How Do I?

Marriage

Congratulations, and thank you for considering St. Joseph Parish for your wedding!

This is an exciting time for you, and we are here to assist you as you begin your life together. You do not have to be a parishioner to have your wedding ceremony at St. Joseph. And, if your ceremony is at another church, or in another city, you may complete the marriage preparation here at St. Joseph.

Let’s Get Started…

Step 1: Call or Click!

Call the Parish office at 410-683-0600, or email Deacon Sullivan at esullivan@sjpmd.org.  Send basic contact information, approximately when you would like to be married, and what type of ceremony you would like. If you don’t know what type of ceremony you would like, that is, a Mass or a shorter ceremony, you can discuss it with Deacon Sullivan when you meet.   Please contact us at least six months before your ceremony date so you will have sufficient time for your marriage preparation and other planning.

Step 2: Meet with a Priest or Deacon.

Once we have gotten some basic information from you, we will contact you to schedule a meeting with a priest or deacon. If you have requested a Mass, you will normally meet with a priest. If you have requested a shorter ceremony, you will meet with Deacon Ed Sullivan. If you are not sure, you will meet with Deacon Ed Sullivan and discuss your options.

At the meeting, the priest or deacon will interview you about your intentions and your understandings about marriage. This is called the Prenuptial Investigation – but don’t freak out about it. It will be a friendly discussion to explain the Church’s view of marriage and to make sure you are both on the same page. As Shania Twain put it, “If you’re not in it for love…I’m outta here.”

Step 3: Marriage Preparation

Did you know the most frequent problems newlyweds face in the first five years of marriage are: money, time management, and sex? That is why the marriage preparation course is an important part of your wedding plans. It is a time for you to reflect on what’s important to your, talk with other couples who have been down this road, and it is a great way to prepare you for the challenges of day to day life after the honeymoon. The marriage preparation is offered in three formats:

1. Pre-Cana classes: You attend four 2 ½ hour sessions at the church with other couples preparing for marriage. Topics include finances, dealing with extended family, conflict resolution, communication, spirituality, sexuality, and children/birth control.

2. Home class with a sponsor couple: You attend the four sessions at the home of a married couple. This is a more personal type of discussion format as you develop a relationship with your sponsor couple. You will cover the same topics as the classes above.

3. Weekend engaged encounter: You go on a weekend retreat nearby and cover all the discussion topics in one weekend.

Step 4: Planning the ceremony and meeting with the presider

At this time you will meet with the priest or deacon who will perform the marriage ceremony (the presider). You will select readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospel to be read at the ceremony. You will also select music, prayers, and petitions as desired.

You will have been instructed to obtain your marriage license and current copies of your baptismal certificates. You will bring these to this meeting or be in the process of obtaining these documents.  For a “FAQ” about Marriage in Maryland, please visit http://marriage.about.com/cs/marriagelicenses/p/maryland.htm

Step 5: Documents and Fees.

If you have not done so in Step 4, present your marriage license and certified baptismal certificates. The offering for the use of the church for your wedding day is $300 for registered parishioners and $500 for non-parishioners. Fees for the organist, cantor, and others who provide services will be discussed with you as you plan your ceremony.

Step 6: Rehearsal, and the Wedding Day!

The bride and groom, wedding party, readers, and presider will go through the ceremony at the church, usually the day before, or a few days before the wedding day.

Then, it’s your wedding day . . .   and happily ever after

The Next Steps: Would you like to talk about marriage?
Call or email Deacon Ed Sullivan at esullivan@sjpmd.org.