Getting Married At St
We share your happiness
and pray that God blesses you abundantly during your time of
marriage preparation and throughout your married life. Marriage
usually is experienced on two levels — personal and public. It is
personal in that it involves two individuals who promise to become
one in a covenant of love. It is public because it provides
companionship, continues the human race and assures the welfare of
family life and society at large. As Christians, we recognize a
third dimension of marriage, the spiritual. We believe when men and
women commit to a marriage in faith, we get a glimpse of the deep
love that God has for us.
Therefore, your marriage
is more than a private contract or public exchange of vows. It is an
act of worship in which you promise to love each other and receive
promises of support from your families, friends and the whole church
as represented by a priest or deacon. Your wedding is more than
“your day” because you also celebrate and rejoice with the church.
Your guests come not just to watch, but to participate by offering
their support and encouragement in your lives.
To enter into a valid
marriage in the Catholic church, both parties must be free to marry
and possess the capacity to enter into an exclusive, life-long
The church wants you to
have the best possible start for your marriage; therefore, we will
help you reflect on its meaning and prepare for it. St. Raphael’s
requires that you participate in a two stage process which includes
(1) FOCCUS and (2) either the St. Raphael’s Pre-Cana Program or an
Engaged Encounter Retreat Weekend. Please note: Engaged Encounter is
a Diocesan program with separate fees.
FOCCUS, which stands for Facilitating Open
Couple Communication, Understanding and Study, is a pre-marriage
inventory designed to help you gain insight about your relationship.
Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter will help you work on important issues
for married life and connect you with the parish and the wider
The initial meeting with
a priest or deacon will help you begin your wedding plans. When you
come for this meeting, you will need to bring a baptismal
certificate from the bride’s and groom’s church(es) of baptism. (If
you were baptized at St. Raphael’s, this step is not required.)
Certificates must be issued within six months of the date of your
wedding. If necessary, inter-faith marriage requirements will be
Once you complete your
initial meeting, a wedding date will be penciled in the book. It
will be finalized when you complete the FOCCUS
inventory and return for your second meeting with the priest or
A marriage license must
be obtained within sixty days of your wedding, but must have been
issued at least twenty-four hours before. The marriage cannot be
performed within twenty-four hours of issue of the license.
Scheduling Your Ceremony
Weddings can be scheduled
on any day of the week provided they do not interfere with parish
celebrations such as the Eucharist or the sacrament of
Reconciliation. If you choose to celebrate your marriage during the
season of Lent, we will ask you to keep the celebration simple out
of respect for the solemnity of the season. Weddings never take
place on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.
The ordinary witness to
marriage is the clergy assigned to a parish by the bishop. If you
wish to have your marriage witnessed by clergy from outside the
parish, please let the priest or deacon know about this request.
The services of a
professional are strongly encouraged. To avoid distraction during
the ceremony, we require the photographer and videographer to take
pictures and/or record without flash or bright lights. All
picture-taking must be done as inconspicuously as possible during
Flowers and Decorations
Flowers should adorn
rather than overwhelm the sanctuary. In particular, flowers should
not obscure the altar, which is a symbol of Christ for Catholic
Christians. Also please note: flower petals may not be thrown
in the aisle.
We know that choosing
flowers for the church can be a difficult task. What we’ve found is
that if a florist isn’t familiar with the church,
the flowers don’t
always fit the space, and couples are disappointed. The parish works
with a florist who knows the best way to arrange flowers in our
sanctuary. We can order altar flowers designed for the large urns
near the altar. If more than one wedding is scheduled on a given
day, couples can share the expense of the flowers with the other
couple. While you certainly don’t have to order flowers through the
parish, we’ve found that couples are happy with the results and
surprised by the cost savings. Consult your presider for details.
A Few Other Decorating
Please do not move or
remove any of the furnishings in the sanctuary for any
Please do not add any
additional furnishings such as candelabra.
Ribbons or flowers
may be attached to the pews to designate reserved seating, but
please do not use tape or similar substances which may damage
the surface of the pews when the decorations are removed.
After the ceremony,
please remove any decorations or personal items brought into the
Please use only
bubbles to greet the bride and groom outside after the
celebration. Rice, bird seed or anything else that needs to be
cleaned up cause problems for our maintenance staff and for
parishioners coming into church after your ceremony.
A deposit of $100.00 is
required at the time you reserve the date for your marriage.
The total parish fee is
$700 which includes $100.00 for marriage preparation (the costs
associated with FOCCUS and St. Raphael’s Pre-Cana), our parish
musician and singer and church fees. If you choose to participate in
Engaged Encounter, which has additional costs, the total parish fee
is $600. There are no other parish costs to you. Please make payment
of this fee no later than the week before your wedding. If paying by
check, please make it payable to St. Raphael’s Church.
additional musicians at the ceremony is negotiated directly by the
couple with the individual or ensemble. All payment arrangements are
the direct responsibility of the bride and groom.
Your Wedding Day
St. Raphael’s is a parish
with many liturgical celebrations. In all likelihood, there will be
another celebration directly after your wedding. Please be on time
and leave the church promptly after your ceremony is concluded so
that other parish celebrations will not be delayed.
After the Wedding
After your wedding, if
you plan on residing in the East Meadow area and are not already
members of the parish community, we would be most happy to have you
as registered members. When you get settled, notify the parish
office to register and receive information regarding the many
opportunities for ministry, and other activities in which you may
At least nine months
before the wedding
Contact the parish for an
appointment to set a date and time for the wedding. The paperwork
can be completed at this time. At this time, you should also begin
thinking about plans for your ceremony. During this time you should
take the FOCCUS instrument and register for your marriage
preparation program, either St. Raphael’s Pre-Cana or Engaged
Four to six months before
Contact the director
of music for an appointment to discuss music for the wedding and
certificate(s) from church(es) of baptism.
Return signed forms
from limousine, photographer, and videographer to the rectory.
One Month before the
Contact the priest or
deacon to go over all finalized plans, and to set the date and
time for your rehearsal if not already done.
At least one week before
Make final payment
for church fees.
Bring the marriage
license and the envelope in which it came, stamped.
Bring wedding candles
if you are having a candle ceremony.
Please be on time:
the rehearsal will not exceed 45 minutes. Under ordinary
circumstances, musicians are not present.
prayers and good wishes of
St. Raphael's Parish are with you!
Page Updated December 31, 2011
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