With profound awareness of the richness and beauty of the Sacrament of Marriage, the Catholic Church throughout the State of Florida has written a Common Policy for Pastoral Marriage Preparation. These guidelines are in accord with those policies and tailored for marriages here at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.  To ensure all of these requirements are met, we ask for a minimum of six month advance notice.

Marriage Links:

Scroll down for more information, or select a specific option from the following: Requirements, Special Circumstances, Scheduling, Planning the Ceremony, Music, Facilities, Flowers, Candles, and Photographs.

If you are not Catholic, please click here for more information.

Requirements

  • Catholics must present a baptismal certificate recently obtained from their church of baptism. We can assist you in obtaining phone numbers and addresses of these parishes.
  • Both bride and groom must sign the  "A" form, testifying that they understand the nature and obligations of marriage and that they are free to do so in the Catholic Church.
  • Two witnesses for each party must sign the "B" form to declare the freedom of each party to marry.   This also applies to mixed-faith marriages. The "B" form should be filled out preferably by your parents, but it could be anyone who has known you since your 16th birthday.  A priest or a Notary Public should witness these forms.
  • Marriage preparation is mandatory for all couples, whether one or both parties are Catholic. The priest who will officiate at your wedding will administer and evaluate with you a premarital inventory, the FOCCUS. In addition, the couple must participate in either the Engaged Encounter Weekend, the Pre Cana Day, or another locally approved marriage preparation course.
  • Each Catholic should receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before marriage.
  • A marriage license is mandatory from the state of Florida. Acquiring a license is the responsibility of the couple. A license is valid for only sixty (60) days. The license should be given to the celebrant at the rehearsal.  See http://escambiaclerk.com/clerk/coc_marriage.aspx.

Special Circumstances

  • If there has been a former marriage, both the marriage certificate and either the death certificate or declaration of nullity must be produced.
  • In a mixed-faith marriage, the Catholic party alone is to sign a promise affirming that he or she will insure that all children born of the union will be baptized and raised in the Catholic faith.  The non- Catholic is made aware of this.  Nuptial Masses are strongly discouraged in the case of mixed-faith weddings.
  • If a visiting priest is to perform the ceremony, he must have the pastor's permission, and must present his letter of suitability from his superior.  In addition, the couple must hire our parish wedding coordinator (the fee is $150, arranged through the office).
  • A non-Catholic minister may take part in the Catholic marriage ceremony.
  • Permission may be granted by the Bishop for the ceremony to take place in a non-Catholic church in the case of a mixed-faith wedding. Permission is never granted to have weddings at the beach, in parks or in private homes.  It is possible to exchange vows in the church early in the morning, and then renew them in a communal celebration later that same day on the beach or at another location.

Scheduling

  • Weddings may be scheduled on Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm, or at 7:30pm.  They may be scheduled during the week as well.  Nuptial Masses are not permitted Saturday evenings.  Weddings are never scheduled without the prior approval of the pastor.
  • Wedding rehearsals are generally held the evening before the wedding. All members of the wedding party, lectors and musicians taking part in the ceremony should be present for this practice. Arriving on time is essential because of other scheduled activities. Rehearsal should last no more than an hour.
  • Alcoholic beverages before the rehearsal and the ceremony are forbidden out of respect for the Sacrament of Marriage and the church as the House of God.

Planning the Ceremony

The couple and the priest will plan the actual ceremony. Wedding programs must be approved by the pastor before being printed. Modest attire is required in church: some dresses require shawls or other types of covering to ensure modesty (i.e., to cover bare shoulders, etc.).  If you desire the services of our parish wedding coordinator, the fee is $150.

 

Music

It is your responsibility to hire or provide all your musicians. Most operate on a fee-based schedule that you will have to work out with them. Recorded music is strongly discouraged. However, if recorded music is required, the couple is responsible for providing all necessary sound equipment.  All musical selections must be approved by the pastor or the Director of Music.  Music selected for a wedding should be religious in nature: however, some secular selections might be acceptable. Our Director of Music, Ms. Kathy Johansen, will be able to assist you (her contact info: 850-492-0837).

Facilities

  • For non-parishioners, there is a fee of $800 for the use of the Church (due at booking, $100 nonrefundable).  There is no fee for contributing parishioners.
  • The Family Life Center can be reserved for wedding receptions by arrangement with the Parish Office. There are separate guidelines and charges for the use of Family Life Center, which the office can provide to you.  The guideline contains fees, hours of use as well as information helpful to coordinating your reception.
  • No rice or birdseed is allowed on the parish premises. No tape, staples, nails or any other adhesives are permitted in the church. The Parish is not responsible for personal possessions or items rented for use in the ceremony.

Flowers

Placement of floral arrangements must allow for ease of movement by the celebrant and servers. Flowers are never placed on the altar itself.  Rules for floral arrangements vary with the season.  Any flowers used in the wedding during Lent must be removed immediately afterwards.  Seasonal decorations already in the Church will not be removed or rearranged (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.).  No live or silk flower petals may be dropped in the church, unless you provide the name of the person who will collect them immediately after the wedding.

Candles

Couples provide their own candles, candelabra and/or unity candle if used in the ceremony. These additional candles are not required, but optional.  Candles are never placed on the altar itself. A unity candle stand is available for use, if desired (just make sure that your candles fit the stand).

Photographs

Photos in moderation are permitted during the ceremony. Pictures may be taken before and/or after the ceremony, mindful that there may be time limitations as other services take place in the church. Video recording is permitted but must be discussed with the priest in advance.  Remember that the photographer is working for you, not vice versa.  Photographers will keep you as long as possible so that you might buy more of their photos. If you need to leave to get to the reception, then tell the photographer so.