Getting Married at St. Mary’s
Congratulations on your engagement!
Should you wish to explore the possibility of getting married at St. Mary’s, Fr. Christopher is our Parish Priest. Please have a word with him in person at the end of Mass or make an appointment to see him via the Parish Office. It is important to remember that initial bookings cannot be taken over the ‘phone or by email.
In order to celebrate the sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church, at least one of you must be a Roman Catholic; you must both be free to marry. At the initial meeting with the Parish Priest, and if it is possible for you to marry in the Catholic Church, then a date for your marriage will be confirmed. Please note, we do not have weddings at St. Mary’s on Sundays.
Normally, you should start making enquiries no less than six months before the proposed wedding date. Please remember that is very important to approach the church first before arranging your wedding reception venue.
Things to bring along to your first meeting with our Parish Priest:
(A copy of the Statutory Declaration of Freedom to Marry paperwork may be downloaded here)
A marriage can only be registered if the couple have both given notice of intent to marry, and have done so at a register office and the Superintendent Registrar has issued two certificates. These certificates are blue in colour.
Both parties to the marriage need to give notice at either the same or different register offices, depending upon where they live. Both parties to the marriage must give notice on the same day. They must complete seven full days’ residence in that district before they can give notice and they may only give notice up to 12 months ahead of the marriage. After 28 clear days from when the notice has been entered, the Superintendent Registrar may produce the certificates.
Both of these blue certificates must be forwarded to Fr Christopher as soon as possible after they have been produced.
Your wedding day should be the result of much prayer and reflection. To assist you in this, the Parish organises Marriage Preparation, which is mandatory to attend. There is a modest fee for this, which you are expected to cover. These events are held throughout the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, and usually one of these per year is held within the Heavenfield Partnership.
The Parish Director of Music is happy to meet with you to discuss the music for your wedding. Contact can be made with him via the Parish Office. This must be done at the earliest possible opportunity.
There are fees associated with having music at your wedding. These include a fee for the organist and a separate fee for the choir. If you choose to provide your own music, there is also a fee for this. Please remember that all music played during weddings must be live.
If you wish to record the music played at your wedding, you will need to comply with the laws of copyright and performance rights. Our Director of Music can provide more information about this.
During certain times of the year the church is decorated with flowers to enhance the Liturgy and highlight the liturgical season. However, during Lent and Advent and during the month of August, there are no flowers in church.
Should you wish to have flowers for your wedding, whatever the time of year, you are welcome to engage your own florist or bring your own flowers into church. Arrangements for the placing of these flowers should be made via the Parish Office. It is traditional that at least some of the flowers are left in church after the wedding, with the exception of during the seasons of Lent or Advent.
Order of Service
You may choose to have a wedding service, or (if both spouses are Roman Catholic) a Nuptial Mass. There is a choice of readings, prayers and music; our Parish Priest will help you to put this together.
All Orders of Service must be pre-approved prior to printing.
Readings at your Wedding
The readings at a Catholic wedding liturgy are a proclamation of God’s Word and of the Church’s faith about marriage. For this reason, they are limited to readings from the scriptures (the Bible). There are nine options for the first reading from the Old Testament, thirteen options for the second reading from the New Testament and ten choices for the Gospel. You choose one from each of these categories.
The options for these readings in their entirety, as well as commentary to provide some context and highlight key themes in each reading, may be downloaded here.
A rehearsal is organised for an evening during the week preceding the wedding itself.
Other points to note