Congratulations on your engagement! We thank you for your interest in being married at St. John the Evangelist Church. We aim to support and assist you as you start your journey toward the joys of married life. Contact our Director of Sacramental Preparation, Julia Rudden - firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Here, we hope to answer questions for you about the marriage process in the Catholic church and at St John.
Who can be married at St. John the Evangelist?
Normally, those who are registered members of our Parish. The Catholic Church has a tradition, going back centuries, of celebrating sacraments in one’s own parish community. There are exceptions however: those who grew up in a parish but now live elsewhere sometimes decide to marry at their childhood parish, or at their parents’ parish. If you have specific questions, do contact us!
Who is able to officiate at weddings in the church?
Our priest, Father Crispin Okoth, is the usual celebrant. However, permission can be given for another priest or a deacon to officiate. This usually comes up when the family has a friend or relative who is a priest or deacon.
Are people who are not of the Catholic faith able to be married at St John?
They are, if they are marrying a Catholic. At least one party, bride or groom, must be Catholic to be married at St John.
Are people who have been married before able to be married in the Catholic Church?
This depends on the specific situation. If either party who wishes to marry has been married before and divorced, generally, they must receive an annulment from the Church prior to entering into a marriage in the Catholic church. If you have any questions about this, please contact our parish advocate for annulment at email@example.com
What preparation is needed for couples wishing to be married in the church?
Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament and a lifetime commitment—preparation is vital to ensuring that the bride and groom are ready to enter into this serious, life-affirming and life-long commitment.
We ask that couples participate in either an Engaged Encounter weekend https://www.ceeseattle.org/ or take a marriage preparation class at a local parish. We currently have in-house marriage preparation classes here at St John; contact us for scheduling information. In addition, we ask that couples attend 2-3 pre-marriage counseling sessions with an approved counselor, 2-3 meetings with our priest Father Crispin (or the priest/deacon who will officiate at your wedding). All this is to ensure that both parties truly understand the depth of the commitment of marriage. Every couple has told us they found the sessions helpful for their relationship!
When may weddings take place at the church?
We celebrate weddings on Fridays and Saturdays. They are never celebrated on Sundays. Also, the Church discourages celebration of weddings during the season of Lent. We do not hold weddings during the two weeks following Easter Sunday.
Specific times depend on church and priest availability, but generally Friday weddings are in the late afternoon and Saturday weddings in the late morning or early afternoon. Rehearsals are usually planned one to two days prior to the wedding, at a mutually agreeable time for couple and wedding coordinator.
Do Catholic weddings always take place during Mass?
It depends on the specific situation. When both bride and groom are Catholic, and a majority of the guests will be Catholic, a nuptial mass is the usual celebration. When one of the parties is not Catholic, then the nuptial rite without mass is the preferred celebration. We will discuss these options at the meeting with the wedding coordinator.
Does the church have policies regarding the content of the wedding service, the music to be used, etc?
Yes, but the couple has many choices they get to make! The service itself is set out in the Rite of Marriage book. The couple however, will make their own choices from the book of the first reading, the second reading, the Gospel, the responsorial psalm, and will write their own Prayer of the Faithful (also called intercessions).
Similarly, the couple will have many options for music to choose, in coordination with our parish music director Twila McDonell.
We’re parishioners—how do we arrange to schedule our wedding?
If you are a parishioner of St. John Church, you may begin scheduling a wedding by contacting our Director of Sacramental Preparation no more than 14 months (and no less than 6 months) before your desired wedding date. Dates available depend on our church commitments and priest availability.
How does a someone who is NOT a St John parishioner arrange to get a wedding on the church calendar?
We would first ask that you join our parish community or have a strong, demonstrated connection to our parish. Please contact our director of Sacramental Preparation to discuss.
The above steps should be followed before you finalize any arrangements regarding the place of your reception, contracts with photographers, florists, etc.
Is there a fee involved for a wedding at St John?
Yes. The church use fee assigned to your wedding helps defray the costs of the services of the wedding coordinator, the sacristan, the custodians, the business office, as well as the cost of utilities, such as heat and electricity. There is also a fee for musicians. These will be discussed at your meeting with the wedding coordinator.
No parishioner of St. John the Evangelist is ever turned away because of an inability to pay the fee.
*The parishioner rate for weddings is set in order to honor the commitment of participating, contributing members of the parish. It is unfair to them to extend it to people who simply register in order to pay a lower fee. Normally speaking, the parishioner rate applies to those who have been registered and participating members for at least six months prior to scheduling.
A deposit is required:
When we set the date for your wedding, we ask for a $250 deposit to hold the date. This will be applied to your church use fee and is refundable up until 6 months prior to the wedding date.