St. Michael’s Catholic Church
Tybee Island, Georgia
Revised October 7, 2015
Weddings at St. Michael’s Catholic Church
We are happy to have you consider St. Michael’s for your wedding ceremony. We have comprised the following information to assist you with your plans.
In planning your wedding, you must remember that the Wedding Liturgy is a worship service that gives glory and praise to God. Therefore, your ceremony must be conducted in a way that enables all participants to actively participate in the Nuptial Liturgy.
The priest/deacon whom you ask to preside at your wedding is the appropriate person to resolve any questions regarding what is proper for Catholic worship. Diocesan regulations require that you contact the parish priest or deacon four months prior to setting a wedding date. Your wedding date cannot be set until the priest/deacon is consulted. Marriage is a sacrament of the Church similar to Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist. It is a significant event in your spiritual life and it is important that your parish priest be informed of your plans.
Diocesan paperwork is required for all weddings and delegation from your pastor is necessary. All paperwork must be submitted to the Diocese of Savannah Marriage Tribunal two months prior to the date of the marriage.
Diocese of Savannah
1. Four months is the minimum time required to complete all the necessary preparations for marriage in the church.
2. In no case will reservations be accepted for the church without the approval of a priest or deacon from the parish.
3. In most cases the parish priest or deacon is to be the official church witness for the marriage.
4. In this diocese weddings MUST take place in a church or chapel. No outdoor weddings are allowed. Back yards, hotel ballrooms, homes, and reception halls cannot be chosen as wedding sites.
5. Marriage between a Catholic and a Christian of another denomination, or an unbaptized individual may take place in a Catholic or other denomination church or chapel – usually the church of the bride. This follows the American tradition for choosing the church of the wedding. A priest or deacon may be present if the service is to be held in another church. We are happy to welcome ministers of other denominations to our church to assist in an Ecumenical wedding, with the understanding that the Catholic ritual is to be used.
6. The need for preparation for marriage is important as any lifetime commitment or choices. This preparation can be accomplished in different ways, emphasizing the need for communication, financial planning, rearing of children, and the place of faith in a sacramental marriage. Local preparation classes are also offered several times a year at other Savannah Deanery parishes. Participation in a marriage preparation program is required and is recommended as soon as possible after notification of intent to wed. Here at St. Michael’s, the priest or deacon officiating at the wedding is responsible for all preparations and paperwork. All paperwork must be submitted to the Diocese of Savannah Marriage Tribunal two months prior to the date of the marriage.
7. The priest or deacon must, in his mind, be assured that the couple truly is aware of the responsibilities and commitment of a sacramental marriage before agreeing to witness the vows. If it becomes apparent that the couple is not ready to make this sacramental commitment, it is the duty of the priest or deacon to recommend that the marriage be postponed for an appropriate length of time.
8. Marriages of the very young are discouraged.
9. If a couple is married outside the Church (by a Justice of the Peace, a judge, or a minister of another faith) without the necessary dispensation of the Church, the Church considers the marriage invalid. This relationship can be “blessed” in the church no sooner than one year after the original wedding ceremony took place. The standard paperwork and preparations for the blessing of a marriage must be completed and the couple may be asked to participate in some marriage preparation or enrichment program.
Friday: May be scheduled any time after 4 PM.*
Saturday: May begin on the half-hour from 10 AM to 2 PM (for a Nuptial Mass) or 3 PM (for a Wedding Ceremony).
Sunday: Only in special circumstances would a Nuptial Mass be celebrated on a Sunday due to the primacy of the Sunday Eucharist. (Sunday Readings would be used for the Mass.)
In celebrating the Liturgical Year couples should NOT schedule a wedding during the Lenten season (from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday) due to the penitential nature of the season; the exception being the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19.
Fees for Use of Facilities
St. Michael’s provides registered, active, and tithing parishioners the church at no cost. However, one of the parties must be registered at least a year before the wedding. If neither party meets the above criteria, a “nonrefundable deposit fee” of $350 is required one month prior to the wedding. For couples who are not parishioners at St. Michael’s, a “nonrefundable fee” of $500 is required one month prior to the wedding.
St. Michael’s makes available to the bride the Meeting Room in the Church for final dressing. The bridal party should come to the church dressed for the ceremony since there is only one unisex restroom. Eating and drinking are NOT allowed within the Church building, to include the vestibule, sanctuary and Meeting Room. St. Michael’s is a non-smoking area. No smoking is allowed on the Church Property. St. Michael’s cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of personal items, valuables, money, etc. It is wise to lock those items in the trunk of your car.
Your wedding is a religious ceremony of the Roman Catholic Church. As in any Liturgical ceremony, the music should be chosen with great care. You have the opportunity to choose music for the wedding that will be conducive to prayer for the people you have invited to be part of your celebration.
Please contact our Church Music Director/Organist as soon as possible to place the wedding in his/her schedule and to arrange an appointment for planning your wedding in detail. Our Church Music Director/Organist is contracted to play for all weddings at St. Michael’s Church. An outside organist may be invited to play with the permission of the Pastor. If such permission is given, it will still be necessary to pay our parish Church Music Director/Organist fee, as this is part of his/her contract with St. Michael’s Church. Fees are due one month prior to the wedding rehearsal.
You may wish to have a friend, relative, or other soloist sing at your wedding. This must be approved in advance by the Pastor. Solos may be sung as preludes to the wedding ceremony, during the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass, during the lighting of the Unity Candle, and during Holy Communion. Outside soloists are expected to be competent and prepared. If extra rehearsals are necessary, an additional fee will be charged by the Church Music Director/Organist.
Sacred (religious) music and certain classical pieces are both appropriate and preferred for a Catholic wedding. As a rule, music of pop or secular nature will NOT be permitted in a nuptial
ceremony. Music for all weddings should follow the liturgical norms of the Catholic Liturgy and enable active singing participation of the acclamations and responses. The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) is an integral part of the wedding ceremony and should not be sung as a solo.
Additional instruments, i.e. flute, trumpets, etc. can be used to enhance your wedding. If you wish to consider these options, the Church Music Director/Organist can help you arrange for qualified musicians. Under NO circumstances should you make arrangements for singers or instrumentalists before speaking with the Church Music Director/Organist.
The wedding rehearsal time and date is usually established with the priest/deacon officiating and is normally held the evening prior to the wedding. Please ask your bridal party to be on time. Late arrivals inconvenience everyone involved, as well as others waiting for the use of the church. At the discretion of the priest/deacon, the rehearsal may begin without the late arriving parties.
Decorations & Furnishings
The church has available candelabra, with candles.
Bows may be used to mark reserved pews, but shall be attached so as not to damage the pews, i.e. no glue, tape, tacks, nails, etc.
Due to the width of the center aisle and safety and insurance concerns, no candelabra or candles may be used or attached to the pews.
For safety reasons aisle runners may not be used.
Flower girls may drop silk petals – no live flowers. It is the responsibility of the parties using the church to remove these petals after the ceremony is over.
Throwing rice, confetti, birdseed, or use of bubbles, sparklers or butterflies are not permitted inside or outside of the church.
Seasonal considerations: The season of Advent – four weeks before Christmas – is a time of expectation and preparation. It is a season of simplicity; decorations for weddings are limited to greenery and candles. No ceremonies will be conducted during the penitential season of Lent.
Seasonal decorations already in the church – advent wreath/candles, Paschal candle, banners, etc. are to remain in the Church during the wedding. The placement of attendants or
accessory decorations take second place to the seasonal liturgical symbols used in the church.
Flowers beautify the sanctuary of our Church and we ask that you leave your flowers as a gift to the parish after the wedding. The flower arrangements remind the parishioners that the Sacrament of Marriage has been celebrated.
Times for Decorating
You are encouraged to set a time when your florist may come to decorate the Church. The Church may be decorated on Friday evening or on Saturday morning. However, all decorating of the Church must be removed by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday so as not to interfere with evening services. Occasionally, there may be two wedding services on the same day. In that event, decorations will have to be coordinated between both brides. The two parties may want to share decorating expenses.
Photographers, professionals and otherwise, should speak with the priest/deacon to receive instructions before the ceremony. At no time is the photographer to distract from the ceremony by his/her presence, noise, or the flashing of lights. The photographer is not allowed in the sanctuary during the ceremony. Casual or indiscreet poses are not allowed in the Church. Couples may consider having some photographs taken prior to the ceremony in the interest of saving time. While photographing in the church, the sacredness of the Church building must be preserved through appropriate conduct at all times. If the ceremony is to be videotaped, the operator of the camera must contact the Pastor prior to the wedding for instructions on proper camera placement. The video camera must be stationary and unmanned in the sanctuary.
NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES are allowed to be consumed or be present on Church property prior to the rehearsal and wedding celebrations. Catholics are reminded that it is appropriate to fast one hour prior to a Nuptial Mass. Consumption of alcohol by the bride and groom, or any of the wedding party, is inappropriate on church property.
The preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage is a deeply spiritual journey. Catholics are expected to attend Mass each Sunday, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis, attend marriage preparation classes, and make God an active part of your engagement and married life.
Again, congratulations on your upcoming marriage. If there is anything we may do to be of assistance, please let us know. May God continue to bless you all the days of your life.