Marriage is both a human and a sacred event. In marriage, two people covenant to join their lives as one. For Christians, marriage is also an image of the union between Christ and his Church. According to the Roman Catholic Church, the ceremony of marriage is a celebration of these beliefs.
If you would like to celebrate your wedding at either St. Joseph or St. Raphael Church, you should contact Fr. Bill Kramer, Deacon Norm Horstman, or Deacon John Collins at 937-323-7523 a minimum of six months before your intended date. After your initial meeting with one of them, he will contact the business manager to clear your proposed date on the parish calendar. You should not finalize plans with a reception venue or order anything with the date on it until the date has been confirmed by your celebrant or the business manager. Weddings are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
To facilitate your first meeting with your celebrant, you may download and fill out the marriage request form here. Please note: filling out the form does not secure your date. Your celebrant will let you know when your date has been confirmed.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati requires all couples preparing for marriage to go through a minimum of six months of marriage preparation called Pre-Cana. This includes meeting with your celebrant on a regular basis, meeting with a mentoring couple, completing a FOCCUS test, and attending a weekend Pre-Cana retreat. Your celebrant will answer your questions about these steps and walk you through them.
It is our hope that each celebration of matrimony be a joyful and holy event. With that in mind, we want to make clear the following expectations for marriage celebrations.
Ceremony: The religious character of the Rite of Marriage should be kept in mind. The particular liturgical season (i.e., Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, or Ordinary Time) must be respected. So, for example, we would expect few decorations or flowers during the season of Lent.
Generally, the Eucharist is celebrated in the marriage of two practicing Catholics. If the bride or groom is either non-Catholic or a non-practicing Catholic, the Eucharist is usually not celebrated. The Eucharist may not be celebrated if one of the parties is a non-baptized person.
Weddings are celebrated on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. Weddings may be celebrated between Monday and Friday with the time arranged with the celebrant. Weddings are not celebrated on Sunday.
Music: Music in Catholic ceremonies is intended to be a form of prayer. The couple is asked to keep this in mind. Music that is not liturgical or that is purely secular is best used at the reception. The couple must contact the parish music director, Mike Ahern at 937-323-7523, to make arrangements for music. Payment of fees for the music is handled directly between the music director and the couple.
Decorations: Simplicity rather than extravagance is encouraged as suitable to enhance the wedding ceremony. Nothing is ever placed on the altar. If the church already has extensive floral arrangements such as at Christmas or Easter, additional flowers would not be necessary. If a florist has not decorated in St. Joseph or St. Raphael before, we suggest they contact the parish office concerning decorations in the church.
Candelabra are not permitted in the sanctuary. Candles along the pews are permitted. Globes must be used with lit candles. We ask that “non-wax” candles be used. Unity candles are not part of the Rite of Marriage and are discouraged. If a couple wants to use a unity candle, this must be approved by the celebrant beforehand.
The aisle at St. Joseph Church is 96 feet long. The aisle at St. Raphael Church is 50 feet long. The use of an aisle cloth is permitted. However, they often cause tripping and difficulty walking so we discourage their use.
Photography: To preserve the prayerful and religious character of the ceremony only one professional photographer is permitted to take pictures. We ask that this be made clear to family and friends in attendance. No one else is to take pictures during the ceremony. The photographer is to contact the celebrant prior to the ceremony for instructions and is required to follow the photography policy.
Videoing is discouraged. If the ceremony is filmed, only one video camera, on a stationary tripod in the balcony, is permitted.
Family and group photographs are permitted prior to and after the ceremony. All should respect that the church is not a photography studio but a place of worship. We encourage taking pictures prior to the ceremony, and after the ceremony, the photography time is limited to 30 minutes. The steps of the sanctuary may be used for photographs; however, no one is permitted in the sanctuary proper. No sanctuary furniture is to be moved.
We also ask photographers to follow the following guidelines:
1. Photographs may be taken in church prior to the ceremony using lighting and flash. This should be concluded one half hour before the ceremony is to begin.
2. Photographs of the bridesmaids and bride at the beginning of the ceremony are to be taken near the back of the church, not from the front pews. Flash may be used.
3. During the remainder of the ceremony, photographs without flash may be taken from the balcony only. During the ceremony, please keep all movement and noise to a minimum.
4. During the recessional, you may remain in the balcony or position yourself at the back pew for photographs. Flash is permitted.
5. Photographs may be taken in church after the ceremony using lighting and flash. We ask that this take no longer than thirty minutes
6. Please check with the celebrant prior to the wedding if you have any other questions or concerns. Your cooperation with this policy is required and appreciated.
Other Concerns: The receiving line is to be held at the reception hall, not in the church. The throwing of rice, birdseed, confetti, etc. is not allowed inside or outside the church.
There is no fee for active parishioners. The fee for non-parishioners using St. Joseph or St. Raphael is $200 which must be paid no later than one month prior to the wedding date. Normally, non-parishioners must secure the services of their own celebrant. The celebrant does not receive a stipend for the celebration of weddings. A personal gift is appropriate. If the parish provides servers, a $10 offering is suggested for each server.
The consumption of alcohol on St. Joseph/ St. Raphael property before, during, or after the rehearsal or wedding is not permitted. If any member of the wedding party is known to have been drinking or using drugs, they will be asked to leave immediately and not be permitted to participate. If this applies to the bride or groom, the wedding ceremony will be cancelled.
The above information has been offered to you as you prepare for marriage. Some of it reflects some unfortunate past experiences. Some of it reflects the religious importance we place in the wedding ceremony. We hope that all of it will help make your wedding a celebration of your love, blessed and united by God.