You are planning to get married. Congratulations! You are about to begin a journey together that you and we pray will last your entire lives. Our hope for you is that it will be a joyful journey beginning with a joyful celebration. The long experience of the Church in preparing couples like you for this important experience has led us to establish some policies and practices that we find make the day meaningful for you and the guests who will surround you on your wedding day. Please read this brochure carefully and discuss any questions or concerns you have with the priest with whom you will be working.
1. To allow time to fully prepare and resolve any problems that may arise during the time of preparation, couples must talk to a priest about scheduling a wedding at least one full year in advance of the requested date of the wedding. This is a requirement of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
The date and time of the wedding and wedding rehearsal should be worked out with the priest before a hall for a reception is reserved. Often receptions are scheduled before contacting the church only to find out the church or the priest is unavailable on the day for which the reception facility has been reserved. Saturday weddings in St. Peter’s Parish cannot begin after 2:00 PM to allow time to prepare for the Saturday afternoon Mass.
2. Preparing and planning for a wedding consists of three elements:
A. Some paperwork to be completed in dialogue with the priest.
B. The completion of a Marriage Preparation program approved by the parish.
C. Planning for the wedding ceremony itself.
3. The process begins with a meeting with the priest scheduled to preside at the wedding. This involves some forms that must be filled out, and new baptismal certificates for Catholics. Certificates should be issued by the church of baptism within six months of the date of your wedding. This first meeting and following meetings are important to assure couples have the support they need as they go through the process of preparing for marriage.
As a first step these conversations allow the priest to begin preparing the necessary paperwork. They also allow the priest with the engaged couple to make sure all agree on the meaning of the marriage commitment: that this is for a lifetime with the intention to be faithful to one another and to live lives of mutual respect and responsibility. It also allows time to discern if there are “impediments” which would prevent having this marriage in the Catholic Church.
4. The main purpose of the time before the wedding is to allow couples to focus adequate attention on the meaning and practical concerns regarding marriage. It is helpful to remember that a wedding is the doorway to a marriage. The wedding is for a day; the marriage is for a lifetime. The main concern of the Church is that marriages be successful. The months before a wedding are a time to confront the difficult questions, talk through what each is bringing to the marriage, and clarify whether this commitment is truly what each party wants and something each party can live successfully. These issues are addressed through a Marriage Preparation Program. The priest with whom you meet can tell you about these programs and how you enroll.
5. Weddings in the Catholic tradition have certain prescribed elements in them. There is some room for flexibility and it is here that the wedding planning conversation is very important. For example, when one party is not Catholic, it is preferable not to have a Catholic Mass since not everyone would be able to participate in receiving the Eucharist, and so an experience of unity (the coming together of two lives in marriage) would be followed by an experience of division. The role of flowers, rings, music, and many other details are best talked out with the priest presider. Also there should be discussion about what scripture readings will be used and how these give expression to the meaning of marriage being celebrated by the couple.
Please speak to any of the parish staff if you would like to look into beginning this process. You may use the online contact form or call 416-534-4219.