Immaculate Heart of Mary
5692 Central Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Pastor: Father Bob Sims, firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Couples wishing to get married at Immaculate Heart of Mary
We would like to welcome couples who wish to get married at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and are truly planning a celebration of faith with the understanding of the importance of marriage as a sacrament.
A wedding ceremony is an invitation to your guests to gather for prayer and ritual. The ceremony is a witness to your promises of love and marriage, and we ask God to bless those promises. It is appropriate to make the ceremony beautiful, warm, personal and alive. But try to keep it simple with the emphasis on marriage as a sacrament. Imagine how powerful your witness to others can be by having a beautiful ceremony with simple elegance.
Throughout this packet you will find specific guidelines for some aspects of the wedding ceremony and general suggestions for others. Also, upon scheduling your wedding day, I will ask you to fill out two questionnaire forms that will help me get to know each of you better and your history of faith as a Christian.
Father Bob Sims and the IHM Staff
|Wedding Fee Schedule|
|Fr. Bob or Presider Fee||$200.00|
|A deposit is required at the time of scheduling the wedding date.
All other fees may be paid the week prior to the wedding.
We welcome you to Immaculate Heart of Mary for your wedding and we hope the day will be both beautiful and prayerful. Being married at Immaculate Heart assumes that one of the two parties is active in the Catholic faith and an active member of the parish.
The Celebration of Marriage: The Celebration of Marriage, like all the sacraments, draws and holds the church together in a reaffirmation of our core beliefs.
- Your marriage, besides being a celebration of your love for one another is also a celebration of Catholic and Christian faith.
- Your marriage ceremony is a prayer as well as a celebration of beauty.
- Your marriage takes place in a building that represents the presence and blessing of God.
- Your marriage in a Catholic Church assumes that you are a regular participant in Sunday Eucharist.
- Your marriage at IHM assumes that you will prepare a ceremony that is prayerful and evocative of the presence of God within the Catholic tradition.
- Couples who are not members of Immaculate Heart of Mary must be active in their faith and have significant reasons to be married at IHM. Parishioners have priority for any wedding date more than one year in advance.
The Celebration of Marriage is a gift shared by all who witness it and seeks to involve the whole congregation in prayer and song where possible. The couple will be responsible for finding good readers for the Scripture readings and petitions. If Eucharist is to be part of the marriage ceremony, the couple will appoint communion ministers and a song leader.
Times of Weddings: The latest a wedding may be scheduled at IHM on a
Saturday is 2:30 p.m. (No Saturday evening weddings are permitted.) Friday evening weddings begin no later than 7:00 p.m. Weddings during lent are permitted for very serious reasons only.
Marriages of Mixed Religion: Marriages of mixed faith are welcome at IHM. However, because of church law regarding communion, Eucharist is not celebrated. Rather, the following format will take place.
- Liturgy of the Word which involve readings from Scripture
- The Celebration of Marriage
- Unity candle (if desired)
- The praying of the Lord’s Prayer
- The sign of peace
- Devotion to Mary (if desired)
- A Final Blessing
Sanctuary Preparations: Details regarding the decoration are arranged with the wedding coordinator. Candelabra and other items are available along with altar cloths and various items. Weddings during Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas must take into account decorations that are already placed in the Church. Decorations brought in by the florist must be removed before 4:30 p.m. Any other items for the sanctuary besides flowers and ferns must receive the permission of the pastor. Musicians are permitted in the sanctuary to the extent that they do not overcrowd the available space. Once again, please keep in mind the term “simple elegance” when planning your wedding.
Music: The wedding coordinator will assist with music referrals. The couple negotiates with the musicians and the fee. When the wedding includes the Eucharist, a cantor must be able to lead the congregation in singing:
- The Gospel Acclamation
- A Responsorial Psalm
- The acclamations during the Eucharistic prayer.
Songs by the congregation are very appropriate. The Lord’s Prayer is to be recited since the entire congregation will participate. If the couple wants to use the traditionally sung Lord’s Prayer they may do so before the processional or after communion as a meditation song.
Photographs: A flash may be used when the bridal party is coming in and going out. Pictures during the ceremony should be without flash. The photographer is not to place himself/herself in positions that are distracting to the couple, the celebrant, or the congregation. (Please ask family members not to take photographs during the ceremony.)
Most pictures should be taken beforehand. If there are pictures after the ceremony, the couple is not permitted to release the pews. We request that the receiving line be done in a timely fashion so that we may prepare for our 5:30 evening Mass.
Room for Changing Clothes: The bride and bridesmaids may use a room in the office area for changing prior to the ceremony. There is a small adjacent kitchen, which may be used for food and non-alcoholic drinks. Please – no alcohol prior to the wedding ceremony and no food and drink in the church.
The groom and groomsmen may use the lower level basement area for changing prior to the ceremony as well as the chapel area for congregating.
The Procession: We recommend, but do not require, (for those who are willing to forgo traditions of the groom not seeing the bride prior to the ceremony) the following wedding procession:
- The bridesmaids and groomsmen in the wedding party
- The flower girl and ring bearer (if used)
- The groom escorted down the aisle by his parents
- The bride escorted down the aisle by her parents
We will be happy to accommodate the bride and groom with a private moment in the Church prior to the ceremony should the above procession be chosen.
Another acceptable procession follows:
- Parents of the groom (preferably escorted by the groom)
- Mother of the bride
- Bridesmaids escorted by groomsmen
- Flower girl and ring bearer
- Bride escorted by father
Father Bob is open to other forms of wedding processions based on good values.
- At weddings when there is Mass, a hymn is to be sung by the congregation after the procession. All acclamations are to be sung. A song at communion is also appropriate.
- IHM does not permit rice, birdseed, or flower petals to be thrown.
- If a ring bearer or flower girl is used they must be over the age of four. In the event they are scheduled to walk down the aisle and become hesitant at the last minute, we encourage the parents to get the child and walk outside or away from the procession line so the bride may proceed down the aisle.
- IHM does not use aisle runners.
- Weddings will start very close to the scheduled time. Approximately 5 – 10 minutes prior to starting time, the members of the procession will begin to gather in the back of the church and guests will seat themselves. The guest book will be closed and then be transferred to the reception.
- Father Bob must approve the use of anything outside the normal routine of Catholic weddings. This includes cultural traditions. When in doubt, please call and ask.
- The congregation should be invited to partake in the responses and any singing that may be appropriate.
- The couple will write their own petitions. Please have at least 4 prepared.
- All pictures and cleanup must be completed by 4:30 p.m. so we may prepare for Mass at 5:30 p.m.
To help me prepare for your wedding, provide descriptions of your personal history of faith and practice of religion. Please include:
- How religion was practiced when you were a child.
- What may or may not have happened to your faith as adolescence and in college.
- Describe what has been going on in terms of faith and religion since college.
Date of Engagement Blessing within 6 weeks of this appointment _________________.
- Why are we choosing to be married in a Catholic Church? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What kinds of conversations have you had about religion? How do you find yourselves religiously the same or different? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What role does God/faith/church play in your relationship? How will God/faith/religion be a part of your family?
- What do we want the overall message of our wedding to be?
- What kind of experience do we want our wedding to be for our family and friends? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- In what ways will we be thinking about and helping others besides our families and ourselves during this time period of preparation? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Write a prayer for this time of preparation and engagement.
Key: The Sacrament of Marriage gives grace. What grace do we wish and pray for? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Groom _______________________________ Bride _____________________________
Wedding Date and Time: ___________________________________________________
Wedding Rehearsal and Time: _______________________________________________
This contract is between IHM and two persons, at least one of who is a member of the parish.
This contract is a covenant entered into by the parish and one or two of its parishioners to insure a good but orderly experience of the sacrament of marriage at IHM.
The wedding preparations consist of:
1. An engagement blessing at a Sunday liturgy at IHM.
2. Meeting with a sponsor couple.
3. TOBIT or Engaged Encounter.
4. Meeting with the Wedding Coordinator.
The couple agrees to abide by the guidelines for weddings at IHM.
The couple agrees to make a donation to Immaculate Heart of Mary for the use of the Church. The fee schedule is as follows:
- Non – participating couple or family of the bride or groom, a fee of $400.
- Parishioners who are consistent contributing members, a minimum donation of $200.
- A small stipend for the priest celebrating your wedding.
- A fee of $200 for the wedding coordinator.
Dear IHM Community,
On the front page of the bulletin, people are informed that they need to be active, registered members of IHM before they can set a date to be married here in the parish.
Specific Guidelines to be married at IHM:
- Enrolled as parishioner for 6 months
- Regular attendance at Mass for 6 months
- Regular tithing/stewardship
- Exceptions are made for children of active parents
Specific Guidelines to do marriage prep only:
- Enrolled as active (see above guidelines) parishioner for 3 months
What’s that all about? In recent years, it has become common for people to “shop around” for a place to be married. Criteria includes such things as a long aisle, beautiful stained glass windows, proximity to the “venue” (i.e. reception hall), and a “nice” priest.
Marriage ultimately is not about those things. It is a sacrament. The presumption is that at lease one person is an active, committed member of the Catholic faith. If you are to be married in the Church, it is essential to be active in the Church. Marriage in the Church is not just about a beautiful setting. It takes place in the context of a commitment to live that faith in the Catholic tradition.
Marriage also takes place in the context of community. That means involvement in the IHM community. If we “give out” dates to all who would like to be married at IHM, it would be inconsistent with that concept of community. It would also limit availability to parishioners who would like to be married in their home church.
That is why we have these guidelines in place at Immaculate Heart.
Fr. Bob Sims