Having Your Wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church
What is the Sacrament of Marriage?
In the Sacrament of Marriage, a man and woman promise to make present the living love of Christ for each other. In the course of living out the mystery of your love, you become a source of God’s presence for each other and for the community in which you live. Although marriage is very personal, it is never private because it has a profound impact upon us, a community of the faithful, who will be praying for you and supporting you in your life together. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (CCC, 1601).
What are the requirements for a Catholic to be married?
The teaching of the Catholic Church prescribes that baptized Catholics must marry before an ordained minister of the Catholic Church and two adult witnesses. A special dispensation (permission) given by the Bishop would enable such a marriage to take place in a Protestant church before a minister of that church. In such an instance, we follow the same marriage preparation program as if the marriage were to take place in a Catholic Church. Sacraments can only be celebrated in a church or place/holy ground where the faithful gather regularly. This means a Catholic wedding cannot be celebrated in a backyard, park or favorite flower garden.
What are the requirements to be married at St. Peter the Apostle Church?
Full, participating membership at a Catholic Parish is required to have your wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Church. If you are a registered and participating member of St. Peter the Apostle Church, you may request to be married by our Pastor or the Assistant Pastor. Their ability to do your marriage preparation and perform the wedding is always subject to their availability. When those to be married are registered full members of another Catholic parish, permission to be married at St. Peter the Apostle Church must be given by the pastor of the parish where you are registered. Catholics not currently registered in any parish are to register and be participating and supporting members of a parish for one year before the intended wedding date. Adherence to the policies of the Church is required of all couples who are married at St.Peter the Apostle Church.
What do we need to do to have a wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Church if we belong to another parish?
Wedding couples, who are not members of Saint Peter the Apostle Church, may have wedding ceremonies at the Church provided that they complete the following requirements:
The reservation of the Church is tentative until we receive a letter from the pastor from the parish where you are registered giving you permission to celebrate your wedding here
It is your pastor’s responsibility to arrange for your marriage preparation and perform the ceremony at St. Peter the Apostle Church.
If your pastor is unable to have the wedding liturgy and another priest or deacon will be celebrating the wedding ceremony, we must have a letter of his acceptance of these responsibilities, delegation and verification of faculties.
All necessary paperwork must be filled out by the pastor of the bride or groom or the priest or deacon witnessing the wedding.
The Sacrament of Marriage may be celebrated by a deacon if the wedding ceremony is held outside of the Wedding Mass.
Couples of mixed Christian faiths or another faith tradition may celebrate their wedding at the Church only if one of the wedding couple is a registered member of a Catholic parish.
What other requirements must be met to have a wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Church?
St. Peter the Apostle Church is the spiritual home for over 9,000 Catholics in and around Reading, PA. It also is a beautiful and holy house of prayer where God is present at all times. As such, it is vitally important that the clothing of the bride, groom, bridal party and guests not detract from the solemnity of wedding rehearsal or the wedding ceremony, or be a source of scandal for anyone present.
For the groom and groomsmen, pants must be fitted and not overly baggy or low cut. Formal clothing must be befitting of a Christian gentleman.
We also ask that your wedding guests adhere to the same dress code as the wedding party.
What does it cost to have a wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Church?
The Diocese of Allentown has set the recommended wedding fee for any church in the Diocese at $250.00. However, if you are not a member of St. Peter the Apostle Church the required fee is $750.00. Please keep in mind that it is a great privilege to have your wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Church. It is a very beautiful and sacred church, and you will have a dedicated team of professionals at your disposal to help make your wedding day a wonderful beginning to your married life together. These fees are requested no later than the day of the rehersal. These fees do not include the musician fees; this is privately arranged with the musicians. We also require a refundable deposit of $50.00 to discourage the throwing of rice or other items. In the event that this is adhered to the deposit will be returned.
How do we go about scheduling a wedding at St. Peter the Apostle Church?
Please call the parish office (610-372-9652) at least one year prior to the intended wedding date. Weddings are normally scheduled on Saturdays at 1 p.m. Weddings are not scheduled on Sundays or on Civil Holidays. Please note that there are some times in the church liturgical year when the celebration of weddings is less appropriate. For example, the season of Lent – Ash Wednesday through Good Friday – is a time of penance in the life of a parish community. Also, if a major feast falls on a Friday or Saturday, weddings should not be scheduled on that day.