Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! We are pleased that you would like to have your wedding at Emmaus Parish/Queen of Angels Chapel and we wish to help you to celebrate your joy. These guidelines are designed to answer as many questions as possible and to instruct you on the marriage preparation process and your wedding. Both members of the couple should read these guidelines. Because of the length of time needed for marriage preparation it is important to start this process at least 6 months prior to the intended date of the wedding.
It should be kept in mind that all emphasis should be on the spiritual benefits that the celebration of the sacrament brings rather than on the temporal and material benefits. The Sacrament of Marriage is the covenant of a Man and a Woman committed to each other through Christ, involving a partnership of Life and Love.
GETTING STARTED IN YOUR MARRIAGE PREPARATION
Ministers and staff members who will be involved with your preparation and the wedding itself will be the following:
Gretchen Reynolds: You will meet with Gretchen to go over our church guidelines and to receive a wedding packet which will help you in planning your wedding ceremony. She will be your point of contact through most of the preparation process.
Pat Thompson/Deacon/Priest: In addition to your initial meeting, Pat Thompson, a deacon or a priest will meet with you to go over the prenuptial questionnaire.
Deacon: For a wedding in the context of a Liturgy of the Word (without the Liturgy of the Eucharist) you may ask a priest or deacon from your parish to preside or you may ask a deacon from Emmaus to preside.
Priest: If you wish to have a wedding in the context of a mass you are required to ask a priest from your parish to preside. If you are an active contributing member of the parish, you may request a priest from Emmaus to preside. Please keep in mind that they have limited availability on wedding dates so please have options for at least several dates in mind when you contact them.
Director of Music: All music must be coordinated through and under the direction of our Director of Music, John Guarino. You should contact him once you receive your confirmation letter.
Wedding Coordinators: Our parish wedding coordinators will meet with you to coordinate both the rehearsal and the wedding. They do not assist in planning the wedding.
Items Required Before Your Wedding Can Be Scheduled
Preparation at Emmaus:
Meeting with Gretchen to review guidelines
Affidavits of Free Status
Dispensation remitted to Diocese of Austin, if necessary
Annulment papers of all previous marriages, if required
A signed delegation form if a guest priest or deacon is presiding
A written agreement if a priest or deacon from Emmaus is presiding,
Preparation at Another Church:
Meeting with Gretchen to review guidelines
Completed Wedding Preparation Form
A signed delegation form if a guest priest or deacon is presiding
A written agreement if a priest or deacon from Emmaus is presiding
Weddings for non-parishioners cannot be set prior to twelve months before the wedding date. This is necessary in order to avoid possible conflicts in scheduling with other parish events. Active parishioners may, in certain circumstances and with the approval of the pastor, schedule their wedding dates prior to twelve months before the wedding. However, requested dates will need to be reviewed by the pastoral staff and approved by the pastor. Please keep in mind that because of the need to hold dates for possible parish events, options prior to twelve months will be very limited.
Once all required items are received, you may request your rehearsal and wedding dates and times. If the dates and times are available, you will receive a confirmation letter from the parish office. If the dates and times are not available, you will be contacted so that an alternate date and/or time may be reserved.
Please note: Do not make reservations for receptions or any other events until you have received a confirmation letter. Until you receive this letter, we cannot guarantee your wedding date. If you make reservations before receiving this letter and we find that we cannot reserve your requested date, Emmaus will not be responsible for solving resultant problems and issues that this may cause for you.
Baptized Catholic(s): Contact the parish of your baptism and ask for a new copy of your baptismal certificate with notations. If there are no notations, we will need a certificate of First Eucharist or Confirmation from the church in which it was received.
Baptized Non-Catholic: Please provide a copy of your baptismal certificate from your church. If one is not available, you may ask your pastor or your parents to provide a dated letter stating when and where you were baptized.
Non-Baptized: Please provide a dated letter from a parent stating that you have never been baptized.
To be married in the Catholic Church, either the bride or groom must be a baptized Catholic. For couples in which one is not Catholic, a dispensation from the Diocese of Austin will be required. This is dispensation or permission from the bishop for the Catholic to marry a non-Catholic. The Catholic member of the couple is to agree by signature that he/she intends to continue practicing the Catholic faith and, also, intends to have the couple’s children both baptized and raised Catholic.
If either party, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, has been in a previous marriage (civil, Catholic, Protestant) that ended in divorce, this must be brought to the attention of Pat Thompson, the deacon or the priest immediately to determine, not if an annulment is needed, but, what sort of an annulment is needed. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of your wedding. If necessary, an annulment by the Catholic Church must be obtained in order to be married in the Catholic Church. This slows down the marriage preparation process since we cannot schedule a wedding until any needed annulments have been received.
Guest Priest or Deacon
Please remember that if you are arranging for a wedding within the context of a Liturgy of the Word (without the Liturgy of the Eucharist), you may ask a priest or deacon from your parish to preside or you may ask a deacon from Emmaus to preside.
If you wish to have a wedding in the context of a mass you are required to ask a priest from your parish to preside. If you are an active contributing member of the parish, you may request a priest from Emmaus to preside.
Guest priests and deacons must be delegated with the authority to preside:
Contact the priest or deacon whom you wish to preside at your wedding at Emmaus parish. You should check on possible wedding dates at Emmaus before contacting him.
Secure his agreement to preside on requested date and time.
Ask Gretchen Reynolds to send him a delegation form. The priest or deacon who will be presiding must sign the delegation form and return it to Emmaus. Our pastor must also sign it before we can schedule your wedding.
If the priest or deacon is from outside the Diocese of Austin, his bishop or religious superior must complete a testimonial of suitability. Ask Gretchen Reynolds to mail the testimonial.
Please keep in mind that the priest/deacon presiding at your wedding is responsible for your marriage preparation. He may decide to have you follow the process in place at Emmaus or he may have his own process of preparation. Please contact him to find out how he wishes to proceed.
Parishioners and Members within Emmaus boundaries:
$650 + $200 refundable deposit
$1,200 + $200 refundable deposit
A parishioner of Emmaus Parish is defined as one who has been registered for a minimum of one year before contacting the parish about setting a wedding date. Participants in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at Emmaus are considered to be parishioners from the beginning of that process. A member is one who lives within the Emmaus boundaries, but has not yet registered. Only the pastor can make exceptions to this requirement.
The wedding fee includes the cost of building use, staff time dedicated to your wedding and clean-up after the wedding.
If the wedding needs to be cancelled for any reason, all but the deposit will be refunded.
When an honorarium is not included in the overall fee it is customary to give an honorarium to the priest or deacon who presides at your wedding. Please keep in mind that he is pivotal in making your wedding day the day of beauty and blessing that it is meant to be. This requires of him a significant amount of work and effort apart from his other duties. Altar servers from Emmaus parish who are asked to serve at your wedding should receive an honorarium as well.
Times, Dates and Venue
Rehearsals are normally scheduled in the afternoon or early evening on the Friday prior to the wedding. They are one hour in length. Rehearsals may also be scheduled earlier in the week if the church is available.
Weddings may not be scheduled on Sundays or during Lent. Lent is a season of reconciliation and reflection; thus, festive celebrations are not consistent with the spirit of the season. There are other weekends on which weddings cannot be scheduled for various reasons. Please consult with the parish office on what is available before deciding on your wedding date.
Also, if a holy day of obligation falls on a Saturday, there will be no weddings scheduled on that day.
Weddings at Emmaus may be scheduled at 10 AM, 2 PM, or 7 PM.
Rehearsals may be scheduled on the Friday before the wedding at 4 PM, 5 PM, or 6 PM.
These times may not be available on every weekend.
The wedding party may consist of no more than 8 couples in addition to the bride and groom.
Queen of Angels Chapel
Weddings at Queen of Angels may be scheduled at 2 PM, 3 PM, or 4 PM.
Rehearsals may be scheduled on the Friday before the wedding no later than 4 PM.
These times may not be available on every weekend.
The wedding party may consist of no more than 4 couples in addition to the bride and groom.
Only one wedding will be scheduled on any given Saturday.
ITEMS REQUIRED BEFORE THE WEDDING
Marriage Preparation Programs
Both members of the couple should read these guidelines thoroughly and discuss them. Please make sure that you discuss issues such as permanence of marriage, fidelity, children as well as your values and goals.
Couples that will be married at Emmaus or Queen of Angels Chapel must complete a marriage preparation program which includes standard marriage preparation instruction, a natural family planning class and the FOCCUS marriage inventory. Emmaus offers two programs you can choose from. Together In God’s Love is a four-session formation series between the engaged couple and a sponsor couple. Journey into Marriage is a weekend seminar which is held once a month.
It is strongly recommended that arrangements are made for these programs immediately after your date has been confirmed. At the very least, they should be completed no less than three months prior to the wedding.
The couple is responsible for obtaining a marriage license from a Texas county courthouse. You may obtain a license between 89 days and 72 hours prior to the wedding. Please note that the only way to obtain a license after the 72 hour limit has passed is by obtaining a judge’s permission and this is very difficult to obtain. Do not procrastinate! We ask that you deliver the license to the office once it is obtained so it is on file for your wedding day.
PLANNING YOUR CEREMONY
At your initial meeting, you will receive the booklet Together for Life which is a guidebook for planning your wedding liturgy. You will need to review this and fill out the form in the back of the book before meeting with the priest or deacon presiding at your wedding or with the wedding coordinators in the weeks prior to your wedding. They will review that with you at that time. All couples who are working with priests or deacons from Emmaus must meet with him within three weeks prior to their wedding in order to review the liturgy.
All wedding music at Emmaus, both at the main church and at the chapel, is under the direction of John Guarino, Director of Music. Please contact him as soon as possible after you wedding date is confirmed at email@example.com. It is very important to make this contact immediately after your wedding date is confirmed so that Mr. Guarino will have your wedding date on his schedule and so that he can guide you in planning your wedding music. There is a fee for his services which he will discuss with you. This fee covers all consultations and all arrangements for your wedding music. His fee and all other musician fees must be paid at least two weeks prior to the wedding rehearsal.
All music for weddings in the context of Mass or Liturgy of the Word must be sacred music or approved classical music. Recorded music is not permitted.
Mr. Guarino will be the accompanist for your wedding except as noted below. If you would like outside cantors and/or other instrumentalists, they must be arranged by Mr. Guarino. If you have particular musicians in mind, please give him their contact information and he will contact them. Do not contact them yourself. No musician or cantor may play or sing at Emmaus or at Queen of Angels Chapel without Mr. Guarino’s permission. In addition, all must have significant experience in liturgical music.
Note: Weddings scheduled at Queen of Angels Chapel late on Saturday afternoons will carry a larger basic musician fee. This is because of the need to hire an additional keyboardist since Mr. Guarino is scheduled to be at Mass at Emmaus.
Flowers are the responsibility of the bride and groom. Flowers may be purchased through the church or from an outside florist. Contact Barbara Helmueller at (512) 261-5927 if purchasing through the church. If using an outside florist, the florist must call Barbara for instructions of church guidelines.
Flowers may only be attached to the pews with ribbon, string or plastic clips that fit over the back of the pew. No flowers/flower arrangements may be hung anywhere except as noted on the pews. The existing flowers in the church urns may NOT be moved or altered in any way.
Flowers may be delivered one and a half hours prior to the ceremony and MUST be removed within 30 minutes after the ceremony. Any arrangements left after the 30 minutes will be thrown away. Altar flowers may be donated to the church only if approved by Barbara or a wedding coordinator.
If you are having a program printed for your wedding, please have the Order of the Liturgy approved by our Director of Music, John Guarino, and send it to the priest or deacon presiding prior to final printing.
Professional Wedding Planners
If you hire a professional wedding planner please make sure the planner understands that he/she has no role in the rehearsal or the actual wedding. These are under the guidance of the priest or deacon presiding and the parish wedding coordinator ministry. A professional wedding planner may help you to coordinate photographs after the wedding within the context of parish guidelines and under the instruction of the parish wedding coordinators assigned to your wedding. Please make sure that your hired planner understands this. The planner need not be present at the rehearsal and may sit with the congregation during the wedding if they like.
THE REHEARSAL AND THE WEDDING
The Church is the House of God. Therefore, everyone is asked to demonstrate respect for where they are. Please ask parents of young children to monitor them closely and to keep them seated.
Attire. Because weddings take place in the church we require that brides and their attendants dress accordingly and modestly. Sleeveless and strapless dresses are allowed, however, low cut necklines, short lengths (anything above the fingertips), tight fitting, bare midriffs, high slits, or backless gowns ARE NOT allowed. This is not appropriate for the presence of Christ or a sacred celebration. If necessary, you may need to purchase one dress that is appropriate for the church and another for the party afterward. If you have questions as to whether or not a dress is appropriate, contact Gretchen Reynolds before purchasing it. Because the rehearsal is also held in the house of God, these guidelines pertain to the rehearsal as well.
Alcohol is not permitted. Our policy at both Emmaus and Queen of Angels is if any member of the wedding party consumes alcohol prior to the wedding, they will not be able to participate in the wedding. For the bride and groom, consumption of alcohol prior to the wedding liturgy may be cause for cancelling the wedding.
Children of members of the wedding party: Members of the wedding party must make arrangements with other family members or friends to take care of their children. Our parish wedding coordinators cannot do this for you.
Children’s safety issues: For the sake of the security and safety of children they are never to be apart from direct adult supervision while on church property. This means that children may not wander the parish property unattended. Also, children who need to leave the pews during the liturgy to go to the bathroom must be accompanied by an adult. Please include that as a notation in your program.
Rehearsals must begin on time because there are often other events in the church after the scheduled end of the rehearsal time. Please make sure that all members of the wedding party arrive thirty minutes prior to the scheduled rehearsal time.
The rehearsal may be conducted by the priest or deacon presiding, by the parish wedding coordinators or by a combination of the two. The priest or deacon presiding will let you know how that will work.
Lectors will receive copies of the readings at the rehearsal to use for practice purposes.
All who are in the wedding are required to be at the rehearsal. This includes the best man and the maid/matron of honor, all groomsmen and bridesmaids, lectors, ring bearers, flower girls, Eucharistic ministers, padrinos, parents of the bride and groom and ushers. If members of the wedding party are not at the rehearsal, this can lead to mistakes being made at the actual wedding. Our goal is to assure that the bride and groom feel confident about the liturgy when they leave the rehearsal. This requires the presence of everyone who will have a part in the wedding liturgy.
The bride’s room is available 1½ hours before the wedding and it must be cleared out within 30 minutes at the conclusion of the ceremony. We recommend that someone is designated to be responsible for this. On Saturday afternoons, the bride’s room becomes the confessional at 4:00 p.m. at Emmaus. There is to be no food or drink (except water) anywhere in the church!
Ring bearers and flower girls: Long experience has taught us that ring bearers and flower girls must be no younger than six years of age. No exceptions are permitted.
Items not permitted: rice, birdseed, flower petals, aisle runners, and unity candles.
Photographs during the liturgy: We gather for weddings in the context of sacred ceremony. For that reason only the professional photographer functioning under strict guidelines is permitted to take photographs during the wedding liturgy. Please inform family members and friends of this restriction prior to the wedding. It is also a good idea to include this restriction as a notation in your program.
Couples must sign a form attesting that they understand and agree to the requirements of Emmaus Parish Wedding Requirements upon their initial visit with Gretchen Reynolds.