The marriage covenant prefigures the new and everlasting covenant between the Son of God and all mankind. Through this sacrament, Christians signify and share in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love that exists between Christ and his church. Christian couples are to strive to nourish and develop their marriage by undivided attention in good times and in bad.
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Celebrating a wedding in our parish communities is a source of happiness for our partner parishes because it is a sign of life and growth. We pray that God will both bless you abundantly during your engagement and as you prepare for your wedding.
St. Bruno Parish Marriage Guidelines
Weddings may take place on any day of the week except Sundays and holy days of obligation, but are usually celebrated on Friday evenings or Saturdays. Saturday weddings with Mass may start no later than 2 p.m.; weddings without Mass may be scheduled as late as 2:30 p.m. This allows sufficient time for your wedding ceremony and pictures before evening Mass at 4:30 p.m. Only one wedding per day will be celebrated. Weddings are scheduled on a first come, first served basis.
- Introduction: Since the Catholic Church believes that marriage is a commitment made for life, the preparation for marriage must clearly recognize the significance of that commitment. Preparation for marriage in the Catholic Church is provided to insure that both parties are capable of making such a commitment.
- Pre-Marriage Assessment: At least six months before your wedding, you should contact a parish priest to discuss your intention to marry in the Catholic Church. Please remember, the date or time for a wedding is not confirmed until this meeting takes place. At that meeting, the priest will conduct the required assessment to confirm your freedom and ability to enter marriage within the Catholic Church. His questions will deal with such matters as previous marriages, age, maturity and readiness, knowledge about the spiritual and sacramental aspects of marriage, intentions, non-practice of the faith, openness to children, etc.
- Required Documents and Pre-Nuptial Forms: Since marriage is an action recognized both by the Church and the state, it involves the gathering of information. This normally includes the completion of a standard set of forms by the priest who will be the official witness of your wedding. A Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Marriage License is required for any marriage taking place in a Catholic Church. This license can be obtained from any county license bureau within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania up to sixty days before the wedding date. The Marriage License should be given to the priest officiating at the wedding no later than at the rehearsal.
- Marriage Instructions: The Diocese of Greensburg requires engaged couples to participate in a pre-marriage program covering sacramentality, spirituality, communication, financial responsibility, family life, parenthood, sexuality and continuing formation within marriage. This requirement can be met by participating in classes sponsored by Saint Bruno Parish (typically offered annually in March), by another Catholic parish or diocese, or by attending an Engaged Encounter Weekend (www.wwme-pittsburgh.org). A certificate will be issued upon successful completion of one of these classes; this certificate will then be filed with the rest of the marriage paperwork.
The Marriage Ceremony
Sacraments are always celebrations of the entire Body of Christ. Therefore, your wedding liturgy has special meaning for the entire parish community and should be celebrated with the joyful dignity that this implies. It is a time of prayer, promise, joy, and hope. This special celebration should be carefully planned with the mutual cooperation of the priest and the couple, as it is meant to deepen your love while praising God in the midst of a parish community of faith.
- The Liturgy of the Word – Readings from the Scriptures (one from the Old Testament and/or one from the New Testament, and a Gospel) may be chosen by the couple in consultation with the priest who will witness the marriage.
- The Liturgy of the Eucharist – Every wedding in the Catholic Church is celebrated with the Liturgy of the Word and the Rite of Marriage. Two Catholics who marry should be married within the context of the Eucharist (Mass).
- Programs – A wedding program is not required, but if you decide to do one, please have the priest and organist preview it for accuracy and completeness before you duplicate it.
- Offertory Procession – When a Mass is celebrated, you may choose family members or friends to bring the bread and the wine forward to the sanctuary. This may include as few as two and as many as four people.
- Exchange of Peace – Some couples choose to present flowers to their mothers at the exchange of peace.
- Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary – An optional Catholic wedding custom is the presentation of flowers at a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the bride seeking her intercession to be a good wife and mother and her prayers for a holy marriage. If the bride chooses to perform this gesture, it is done with her husband near the conclusion of the ceremony.
- Photography – Photographers/videographers are welcome, but are asked to avoid distractions during the ceremony. The church is first and foremost a house of prayer. Please ask the photographer to introduce him/herself to the priest before the wedding and become familiar with the wedding plans and church layout. In addition, photos in the sanctuary following the wedding are certainly permitted.
- Music at the Wedding Ceremony – Music is an important part of the celebration of marriage. It should not, however, overshadow the essential element of the commitment of the bride and groom to each other. The organist at Saint Bruno Parish is Mrs. Denise McMullan, 724-836-2683. She should be contacted well in advance to arrange for her participation in the ceremony and to guide the couple regarding appropriate selections for liturgical usage and expression of the Christian vision of marriage.
- Flowers – Flowers should always be real, not artificial. Because of the sacredness of the altar, no flowers or any other items or mementos are to be placed on the altar. Rather, they are placed on the floor or on stands alongside or in front of the altar.
- Unity Candle – The use of a unity candle or other actions and gestures, while popular and symbolic of the marriage union, is not part of the Catholic Rite of Marriage. These rituals are better placed within the reception as part of the blessing before the meal. A suggestion for doing this brief ceremony is provided at the conclusion of this booklet.
- Post-Wedding Customs – Please ask those attending your wedding not to throw rice, confetti, bird seed, rose petals, etc., in the church or anywhere on church property.
- Receiving Lines – Receiving lines are better placed at the location of the reception than at the back of church. Nonetheless, if you choose to have a receiving line at the church, please note that this limits your time for pictures since the church must be vacated by 4 p.m. for evening Mass.
- Fees and Offerings – Mrs. McMullan will advise you of her fee for serving as organist for your wedding. A Stipend of $250.00 is payable to the presider of the wedding. We keep this offering low because these parishioners weekly support the parish facilities. An offering for the priest who officiates your wedding is left to your discretion.
- Altar Servers – Normally, altar servers are used at weddings. If you have family members, friends, or relatives who are trained for service at the altar and who you would like to serve in that capacity at your wedding, please discuss this with the priest. A stipend of $10.00 for each server is suggested.
- Rehearsal – Usually a rehearsal is conducted the evening before the wedding at a time set after consultation with the priest who is to be the official witness for the ceremony. Please ensure that the wedding party is on time for the rehearsal.
- Confessions – It is a Catholic tradition that the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) precedes major steps taken in one’s life. Confessions are routinely heard the night of the rehearsal when requested by the couple, their wedding party, and/or guests.
- Reception of the Eucharist – It is the directive of the Catholic Church that only properly disposed Catholics may approach the table of the Lord to receive Holy Communion. If Mass is being celebrated as part of your wedding ceremony, please make this directive known to non-Catholics who may be attending.
- Wedding Party – The groom, the best man and the ushers need to arrive at the Church no later than one hour prior to the beginning of the wedding. The bride, maid of honor, matron of honor and bridesmaids should be at the Church no later than one half hour prior to the beginning of the wedding. Please do not bring any food (including chewing gum) or beverages into the church and respect the sacredness of the space and the event with appropriate behavior.
- Seating of Guests – Ushers should promptly escort guests to their seats. Because the church is a house of prayer, please be respectful in the vestibule and throughout the church. The mothers of the groom and then the bride should be seated a few minutes before the wedding is scheduled to begin.
- Pew Bows and Accessories – Please arrange for someone to remove any pew bows, flowers or other accessories that are to be kept as “keepsakes” immediately following the ceremony. Any items left behind after a wedding are discarded.
Life After the Wedding
It is indeed true that the marriage only begins after the wedding ceremony. The Catholic Church, in fact, is most concerned about the marriage.
As a couple, if you will be living in the Greensburg area after your wedding, you are invited to join the Saint Bruno Parish faith community. Please complete a new census form (available from the Parish Office) and return it to the Parish Office or place it in the collection basket on Sunday. If you are moving outside of this area, please contact the nearest Catholic parish about becoming a member there. It is important to become an active member of your parish as Catholics relate to Christ’s universal Church as members of a Catholic parish.
St. Bruno Parish strives to be of support to its newly married parishioners in various ways; you are valuable to our worshipping faith community. Please become a part of all that occurs here. If the parish priest or parish staff can be of assistance to you in any way after your wedding, please do not hesitate to contact us at the parish office.
St. Paul Parish Wedding Guidelines
Setting the Wedding Date
Couples are asked to contact the parish office at least six months in advance of the date on which they hope to celebrate their wedding.
It is a diocesan policy that every couple planning to celebrate marriage attend some form of instruction for the sacrament. This requirement may be fulfilled by attending the Engaged Encounter Weekend or the Sponsor Couple Program.
In the event of a marriage between Catholic and a non-Catholic, the couple, in addition to the Diocesan Marriage Preparation Course, is required to participate in a specific number of instructional classes with the pastor. The number of instructional classes will be determined by the pastor.
Planning the Wedding Liturgy
- Before making arrangements with a florist, please contact our floral consultant, Alice Rhine at 724-832-8857
- Wedding Rehearsal: Rehearsals are normally held the evening immediately prior to the actual wedding day. The purpose of a wedding rehearsal is to insure a beautiful ceremony, one that will provide the bride and groom with many fond and cherished memories. It is therefore a matter of necessity to impress upon the entire wedding party the need for proper behavior and complete cooperation during the rehearsal. Ideally people who are not part of the wedding party should not attend rehearsal.
- Entrance Procession: The order of the Entrance Procession is determined at the rehearsal. The throwing of flowers or petal on the aisle floor as the bride comes down the aisle is not allowed.
- Music: All music for the wedding must be sacred in nature. The parish organist and a parish cantor will provide music for all wedding liturgies. The couple should contact the parish music director, Marie Konopka, at least three months before the wedding at 724-834-6880 ext.12.
- Lectors: The couple may choose two people to proclaim the Scripture readings. Lectors should be strong readers and comfortable using a microphone. It is necessary for the lectors to be present at rehearsal.
- Unity Candle: The lighting of the Unity Candle is not a part of the Catholic Wedding Liturgy.
- Receiving Line: Since the reception is planned for purposes of receiving guests, it is not proper to receive guest in the church. Guests are asked to go directly to the reception hall where the bride and groom will join them.
- Programs: If a program is desired for the congregation’s use during the wedding ceremony, it is the responsibility of the couple to provide one. Proper copyright permission must be secured to reprint music and/or texts.
- Photographers and Videographers: The liturgy during which you celebrate your marriage is a sacred moment of rejoicing in prayer, song and gesture. Those taking pictures or videotaping are asked to remember that the wedding liturgy is, first and foremost, prayer and worship.
- Leaving the Church: Please ask your wedding party to refrain from blowing car horns and from drinking alcoholic beverages until after you have left the church property. Please inform limousine driers that serving champagne on church property is forbidden.
- Parish Affiliation: You are reminded that, once located in your new home, you should register at the nearest Catholic Church. If you continue to live in our area and intend to remain a parishioner, you should inform Father during your pre-wedding meeting and then complete a parish census form with all pertinent information. You need to establish yourself in a parish and share actively in the faith life of that parish. Your parish status helps in determining eligibility if you are asked to be a sponsor for Baptism or Confirmation.