Ministers of other Faiths
In the case of an interfaith marriage, the non-Roman Catholic party may invite his/her minister to participate in the ceremony. In the context of the Liturgy of the Word, the visiting minister may vest, proclaim one of the readings before the Gospel, and offer a message. At the conclusion of the ceremony he or she may offer an additional prayer and a blessing. You should discuss this with the priest or deacon assisting you.
In its reforms of the liturgy, the Second Vatican Council mandated that the primary liturgical symbols be allowed to “speak”, and that there be a noble simplicity in the rituals used. Therefore, in preparing your wedding liturgy, any elements that might prove distracting to those gathered for prayer, indeed any elements that might not add to the communal prayer of the liturgy, should be treated cautiously, and perhaps omitted. These might include:
- The presentation of flowers to the Blessed Mother, while often associated with Catholic weddings, is not actually a part of the rite. Since it is an expression of the private devotion of the bride or the couple, it is best done privately, immediately following the liturgy, but not during it.
- Throwing rice or seed is not permitted on church grounds. Silk petals may be thrown during the processional but must be picked up immediately following the wedding.
St, Thomas Aquinas does not have a maintenance staff to clean up after weddings. A refundable deposit of $200 will be collected two weeks before the wedding. The deposit will be returned following the wedding if all rooms and church property are left neat and clean, as they were found.
Church Decorations on your Wedding day
As during all liturgies of the Church, the Altar candles in the sanctuary will burn during your wedding to remind us of the light of Christ. During the Easter season, the Paschal candle will also burn in a prominent place. No additional candles are needed.
At weddings, flowers are often used for their beauty, freshness and promise of abundant life. Flower arrangements and plants should be modest and must not visually overwhelm the primary symbols of the altar, the ambo, the presider’s chair and the couple. Flowers, plants and other decorations must be placed out of the way so that they do not obstruct the ritual movement of the ceremony. Neither should such decorations create a barrier between the sanctuary and the assembly. Care must be taken of the floor when placing flower arrangements. Your flowers and other decorations must be removed from the church immediately following your picture session.
During the Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter seasons, as well as other times during the year, the church and sanctuary are already decorated in an appropriate manner with flowers and/or other installations. Under no circumstances may these be removed for weddings.
If your wedding takes place during Lent, the bridal party may carry flowers during the procession, but additional flowers on the altar or in the sanctuary are not allowed in order to maintain the solemnity of the season.
Aisle runners, once practical and necessary when they were made of canvas and covered dusty wood floors, are no longer necessary. Aisle runners are not permitted at St. Thomas Aquinas.
Photography and Videography
We understand that posed photographs are important reminders of your wedding. We ask that these pictures be taken before or after the ceremony. During the ceremony, the photographer may take pictures without flash only from the rear of the church. Your photographer is free to photograph the wedding party as they come down the aisle at the end of the liturgy. No pictures may be taken from anywhere in the sanctuary at any time, or by relatives and friends in pews after the ceremony begins.
The taking of photos of the wedding party and wedding couple is allowed one hour prior to the start time of the wedding, but will cease 30 minutes before the start of your wedding to allow the wedding coordinator time to prepare for the processional. After the wedding, you may stay in the church for 30 minutes for posed pictures. The officiant will be happy to pose with you in the first picture immediately after the ceremony; please understand that he will have many other weekend commitments, and may not be available if your pictures are delayed.
The following guidelines are in effect for videography and photography:
- Photographers and videographers should be appropriately dressed for their work in a sacred place.
- All video equipment must be in place no later than 30 minutes before the wedding begins. Flashes of light, electronic camera noises, movement of camera equipment or photographers, loading and unloading of film, etc. create a very disturbing environment and disrupt the prayerfulness of worship.
- Once in place, video equipment may not be moved during the ceremony.
- No additional lighting may be used.
- Additional microphones must be approved in advance so as not to interfere with the church’s sound system.
- Photographers and videographers are not permitted to interfere with the processional or recessional.
- The sanctuary is a sacred place in our Catholic tradition. The altar is consecrated as a symbol of Christ’s presence. It is inappropriate to use the sanctuary as a studio for casual photographs. Sitting on the floor or on the sanctuary steps, and moving the altar or leaning against it are not permitted.
Please deliver a photocopy of this page of the guidelines to your photographer and your videographer in plenty of time before the wedding.
To help your guests feel comfortable participating in the Liturgy, you may want to consider preparing a special program for your wedding.
In this program, you should only include the congregation’s responses. For the Scripture readings and prayers, it is better if your guests watch and listen rather than read along. Please remember the serious obligation of acquiring copyright permission for the reprinting of copyrighted songs and texts. The Director of Music will be glad to assist you in this endeavor.
All programs must be approved by the Director of Music and the wedding coordinator two weeks prior to the wedding.