Please call the parish office at (905) 689-4857 to set up an appointment with one of our pastoral staff (usually the pastor or the associate). It will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself and receive basic information regarding your upcoming wedding. You should notify the parish of your intention to be married at least nine to twelve months in advance, and certainly before setting a date, enabling all concerned to make adequate preparations. A longer period may be required for various reasons, e.g. the date that you wish may not be available, one of the parties may have been in a previous marriage (and therefore requires permission from the bishop to proceed), etc.
MARRIAGE PREPARATION COURSE:
It will be necessary to take part in a mandatory preparation program. This program is designed to nourish the love relationship you share as a couple. Commitment, Communication and Conflict Resolution: these are the three top attributes of couples married happily for more than 25 years. The function of marriage preparation is to provide you with the tools that will help you live your marriage with all three of these components being strong and healthy. The course, led by married facilitating couples, covers a variety of topics including the sacramentality of marriage, effective communication, conflict resolution, intimacy and sexuality in marriage, finances and family of origin. Much of the course time is spent with the two of you talking to each other. This is a chance to move away from the stress of the wedding plans and learn or freshen up the skills you will need for a happy marriage. The Marriage Preparation Course is offered by the Family Ministry Office of the Diocese of Hamilton. Please contact the Family Ministry Office of the diocese at (905) 528-7988 for further information, dates, and to register, or go online (www.hamiltondiocese.com). Courses run on Friday evenings (approximately 7:00–9:30 pm) and Saturday (approximately 9 am–5 pm). Cost: around $125.00 per couple (includes course materials, snacks and lunch Saturday).
All the wedding party, parents, readers, eucharistic gift bearers should be present for the scheduled rehearsal, on time, and respectably dressed. While this is not a liturgy, those attending should be mindful of the sacred nature of the space.
We strongly suggest that you make the effort to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation the Saturday before your wedding. Confession is encouraged in order to open our hearts to the graces God wants to confer upon you on your wedding day.
The Catholic party must present one that was issued less than six months before the wedding date. For baptized non-Catholics, a photocopy of their baptismal certificate is sufficient.
A marriage license must be secured by the couple and delivered to the Parish Office at least two weeks before the ceremony.
Since April 1, 1987, the bride does not automatically take the groom’s family name upon their becoming husband and wife. For a change of name, an application with supporting documents must be submitted to the Ontario Marriage Registrar following the wedding.
If yours is an interchurch marriage (i.e. a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic) you must know the following:
a) The non-Catholic party is not required to become a Catholic and should not be pressured by anyone to do so.
b) The Catholic party must promise to do whatever is possible to have all children born of this marriage baptized and raised in the Catholic faith.
c) The non-Catholic party must be informed of the promise made by the Catholic party.
d) In an interchurch marriage, the custom is to have the wedding liturgy only, without the celebration of the Eucharist. However, this may be discussed further with the priest.
MARRIAGES IN OTHER CHURCHES:
If you are registered or reside within the boundaries of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and plan on getting married in another church (Catholic or otherwise) anywhere in Canada, the marriage documentation must be completed here, at your parish of residency. This parish will be responsible for getting the documentation to the church of the wedding. There is a $50 fee to process the paper work. Well in advance of the wedding date, contact the priest/minister of the Church where you are getting married, to plan your wedding ceremony and set a date for the rehearsal.
It is the couple’s responsibility to help prepare their wedding liturgy with the priest or deacon who will preside. Booklets are available to guide you through the service and assist you with selecting the required readings and prayers. The wedding rehearsal takes place at a convenient time with the presider—at least two weeks prior to the day.
THE BRIDAL/WEDDING PARTY:
It is required to have two witnesses (maid/matron of honour & best man). Additional bridesmaids and groomsmen can be then be chosen, but you are encouraged to keep the wedding party reasonably small.. All, including bride & groom, should be respectfully dressed—shoulders covered, and hemlines below the knee. Please do not change the witnesses at the last minute as that demands a change in documents that have already been prepared.
HONORARIUM AND FEES:
The fee for marriage at St. Thomas’ is $200. This fee is for the use of the Church. The cheque should be made payable to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish—not to the clergy. There is a $15 honorarium for each of two altar servers, and it is customary to provide an honorarium for the wedding celebrant for his discretionary use (the generosity of the bride and groom determines the amount of this gift). All fees and honoraria are to be given to the priest/celebrant at the wedding rehearsal.
FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS:
The responsibility for flowers and other decorations is yours. You are asked to be prudent and exercise restraint. Nothing is to be placed on the altar. Arrangements should be in place well before the ceremony.
CONFETTI / RICE / BIRD SEED: These, and those things similar, are not to be thrown anywhere on the church property.
May be taken as the wedding party enters and leaves the church. During the actual ceremony, pictures and videos may be taken ONLY by authorized photographers from previously assigned areas. The sanctuary (the raised area where the altar and tabernacle are located) is off limits.
From the start of your preparation for marriage, you will want to think about the choice of music for the occasion. Remember that your wedding is a Catholic Liturgy. Popular songs from movies, Top 40 Hits, etc. are not appropriate choices. To avoid disappointment, consult early regarding your choices. Parish musicians may be available to provide music for your wedding. It is the responsibility of the couple to arrange for the services of musicians. The fee for parish musicians is an initial $200 for the principal musician, and $100 for each additional musician. If arranging for musicians from outside the parish, be sure to discuss this with the priest or deacon who will be presiding.
While invitations to the presider at your wedding are appreciated, he is not often available due to other commitments (e.g. Saturday vigil mass).