Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage! We are pleased that you have chosen to celebrate it here at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
This guide is to assist you in planning the celebration of your marriage. It explains what is required of you prior to your wedding day.
Couples seeking to be married at Saint John the Evangelist will need to begin preparation with one of our priests at least 6 months prior to their wedding. Couples should be registered and actively practicing parishioners at St. John for at least six months before seeking to be married at St. John. Couples that are related to parishioners who are registered and actively practicing at St. John for at least one year requesting to be married at St. John. This includes parents and/or grandparents of the bride or groom. St. John does not accommodate non-parishioners or those couples seeking Destination Weddings.
Our wedding preparation team is available to answer any questions you may have during this planning time. We will also assist you in meeting all of the requirements in a timely manner so that your wedding may take place as scheduled.
Preparation for Marriage
1. Schedule a Meeting with a Priest. The purpose of meeting with a priest is to give the priest the opportunity to get to know the couple and to explain what the Catholic Church expects of a couple as they prepare for marriage and their wedding celebration. To schedule this initial meeting with a priest, please contact Mrs. Tricia Schwarz at 239-566-8740 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Take The Fully Engaged Premarital Inventory. Each couple will complete a Fully Engaged Premarital Inventory Questionnaire. The results will provide the couple with a deeper insight into their relationship and their compatibility in key areas such as communication, family values, sexuality, finances, and religion. The bride and groom will also complete an additional Marriage Questionnaire which explores their understanding of the marriage commitment.
3. Register for Marriage Preparation Workshops. In the Diocese of Venice, each engaged couple must attend two workshops to help prepare them for the Sacrament of Matrimony. It does not matter the order in which these workshops are taken, just that the couple attends both. All workshops are held on Saturdays, usually from 9am – 4pm, and the cost for each one is $75. A calendar for upcoming workshops and instructions for registering can be found at the Diocese of Venice website, http://www.dioceseofvenice.org/ . To go directly to the Marriage Preparation schedule click here.
Life Skills Workshop
At the Life Skills Workshop, couples will learn about the skills that are essential for a successful marriage- communications, finances, conflict resolution, etc. Also, couples will be given the opportunity to dialogue honestly and openly about their future lives together. If either person in the couple has been previously married, the Life Skills workshop can be replaced with a To Trust Again workshop, which deals more specifically with these situations.
Getting married in the Catholic Church means having a commitment to a love that is free, total, faithful, and open to children. At the Sacramentality Workshop, couples will learn more in-depth the Church’s teachings on marriage and human sexuality and how to apply these teachings in their own marriage.
4. Attend Natural Family Planning Instruction. Since married couples should always be open to the gift of life, we strongly recommend that you learn more about Natural Family Planning. Engaged couples are invited to attend a class on Natural Family Planning, a beautiful, safe, and natural way to both postpone and achieve pregnancy. If you wish to avail of this opportunity, please sign up for a class. To sign up for a class, email email@example.com with your name, phone number and parish, and someone will contact you to register for a class convenient to you.
5. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Church earnestly desires that you celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shortly before your Wedding Day. Couples can go to confession at the scheduled times at St. John on Saturdays at 8:30 am and 2:00 pm. Alternatively, couples can make a private appointment with a priest.
6. Meet again with your priest. Four to six weeks before your wedding day, the couple should meet with the priest who is celebrating the wedding. Any details of the wedding should be worked out with him and with the parish staff at this time.
• Baptismal Certificate. Each Catholic party must submit a baptismal certificate. Since it provides an updated sacramental record, neither originals nor copies of originals will be accepted. The baptismal certificate is to be issued within 6 months prior to your wedding. Baptized non-Catholics are to submit a written record of their baptism including the date of baptism, and the name and location of the church in which the baptism took place. To obtain your baptismal certificate you must contact the church where you were baptized and have them send the certificate directly to you. Bring the certificate with you to your next meeting with the priest.
• Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire (Form “A”). This is a formal declaration of each party regarding their readiness to be married in the Catholic Church. The priest will complete this form with each party.
• Freedom to be Married Affidavit (Form “B”). Each party is given two copies of this form. Each form is to be completed by a relative or longtime acquaintance who can attest to the individual’s freedom to marry in a Catholic Church. The person completing the form must have it witnessed by a priest. When completed, these four forms are to be given to the priest with whom you are meeting.
• Engaged Encounter/Pre-Cana Certificate. Upon completion of this class, the couple will be given a certificate which must be given to the priest who will place a copy of it in your marriage file.
• State-Issued Marriage License. The couple must obtain a marriage license issued by the State of Florida from the Office of the Clerk of the Court. The license is valid for a period of 60 days. When applying for a marriage license the couple will need two forms of identification, the Engaged Encounter / Pre-Cana Certificate and a Certificate of Completion which will be given to you by the priest.
In addition to the above documents, if either or both parties were previously married one of the documents below will be required. If the previous marriage ended in the death of a spouse, the Death Certificate must be submitted to the priest.
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If the previous marriage ended in any other manner, a Decree of Nullity issued by the Catholic Church must be submitted. This decree is required of each previously married party, Catholic or non-Catholic, regardless of the circumstances of the previous marriage.
IMPORTANT… The marriage cannot take place until all required documents are submitted to the priest.
Marriages between a Catholic and non-Catholic are commonplace. Before making a life-long commitment of marriage, an inter-faith couple must consider different aspects of religious belief. A formal dispensation for an inter-faith marriage must be granted by the Catholic Church.
Before such a dispensation can be granted it is necessary that each party be in full agreement with each of the following:
- The Catholic marriage ceremony will be the only ceremony celebrated unless permission is granted for the marriage to take place in another Christian Church.
- Each party will be free to practice his/her religion.
- Children will be raised in the Catholic faith.
- There will be no pressure on the non-Catholic party to become Catholic.
Wedding Preparation Outside of Saint John the Evangelist
There are additional requirements for those couples who are related to a St. John Parishioner AND completing their marriage preparation at a Catholic Church other than Saint John the Evangelist.
Prior to securing a wedding date on our church calendar, the couple will need a letter of permission from the current pastor of the Catholic Church they now attend. The letter must:
- Give permission for the couple to be married in St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
- State where and by whom the couple is being prepared for marriage.
- Once the above items have been received, a wedding agreement signed by the couple is required, confirming the date and time of the wedding and rehearsal.
- For couples being prepared outside of St. John the Evangelist, an additional agreement is required to be signed by the couple, as well as the preparing priest or deacon.
Only when ALL of the above items are completed, will the wedding date and time be entered onto our church calendar and be considered secure. We will not hold any wedding dates without the completion of the above items.
The completed marriage file must be sent to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Venice (1000 Pinebrook Rd., Venice, FL 34285) no later than 8 weeks prior to the wedding date.
Celebration of the Rite of Marriage
As part of your preparation you will be given a copy of Together for Life, a booklet that will guide you in planning the actual celebration of the Rite of Marriage on your wedding day.
You will have an opportunity to choose which prayers, readings, and vows you wish to incorporate in your marriage celebration. This guide will also offer other options which you may choose to enhance your celebration.
The priest will discuss the two forms for the celebration of the Rite of Marriage.
The Wedding Ceremony consists of the Liturgy of the Word (the first half of the Mass), and the exchange of vows, the blessing and exchange of rings, the Lord’s Prayer, the nuptial blessing, and dismissal.
The Nuptial Mass celebrates the Rite of Marriage within the context of the entire Mass. It includes all of the above elements and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Please ensure modesty is observed when choosing your wedding dress.
Our Pastoral Musician & Liturgist, Gary Prettyman, is happy to help at every step of the way to the Sacrament, from meeting with you, to choosing appropriate selections, and providing beautiful music to complement the Liturgy.
Saint John the Evangelist has talented soloists, both male and female, who are available to sing. We also have extensive contacts within the Naples music community and can put you in contact with other approved musicians, should you desire strings, brass or other instrumentalists. The stipend for each musician at your wedding is generally $200.
To assure the quality of the music for your wedding, family members, friends, or other outside musicians must first be approved by the Pastoral Musician. A simple recording will generally suffice.
It should be mentioned that popular love songs may not be substituted for the sacred music appropriate to Catholic worship, and are better suited for a reception than a Mass.
Please contact Gary Prettyman by phone at 239-566-8740, ext. 179 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and see the links to forms below for introductory information on music for weddings:
Schedule for Weddings
Due to our weekend Mass schedule, Saturday weddings may only be celebrated at 1:00PM and 6:30PM. Weddings may also be celebrated on weekdays in the late afternoon or early evening.
Wedding rehearsals are usually held a day or two prior to the wedding. The rehearsal date and time must be scheduled when the wedding is scheduled.
It is important that the wedding party and anyone else having a role in the wedding be on time for the rehearsal and the wedding. Many times there are two rehearsals scheduled for the same evening. Promptness is necessary.
Our Wedding Coordinator, Peggy Dugan, will contact the bride approximately one month prior to the wedding to confirm the rehearsal time. She and other members of the wedding preparation team will be present at the rehearsal and the wedding to insure that everything runs smoothly. The priest and/or the wedding coordinator will conduct the rehearsal.
The couple must bring the original marriage license to the rehearsal. The wedding cannot not take place without these documents.
Only two floral arrangements are to be used for the sanctuary. Arrangements are not to block the altar or the ambo (pulpit) from the view of the congregation. Floral pew markers or pew bows are only to be attached by pew clips or large floral pins.
It is important that the couple arrange to have pew markers/bows removed prior to departure following the wedding.
Since we have Mass scheduled and the possibility of a funeral or Memorial Mass the morning before your wedding, decorating the church is not to be done the night of the rehearsal.
If you choose the option of lighting a Unity Candle, you will need to bring the candles and the stand to the rehearsal.
Due to insurance regulations and the risk of injury, aisle runners are not permitted for weddings in Saint John the Evangelist Church.
Please tell your photographer to meet with the priest prior to the start of the wedding to discuss the guidelines for taking pictures during the liturgy.
The wedding party may pose for pictures after the ceremony. Because there may be another wedding or service following yours, we allow 20 minutes for formal photographs by your photographer.
Due to time constraints and the need to take pictures immediately following the wedding, we ask that you plan your receiving line for the reception where you will be able to greet your guests in a more leisurely manner.
While everyone is in a festive mood it is important to remember that rice birdseed, flower petals, bubbles, and confetti are not to be used on church grounds. They are not only a safety hazard but also present a maintenance problem.
Saint John the Evangelist Facilities
We offer three different options for a beautiful wedding reception. Each is on our grounds just a few steps from the church.
Our Parish Activity Center (PAC) Banquet Room comfortably seats up to 320 people at round tables. There is a full dance floor and stage.
The beautiful Prayer Garden at the entrance to the PAC is a perfect setting for formal and informal pictures.
We also offer a smaller room, called Rome, for groups of less than 100 people.
We have a commercial kitchen which is available with our Food Service Provider.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment to view our facilities, please contact our Business Manager, Jean-Paul Boucher by phone: 239-566-8740 or email: email@example.com.
Understandably, there are various fees associated with weddings celebrated in Saint John the Evangelist Church.
- The fee for the church is $250 if the bride and/or groom are registered and practicing parishioners in this parish for at least one year.
- The fee for the church is $350 if neither the groom nor the bride are registered, but a relative is registered and attending in this parish for at least one year.
Before the date and time of your wedding is confirmed, a deposit of one-half of the fee is due. A check in the proper amount made payable to Saint John the Evangelist Church is to be forwarded to Mrs. Tricia Schwarz.
If the wedding is cancelled for any reason, the deposit will be refunded if the cancellation takes place prior to three months before the scheduled wedding date.
Payment-in-full must be made no later than one month prior to the date of the wedding.
- The fee for altar servers is $25 each. There will usually be two servers. This is due one month prior to the wedding.
We are here to help make your wedding day a special and memorable occasion. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have throughout the preparation period.
Remember… A wedding is a day… a marriage is a lifetime!