Frequently Asked Questions
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What will our ceremony be like?
The wedding ceremony is a liturgy of the Church. It is a prayer experience and the Church has provided us with a ritual outline to follow. There are two basic forms, one with Mass and one outside of Mass. Within the outlines of each of these forms, you have many choices. One of the steps in marriage preparation is a liturgy meeting with the Pastoral Associate for Worship. At that meeting you will receive aids and suggestions to guide you in preparing the ceremony.
Should the Marriage be celebrated Within Mass or Outside it?
The answer to the question is essentially up to the bride and groom, in consultation with the presider of the wedding. If one party to the marriage is not Catholic, however, Our Lady of Peace recommends that the Rite of Marriage Outside Mass be celebrated. The reasoning is as follows:
- The inclusion of the entire family and all guests is a high value for a wedding ceremony, which is a celebration of unity. If one party to the marriage and/or one family is not Catholic, then the assembly is split at Communion between those who are eligible to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and those who are not. This split can create social awkwardness and hard feeling.
- The Rite of Marriage Outside Mass is fully sacrament, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The celebration consists of procession, the Liturgy of the Word, the Rite of Marriage, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sign of Peace, the Final Blessing, Dismissal and recession. This ceremony, which lasts forty-five to fifty minutes, is a fully recognized and glorious celebration of marriage that would be comfortable and fully inclusive for non-practicing Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants alike.
Are there any restrictions on music?
Since a wedding ceremony is a prayer of the Church, all the guidelines for Church music apply. This means that the music must be
in nature. It is there to assist us in prayer. Popular love songs generally are not appropriate, as they do not speak of your relationship to God. (It would be like singing or playing “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” at your wedding dance!) But fortunately there is a long list of wonderful liturgical music for weddings. You will receive a list and a CD of musical selections to help you make your choices. The Music Director, Elizabeth Pike, will be of assistance in this.
What about musicians?
As a matter of policy, Our Lady of Peace musicians serve as organist/pianist and cantor. (The cantor leads the assembly in the singing.) You are welcome to include other instrumentalists and vocal soloists, and the OLP organist/pianist will be happy to rehearse with them. The fees for the organist/pianist and cantor are included in the church fee. You will need to compensate other instrumentalists and singers separately. You will need at least one keyboardist (piano/organ) and one cantor.
May we bring in other musicians?
We ask that you use our parish musicians for the keyboard and cantor music. They are aware of how the ceremony works at OLP. However, if you have a relative or friend who wishes to sing as a soloist, they are more than welcome to work with our musicians, as are other instrumentalists. Please discuss this with the Pastoral Associate for Worship before you hire or invite someone to sing or play.
May we use the church for pictures?
You certainly may, but occasionally the time may be limited due to other scheduling needs. Picture-taking in the church should be completed by one half-hour before the ceremony begins, so the photographer has time to clear out the equipment before guests begin to arrive, and so that the wedding party has time to relax and freshen up before the ceremony begins. On Saturdays, confession begins at 4:00pm, so all pictures must be completed by 3:45pm.
May pictures be taken during the ceremony?
pictures may be taken by one person hired or designated by you. Please ask that this person respect the prayer and be as inconspicuous as possible. Video may also be taken by
cameras with no additional lighting.
May we decorate the church?
The church is sometimes already decorated according to liturgical season (Christmas, Easter, etc.).
Decorations already in the church must be left in place. You may add to the church decorations if you wish - floral bouquets, pew bows, etc. Your decorations (or the florist’s) must be removed after the ceremony, unless you are leaving them at the church. Some couples offer to leave flowers in the church if they are not using them for the reception.
May we have an aisle runner?
An aisle runner really is not necessary, and can be slippery on our floor. We advise against them for safety reasons.
Should we have a unity candle?
It is not necessary, as the primary symbols of unity in the wedding ceremony are the pronunciation of the marriage vows and the exchange of rings. If you do choose to light a unity candle, it will be a simple gesture that does not detract from the exchange of vows and rings. You will need to provide the candle.
What about the wedding party?
The ritual calls for a witness for each of you. They may be male, female, or a mix. These two witnesses have a special role. As to a larger wedding party, there is no restriction on size, although a very large wedding party can be unwieldy and detract from the liturgy.
Flower girls and ring bearers?
Flower girls and ring bearers really serve no special function, as the flowers are only carried, not scattered, and the best man carries the real wedding rings. If you decide to include a flower girl and/or ring bearer, we recommend that they be at least four years old. Younger children usually cannot function reliably and prayerfully.
May we bring refreshments while taking pictures?
Yes, you may use Pates Hall for enjoying sandwiches, snacks, soft drinks, and coffee during the picture taking. We ask that you place someone in charge of clean-up afterwards. It must be mentioned that
no alcoholic beverages, smoking, or illegal drugs are permitted anywhere on Our Lady of Peace premises
. This includes outside in the parking lot and on the sidewalks. We ask your help in making this clear to all who will participate in your wedding.
What are some other ways we can involve family/friends in the ceremony?
You may choose to have friends or family serve as readers, ushers, greeters; and, if you are having a Mass, as gift bearers and Eucharistic Ministers.
We hope this helps in answering some of your questions. Please make an appointment with the Pastoral Associate for Worship as soon as possible to begin planning your ceremony. We look forward to working with you to make your wedding a prayerful and memorable occasion.