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Wedding Guidelines

Congratulations on your engagement! Marriage is a most sacred and therefore most serious union, as it bears witness to the love that Christ shows His Church from the Cross and it is the most intimate relationship that a couple can share in this life. The following guidelines are intended to guide each couple on the journey toward marriage and to safeguard the sacred nature of the nuptial union. 

General Considerations:

Celebrated within the parish family:
Sacramental marriage unites a man and a woman and brings together two families in a powerful witness to Christian faith within a Christian community. Because of these important factors, we recommend that prospective spouses receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony at the parish where they intend to live and to raise their family. Your desire to be married at St. John Cantius should include a holistic commitment to the parish, through regular attendance at Mass and support of the life of the parish community. Neither you nor we want to reduce your important day to a venue choice or a mere backdrop for your wedding.

Finding a Date:
A period of time from six months to a year is required to prepare prospective spouses for sacramental marriage. Church requirements do not permit us to confirm a marriage date prior to completing canonical procedures, including paperwork. This in itself can require a month or more. A date for your wedding can only be established in the parish calendar after this canonical paperwork is complete.

Freedom to Marry:
The capacity to enter the married state requires the freedom to give a complete and unconditional “yes” to another person. Personal maturity and discipline are prerequisite to making such a radical commitment. Psychological troubles and/or addictive behaviors must be addressed in assessing the freedom to marry. The ability to give yourself totally in marriage presupposes that every effort is made to grow in personal chastity and to maintain prudent boundaries in your relationship with each other.

Freedom from other binding life commitments is also required. If there are any previous attempts at marriage in your history, these must be brought forward and examined carefully before taking any further steps.

Couples seeking “Convalidation”:

If the couple was not married by a Catholic priest (e.g. civil ceremony, judge, non-Catholic ceremony, independent chapels, etc.), they can speak with one of our priests about having their marriage “blessed” or convalidated.

It is all too common in society today for couples to live together before marriage. This arrangement, commonly known as cohabitation, can obscure the capacity to discern marriage in freedom and eliminates many opportunities to grow in the virtues necessary to live the total self-gift required in marriage. If you find yourself in the arrangement of cohabitation, it is essential that you remove yourself from it as soon as possible.

Outline of Basic Requirements:

Please fill out the “Marriage Request” form. After receiving the form, the priest in charge of marriages will schedule an initial meeting with both of you.

The following documents need to be obtained and/or filled out in order to fulfill initial canonical requirements:

• Baptismal certificates (If you were baptized in another location, documentation must be recently issued from the place of your baptism, not more than six weeks old)

• Witness affidavits (Two witnesses are required for each potential spouse. Usually these are parents or close family members who know you well. Witnesses arrange a time to meet face-to-face with a priest/deacon to give their testimony)

• Canonical questionnaire (Each potential spouse is interviewed individually by the priest/deacon) 

After completing the above steps, it may be possible for a wedding date to be booked in the parish calendar. Fees for the Parish (see below) should be submitted at the time of this booking. The final decision to book your wedding is made by the Pastor of St. John Cantius.

Couples who have completed these preliminary requirements will begin the process of marriage formation. This process includes:

• Pre-Cana classes (as required by the Archdiocese of Chicago)

• Regular meetings with a priest or deacon (usually once a month, for 3-5 meetings total)

By the time of your wedding rehearsal, you must present a Civil Marriage license. This license, from Cook County in Illinois, must be obtained not more than 60 nor less than 24 hours before the wedding.

The above outline is normative. Special circumstances may increase the time needed to prepare for a wedding and may require further documentation. 


The following restrictions will apply to the selection of a wedding date:

• Normally the parish does not conduct weddings during the Advent or Lenten Seasons (e.g. 4 weeks before Christmas and 6 weeks before Easter).

• The parish does not conduct weddings on Fridays or Sundays.

• Weddings are typically scheduled on available Saturdays, either late morning or earl
y afternoon.

Practical Considerations:

Wedding Music:

• After a wedding date is established, you should contact the parish Music Director to set up a meeting to select music and to establish a budget.

• Musical selections must be approved by the Music Director as fitting for a Sacred occasion.  No music from popular shows or of a secular nature will be permitted.

• It is not the practice at St. John’s to replace our own musicians who work here on a regular basis with others who may be requested by a couple. Please understand that this request will be discouraged.

Bridal party, decorations, etc.:

•A maximum of five couples, excluding the best man and maid of honor, are permitted.

• Videographers and photographers are not permitted behind the communion rail in the sanctuary, in the sacristies, or in the pulpit.  If cables, etc. are used no tape is to be used on the floor.
• A priest will conduct the wedding rehearsal (regardless of wedding planner).

• The florist should speak to the sacristan or priest on placement of flowers before making plans. The parish can recommend florists who are familiar with our space requirements.

• Not permitted:

• No rice, confetti, noodles, bird seed, balloons, or flower petals

• No floral arrangements, candles with hurricane lamps, trellises, or canopies are allowed in the aisles or on the pews.  If decorations are to be placed on the pews, (e.g. bows) they are to be secured with rubber bands or string.  No tape is to be used.  The top of the pews are curved and pre-made hangers do not work as they are made for square pew tops.

• No runners are permitted.

• No young children (i.e. ring bearers, flower girls) are permitted in the wedding procession.

• It is important that on the day of the wedding, the ceremony begins on time. The Mass (or wedding ceremony if there is no Mass) will begin on time, regardless if someone is late.

• Prayers of the Canons Regular begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, no photographs are permitted past this time.

• The rehearsal is generally scheduled at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before the wedding.

• Please remember that you are receiving a Sacrament. Therefore, it is important that part of your preparation is to receive the Sacrament of Confession. Please plan ahead to make a good confession prior to your wedding so that you may reap the full sacramental benefits of Holy Matrimony.

• $1,500 ($500 down payment is required to hold the date, $1,000 balance is due before the wedding rehearsal, the day before the wedding)

• Music fees are determined during your meeting with the Music Director.


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