The Catholic Marriage Liturgy presents engaged couples with some choices as well as set structure. The structure is provided by the Rite of Marriage, the ritual book that contains the prayers, readings and liturgical forms used in Catholic weddings throughout the United States and around the world. Take some time as a couple to think about some of these choices and then discuss them with the pastor.
This section contains information about the guidelines at Holy Rosary to help you in your planning and preparations, as well as some of the preliminary choices you must make.
Who Will Celebrate your Marriage?
With the explicit permission (“delegation”) of the pastor of Holy Rosary, a visiting priest or deacon may officiate at your wedding. Please discuss this with the pastor when you meet with him. It is your responsibility to contact the priest or deacon to ask him to officiate. If the priest or deacon is from outside the Archdiocese of Seattle, prior approval is required by the Archbishop of Seattle as well as the pastor to ensure that the guest priest/deacon is good standing. If an outside priest or deacon is celebrating the liturgy, it is highly recommended that he attend the rehearsal.
Weddings are held between 5:30pm and 7pm on Friday evenings and between 11am and 2pm on Saturdays. The church will be unlocked two hours prior to your ceremony to allow time to dress, take photos and seat your guests. There will be no time for photos in the church following the ceremony; however, you may use the front lawn for as long as you wish. All weddings begin on time. Any exceptions to the above should be discussed with the Pastoral Assistant for Marriage.
Rehearsals are held after 4:30pm on Thursday or Friday evenings. The Rehearsal is usually the night before the wedding ceremony and will be facilitated by the Parish Wedding Coordinator. She will begin promptly at the scheduled time, whether or not all are present.
The downstairs restroom area will be reserved for the women. It is recommended that the men in the wedding party arrive at the church already in their wedding attire. The women should arrive with hair and makeup finished with only the need to quickly change into their dresses. The Wedding Coordinator will show you the appropriate areas at your rehearsal.
Since the Rite of Marriage occurs within the Sacred Liturgy, photography and videography must never detract from the sacred character of the ritual. Camera flashes and people jumping up and down and into the aisle for the ‘Kodak moment’ is contrary to the primary purpose of the Liturgy. It is encouraged that couples hire a professional photographer so that all family members do not feel the need to take pictures as well causing disruption. Pictures can be taken before or after your wedding, and this should be kept in mind when planning the particular time of the wedding, as the Church must be vacated by 3:15pm for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Please give the Letter to Photographers to your professional photographer and have the letter signed and returned within a month of the Liturgy. They can keep the attached guidelines for reference the day of the wedding.
Please inform your friends and families of these guidelines. If you are using a worship aid (“program”) please incorporate the following phrase in it: “Kindly refrain from taking pictures or video recording during the ceremony.”
Ministries During the Wedding
Our Roman Catholic tradition assumes that a variety of liturgical ministers will serve the assembly that gathers to witness and celebrate a Marriage: Lectors, Ushers, Music Ministers and Altar Servers; and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion if it is a Mass.
Hospitality to Your Guests
Consider various ways to extend hospitality to those who will gather to celebrate your wedding. Some couples wish to greet their guests themselves as they arrive, perhaps even along with their parents. Or perhaps other members of the wedding party will be tasked with job, as well as helping some of the special people to their seats before the Liturgy begins. Those who will be ushering should not be members of the wedding party.
Music has always been an important part of the Liturgy. Our musicians assist with weddings at Holy Rosary as they are familiar with our practices, preferences and equipment. Others can assist with the permission of the Parish Organist. Refer to the Wedding Music section for more information about song selections.
Appropriate Cultural Adaptations to the Liturgy
There are various rituals which have become a part of the Rite of Marriage in various cultures. These include the Arras, Lasso, Veil and the Presentation of Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary after Communion. These can be incorporated into the Rite of Marriage at your wedding if these are a part of your cultural heritage. You should discuss these with the Pastoral Assistant for Marriage at your Liturgy planning meeting.
Your family and friends will want to celebrate with you as you leave the church, and at the reception. However, the throwing of rice, confetti, birdseed, flower petals, or anything else as part of the festivities is not permitted. Not only is it difficult to clean up; it is also a hazard. You may use special wedding bubbles in place of the rice/seed/confetti. (Conventional bubbles can stain cement, bricks and clothing.) Please be sure that your designated cleanup crew picks up any bottles left behind—check both inside and outside of the church.
Receptions at Holy Rosary
The School Hall and Lanigan Center are available for wedding receptions at an additional cost. For the average wedding reception of 100-250 people, the School Hall is satisfactory; whereas for more than 250 guests, Lanigan Center would be more appropriate. You are welcome to use our facilities as long as you use our reception committee. For costs and information, please call the Wedding Reception Coordinator, at 937-1488, extension 200.
Guest Registers & Receiving Lines
Guest Registers may not be placed in the church. Since many guests come at the same time, this creates a traffic jam, interferes with the work of the ushers and delays the timely start of the wedding. We ask that you have it available later at your reception. If you would like to include a Receiving Line, you may do so outside on the east lawn.
Alcohol is not allowed on church property. It is inappropriate for members of the wedding party to consume alcohol (or any other mind-altering substance) before the rehearsal or before the wedding. It is especially important that the bride and groom refrain from drinking before their wedding as it could affect the validity of the marriage itself. Please reserve this for the reception if you intend the serving of alcohol to be a part of your hospitality.
One of our Holy Rosary Parish Wedding Coordinators will be present to assist you at your rehearsal and on your wedding day (even with a guest priest) and is always available to help solve any problems you may encounter. She will unlock the church and help with the set-up, ensuring your wedding starts on time.
Wedding Consultants and Personal Attendants
If you are utilizing the services of a wedding consultant, please advise him or her that the wedding rehearsal and wedding ceremony are the responsibility of Holy Rosary Parish staff. Wedding consultants and personal attendants are expected to follow the directives of the Parish Wedding Coordinator.
Worship Aid (Program)
A printed worship aid, when properly prepared, encourages the active participation in the spoken and sung prayers of the service and helps those who are unfamiliar with the Catholic Liturgy to understand its basic structure. A worship aid also provides a thoughtful remembrance of the occasion. If you wish, a worship aid that you can copy for your wedding guests will be provided.
The address for Holy Rosary Parish given in the phone book (4139 42 nd Ave. SW) causes confusion, as this is the location of the Parish Office. To help your guests locate the Church, it would be better if your invitations read: “4200 SW Genesee St.” or “SW Genesee St. and 42 nd Ave. SW.”
It is necessary to have ushers in addition to groomsmen. Groomsmen are often busy with photographs as the guests are arriving and are therefore unable to seat them. Ushers are also able assist at the beginning and end of the ceremony. Our recommendation is to have one usher per fifty guests.
Children in the Wedding
A Ring Bearer or Flower Girl is not required. When they are involved as part of the wedding party, they should not be less than 5 years old, as children of this age tend to panic when they see a church full of people and anticipate a long walk down the center aisle. Please consider carefully whether their presence will add or detract from the joyful solemnity of the liturgy.
Attire of the Wedding Party
When choosing your Wedding Gown and your Attendants’ dresses, please keep in mind that the Sanctuary is a holy and sacred place. We hope you will observe some sense of modesty (i.e., no low cut or backless bodices or very short hems).
The Worship Space and surrounding rooms and area must be left in the condition in which found. Any supplies brought in by a florist must be removed immediately by your cleanup crew following the ceremony. Any boxes used to carry flowers are to be removed from the church before the ceremony begins.
To ensure that the Church and all other areas used by the wedding party are left clean and ready for others’ use, someone should be appointed as responsible for removal of all wedding and personal items. This would include all remaining printed programs, ALL dropped flower petals, pew decorations, and the removal of flowers from the sanctuary and replacing those of the Church, or any other items the wedding party as brought with them. Please remember that the Church should be vacated by 3:15pm after Saturday weddings as that is when the Sacrament of Reconciliation begins. If you wish you may leave your flowers in the Church after the wedding. We thank you for this donation which helps beautify the Church.