Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church, an encounter with the presence of God in our lives. The bride and bridegroom are the celebrants of the Sacrament. 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. The following is a general list of guidelines and policies.
Marriage Policies and Guidelines
Please contact the parish office at least 6 months prior to your anticipated wedding date to allow time for required preparation. Preparations include, but are not limited to a Pre-Marriage Inventory, completion of a marriage preparation program, sessions with Father and planning meetings with the parish Director of Music and Liturgy.
Date and Times
The date of the wedding cannot interfere with liturgical celebrations and must be courteous to civic holidays. If you wish to be married on a weekday, the time would be determined on an individual basis. Saturday weddings will be typically be scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Photographs inside the Church and clean-up must be completed by 3:45 p.m. to allow time to prepare for the Saturday evening Mass.
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted anywhere on church premises. Our facilities are smoke-free. Smokers may smoke outdoors, but please be courteous and stay away from the entrances to buildings. Sand-filled urns are provided at doorways to the Parish Hall for cigarette butts; please do not throw them on the ground.
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.
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 decoration in the church will remain in place. You are welcome to donate flowers for the sanctuary. Please discuss your wishes with the Director of Liturgy. Flowers are not permitted on the altar. Flowers may be placed on pews with appropriate clips. 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, or from the balcony. Reverence is expected at all times, the church is a sacred space.
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.
Music and Musicians
All music will be coordinated with the Director of Music and Liturgy. The fees for musicians will be determined on an individual basis.
The parish can provide a printed program. If the couple chooses to print their own program, a proof copy must be submitted to the Director of Music and Liturgy in advance of 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 protocol. Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist from outside our parish will need to be trained in our protocol.
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.