Marriage Guidelines

A Message from the Pastor

JMJ

The Pastor, Staff, and Parishioners of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church Parish congratulate you on this most important time in your life. We will do all that we can to make your wedding ceremony beautiful and meaningful. We desire this time of preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to be a positive experience.

As Roman Catholics, we have certain rules, structures, and rituals that must be respected and obeyed. These guidelines are meant to inform you in planning a wedding ceremony that is in accord with these respective rules and structures. Please pay particular attention to the guidelines for music, bridal/maid gowns, and Church décor. For the sake of consistency, please do not ask for exceptions to these guidelines; they will not be granted. If you agree to fully cooperate with the guidelines below, you may call the Rectory Office at (337) 334-5056 to set an appointment to begin the preparation for Holy Matrimony.

Remember, Holy Matrimony is a lifetime commitment, not a one time ceremony!

Adhering to the teaching of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and to the norms of the Diocese of Lafayette regarding preparation for Holy Matrimony, and as a participant in the Diocesan sponsored program to teach Natural Family Planning to engaged couples, Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church offers two options for preparation for Holy Matrimony.

Option A

Initial contact with the Priest (Must be the Pastor of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church) for:

  1. Confirmation of Wedding Date
  2. Acquiring of Sacramental Records
  3. Payment of Church Operating Fee
  4. Set up dates for classes

Participation in a Diocesan sponsored Catholic Engaged Encounter

(Friday 7:00 p. m. until Sunday 3:30 p. m.)

Attendance at the first class of a local Natural Family Planning Course.

(All four classes are recommended, but not required under option A.)

Schedule a closing meeting with the Roman Catholic Priest who will officiate at the wedding ceremony, to conclude paper work, and to discuss the rehearsal.

The price of this course is $150.00 to cover the weekend Engaged Encounter. A $75.00 non-refundable, non transferable deposit is to be sent after the first session with the Pastor. Checks payable to: Catholic Engaged Encounter.

Option B

This option is made available for those whose working schedule would prevent participation in the weekend Engaged Encounter.

Initial contact with the Priest: (Must be the Pastor of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church.) (Plus a, b, c, d, from Option A)

Attendance at the Foundation Course: (A two day marriage preparation workshop, places and times vary, Holy Mass is included.)

Participation in a Diocesan approved Natural Family Planning course: (Four classes, taught locally.)

Schedule a closing meeting with the Roman Catholic Priest who will officiate at the wedding ceremony, to conclude paper work, and to discuss the rehearsal.

The price of this course is $150.00, non-refundable, to cover the cost of the one day Foundation Program. Checks payable to: Office of Family Life

The Price of the Natural Family Planning kit is $135.00, to be paid at the first class session. Checks payable to: Couple to Couple League.

Important

First Appointment

When coming to the first meeting with the Pastor, you are to bring all your Sacramental records: recent and current and certified Certificates of Holy Baptism and Holy Confirmation (to be obtained at the Church of your Holy Baptism), and recent copies of paperwork in reference to any previous marriage, divorce, death, or annulment. Also, plan to bring the $150.00 Church operating fee (cash only).

Marriage License

In Acadia Parish, Marriage licenses are issued by the Clerk of Court’s office in the Acadia Parish Courthouse, from 8:30 A. M. until 4:30 P. M., Monday through Friday. The office is located at the Court Circle in Crowley. The cost is $27.50; the couple must each bring their state birth certificate, driver’s license, if previously married: final decree of divorce, birth place, and knowledge of parent’s birthplace are required. Licenses must be issued at least 72 hours(3 days), but not more than 30 days prior to the wedding ceremony.

Sacrament of Holy Confession

To allow for the proper disposition of the Sacred wedding vows, the couple is to receive the Sacrament of Holy Confession a few days before the wedding ceremony. Usually this is done before the day of the wedding rehearsal.

Nota Bene

If an engaged couple approaches Holy Mother Church to witness their wedding vows but they are not living the True Catholic Faith and have no intention of living the True Catholic Faith according to the Teachings of Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church, I, the Pastor, will not allow them to get married in this Roman Catholic Church. Holy Matrimony is a vocation from Almighty God. How can each party of the couple even know that they are called by God Himself to be husband and wife if they do not first have a connection with God through the practice and the living of the True Faith? A Catholic Sacramental Marriage which is not firmly rooted in Almighty God and nourished by the Holy Sacraments and prayers of the True Catholic Church is a marriage doomed to failure; I, the Pastor, will neither witness nor allow such a marriage in this Roman Catholic Church. This is a matter of justice, honesty, and charity for the future well being of the couple.

The first thing when meeting with the Pastor that must be understood and accepted is that just because a couple schedules a meeting with the Pastor to begin wedding preparations does not mean that there will actually be a wedding in this Roman Catholic Church. Holy Mother Church must first investigate the couple’s faith-life and spiritual maturity, as well as their emotional maturity. The Pastor must be able to ascertain the proper practice of the Roman Catholic Faith. However, it should be understood and accepted that even though the Roman Catholic Faith may not be practiced at the moment, this does not mean that the couple cannot now begin living the Roman Catholic Faith with proper and honest intentions. Sometimes in life we all need a little push in the right direction. If the couple can demonstrate both a desire for the True Catholic Faith and the actual practice of the True Catholic Faith, then the Pastor may continue to the next phase of marital preparation.

Visiting Priests

We warmly welcome any visiting Roman Catholic Priest you may desire to officiate at your wedding ceremony. To avoid any scheduling conflicts, the first contact must be with the Pastor of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church Parish. This will allow you to properly enroll in the marriage course of your choice in a timely manner. While Roman Catholic Priests vary with ceremonial and rehearsal procedures, guidelines for music, Church décor (flowers, candles), and bridal gowns, the guidelines printed here are to be adhered to in all wedding ceremonies in Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church. We ask that you do not embarrass a visiting Roman Catholic Priest by asking him to make exceptions in these areas.

For all couples, including those with visiting priests, the Church operating fee ($150.00) must be paid before any wedding date is considered official.

The Priest Celebrant or Deacon (including visiting Priests or Deacons) will be responsible for the Marriage preparation and all pertinent paperwork.

Church Operating Fee

For registered and active parishioners of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church Parish, there is a $150.00 operating fee (cash only). This payment is to be made at the time of your first meeting with the Pastor of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church. The wedding date will remain open until this operating fee is paid.

For non-parishioners, written delegation is required by the Pastor of your Church Parish. The Parish Council of Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church has designated the cost for use of the Church (air, heating, electricity) for non-parishioners to be $500.00. This is in addition to the $150.00 operating fee (cash only). A gratuitous gift may be given to the Priest on the day of the ceremony; however, this is not required.

Wedding Times

Wedding Ceremonies during the Liturgical Seasons

In accord with the ancient tradition of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and in order for the faithful to live out the themes of Holy Mother Church’s Liturgical Year, no wedding ceremonies are allowed during the Holy Penitential Season of Lent and no wedding ceremonies are allowed during the Holy Penitential Season of Advent. Again, no wedding ceremonies will be allowed during the Holy Season of Lent and the Holy Season of Advent.

Saturday Wedding Times

1:00 p. m. is the latest time that a Saturday Wedding may be held at Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church. This is due to the preparations made for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Saturday afternoon. Church Law does not permit a wedding ceremony within the context of Holy Mass on Saturday evenings. If there is a genuine, serious, and legitimate reason for a Saturday evening ceremony, you may have a Liturgy of the Word Ceremony.

Photography

Only one hired photographer and/or only one videographer is allowed. Set up should always be situated on the side of the Church; this location is to be approved by the Pastor before the ceremony. An additional photographer or videographer may be situated in the choir loft.

Due to preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, group wedding pictures are not allowed after Saturday afternoon wedding ceremonies have been completed.

Flowers

To prevent an over-crowded environment, and not to impede movement in the Sanctuary, flowers may be situated only in the following places:

1. Two arrangements upon pedestals at the rear of the Sanctuary.

2. One arrangement on the floor in front of the Attar.

Flowers form an important part of Church décor and celebration. They also draw attention to the liturgical season.

  • Furniture may not be removed or rearranged at any time by those decorating for the wedding.
  • Florists ordinarily handle flowers for the sanctuary, bouquets, boutonniere and corsages, and any extra candelabrae.
  • Flowers may be brought by the bride and groom to the Marian Altar at the end of the ceremony.
  • Use of flower petals, rice, or bird seed inside or outside the church is not allowed.
  • Because of the special nature of the Christmas season (from the week of Christmas until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in early January) and the Easter season (from Easter until Pentecost), St. Leo IV/St. Edmund Chapel is solely responsible for decorating the church and no other decorators can add decorations at that time. Small additions to the already existing Christmas and Easter decorations, such as pew bows and candelabra in the center aisle may be permitted but permission must be obtained.

Floral Archway

Church décor should never distract from the primary action in the Sanctuary. For this reason, an archway of any kind is not allowed in Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church as it takes focus away from the Sacred Altar, and hinders the view of the Sanctuary. These types of things are best set up at the reception.

No flowers are allowed on the pews.

Bridal/Maid Gowns

The criterion is simple; practice Holy Christian modesty. Please understand that plunging neck lines, bare backs, bare shoulders, halter tops or spaghetti straps are inappropriate for sacred worship. For the wedding dress and the maid gowns a bolero jacket with sleeves or a shawl may be worn for the Church Ceremony and for the picture in the newspaper. A picture of the wedding dress and the maid gowns must be shown to the Pastor before published in the newspaper and before the date of the wedding ceremony.

Church Décor

Candelabra

Candelabra must have tubes or globes on them. Open candles are not allowed because they tend to drip on the floor. Candelabra are allowed in the Sanctuary area but may not be placed along the pews. Wire, tape, pins, etc. are not allowed on the pews, since they tend to destroy the polished wood.

Pew Markers/Church Aisle

There are 13 pews on each side of the Church aisle. Pew markers are to be assembled with ribbon and/or rubber bands only. No tape, wires or pins of any type is allowed.

About Candelabra/Pew Markers, there have been occasions when this instruction is not followed, causing wax spill and damage to pews. Please help us avoid unnecessary problems and unnecessary cost to you, by following these instructions.

The use of the aisle runner is not allowed in Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Unity Candle

The use of the unity candle is not allowed in Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Rings

It is strongly recommended that the best man carry the bride and groom’s rings in his coat pocket. Ring bearers may carry the actual rings, if you desire, though many are reluctant to place expensive jewelry on the pillow of a young ring bearer.

Lectors/Offertory

Lectors must be Confirmed practicing and faithful Roman Catholics who are in good standing with Holy Mother Church. The Lectors must be in a valid Sacramental marriage, if married.

If you desire, two (2) family members or friends who are practicing Roman Catholics in good standing with Holy Mother Church may bring up the offertory gifts, please inform the Pastor at the final meeting.

Family members or friends who are not Roman Catholic (of a different faith) may not participate as lectors or gift bearers.

Sacred Music

Choice of Sacred Music

Sacred Liturgical Music should add solemnity and joy to the celebration, and serve primarily to help the congregation to pray. Absolutely no secular musical pieces are allowed at any time during the ceremony, neither before nor after the ceremony. (If a piece of music is heard on the radio it is neither proper nor allowed to be played in Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church at any time.)

Music during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may be sung only at the following times:

Preparatory Sacred Music before the wedding ceremony

The Entrance Procession

The Responsorial Psalm

The Alleluia

The Offertory Hymn

The Holy Mass Parts:

The Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)

The Mysterium Fidei (The Mystery of Faith)

The Great Amen

The Agnus Dei (The Lamb of God)

The Rite of Holy Communion

As flowers are brought to the Blessed Mother Statue (The Ave Maria)

The Recessional

Choice of Musicians

Only approved musicians or the Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church Choir may be used for wedding ceremonies at Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church. The approved musicians are capable of offering well trained instrumental and vocal abilities.

Instruments such as a trumpet, a violin or a flute are allowed. If chosen, please inform the Pastor.

The use of cassette tapes or compact disks is not allowed for Wedding Ceremonies.

Why the mandate to use only approved musicians? Sacred Music during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is meant to give Glory to Almighty God, not ourselves. Sacred Liturgical Music is not a performance; it must foster prayer. These musicians have been trained to ensure a prayerful setting in which the Priest can lead the congregation in prayer. Also, they are familiar with Saint Leo IV Roman Catholic Church instruments and the proper volume, sound, etc. so important for proper and reverent effect. In the past, allowing unapproved musicians has resulted in serious damage to the musical instruments, costing the Church expensive repair fees. Please do not ask for exceptions to this policy; they will not be granted.

Rehearsal

The rehearsal will be held in a 30 minute time span. The Priest alone or his delegate is the principle speaker and director of the rehearsal. To allow for a smooth and quick rehearsal, we ask that you decide the following before arriving in the Church for the rehearsal:

  • Groomsmen/Bridesmaid: assign partners and the order in which they are to process.
  • Bring Marriage License/Certificate to the rehearsal. The couple and the two witnesses will sign these documents after the rehearsal.
  • Make a list of the Sacred Readings you have selected for the ceremony. The readings will be read from the Lectionary. The Lectionary will be properly marked before the Wedding Ceremony. Lectors are to report to the Sacristy fifteen (15) minutes before the wedding ceremony to check the Lectionary and to receive further instruction from the Priest.

Nota Bene Universal Roman Catholic Church Law does not permit a non-Catholic to participate in the Liturgy as a Lector. Number 56 of the document Ad Totam Ecclesiam states: “A separated brother is not to act as a scripture reader…”

  • It is important that you remind your wedding party that the Church building is a Sacred place, it is the Holy House of God. For this reason, when coming into the Church for the rehearsal, talking should be minimal. No shouting across the Church. Out of the respect for the Most Blessed Sacrament, no hats, no caps, no gum chewing, no shorts, etc.

Nota Bene: Occasions may arise when the Pastor is unable to conduct the rehearsal, in these cases the Pastor’s Delegate will direct the rehearsal and they alone are the principle speaker and director of the rehearsal.

Nota Bene: All other matters and all other questions will be addressed by the Pastor and he alone will make the final decision.

Clean Up

Your delegate must collect any personal items and ensure that the Church is returned to its original setting. Flowers, pew markers, runners, etc. must be picked up. Your wedding ceremony is one of several other activities for which the Church is used on any given weekend. (Holy Mass, Baptisms, Confessions, etc.) Please take care of God’s Holy House.

Thank You.

 

Statement of Understanding