The Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish Family rejoices in your decision to love and marry each other. We are happy that you have decided to come to our parish to prepare to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. As you know you are not just preparing for the Wedding Day, but a new life together as husband and wife.
No doubt you will spend much time in planning your big day with dresses, invitations, tuxedos etc. But it is now most important for you to take a keen interest in the Sacrament of Marriage.
In order to make sure that you are willing and prepared to enter into the Sacrament of Marriage, and in order to preserve the sacredness and meaning of this sacrament, OLGCC and the Diocese of Trenton presents these guidelines for our couples who are taking this most significant step in life. It may seem like a lot of information, but please read it over carefully so that you have no problem with what is required and things will flow smoothly for you.
It is our hope that your Wedding will be a beautiful celebration and we want to help you be assured of this. It is even more our hope that your marriage is beautiful, life-giving and truly sacramental in every way.
Why Marry at Our Lady of Good Counsel?
Today , couples have many options available to them in the way they choose to live their commitment to one another. In choosing to be married in the Catholic Church couples are expressing not only their commitment to one another, but also their commitment to the Church and the community of faith. Therefore a choice to be married “in the Church” at Our Lady of Good Counsel makes sense if:
- a person has a faithful relationship with the Lord.
- At least one person is a practicing Catholic who takes that commitment seriously.
- Both are physically, psychologically and emotionally mature enough to make a permanent, exclusive commitment.
- The couple gives witness to their faith and to their appreciation of the Sacrament of Marriage by striving to live according to the teachings of the Church.
Please Note: Parents are respectfully asked NOT to be involved in the preparation and planning process at the parish. This is for couples ONLY. If a couple is mature enough to be married, there is no need for mothers or fathers to get involved in this process. Parents will be kindly asked to have their daughters or sons contact us directly. Questions and concerns brought to us by parents will be re-directed to the couple. Parents must not attend parish meetings with the couple unless the couple is under the age requirement of the State of NJ. Thank you!
Weddings Ceremonies Take Place at Our Lady of Good Counsel on
SATURDAYS at 1:00 or 2:00 PM
FRIDAY Wedding Ceremonies are Permitted at 4:00 PM Only.
What Preparation is Involved?
The Catholic Church takes marriage very seriously and thus requires a period of preparation and discernment including:
- At least one year of planning and prayerful reflection on the part of the couple, in contact with their parish priest, deacon or pastoral assistant.
- A series of at least THREE meetings with the priest or deacon or pastoral associate
- 1. 9-12 months for intake interview- usually with Pastoral Associate
- 2. 5-6 months before wedding- with priest or deacon
- 3. 2-3 months before wedding to plan the celebration with priest or deacon
- You are responsible for setting up these meetings.
It is also required by the Church that every couple attend PRE-CANA which will be explained at the first meeting. Pre-Cana is usually a one or two day commitment and there are various opportunities made available throughout the Diocese. The Pre-Cana schedule is available to you by clicking the link for the Diocese of Trenton.
What Documents are Needed?
- A Baptismal Certificate DATED WITHIN ONE YEAR of the wedding (NOT YOUR ORIGINAL) along with a CONFIRMATION certificate. (If you have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation please discuss this with the priest or deacon. The RCIA program is available to you, but not mandatory.)
2. The Pre-Marital Inquiry will be done at your First and Second meetings along with the FOCUS instrument which is a compatibility profile.
3. A certificate indicating the completion of the Pre-Cana session
4. A MARRIAGE LICENSE obtained WITHIN 30 DAYS of the Wedding. It is obtained:
- From the town in NJ where the bride resides
- Or from the town in NJ where the groom resides
- Or from Ewing Township if the legal residence of both the bride and groom is outside the state of NJ.
Ewing Township Marriage License Requirements New Jersey Title 37. Marriages And Married Persons
Marriage License Fee: $28 License obtained at Ewing Township Registrar, Municipal Building, 2 Jake Garzio Drive Ewing, NJ 08628
Ph: 609-883-2900 x7658
The witnesses sign the license and THE LICENSE MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE WEDDING REHEARSAL. Weddings cannot take place without a civil license.
What About the Wedding Itself?
The actual details regarding the Marriage Rite of the Catholic Church are the last thing we will plan together. Before this discussion takes place there is much to talk about regarding the couple’s relationship with each other and God, plans for a future family, communication etc.
At the Third Session the Liturgy planning will take place only after the couple has carefully and prayerfully discussed the actual ceremony.
The celebration of the Rite of Marriage belongs to the Church at large. Although there is some flexibility within the Rite, it must be in accordance with Liturgical and Diocesan guidelines. All sacramental celebrations belong to the community of the Church, so it is not simply about the couple. In choosing OLGCC for your wedding, we assume you agree with our policies presented here. We thank you for your cooperation as we work together for the beauty and sanctity of your wedding ceremony.
In order for the liturgy to fully reflect its religious and spiritual nature, we encourage you to invite family members, friends, or members of your wedding party to take special roles during the celebration.
Planning the Wedding Liturgy
- The date should be arranged with the Church FIRST before any reception plans are made.
- All Wedding plans need to be approved by a priest or deacon from Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish.
- Readings: You may have two readings from Scripture read by friends or relatives. The Prayer of the Faithful may also be read by friends or relatives. The priest will read the Gospel. So you need to choose 3 people to read. Since Scripture must be heard and understood, the person (s) you choose should have a strong and articulate speaking voice.
- If you are having a Mass you may ask 2 people to bring up the Offertory Gifts (bread and wine).
- If you include children in your wedding party we ask that they be at least five years old. If they carry rings they should carry props, the real rings should be held by the Best Man or Maid of Honor. It is strongly advised that the couple exercise good judgment when making their choice regarding the involvement of children. Weddings and public display can be traumatic to some children. Care should be taken when deciding where the child will sit during the service. Younger children should be seated in a pew with a parent or another relative. Please make informed and prudent choices in determining how best to involve children in the wedding party. This day should focus on the couple and the Sacrament, it is not meant to be about anything else.
Visiting Priests and Deacons: Priests and Deacons from outside OLGCC are most welcome. They need to be delegated by our pastor and have a letter from their Diocesan Chancery indicating that they are in good standing. They are asked to respect the practice of the celebration of weddings at OLGCC.
Witnesses: At least one witness (the BEST MAN and MAID OR MATRON OF HONOR) must be a practicing Catholic according to Church law.
The rehearsal date should be made at your First meeting. It is usually the evening before the wedding. It includes the wedding party and anyone else taking part in the ceremony (readers, gift bearers etc.) Please ask these people to commit themselves to both the wedding and the rehearsal. PLEASE BRING YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE TO THE REHEARSAL as well as any optional donations to the priest or deacon. We want you to come on your wedding day and not have to worry about any paperwork or money, so we take care of this at the rehearsal. If you plan to have a Unity Candle please bring that to the rehearsal as well.
PLEASE COMMIT TO BEING ON TIME FOR THE WEDDING AND THE REHEARSAL AND TAKE THIS COMMITMENT SERIOUSLY. THERE IS MUCH HAPPENING IN OUR PARISH ON WEEKENDS. THANK YOU!