your printing deadline.
A scheduled rehearsal including all participants will be required. Please allow one hour for this rehearsal. Lectors will need to rehearse and be instructed in our protocols. Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist from outside our parish will need to be be approved and trained in our protocosl.
The marriage license is required by the State of Michigan and obtained through the county clerk’s office. Copies of the marriage license, along with envelope must be brought to the pastor at the rehearsal. Reminder: witnesses signing the license must be 18 years of age by civil law.