Major Elements to the Marriage Preparation Program
I. Information Night and FOCCUS Test
Given six times a year. Sign-up takes place at the time you reserve the church.
II. Pre-Marriage Program
This requirement can be met by attending an Engaged Encounter Weekend, a one-day Pre-Marriage Seminar at St. Mary's, or by attending a Pre-Marriage program at another parish.
III. Private Sessions
These are meetings with the priest/deacon who will witness your marriage.
Date and time should be set when you reserve the church for your wedding.
V. Documents and Fees
VI. Important Information
I. Information Night and FOCCUS Questionnaire
This is an evening where we try to accomplish two things:
1. provide you with the necessary information you need to plan your wedding, and
2. have you complete a FOCCUS Questionnaire
Plan on spending an hour with us. The evening begins at 7:30 PM in Downey Hall. We will go over with you the questions we are asked most frequently by couples planning their weddings. We will also answer any questions you may have because of a particular need or special circumstance.
The second part of the evening is centered around the FOCCUS Questionnaire, which we ask each couple to complete. It is a tool we use to help a couple see if they are communicating well in the different areas of their relationship. The results of the FOCCUS Questionnaire will be reviewed with you by the priest/deacon who is helping you prepare for your wedding.
II. Pre-Marriage Program
All couples being married at St. Mary's are required to attend and participate in a Marriage Preparation Program. St. Mary's offers it's own Pre-Marriage Program twice a year - April and October.
Our Pre-Marriage Program is designed to offer you a special opportunity to learn from the experience of others and also to let you talk together about your future life - your strengths and weaknesses; your expectations and goals; your attitudes toward money, careers, sex, children, family and your faith and the role the Church plays in your life. It is a great day and one that everyone enjoys.
An Engaged Encounter or some form of Marriage Preparation Program offered by another parish is also a means of fulfilling this requirement.
A copy of your Marriage Preparation/PreCana or Engaged Encounter Certificate must be presented to the priest or deacon who is celebrating your wedding.
III. Private Sessions
Who will celebrate your wedding at St. Mary's? That is up to you. You should decide which of the parish priests or deacons you would like to be a part of the preparations for and the celebration of your marriage. If you have no preference, a priest or deacon will be assigned.
If you would like a priest from another parish or diocese to witness your marriage, that is fine, but please let us know. Someone from St. Mary's will be assigned to you to take care of the paperwork and help you prepare for your wedding, so the visiting priest will not have to worry about this. Your guest priest should introduce himself to our Pastor and request permission to perform your marriage ceremony. A simple phone call is sufficient.
There are usually at least two to three meetings with the priest or deacon who will be the celebrant at your marriage. During these meetings a relationship is established which helps to insure that your wedding is very personal and special. All the details for your wedding will be worked out during these meetings.
Ecumenical weddings are common at St. Mary's. Non-Catholic ministers are welcome to participate in the celebration. Generally, the details of such celebrations are worked out with the couple by the priest/deacon and the minister/rabbi during the preparation meetings. It is permissible for a Catholic to be married in the church of his or her non-Catholic partner. If this is the case and your desire, please let the priest/deacon know right away so he can do all the necessary paperwork for you.
Rehearsals are scheduled at the time you reserve the church for your wedding. They usually take place the evening before your wedding. If you would like your rehearsal on a different night, that is fine with us - just let us know. Rehearsals last 45 minutes and are scheduled at 6:30, 7:15 and 8:00 PM.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOUR WEDDING PARTY ARRIVES ON TIME FOR YOUR REHEARSAL.
During the rehearsal we will walk through the ceremony so everyone will be comfortable. Only the wedding party, parents and visiting clergy need come to the rehearsal. The wedding license should be brought to the rehearsal to be signed by the celebrant and witnesses.
St. Mary's provides a Wedding Rehearsal Coordinator who will conduct the rehearsal and who will help any visiting clergy with any assistance they may need.
V. Documents and Fees
1. A recent copy of your Baptismal Certificate.
You can get this by contacting the Church where you were baptized and they will send it to you. If you were baptized here at St. Mary’s, we will provide the Baptismal Certificate for you.
2. A copy of your Pre-Cana Certificate which indicates you attended and completed the sessions.
3. Civil License
Just one month before the wedding date, the two of you, along with one witness who knows you, need to go to the Marriage License Bureau of the Municipality of the Bride.
If the bride is a nonresident and the groom is a resident of New Jersey, the license is obtained from the Registrar in his municipality.
There you will make your application for a Civil Marriage License, and then you will have to wait 72 hours, as required by law, before the license will be issued to you. Once the license is issued, it is valid for one month. Please do not wait till the last minute to do this because they will not bend the rules.
Please note: A license issued under either of the preceding circumstances is good for use anywhere in the State of
If both bride and groom are nonresidents of the state, the license is obtained from the Registrar of the Municipality where the wedding is to take place and may be used only in that municipality.
The fee for a wedding at St. Mary’s is $1000.
This fee provides the following:
(1) Reservation of the church for your rehearsal/wedding.
(2) A full-day Marriage Preparation Program with lunch.
(3) A FOCCUS Test; the results will be reviewed with
you and your celebrant.
(4) A tape of the musicians to help the selection process.
(5) Meetings with the priest/deacon who will celebrate
your wedding to review the FOCCUS Test,
complete needed paperwork and plan your wedding.
(6) A Rehearsal Coordinator to facilitate the rehearsal
and a Wedding Coordinator for the day of the wedding.
(7) Church Accompanist and Cantor. Musicians’ payments
may be worked out with John Herbert. [The accompanist
receives $200 and the Cantor $150.]
(8) Setting up the church and then cleaning up after the
wedding; this is done by St. Mary’s maintenance staff.
A deposit of $325 is required when you reserve the church.
Your payment will be acknowledged, and this will confirm
that your date and time have been set in the church calendar.
The church balance of $325 is due one month prior to your wedding.
VI. Important Information
The official witnesses (Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor) may be Catholic or non-Catholic and must be at least 14 years of age.
2. Times for Weddings
Friday: 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM—1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Sunday: 3:00 PM
3. Flowers and Decorations
You may have as little or as much floral decorations as you choose. You may wish to collaborate with other couples who are being married on the same day as you about sharing the expense of flowers. Flowers may not be placed on the altar.
The florist may come in one-half hour before your wedding.
Tape is not allowed to secure decorations on the pews. Rubber bands or string may be used since they will not leave marks. Pew decorations will be removed after the wedding and discarded unless you wish to keep them. Please do not leave your flowers in the church. Please make arrangements to have someone take them after the ceremony. Any flowers left in the church will be discarded at the discretion of church personnel.
Please note that any decorations, banners or flowers in place for the liturgical seasons may not be moved or adjusted in any way. For example, we will not take down our Christmas trees for a wedding on December 27. Don’t laugh—a couple once asked if we would!
4. Photographs and Video
It is not necessary for your photo-grapher/videographer to speak with the priest/deacon. They are not permitted in the sanctuary during the ceremony and we trust they will be respectful as they perform their service.
The church is carpeted and to ensure your safety as well as your guests, the use of a runner is not permitted.
6. Rice, Confetti, Bird Seed, Balloons, Flower Petals
Rice, confetti, bird seed and flower petals may not be thrown due to insurance concerns and no exceptions will be made. Many couples are having their guests use bubbles or ring small silver bells. Also, balloons may not be released into the air.
7. Candles Candlabras are not permitted. Damage done by
spilled wax on the carpets is the reason this decision has been
made. Pew candles are available for a rental fee of $100.
St. Mary’s provides a beautiful Unity candle if you choose not to buy one.
Please request that your guests NOT block the drive-
ways of the homes across from the church. This could result in
being ticketed by the Pompton Lakes Police Department. There is ample parking behind the church.
9. Alcohol and Drug Policy The consumption of alcohol and illegal substances is absolutely forbidden in the church or on any church property before, during or after the wedding rehearsal or wedding ceremony. The wedding party and wedding guests are asked not to come to the rehearsal or wedding in any form of intoxication. The pastor or presiding priest or deacon has the right to refuse entry to the church to any person he deems intoxicated—even if that person is a member the wedding party. An intoxicated person is forbidden from serving as the Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor. The pastor or the presiding priest or deacon will determine if any person is intoxicated.
The church wedding is a sacred rite invoking the blessing of God on the union of bride and groom. Music used in connection with the ceremony must mirror the dignity of the sanctuary and the sanctity of the sacrament being celebrated. Our church accompanist, John Herbert, along with a St. Mary’s cantor of your choosing, will provide music for your wedding.
The Wedding Music Selection Form is available for pickup at the Parish Center or by contacting John. Our priority is to make your wedding as special as it can be for you; please do not feel limited to the songs suggested on the selection form. We will do our best to accommodate any song request.
For additional information about music for weddings, fees for musicians and to download sample programs, please visit the wedding music information page at www.stmarys-pompton.org.
Church Accompanist: John Herbert—973.610.3875 firstname.lastname@example.org