A decision to be married is a true blessing for a couple, their families and friends, the community and for the whole Church. Our Catholic Parishes are very welcoming towards any couple who would like to be married in one of our beautiful churches.
Marriage in the context of faith is a demonstration of the deep trust, relationship and love between the couple and their relationship with God.
The Catholic Church is able to solemnize and bless marriages according to the Rites of the Catholic Church. At least one of the couple needs be a Catholic, and both need to be free to marry within the Catholic Church, according to both Church and Civil Law.
Preparing for a Catholic Marriage
In order to secure a desired date, venue and officiating celebrant, and in order to adequately prepare for the day, please begin the process of contacting our parish at least 6 months prior to your desired wedding day.
You will need to phone our Parish Secretary (02) 8969 3200 and enquire about a possible date, venue and time.
You will then need to complete a booking form, that needs to be returned to the Office as soon as possible. Should circumstances change and cancellation is necessary, this must be done as early as possible.
Once a date has been secured, the secretary will send you the necessary forms to be completed prior to making an appointment with the celebrant of your marriage.
Costs associated with the booking and preparation for the wedding
The Parishes of Sydney Harbour North does not charge any fees for the use of the church. However, a donation to help the priests of the Archdiocese of Sydney would be very much appreciated, and in anticipation, we thank you for your generosity. A donation confirms the booking. A booking form can be obtained from the Parish Office via email, once you have decided on the appropriate date.
If the marriage is to be celebrated by a priest or deacon who is on the staff at the Parishes of Sydney Harbour, then the Parish Office and the celebrant (priest/deacon) will take on the responsibility for preparing the church and legal papers for the wedding. There is no charge for the services of our clergy, but you are more than welcome to give a donation to the celebrant on the day of the wedding.
If the marriage is to be celebrated by a priest or deacon who is not on the staff at the Parishes of Sydney Harbour North, then the visiting priest must take on all the legal preparations and responsibilities for the wedding. There is no charge for the use of the church, however a donation for the church would be very much appreciated.
To assist a visiting outside priest, the Parish Wedding Co-ordinator will be required. The Coordinator will provide the following services: open and close the church for rehearsal and on the day of the wedding; orientate the visiting priest with the sacristy and church; assist the priest (when requested) with rehearsal; liaise with florists concerning entry to the church; liasise with musicians when necessary; ensure flowers and pew ribbons are removed from the church after the wedding; answer an queries. The Wedding Coordinator costs $200 per wedding and a booking form can be obtained from the Parish Secretary.
You are welcome to provide flowers and pew ribbons for the church at your own cost. Arrangements for delivery need to be made ahead of time with the Parish Secretary or Wedding Coordinator.
You are also welcome to provide musicians, photographers and videographers for the wedding. These services are not provided for by the Parishes. The placement and involvement of each should be discussed with the celebrant.
Good live music enhances a celebration and adds to the dignity and solemnity of the occasion. Pre-recorded music can sometimes be difficult to effectively fade out and technical problems do sometimes occur. Furthermore, for many people today, an experience of live music can be rare, especially with the abundance of recorded music in shopping centres, on the radio and on tv.
If there is a real desire to have recorded music, the selection of the music is vital and will need to be discussed with the celebrant before any decisions are made. In general, instrumental music is the preferred option if using CD music.
You may like to have a singer or even a string quartet. For a list of musicians and their contacts, please contact the Parish Office.
Our Parishes are blessed with talented and highly accomplished organists, instrumentalists and singers. You are welcome to bring in organists from outside our Parishes, however arrangements must be made with the parish musicians who take care of the instruments, and depending on the instrument, a fee applies for external musicians.
Guidelines for choosing music for the wedding
A music minister from our parish can help you choose good music for your wedding. As you work with that person, here are three questions to guide your music selections:
1. Is it prayerful?
The purpose of any Catholic liturgy, including a wedding liturgy, is to give glory to God and to sanctify (make holy) the worshipers. Your wedding music should reflect that purpose; in other words, it should help those gathered to pray and to give thanks to God for your love.
Pop or rock songs, even those with a love theme, are usually considered inappropriate for use in a Catholic wedding ceremony because they were never intended or designed to be used in the context of prayer, and most people are not drawn to pray with such music. Even some "classic" wedding music, such as the wedding marches, are often not permitted for this reason.
2. Is it accessible?
Put another way, will it encourage the people to sing? In Catholic worship, the congregation - all those who have come to your wedding are meant to be involved in the singing and the worship. It is not an audience, passively watching events unfold at the altar. Catholic liturgy calls on the congregation to actively participate in the prayer of the Church, including its sung prayer. Doing so is one of the most powerful ways your friends and family can express their love and support for you and your spouse.
As you plan your wedding music, consider whether your friends and family will be able to sing what you have selected, and if you have provided an opportunity for them to sing. What is accessible will depend on your situation. If your family and friends are all talented musicians, then the sky’s the limit. If they couldn’t carry a note in a bucket, better to stick with familiar songs. If many of the guests will be from other Christian faiths, you might consider choosing classic hymns widely used by many denominations.
One way to encourage the congregation to sing is by providing the music in the wedding booklet.
3. Is it beautiful?
Beauty is a window onto the divine (Catechism of the Catholic Church #32), so it is not surprising that the Church calls for the music used in its worship to be beautiful. You and our parish music ministers will know what wedding music will seem beautiful, given your tastes and culture.
One thing to keep in mind is that the beauty of any musical piece depends a lot on who is singing and playing it. St Augustine famously said: "Those who sing well, pray twice."
Songs that might have seemed boring or ordinary when just accompanied by a piano or organ during the Sunday liturgy might completely come alive when accompanied by a wider variety of voices and musical instruments. One way to get an idea of what really beautiful liturgical music sounds like is to listen to professional versions of the songs.
For weddings, please contact the Parish Office ph: 8969 3200