Marriage Preparation Information: Our Wedding Day

The Wedding Liturgy:

You will find a selection of readings and options available for the liturgy in Together for Life book.  The Parish Music Director will walk you through the process of developing your liturgy and explain the guidelines for the selection of music.  Please call or email the music department directly (407-628-2346 or Curtis@stmargaretmary.org) and make an appointment with Curtis Wallace.

The Marriage License:

When all paperwork is finished, call or email Debbie Benson (407-998-5654 or Debbie@stmargaretmary.org) at the church office so that she can issue your completion certificate to be presented at the county clerk’s office.  In doing so, you may receive a reduced fee.  Bring the license to the church office ahead of time or to the rehearsal.  The ceremony coordinator will fill it out and have the witnesses sign it before the ceremony begins.

The Parish Ceremony Coordinator:

The Ceremony Coordinator will meet with you prior to your wedding to discuss the flow of the ceremony and processional order into the sanctuary.  Our desire is to ensure that the entire ceremony is a prayerful experience for all who are present.

We would like to reassure couples that their wedding ceremony will be a reverent and meaningful liturgical occasion.  However, past experiences have unfortunately taught us that certain policies and restrictions must be in place:

Commercial Wedding Coordinators:

Commercial wedding coordinators are helpful toward keeping the secular aspects of your wedding day running smoothly.  If you have hired a wedding coordinator, please let them know that our ceremony coordinator handles all matters pertaining to the church rehearsal and ceremony.

Groom, Ushers, Groomsmen:

The groom should arrive at least 45 minutes before the time of the wedding.  If he is not planning on greeting his guests in the foyer, he should go directly to the sacristy.

Remind ushers to be attentive, to approach the guests to be seated, and ask if they would like to be escorted to their seats.  Discourage too much visiting in the foyer of the church prior to the ceremony, as guests tend to arrive late and this may delay the start of the ceremony.

Seating of guests by the ushers will be suspended approximately 10 minutes before the ceremony begins.  Last minute guests will be seated by the coordinator along the side aisles.

Bride and Bridesmaids:

The Bride should arrive approximately 45 minutes prior to the ceremony.  Unless she greets her guests in the foyer of the church as they arrive, she will wait in the vestry for the ceremony to begin.  The bridesmaids should arrive with the bride.  Hairdressers, make-up artists, ironing boards, etc., are not permitted in the vestry.  Please arrive dressed, makeup applied and hair ready.  (Some brides prefer to bring their dress on a hanger and put it on in the vestry.)

It is not in keeping with church practice for the bride to wait in her car until the wedding is about to start.  As a member of the worshiping congregation, she should be in the vestry of the church at the beginning of the opening procession.

Some couples choose to have pictures taken on the church grounds before the ceremony.  If there is a wedding preceding your own, please be aware that the wedding party will most likely be taking pictures in the church until ½ hour before your ceremony is to begin.  However, the gardens surrounding the church provide a lovely background for pictures.

Bridal and Attendant’s Dresses:

We ask that you use discretion in selecting your wedding attire.  When in doubt…remember your wedding day is a sacred celebration.  A dress may seem quite stylish and perhaps the “in dress” to the wedding industry, however it may not be an appropriate choice for a church wedding.

Mothers and Escorts:

The mothers usually begin the procession.  We ask them to take their places at the threshold of the entrance door at 10 minutes before the hour.

Readers:

The scripture readings you have chosen will be copied in large print and will be placed on the ambo for the convenience of the readers.  It is suggested that Readers attend the Wedding Rehearsal so that they are comfortable with the environment as well as with the reading that has been selected for them to read.

Children:

The preference is that any children included in the bridal party should be at least 5 years of age, since younger children tend to be shy and unsure of how to follow directions.  If you are having children under 5, please see that they are accompanied by an adult and be open to the possibility that the child may refuse to participate.

The Worship Space:(Flowers)

The church is decorated according to the seasons of the liturgical year.  You may wish to call the Parish Ceremony Coordinator to find out what seasonal decorations will be in place at the time of your wedding.  The environment is set up for the liturgical season and may not to be altered.  However, you may have two (2) additional altar arrangements.  Many brides choose to place pew bows at the ends of some pews.  Flower arrangements and pew bows must be removed immediately after your wedding.   Please assign someone to distribute corsages, boutonnières, and bouquets, and also to dispose of boxes used by the florist for transport.

Photography and Video:

Photographers’ Guidelines

Read the guidelines at the above carefully and give a copy to your photographer.  Most of the tension at weddings seems to be created by the sense of urgency that photographers tend to bring to their task.  Please be supportive of the church in seeing that the guidelines are followed.

Remember, you have only 20 to 25 minutes following the marriage ceremony to take photos, IF your ceremony begins on time. If your ceremony begins late, your time for photos will be cut short. We kindly ask that no exterior photography follow the 3pm ceremonies and that all vehicles belonging to the wedding party and guests exit the church parking lot no later than 4:30 - thereby providing ample parking spaces for the vigil mass which begins at 5pm.

Video cameras are allowed, but they must be on a tripod and kept stationary throughout the ceremony.  They may be set up on the landing beside the organ.  If you should have two, the other must remain behind the last pew, also stationary. Videotape and live streaming services are available through the Church. Consult the Marriage Brochure for more details.

Sorry, These Are Our “No No’s”

  • The Unity Candle Ritual is not permitted at St. Margaret Mary. There is no provision for this ritual within the Catholic Rite of Marriage. Within Catholic liturgies, candles primarily refer to the light of Christ and baptism. The Paschal candle, lit at the Easter vigil is the central candle in the sanctuary.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the vestry or the sacristy.  There is bottled water available.
  • Absolutely no alcoholic beverages of any kind are allowed on church property!!  Please advise your wedding party.
  • The use of rice, confetti, birdseed and flower petals is not permitted in the church or on the grounds.
  • Receiving lines are not permitted at the church.  Please plan to have your receiving line at the reception.
  • Aisle runners are also not permitted.  The church has carpeting, making runners unnecessary and a possible danger, as they tend to be slippery.
  • Candles and candelabras (other than those already in the sanctuary or altar area) may not be used.
  • Please check in with Ceremony Coordinator when you arrive.
  • Pictures of the wedding procession may be taken from mid-aisle.
  • As soon as the wedding party reaches the altar the photographer returns to the back of the church and remains stationary throughout the ceremony until the recession out of the church.  We ask that there be no flash photography during the ceremony.
  • Photographers (video and still) are not permitted in the altar area.
  • No more than two (2) video cameras are allowed. They must be on tripods and kept stationary throughout the ceremony.  They may be located next to the organ or Baptismal font.
  • Schedule for group pictures after marriage ceremonies:

11:00 am ceremony, pictures may be taken until 12:20 am
1:00 pm ceremony, pictures may be taken until 2:20 pm
3:00 pm ceremony, pictures may be taken until 4:20 pm

  • This schedule is important and determined by the fact that there may be several weddings on Saturdays and also the 5:00 pm mass following the 3:00 pm     ceremony.
  • After the recession, the bridal party will be escorted into the vestry and escorted down a side aisle soon after the church has cleared of guests.  Photography equipment may be set up at this time.
  • If the marriage ceremony begins late and the ceremony runs later than the usual time, please consider that you will have less time for your pictures. The ceremony coordinator will advise you when your time for pictures is finished.