Wedding Planning

Congratulations on your engagement!

Congratulations on your engagement!
Planning your wedding can be one of the most exciting times of your life and we are happy to be part of your special day! Even more importantly, we want to help you prepare for a happy, holy, and life-long marriage.

St. Thomas More Wedding Contacts:

Father Chuck Adam, Pastor
adamc@diodav.org or 319-337-2173 x110

Judy Duncan, Director of Music Ministry
music@stthomasmoreic.com or 319-337-2173 x113

Maricarla Rohret, Parish Office Manager
parishoffice@stthomasmoreic.com or 319-337-2173 x101

Fran Zuber, Flower Ministry
fzuber@southslope.net

 


We have prepared this page to help guide you through the process. By answering common questions about getting married at our parish, this site sets forth guidelines that we trust you will follow.

 

 

The First Step
At least NINE (9) months are needed for marriage preparation at St. Thomas More Church.
Contact Fr. Chuck (info on first page) to schedule an initial meeting before selecting a wedding date. Your date/time will be secured on the church calendar when down payment has been received.

 


Parish registration
The church requires that at least one member of the engaged couple be a registered parishioner as you begin preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony may begin. If you are a member of another Catholic Parish, let the priest preparing you know in order to obtain delegation.

 


Choosing a Date/Time
Weddings may take place at St. Thomas More Church on Fridays or Saturdays. To accommodate our housekeeping and liturgy schedules, the latest time for a Saturday wedding Mass is 2:00pm and the latest time for a Saturday wedding ceremony is 2:30pm. Friday weddings may be held late afternoon or in the evening. Although weddings may be celebrated at St. Thomas More during Advent and Lent, we prefer other times of the year for this celebration because of the prayerful and penitential nature of these seasons. Church Art & Environment guidelines must be observed during Advent and Lent (ex: the absence of flowers during the Lenten season)

  
Planning the Wedding Liturgy
“Should we have a Mass or Ceremony and what would that include?”  See table below for description.

 

Mass Ceremony

Entrance Rite

  • Procession
  • Gloria

Entrance Rite

  • Procession

Liturgy of the Word

  • First Reading (Old Testament)
  • Responsorial Psalm (always sung)
  • Second Reading (New Testament)
  • Gospel Acclamation ("Alleluia" always sung)
  • Gospel Reading
  • Homily

Liturgy of the Word

  • First Reading (Old Testament)
  • Responsorial Psalm (always sung)
  • Second Reading (New Testament)
  • Gospel Acclamation ("Alleluia" always sung)
  • Gospel Reading
  • Homily

 Rite of Marriage

  • Introduction
  • Consent
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Blessing & Exchange of Rings
  • Prayer of the Faithful ("Lord, hear our prayer")
 Rite of Marriage
  • Introduction
  • Consent
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Blessing & Exchange of Rings
  • Prayer of the Faithful ("Lord, hear our prayer")
  • Nuptial Blessing

Liturgy of the Eucharist

  • Eucharistic Prayers & Acclamations
  • Holy Holy, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen
  • The Lord's Prayer
  • Nuptial Blessing
  • Sign of Peace
  • Communion Procession
  • Prayer After Communion

 Conclusion of the Celebration

  • The Lord's Prayer
  • Solemn Blessing & Dismissal

 

 

 

 Concluding Rite

  • Solemn Blessing & Dismissal
 

 

It is appropriate and encouraged that a Mass be celebrated when both members of the engaged couple are Catholic, and the other type of ceremony be celebrated when one of the members is a baptized Christian of another denomination, or is a non-Christian, or is not baptized. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is not lessened when Mass is not chosen. There are many reasons why you may or may not choose to celebrate your wedding with Mass. Our Pastor can help you make that decision when you meet with him.

The congregation actively participates in both spoken and sung parts of the liturgy.
·Readers may be family members or close friends with a good speaking voice.
·Gift presenters may be family members or close friends.
·Communion ministers may be family members, close friends, or provided by the Church;
     -they must be trained Communion Ministers in good church standing.


Wedding Music

Choosing music – Because marriage in the Catholic Church is a liturgical celebration, songs played during the wedding ceremony should focus on the religious nature of love – the love that exists between God and the couple being married – and the sacred character of Holy Matrimony. This means that any music which would be appropriate at Mass or other liturgical rites is also appropriate for your wedding. You have literally hundreds of songs from which to choose. If one member of the couple is a Christian of another denomination, it may be appropriate to include music from their Church’s hymnal. The place to focus on the romantic aspects of love is at the reception which is a social and cultural celebration. Musicians and cantors are provided by the Church; any non-Parish musicians, cantors or soloists must be approved by the Church Music Director. Music selections are sacred or classical pieces performed well and live.

A cantor leads the congregational singing which includes the Responsorial Psalm, Gospel acclamation and, if a Mass is chosen, the Eucharistic acclamations. The pianist plays prelude music before the ceremony, processional and recessional marches in addition to accompanying the cantor and congregation.
Other types of instruments may be brought in with approval. Many couples choose a family member or friend as a guest soloist or musician for one particular piece of music, such as a prelude, but a cantor from our parish leads the music for the rest of the ceremony. All music/musicians must be approved by our Music Director.


Preparing a Wedding Liturgy Guide (booklet)
All wedding liturgies at St. Thomas More use a booklet to help your family and friends actively participate in your wedding ceremony. We can prepare your booklet (including all responses both spoken and sung) in our church office and return it to you print-ready for you to take to a print shop. The booklet prepared by the church is also useful as a guide for those times when a friend or family member who is a graphic designer and wishes to assist the wedding couple in the layout so the booklet will match the invitations, etc.

 


The Wedding Rehearsal
Respect for God’s house – Please respect the church as the sacred place that it is. We ask everyone to behave in a manner appropriate to being in church. Please refrain from chewing gum, using profane or inappropriate language, letting children run around in the church, etc. In order to keep the church clean for your wedding and the services following your ceremony, food, drink and chewing gum are prohibited in the worship space. Food and non-alcoholic drink are allowed in the multi-purpose room and in the reception hall in the lower level near the kitchen.

Each step of your wedding ceremony will be practiced at the wedding rehearsal which is usually held on the evening before your wedding. Rehearsal typically lasts one half hour. All those who have a part in your wedding ceremony should attend the rehearsal to become familiar with their roles. This includes gift bearers, lectors and members of the wedding party including flower girl(s) and the ring bearer if applicable. Parents and grandparents attend as well. We ask everyone to arrive promptly. A smooth, well-ordered rehearsal makes for a less stressful wedding ceremony.

 

Dressing rooms
The wedding party may use the lower level prior to the wedding.  There are many rooms from which to choose.  Restrooms are also located in the lower level.  Normally the groom and groomsmen come already dressed.

 

Photography and Videography
A Catholic wedding is a liturgical ceremony. Care must be taken to see that the Mass and marriage rite are not disrupted by the taking of pictures or video.
Flash photos may be taken as the bridal party is processing into and out of the church. They should be kept to a minimum during the Mass or ceremony.

Videotaping may be done from a stationary camera by the baptismal font, and/or from the back of the church.

Posed pictures may be taken in the church before and/or after the wedding. Pictures taken in the church following Saturday afternoon weddings must conclude by 4 p.m. to accommodate other regular weekend church services.

Environment of the Church for Weddings-Flowers and decorations
Each of the seasons of the church has it's own colors and decor. It is recommended those colors and materials be considered when planning the wedding. Because the dates beginning and ending the seasons of the Church vary from year to year, please consult the Priest regarding the season applicable to your wedding.
1. Advent is a time of awaiting with the predominant color a blue violet. There is an Advent evergreen wreath present with candles throughout the season. Minimal decor and no flowers are present in the Church during this time.
2. After Christmas and through the end of the Christmas season, the primary color in the church is red with an abundance of Red Poinsettias.
3. Ordinary time follows the Christmas season with Green the predominant color. Dried natural flowers and green plants are used to enhance the setting during this winter season.
4. Lent is a somber period with violet the predominant color. There are no flowers permitted during this period. Festivities are limited during this time.
5. The color of the Easter season is white and is celebrated with an abundance of white Easter lilies and spring plants in both pastels and bright colors.
6. Ordinary time follows Easter and is the season for the remainder of the Liturgical year. Various colors of Green predominate. Fresh flowers from our own cutting garden are provided through the growing season for Sunday Mass by the Flower Ministry. As Fall arrives they are replaced with dried natural materials.

Personalizing wedding decor for your service.
·Please consult the Flower Ministry early in the planning process for your wedding.
·Fresh flowers are used for decor.
     -When fresh flowers are not available, dried natural materials may be chosen.
·No sprinkling of flower petals is permitted.
·You may enjoy the flowers present in the church for your wedding.
·The Flower Ministry may be able to coordinate flower selection with your chosen colors.
·You may choose to provide your own flowers for your wedding and may leave them after the service.
·If you desire decor other than that present in the church, it must be prearranged. In no case is it permitted to move plants or flower arrangements without prior permission.

·You are responsible for removing any alterations to the Church promptly after the service.


You may choose to decorate with floral arrangements at the ambo (the main microphone podium from which the scriptures are proclaimed) and/or on either side of the altar. There is no room for flowers in front of the altar since that is where couples stand to exchange their vows and rings. Florists are asked to work with the parish Flower Ministry when placing flower arrangements.


For reasons of safety and maintenance we ask you to adhere to our policy regarding rice, birdseed, sparklers, poppers, flower petals and the use of aisle runners. These represent safety hazards or maintenance problems and cannot be used on church grounds. Bubbles are allowed outside when the couple is leaving the church.