Guidelines for Marriage

These guidelines are meant to be helpful for those preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. Questions should be addressed to the Parish Office, 850.653.9453

Common Policy for the Pastoral Marriage Preparation

It is with a profound awareness of the richness and beauty of the sacrament of marriage that the Catholic Church throughout the State of Florida has written a Common Policy for the Pastoral Marriage Preparation.

  • Catholics must provide a certified copy of their baptismal certificate dated within six months of the wedding date.
  • If one party is non-Catholic, a letter testifying to their baptism or lack of baptism is required. (From parents or church, as appropriate.)
  • Both bride and groom must complete a prenuptial questionnaire under oath and in the presence of a priest or his designee. (Form A- attached)
  • Two relatives or friends of the bride and two relatives or friends of the groom must sign, under oath and in the presence of a priest or his designee, a form declaring the freedom of each party to marry. (Form B- attached)
  • A marriage preparation course is mandatory for all couples. Participation at an Engaged Encounter Weekend is strongly encouraged.
  • If there is a former marriage, both the previous marriage certificate and dissolution certificate (death certificate, declaration of nullity) must be provided.
  • In a marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic, the Catholic party is to make a written or verbal promise to attend to the Catholic upbringing of any and all children born of this marriage. The non-Catholic is made aware of the Catholic’s responsibility in this matter.
  • If a priest other than the St. Patrick Parish priest is to perform the ceremony, permission must be obtained in advance and all prenuptial obligations will be attended to by that priest.
  • If the bride/groom is not from Apalachicola, a letter of permission from his/her pastor to be married outside of their home parish must be provided.
  • The Catholic party should receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before marriage.
  • A non-Catholic minister may take part in the Catholic marriage ceremony with prior permission from the priest performing the ceremony.
  • A marriage license must be provided prior to the ceremony.
  • No weddings on the beach are permitted


The couple and the priest to perform the ceremony will meet to plan the wedding, including prayers, readings, and format prior to the rehearsal.

Rehearsal

Wedding rehearsals are usually held the day or evening before the wedding and can take up to 1 hour. A specific time is to be determined by the party. All those taking part in the ceremony should be present for the rehearsal which is conducted by the priest performing the wedding.

Please advise your party that security for personal possessions is their responsibility and not that of St. Patrick Church.

Church Use

  • If you are a registered member of St. Patrick Catholic Church there is no charge for use of the church for either the rehearsal or the ceremony. The usual stipend for the priest is $100 and donations to offset utility and maintenance expenses are most appreciated.
  • If you are not a member, the fee is $500 which does not include the priest’s stipend.
  • St. Patrick Church is wheelchair accessible and air conditioned. There are no restrooms in the Church, but they are available in the Parish Hall across the street.

Music

Music selected for the wedding ceremony should be religious in tone. There are some secular selections that are acceptable. Arrangement for and payment of musicians, singers, organists, etc. is the responsibility of the wedding party.

Flowers

Arrangements with the florist of your choice should be done well in advance. The parish office should be contacted prior to the actual delivery. No flowers may be tapped or glued in any way to the pews. Floral hangers need to be used to protect the finish on the pews.

Photographs

Photos are permitted in Church during the ceremony in moderation. Posed pictures may be taken after the ceremony is over and guests have left the Church. We request that a time limit of one half-hour be placed on photo sessions in the interest of others wanting to use the Church. Videotaping is also permitted; however, no cameras are permitted in the sanctuary.

Clean Up

After the services, the Church and the Parish Hall should be cleaned up and be restored to their original state.