Marriage Preparation Guidelines for St. Thomas Aquinas Church
1. The date for the wedding cannot be confirmed until the engaged couple has a personal interview with one of the parish priests. It is not advisable to reserve a reception hall or photographer until the date has been confirmed by a priest.
2. It is a requirement of the Diocese of Columbus that all couples participate in a Pre-Cans program before marriage. It is also strongly encouraged that the couples attend a Natural Family Planning class together before the wedding. Please check with the priest for details and dates.
3. All Catholic must obtain a copy of their baptismal certificate or give permission to the priest to obtain it. The certificate must be dated within six months of the date of the marriage. The priest will inform you of any other document or questionnaires that required for marriage.
4. A wedding between two Catholics must take place during a Nuptial Mass, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Ordinarily a Nuptial Mass is not celebrated when only one party is Catholic. The Unity Candle is not used during wedding Masses at St. Thomas Aquinas Church since the Eucharist is the primary sign of unity and it is not part of the Catholic Rite of Marriage.
5. If you have a friend or relative who is a Catholic priest in good standings, you may have him witness your marriage provided permission is obtained from the pastor and/or the priest preparing you for marriage.
6. Attire is to be appropriate for the wedding and it is the policy of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish that there are to be NO Visible tattoos. Any tattoo that would be showing must be covered, either with part of the garment or makeup.
7. DATES AND TIMES FOR WEDDINGS: Weddings are usually celebrated Saturdays at 10 A.M. or 2 P.M. Other days and times (for good reasons) are possible at the discretion of the pastor. WEDDINGS ARE NOT CELEBRATED AT ST. THOMAS AQUINAS CHURCH DURING THE HOLY SEASON OF LENT (other "liturgical blackout" dates apply as well).
8. Saturday afternoon wedding parties must clear the Church by 4:00 P.M. The church needs to be made ready for the 5:00 P.M. evening Mass.
10. FEES FOR WEDDINGS
a. A fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) is to be paid to St. Thomas Aquinas Church for the use of the church (in the event of financial hardship this fee can be waived).
b. It is customary to give a stipend to the priest or deacon performing the ceremony.
c. A fee of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) is to be paid to the parish organist. This fee is separate from the fee paid for use of the Church.
d. A singer at a wedding is paid directly by the wedding party in an amount agreed beforehand buy the singer and the bridal couple. The singer must contact the parish organist as soon as possible in order to rehearse the music. All music for weddings must be approved by the pastor.
e. It is customary to give a stipend to the priest or deacon witnessing the vows (if different from the priest or deacon officiating the ceremony), as well as to any altar servers.
11. Contact the parish organist after confirming a date and time for your wedding. The organist will help you choose music that is appropriate. We expect the parish organist to play for all weddings.
12. RESPECT FOR CHURCH PROPERTY/CONFORMITY WITH LITURGICAL NORMS OF CATHOLIC CHURCH
The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of the do's and don't's of weddings at our parish church.
a. You are to instruct the photographer and/or videographer to speak with the priest before the ceremony to go over St. Thomas’ expectations. Under no circumstances are they permitted in the sanctuary. Again for an afternoon wedding you must be out of the Church by 4:00 PM.
b. Florists should arrange floral displays tastefully. Absolutely no flowers are permitted on the altar of sacrifice. If candelabras are used, the florist must put a large enough piece of plexiglass sheet underneath to catch the dipping wax. Flowers are considered a gift to the church and should remain following the wedding unless otherwise instructed.
c. Flower girls may not toss real or silk flower petals while walking down the aisle.
d. Bridesmaid may not carry lit candles down the aisle.
e. Throwing of rice, confetti, birdseed, etc. is not permitted inside or outside of the church; please reserve that for the reception..
f. Please leave the church and all areas used by the wedding party the way you found them (i.e. please dispose of flower boxes, dress bags, pop cans, water bottles, gum, aisle runner, etc.)
g. Consumption of alcohol by the wedding party (especially the bride and groom and their witnesses) on the day of the wedding prior to the ceremony will not be tolerated and could result in the cancellation of the wedding.
13. RENTAL OF ST. THOMAS ACTIVITY CENTER
Please contact Mary Ann Ewart at (740) 319-0265, about fees and policies. The center can only be after you have a confirmed date and time for your wedding.
14. You must remember to bring your civil marriage license TO THE REHEARSAL. A priest or deacon cannot legally officiate at your wedding without the license.
The priests and the parish staff will do all we can to make your wedding a joyful and memorable day.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Dominican Fathers