As you consider the possibility of celebrating your marriage in the Saint Raphael the Archangel Parish, these guidelines will provide some detail regarding weddings in the Church. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 314-352-8100.
PART I: Confirming the Church for your wedding
Before any other arrangements can be made, please call the Rectory at 314-352-8100 to reserve a tentative date for your wedding. You may schedule your wedding for a Friday evening, a Saturday morning, or a Saturday afternoon until 2:00 pm. If you wish a weekday wedding, you may arrange for this with the Rectory Staff, pending availability of the Church. On days multiple weddings are scheduled, there will be an interval of one and one half hours between them. We do not allow weddings during Lent except upon approval of the Pastor.
Once a tentative date has been reserved, you will need to do the following:
- IF YOU ARE A REGISTERED, ACTIVE MEMBER OF SAINT RAPHAEL PARISH, you should contact a member of the parish clergy prior to arranging any of the other details of your wedding. The initial meeting will enable the priest/deacon to outline the requirements of marriage preparation for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, as well as specific details for weddings at Saint Raphael Parish. This meeting will also allow you to clarify any questions you may have regarding the requirements.
- The date will be held once the priest/deacon agrees to the date. The couple will need to attend 2 meetings in addition to their marriage preparation sessions: one for the planning of music and the other to review general protocol with the wedding coordinator.
- A $400.00 donation is required before the date is confirmed. This is suggested as the minimum offering for use of the Church, and is not intended to limit your generosity. This fee also includes the services of the wedding coordinator.
- IF YOU LIVE WITHIN THE SAINT RAPHAEL PARISH BOUNDARIES BUT ARE NOT REGISTERED AS AN ACTIVE PARISH MEMBER (or have not been active for at least one year), a member of the parish clergy will be happy to meet with you to discuss your wedding plans.
- The requirements and meetings detailed above for a registered parishioner still apply. However, the donation required before the date is confirmed for a non-registered or inactive resident is $800.00. This is suggested as the minimum offering for use of the Church, and is not intended to limit your generosity. This fee includes the services of the wedding coordinator.
- IF YOU ARE NOT A REGISTERED, ACTIVE MEMBER OF SAINT RAPHAEL PARISH AND YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE PARISH BOUNDARIES, you must:
- Obtain written permission of the Pastor of the parish in which either the bride or the groom resides, if both are Catholic. If only one member of the engaged couple is of the Catholic faith, then the written permission is obtained from the Pastor of the Catholic party. This permission is granted by completion of the “Form for Pastor’s Permission,” included in the initial marriage preparation packet. This form not only grants permission for the couple to marry outside of their own parish boundaries, but also confirms the person’s/couple’s status as Catholic(s) in good-standing;
- Contact the priest/deacon who will be officiating at your wedding. This may be a priest/deacon from one of your parishes or another priest/deacon with whom you are acquainted. He will need to agree to the following:
- Accept responsibility for sharing in your marriage preparation with you;
- Complete all the necessary paperwork and file it with us PRIOR to the time of your wedding rehearsal;
- Be present for your wedding rehearsal;
- Witness your marriage;
- Make a required $800.00 donation before the date is confirmed. This is suggested as the minimum offering for use of the Church, and is not intended to limit your generosity. This fee includes the services of the wedding coordinator;
- Sign and submit the contract, all forms, and full payment; and
- Attend 2 meetings with Parish Staff - one to set up music; the other with the wedding coordinator to review policies and protocol, as well as to discuss all elements of the ceremony, including the method and order of the entrance procession, the Liturgy of the Word, the unity candle (if used), the presentations to the Blessed Virgin (if desired), and the need for parish servers.
Whether registered parishioner or non-parishioner, please complete and return the contract and all required forms with your check to Saint Raphael the Archangel Parish, 6047 Bishops Place, St. Louis, MO 63109 by the due date provided on the contract. Note well: No date is considered final until all of the above is received by the rectory staff.
PART II: Preparing for your marriage
In accord with the marriage preparation policy established by the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, you will need to complete the following:
- Preliminary assessment of readiness for marriage (FOCCUS Survey);
- Participation in at least one Archdiocesan recommended marriage preparation program;
- Completion of the necessary forms for our Church records, including copies of baptismal certificates;
- Planning the ceremony with the assistance of the priest/deacon
- Notification of the Parish Pastoral Staff as soon as possible if the priest/deacon who is to witness your marriage serves outside of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
PART III: Planning your Ceremony
Your wedding celebration must follow the directives of the Church; however, you will have some options within those directives from which you can personalize your wedding celebration. In approaching the planning sessions, please be mindful of the following:
- If both bride and groom are practicing Catholics, you are encouraged to celebrate your wedding within the context of the Eucharist. If one of you is not Catholic, it may be more appropriate to celebrate the wedding ceremony within a service of Scripture readings and prayers which would enable all of your guests to fully participate. If either the bride or the groom has never been baptized in any Church, the wedding ceremony outside of the Eucharist is the only option.
- The church sanctuary can accommodate wedding parties, including the bride, groom, and attendants, of up to 14 people. Additional attendants may be included in the wedding party; however, they will be required to sit outside the communion rail.
- You may contact the rectory at 314-352-8100 to set up a meeting in order to discuss musical selections for your wedding along with the compensation for the ministers of music. This should be done two to three months prior to the date of your wedding.
- Only music integral to the wedding liturgy and appropriate to the sacredness of the celebration is permitted. No recorded music is allowed (CD's).
- You may enlist the services of an organist/soloist outside the parish. However, you must review all music selections with the parish.
- All fees and stipends relating to music is arranged and agreed upon by the bride, groom and musician. The fees should be paid prior to the ceremony.
- Photographers are never allowed to enter the sanctuary.
- Flashes and camera lights are not to be used during the ceremony.
- Videographers are requested to remain stationary during the ceremony.
- With permission, posed photographs may be taken for up to forty-five minutes following the ceremony. Weather permitting, posed pictures may be taken outside on the grounds of the parish.
FLOWERS, DECORATIONS, ETC.
- NO candelabra in the sanctuary or candles down the aisle are permitted. No candles other than the Unity candle and altar candles are allowed during the ceremony.
- ONLY fresh cut flowers and live plants are permitted in the sanctuary. Flowers used to decorate the sanctuary and altar should remain in the church following the ceremony. Ribbons or tulle may be used to decorate/mark pews. No tape, adhesive or nails may be used to attach pews or wreaths to any part of the church or pews.
- The length of the main aisle is 73.5 feet. If you wish to use an aisle runner, it must be of a noble material and the florist is responsible for removing it immediately after the ceremony.
- The main aisle has 24 pews on each side.
- No gum, food, or drink of any type is allowed in the church or on its grounds.
- Bottled water is allowed in the bride’s room and in the sacristy, but not in the body of the church.
- Appropriate dress for rehearsal and wedding is required. This will be reviewed by the priest/deacon preparing your wedding and the parish wedding coordinator.
- There is a small facility near the entrance of the church available as a dressing area.
- The wedding coordinator, on behalf of Saint Raphael Parish, and the officiating priest/deacon, assume the responsibility for maintaining the sacred nature of the church, directing the entrance procession, and ensuring that the ceremony begins on time.
- For insurance reasons, we cannot allow rice, birdseed, flower petals, or any other item to be thrown in the church or on the grounds of the parish.