WHEN TWO BECOME ONE
Congratulations and God’s blessings to you on your engagement!
What To Know About Marriage
The Pastor and staff of St Lawrence Church share your joy and are delighted that you will be celebrating the sacrament of marriage in this parish community. There will be much to do over the next year but with proper planning and the right prioritizing, you will celebrate not only a great ceremony but a wonderful life together.
Marriage: a Sacrament
Sacraments are “outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace.” The Church believes that one of the strongest images we have to exemplify how God loves, cares and deals with us is in the sacrament of marriage. We believe that in this sacrament a man and a woman become one in body, mind and spirit in a union that is permanent, exclusive and open to life.
Sacraments are very special moments in the life of every Catholic and in the life of the whole church as well. In the Catholic Church it is not the blessing of the priest or deacon that makes the sacrament become a reality, rather it is the giving and receiving of the CONSENT of the couple. The celebration of the sacraments is never a “private ceremony” but rather moments in time where the entire faith community celebrates with the couple.
The sacrament of marriage and its preparation are taken seriously at St Lawrence. In asking the Church to witness your marriage, you are tacitly noting your willingness to cooperate with its theology and protocol. The priest or deacon witnessing your wedding needs to certify that you share in and believe what Church teaches about marriage.
All wedding preparation begins with a meeting with one of the priests on staff. Here at St Lawrence, all couples must meet with Fr Bob in order to get the process started, regardless of who will perform the ceremony. No wedding will be put in our parish calendar until this meeting has taken place. Available dates are not given out via phone or email until this first meeting has occurred.
- Make arrangements for your wedding at least six months in advance by calling the parish office at 201-659-2276.
- No dates will be placed in the Church calendar until you have first met with one of our priests.
- The discussion of a marriage date will only happen with those couples who are registered (for at least 3 months) and known to the parish, actively participate in its life, including regular mass attendance and support St Lawrence with envelopes or Faith Direct. Anonymous parishioners and donors cannot be verified.
- Begin each day praying for yourself and your future spouse that God will continue to ripen His grace in you as you approach the sacrament of marriage.
Music can express the realities of our faith in a way in which words alone cannot. Music is an integral part of all of our worship. In the wedding liturgy, music seeks to assists us in prayer and express our beliefs in Christian married love in a joyful, and dignified way, therefore only sacred music will be permitted at the liturgy.
Our Music Director, Matthew Still, will assist you in planning this aspect of the celebration. Prior to your wedding, he will contact you and invite you to attend a Planning Session for Wedding Music held at our church. He will assist you in finding a vocalist and other instrumentalists if you desire such. The music director and cantor’s fee is included in your Church fee. This includes:
- Planning Session
- Playing at the wedding
- One rehearsal on the day of the wedding with any additional musicians
- Additional rehearsals with musicians are $100.
Please do not make any decisions regarding music and musicians without first speaking with the music director. Please email Matthew Still immediately after your first meeting with one of our priests so that he can reserve your wedding date in his calendar.
Here are some helpful pieces of information which should assist you in preparing to celebrate your sacrament of marriage at St Lawrence. Our weekend wedding schedule is as follows:
- Friday afternoons and evenings are flexible depending on what is already booked in the church;
- Saturday morning weddings may be scheduled depending on the morning mass/funeral schedule;
- Saturday afternoons weddings are scheduled for 1 pm and 3:00 pm;
- Sunday afternoon weddings can be scheduled for 3:30 or 4:00 pm;
- No weddings are scheduled on any holiday weekends, civil or religious.
Rehearsals are booked around events already scheduled in the church. We have a first come first served policy. You may want to book your rehearsal on your first appointment with one of the priests so as to avoid conflict with other church events.
The night before your wedding we will reserve the front of the church for limousines. However after 12:00 noon, parking in front of the Church is legal, therefore even with cones present Weehawken Police Department may or may not tow a car parked there.
Some seasons in particular, it can be a challenge coming into or leaving Weehawken. Please take this into consideration and make every effort to be on time for both the rehearsal and wedding. There are always other events scheduled in the church and tardiness disturbs the other scheduled events.
A wedding ceremony that begins late, for any reason, may be reduced in time with portions of the ceremony omitted. This is at the discretion of the celebrant and/or pastor. We ask that the groom arrive at the Church a half hour before the wedding begins and the bride should be somewhere on Church property at least 15 minutes before so as to ensure beginning the ceremony on time. Please be sure to share this with all vendors, photographers, limousine drivers, videographers, etc.
Photographers and videographers are welcome in our church during the ceremony. We ask, however, that they not be a distraction from the ceremony. All will be instructed to observe the reverence, solemnity and sacredness of the ceremony. Photographers and video people are not ever permitted in the sanctuary of the Church and must remain seated during the ceremony. Likewise, the sanctuary is not “a photo studio” for taking posed pictures after the wedding. Couples will be given a very detailed guide sheet for the photographer and/or videographer at the time of registration. Please see the photographer/videographer guidelines available here
Any and all kinds of flowers are very welcome in the Church. Most couples order two arrangements. Normally, we never place anything on top of the altar except a unity candle, should you choose to have one. Additionally, only ribbon may be used to attach any flowers to the pews. Any adhesive materials are strictly prohibited.
We do not permit the use of aisle runners.
We would appreciate if your guests did not throw anything inside or outside the Church, including flower petals, rice etc.
Stipends and donations: These matters are to be discussed with the priest at the first meeting.
A license from City Hall is required for the marriage to be civilly valid. Please bring the license to the rehearsal as we cannot officiate at a wedding without one.
Peace and blessings as you continue with your marriage preparation. We are committed to making your celebration beautiful and meaningful both for you and your guests. Please be assured of our assistance and prayers as we journey together to the altar of God on your wedding day.