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Holy Matrimony

Congratulations on your engagement! You are about to begin a blessed journey together and with the Lord that will last for the rest of your lives. Your wedding day is one of the most important days your life and a lot of time and effort goes into the details and planning of this special occasion. Our Lady of Divine Providence Catholic Church is happy to prepare you for the Sacrament of Marriage. This booklet is aimed to assist a couple preparing for marriage with information that is necessary in planning a wedding in the Catholic Church. Above all, remember that the Church is helping to spiritually prepare you not just for your wedding day, but most importantly for your marriage.

Mindful that God himself has called both of you to enter into this sacred covenant, we ask that you please read these pages carefully as it will provide you with many answers to questions that you may have as you prepare your wedding so that this period of preparation and your wedding day may be memorable, sacred, and filled with God’s love.

It will be the responsibility of the couple to see that all required paperwork is completed for the wedding ceremony to take place. Please note that all the planning of weddings at Our Lady of Divine Providence Catholic Church is made with the Bride and the Groom only.

FORMS AND MARRIAGE PREPARATION

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Baptismal Certificate And Freedom To Marry

A recent baptismal certificate (issued within six months of the wedding) is required for all Catholics intending to be married regardless of age. The original certificate is not acceptable because it may not have necessary notations on the reverse side. A recent certificate can be obtained by calling or writing to the parish in which you were baptized, (include your name, date of birth, father’s name, mother’s maiden name and date of baptism). A baptized, non-Catholic party’s certificate of baptism, even if it is the original copy, is also required.

Please note, that the baptismal certificate is needed to reserve a date for the wedding. No possible wedding dates can be discussed or reserved unless the priest has both baptismal certificates and has verified that the couple is free to marry. If either of you have been married before, even if only in Civil Court, you must discuss this with the priest, and he will assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork so that you are able to enter into a marriage.

The following is a list of forms and procedures necessary for marriage preparation. Usually, they are completed or given to you by the priest or deacon witnessing your marriage:

  • “A Form”:
    The Bride and Groom are required to sign 1 each in the presence of a Priest or Deacon indicating his/her freedom to marry.
  • “B Form”:
    Witnesses must sign 2 each for Bride and Groom, usually the parents or someone who has known you most of your life. Again, this form is to establish your freedom to marry. It may be witnessed by a Priest, a Deacon or by a Notary Public.
  • FOCCUS:
    (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study) This is an important and required part of the marriage preparation process. FOCCUS is a self-diagnostic inventory designed to help couples learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. It is not a test nor meant as a predictor of success or failure in marriage. Rather it is an important tool to help couples name and work through issues before marriage. FOCCUS provides individualized couple feedback on where each partner stands in regard to topic areas important to marriage. The results of the inventory point to issues or areas that may need to be addressed. You will make an appointment with a priest to be able to do the FOCCUS.
  • Pre-cana or Camino del Matrimonio:
    This is part of the Archdiocesan requirement for marriage preparation. It is usually scheduled for an entire weekend and consists of a series of presentations on topics helpful to building successful marriage relationships such as Communication, Spirituality, the Sacrament of Marriage, Finances, Parenting, etc. A Certificate of Completion is given at the end of the day. Please provide a copy of the certificate to the priest preparing your marriage file. The certificate also entitles you to the reduced fee for the Marriage License Application. Application forms for these Archdiocesan programs and dates are available online at www.miamiarch.org/familylife.

General Information And Guidelines

This section contains guidelines and general information about planning your wedding ceremony.

Setting the time:

  • Saturday weddings are held anytime between 12:00 P.M and 4:00 P.M., and at 7:30 P.M.
  • Friday weddings can be scheduled for 5:00 P.M. or 7:30 P.M.
  • For each wedding, you will have 90 minutes for the ceremony and for pictures.
  • Please follow this schedule as a courtesy to other groups and to the volunteer sacristans who need adequate time to prepare for the next liturgy and for parishioners to enter the church to attend Mass.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter.

Nuptial Mass

  • As marriage is a very sacred event, it is appropriate that the Sacrament of Marriage is celebrated within a Mass.

Sacrament Of Reconciliation: (Confession)

  • If you and or members of your wedding party have not recently received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, please contact the priest celebrant so that the opportunity for the Sacrament may be provided prior to the wedding date.

Rehearsal

  • Rehearsals are generally held a day or two before the wedding. Please contact the officiating priest for the exact time and date of your rehearsal and one of our sacristans will run the rehearsal.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Should the couple have a personal Wedding Planner/Coordinator, those persons and their associates have NO authority or say on the Church premises, and they are NOT to interfere with either the wedding rehearsal or the wedding ceremony itself. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • All those who are participating in the wedding (bridal party, parents, lectors, gift bearers) should attend the wedding rehearsal. We kindly ask that you NOT INVITE anyone not participating in the wedding to the rehearsal because they tend to slow down the rehearsal process.
  • The wedding rehearsal should take no longer than 30 minutes, and the rehearsal itself will not be repeated.

Punctuality

  • As a courtesy to others, please ensure that you and your wedding party arrive in advance of the scheduled wedding time and for the rehearsal. It is important that the procession begins at the appointed time of your celebration. This will enable you to complete the celebration and the picture taking within the time frame designated. A delayed start may result in changes in the liturgy and reduced time available to use the Church after the marriage ceremony for pictures.

Marriage License (Civil Law)

  • It is not possible to be married in the State of Florida without a Marriage License. It is the responsibility of the couple to obtain the license. Information on civil marriage licenses can be found by visiting the following website: http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/families_marriage.asp.
  • The couple will need to present the marriage license to the priest/deacon officiating at their wedding as soon as they receive it from the courthouse. Again, the wedding cannot take place without a Marriage License from the State of Florida.
  • The couple will need to present the marriage license to the priest/deacon officiating at their wedding as soon as they receive it from the courthouse. Again, the wedding cannot take place without a Marriage License from the State of Florida.
  • After the marriage ceremony, the maid of honor and best man will sign the Marriage License with the priest or deacon who witnessed the marriage. It will be the responsibility of the parish to forward the marriage license to the relevant authorities for the marriage to be registered.

Photographer

  • A visual record of your marriage ceremony is something to be treasured during your lifetime together. A good photographer will help you preserve these memories.
  • Your photographer may feel free to take pictures (still and/or video) during and after the liturgy and ceremony. It is essential that the photographer not detract from the solemnity of the occasion and remain as unobtrusive as possible. The photographer is not allowed to stop anyone walking in the entrance procession or the recessional. All photography should be done with the natural flow of this sacred ceremony. During the ceremony, the photographer is not to step on the sanctuary and should never distract the bride and groom to take a “posed picture.”
  • Flash towers or spotlights are not allowed during the Wedding Mass.
  • Please remind your photographer that the church is a place of sacred worship and is not to be used as if it were a secular studio. Hence, while group photographs after the ceremony are allowed, photographs of various poses not connected with the church marriage ceremony are therefore much more suitably taken at the reception site
  • Please note that because of the regularly scheduled Masses, other weddings, and other church services, there will be only 30 minutes provided for taking picture provided that the wedding started on time.

Flowers

  • If flowers are desired, you may contact a florist of your choice. Please make arrangements with the florist to have flowers delivered to the church one hour prior to the ceremony. It is not fitting to take the altar flowers away after the ceremony.
  • Two pedestals for flowers are available in the church. Pew bows may be used, but should be secured with non-abrasive devices (i.e. no adhesive tape or staples). Candles may NOT be used in any decoration.

Aisle Runners And Swags

  • Aisle runners are NOT permitted in the church aisle. Nothing such as swaged tulle or ropes should block the movement of your guests in or out of any pews. These ropes impede the natural flow of people going to Communion.

Rice, Confetti And Candy

  • Flower girls and ring bearers may be part of your wedding. Please arrange that flower girls do not drop or throw petals or flowers. Ring bearers should have only token rings attached to the pillow.

Flower Girls & Ring Bearers

  • Flower girls and ring bearers may be part of your wedding. Please arrange that flower girls do not drop or throw petals or flowers. Ring bearers should have only token rings attached to the pillow.

Deposit

  • A $250.00 deposit is asked from the couple to reserve the wedding date.

Church Offering

  • It is customary to make a monetary offering to the church in thanksgiving to God on the occasion of your wedding. A suggested $600.00 minimal offering to the church is asked for your wedding. This is to underwrite the cost of marriage preparation documentation processing, air conditioning, maintenance, and general parish support. The entirety of the church offering should be made no later than one month before the wedding date.

Out Of Town Weddings

  • It is necessary to provide the name and address of the church in which the wedding will take place, the name of the presiding priest, and the name of the Diocese where the church is located. This is necessary in order that the papers may be forwarded upon completion to the proper church authorities. A suggested offering of $150.00 is asked for this type of preparation since this paperwork has to processed by the Archdiocese and sent by FedEx to the church where you will be married.

Planning Your Wedding Ceremony

Since the marriage ceremony centers on the two of you, it is only natural for you both to participate actively in the service and to plan the details. A couple spends many hours and days planning various aspects of their marriage. We invite you to spend such time in the planning and participation of the actual celebration of the Sacrament.

Music and Liturgy:

  • Our Music Director, Mr. Eduardo Gonzalez, is responsible for helping you plan the music for the wedding liturgy. You may contact him at the parish office. Outside musicians such as cantors, strings, and brass are welcomed, but please note that Archdiocesan policy states that only organists who play in our Catholic churches are permitted to play the church organ.
  • The priest or deacon who officiates your wedding liturgy is willing to be of assistance to you in planning your Wedding Liturgy. A booklet entitled TOGETHER FOR LIFE by Father Joseph M. Champlin is provided to you by the church. All of the authorized readings, prayers, and blessings are contained in this book, as well as comments and reflections which are of interest to a couple about to marry. The book is provided to you to study the material, then select the texts you like best and mark those choices on the selection form provided in the back of the book. They have been arranged according to the order of the ceremony. You may employ other scriptural passages not in this booklet if you wish, but consult the priest/deacon in this process.

May the Lord Jesus who was a guest at the wedding in Cana be with you and guide you in the important months ahead and may He be an ever welcome guest in your home long after your wedding day is over.