A Christian wedding is an act of worship in which the bride and the groom come together to celebrate a sacrament, to offer thanks and praise together with their family and friends, and to ask God’s blessing on their life together as husband and wife. Normally, weddings are celebrated in the parish of the bride or the groom.
Weddings must be scheduled at least six months before the ceremony.
The date will be confirmed on the parish calendar only after a priest speaks with the bride and groom, and determines the couple’s freedom to enter into the Sacrament of Marriage, and to check with the priest’s availability. For this reason, it is highly suggested that no commitments should be made with Caterers, DJ’s, Reception Halls, etc., until the date is first confirmed with the church.
A Saturday wedding may be scheduled anytime between 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM. Please note. No weddings are scheduled during the church season of Lent, and neither on Sundays or Holy Days.
Because the Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated at 3:00 PM in the church, all photo opts must be finished by then, and members of the wedding part and families gone from the church. This request is without exception and is to be made known to your photographer in advance.
If there is a preference for a certain priest, be it a family member or a friend to preside at the liturgy, this choice should be made known at the time of the scheduling. The guest priest would also be expected to conduct the rehearsal. Please note, if the priest is not a member of the Diocese of Allentown, a letter from his Bishop or Superior stating that he is a priest in good standing with his Diocese / Community is needed. Without this documentation, the Diocese of Allentown cannot and will not recognize or allow him to officiate. Please make this known to the priest, and such documentation should be sent as soon as possible to St. John’s Parish Office.
If a cancellation occurs, please call the parish office at 610.777.1697 as soon as possible so that the date may be made available for others.
1. Meeting with the priest
There will be a number of meetings with the priest who will be witnessing the marriage. The necessary paperwork needs to be completed, documents need to be gathered, the FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communications, Understanding & Study) survey will be given and reviewed, the date scheduled for either Marriage Prep Dialogue or Engaged Encounter set, and arrangements for the wedding have to be discussed along with a rehearsal date and times to be set.
All baptized persons preparing for marriage must present a copy of their baptismal record. Catholic parties must present a baptismal certificate issued within six months of the marriage date. To obtain a recent copy of your baptismal certificate, call the church where you were baptized and ask to have a copy sent to you.
A marriage license from the Common wealth of Pennsylvania must be obtained and presented to the priest before the rehearsal. Marriage licenses can be obtained from any county courthouse within the state, but are not available until 60 days prior to the wedding date (e.g., the marriage license for a June 9 wedding can be obtained after April 9.)
- Marriage Preparation
The Diocese of Allentown requires that all couples preparing for marriage participate in some form of marriage preparation program. The priest preparing you can give you the dates, times, and places. Please review the options below to decide which best suits you. Please register well in advance for your wedding prep as the programs are limited in size and during peak periods they fill up fast.
-Marriage Preparation Dialogue
-Engaged Encounter Weekend
All Catholic Dioceses and many parishes offer marriage preparation programs that are accepted by the Diocese of Allentown. If the engaged couple can more conveniently arrange for marriage preparations elsewhere – particularly if one or both of those engaged are located outside the Diocese of Allentown – then any such program is permitted. Proof of preparation in the marriage prep program must be given to the priest preparing the couple.
4.Liturgy Preparation Session
The couple will meet with the priest to finalize the choice of scripture readings, prayers, blessings, music and other details of the wedding liturgy.
CelebrationWeddings are normally celebrated within the context of a Mass, and with very few exceptions, it must always be held in a church, not in a public setting outside or in a private home or club. When one partner is not Catholic, the Rite of Marriage outside Mass should be celebrated. If couples are living together prior to marriage, there will be a wedding ceremony only.
Many customs and traditions have been introduced into the wedding liturgy which are not a part of the Roman Rite. For example, the Unity Candle is not part of the liturgy of the church. Its use is preferred at the reception. The presentation of flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary is also not a part of the liturgy that celebrates marriage, it is a private devotion, and such gestures are normally celebrated outside Mass. However, it may be opted for, but only if both parties hold a devotion to Mary. If not, then what is the point of this?
Liturgy of the Word
Reading (Hebrew Testament)
Responsorial Psalm (should be sung)
Reading (Christian Testament)
Gospel Acclamation (should be sung)
Rite of Marriage
Blessing and Exchange of rings
Prayers of the Faithful
Liturgy of the Eucharist *
Preparation of the Gifts
Prayer after Communion
Blessing and Dismissal
*When the Rite of Marriage outside Mass is celebrated, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is omitted.
MusicA Christian wedding is a liturgical celebration and therefore a communal event. The guests are present not as spectators to see the bride and groom, (that is what the reception is for) they are present as worshippers who are here to praise and thank God. They should be drawn into active participation through prayer and song, so that they may share fully in the sacramental encounter with Christ the Lord.
Music texts must always be consistent with Catholic teaching; indeed they should be drawn chiefly from Holy Scripture and from liturgical sources.
Music in the liturgy which promotes performance over participation is not permitted. “The music selected must express the prayer of those who celebrate. Individual preference is not, of itself, a sufficient principle for the choice of music in the liturgy. It must be balanced with liturgical and musical judgments and with the community’s needs.” (LMT, 12)
For all music related questions, please contact the Music Director Mr. Christopher Hoster at 610.334.1188
Since the wedding liturgy is a liturgical celebration, the usual ministries should be represented – such as Lectors / Reader(s). The practice of assigning this ministry to family members for the sole purpose of including them in the ceremony is to be avoided. The Lector must be Catholic if the service is a Mass, if a ceremony only, the Lector must be at least a Christian.
For those who are parishioners, the diocesan set fee is $150.00. For those who are not registered parishioners of St. John’s Parish, we ask a stipend of $200.00. These fees must be paid one month prior to the wedding date.
The stipend for the Organist and Cantor will be made known to you, when you meet with them to plan the music.
Photography and Videography
-Special liturgies at St. John’s Church may be photographed and videotaped by professionals.
-Those taking pictures or videotaping are asked to keep in mind that people have
gathered to pray, not to have pictures taken. The church is a house of prayer,
not the photographer’s studio.
-Anyone taking pictures or videotaping should limit movement and always be
unobtrusive to the liturgical action.
-These persons must not enter the sanctuary area (the raised step and flooring
surrounding the altar and pulpit, or baptismal font and tabernacle.)
-Anyone other than the professionals taking pictures or videotaping will be
asked to remain in his or her seat during the liturgy. I ask that this request be
printed in your wedding program if you are having one. If programs are
being used, please see to it that someone collects the programs from the pews
after the service and disposes of them.
-Posed pictures after the church service are permitted. Please inform your
photographer early so that he / she may plan to maximize their time. All people
and photo shots are to be finished by 3:00 at which time the Sacrament of
Reconciliation is celebrated in the church. There will be no exceptions to this.
If for any reason the service starts late, then that much less time will you have
for picture taking.
Worship Environment and Floral Arrangements
-Seasonal decorations in the church may not be altered or moved.
-The throwing of rice, bird seed, flower petals or anything of the like, that may
cause a hazard problem for people walking on church property is not permitted.
-Pew decorations must be attached by either string, clips or elastic. Do not use
tape, glue or tacks on the pews.
-For liturgical, practical and safety reasons, the use of an isle runner is not
-Flowers may be placed with either one arrangement in the front of the altar;
and/or on both sides of the altar, or both. It’s customary that the flowers not be
taken away once the ceremony is over.
-The Church campus is a Smoke-free environment. Please observe this No-
-Possession or use of alcohol is prohibited on Church property, before, during or
after the service.
-Most weddings have a reception following the service, it is then that you have a
receiving line to welcome your guests, not after the service in the vestibule. To
do so, only takes away from the allotted time you have for posed pictures in the
-In order to be properly disposed to receive all the graces of the Sacrament of
Marriage, and to be able to receive Holy Communion (if it’s a Mass), the
Catholic parties must be in the state of grace. The opportunity to celebrate
Reconciliation will be given 15 minutes before the rehearsal for you, the bridal
party and family members.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the Parish Office
at 610-777-1697 (Mon. – Fri. 9AM – 4PM)