Weddings are a special and joyful time for brides and grooms, for their families and friends, and for the parish community. The new beginning, the love, the promise and hope that weddings are for us make their celebration a grace-filled time in our lives. The Church welcomes its members to celebrate and solemnize their weddings in the context of our prayer as Christians.
It so important is marriage in Christian life that it is called a sacrament. Great care is taken to see that the prayer for this special moment is reverent, graceful, beautiful, and open to the movement of God's Spirit among us.
Our celebrations of the sacraments, marriage included, are always rooted in listening to the scriptures so that we can be nourished and strengthened by God's Word. We always celebrate the sacraments as community. We gather our sisters and brothers in faith and ask for their prayerful support.
These celebrations are incomplete unless they are filled with song, with prayerful gestures and with silence in which we hear the voice of God in our lives. In this spirit, St. Gertrude parish provides the following information and guidelines.
If you are interested in getting married at St. Gertrude, please complete the Wedding Intake Form and send it to Father Rich at email@example.com. (Here is a Word doc form you can copy and use.)
Fr. Rich will then contact you within the next few days about the wedding process at St. Gertrude Parish. Please note that Fr. Rich will provide answers to all of the bride's and groom's questions. St. Gertrude’s does not have a Wedding Coordinator, nor does the Parish Office have access to any information about weddings, other than the dates/times of those already scheduled.
A wedding date cannot be set until the bride and/or groom speaks with a priest or deacon. We typically schedule weddings at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm on Saturdays, or on any convenient time during the week.
Couples are expected to contact Fr. Rich at least six months in advance of the date on which they hope to celebrate their wedding.
Only Fr. Rich may confirm the date for the celebration of a wedding. Dates will be finalized only after he has met with the engaged couple, taking care of necessary paper work and arranging for their participation in a marriage preparation program.
It is the responsibility of the engaged couple to secure the date with the Church before making commitments with caterers, reception halls, etc. (It is not possible to guarantee a date for a wedding if either party is pursuing an annulment. The final notification of the annulment must be granted before a date can be finalized.)
A non-refundable deposit will be required to hold a date for a wedding.
Weddings are scheduled with respect to the couple's wishes and the availability of the church building and parish ministers. Generally, we schedule no more than two weddings per weekend.
Weddings are usually scheduled on Saturdays at 1:00 pm or 3:00 pm, or on Friday afternoon/evening. (During the school year, Friday weddings should be scheduled AFTER 3:30 pm to avoid any parking problems.)
There are a few times in the liturgical year when a wedding cannot be celebrated. There are also times in the Church year when the liturgical calendar is less conducive to the celebration of weddings. For example, the season of Lent is a time of penance in the life of the church community; that spirit touches and colors all parish liturgies between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Fr. Rich will discuss this with you if the proposed date for your ceremony is affected.
Certain civil holidays should also be considered when selecting your preferred date. We encourage you to remember that legal holiday weekends throughout the year often provide families and individuals with their only time to enjoy a break from their work schedule without fulfilling other social obligations. Thus, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's weekends should be avoided.
We will work with you in this process of preparation. Some of these preparations include the gathering of certain documents, the completion of a pre-martial inventory, and your participation in a pre-marriage preparation program (Pre-Cana or similar programs.)
As a key step in marriage preparation, FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory is a 156-item questionnaire used by engaged couples with a trained FOCCUS facilitator. Taking the inventory results in a personalized FOCCUS© Couple Report that helps target discussion on topics important to marital success. FOCCUS assesses nineteen categories to help couples sort the challenges and strengths they are bringing into marriage.
The parish facilitators will be in touch with you to give you the information on how to access the FOCCUS online inventory. After both of you have accessed the inventory, it will be electronically scored and the results sent to the facilitators. They will then contact you to schedule a time to meet to review the results. Visit the FOCCUS website for more information.
Engaged couples preparing for their wedding celebration are required to attend a PreCana session. At St. Gertrude and other parishes, PreCana is usually an all-day event held on a Saturday, typically from 10:00 am until the end of the 5:00 pm Saturday Mass.
After establishing a connection with F. Rich or one of the priests, the engaged couple can register for the session by calling the Rectory office at 773.764.3621. The receptionist will take the necessary information.
The PreCana program offers you the time and setting to consider together your life as a married couple. A number of programs are available to you. Popular programs include Parish PreCana (St. Gertrude does offer this) or Archdiocesan PreCana. These programs are approved by the Archdiocese and fulfill the recommendation for pre-marriage preparation required by the Archdiocese. Arrangements for any of the programs are the responsibility of the couple. Reservations are required for all programs.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the bride and groom minister the sacrament to one another; they are the celebrants of the ceremony. A priest or deacon and at least two Catholic witnesses are also required to be present.
Ordinarily, the parish priests will preside at weddings celebrated in the parish. A couple may have a priest, deacon, friend, or relative whom they want to invite to preside at the wedding. In this case, the couple should mention this to the parish priest or deacon early in the planning process. The involvement of a friend or relative in your preparation for marriage can be important to you and to him.
If the priest or deacon is from a diocese other than Chicago, he will need to get a Letter of Good Standing from his bishop or religious superior. (This is now the ordinary practice for all priests and deacons in the entire country, so no one will be surprised if you tell them they need to get this to preside at your wedding.)
The marriage celebration includes selections from scripture and General Intercessions (sometimes referred to as the Prayer of the Faithful or Universal Prayers.) We encourage you to ask family members or friends to serve in your wedding as Lector or Reader. When choosing family members or friends, please select those who are accustomed to public speaking and have a familiarity with this type of reading. Usually three Lectors are required.
If a wedding is celebrated during Mass, there may be a need for the service of Ministers of Communion for the distribution of Holy Communion. Family members or friends who participate in this ministry in their own parish are welcome to assist with the distribution of Communion at your wedding. Any Catholic can be mandated to help distribute Communion for any one particular service.
The parish music minister assists the couple in planning the music for the ceremony and is the pianist for all weddings. Mary Clare Barker is our Parish Music Director and she will be glad to meet with you to plan your selection of music, soloists and instrumentalists. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The groom's attendants usually function as ushers and ministers of hospitality. The bride's attendants, and the bride and groom and their families may also act as ministers of hospitality. It is a mature, gracious gesture for all members of the wedding party to greet members of the assembly as they gather to celebrate.
If you have specific servers you would like, or have members of your family who fulfill this ministry in their own parish, please let the priest know as soon as possible. Otherwise, we usually do not have altar servers at wedding celebrations.
Couples are asked to consider the age of children involved in these roles and their ability to participate in a church service.
The church address for the printing of invitations is:
St. Gertrude Church
1420 W. Granville Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60660
St. Gertrude Church
Glenwood & Granville Avenues
Chicago, Illinois 60660
Most couples choose to hold a rehearsal a day or two before their wedding, but even a week or more before the wedding is acceptable. The rehearsal time is set with Fr. Rich. A rehearsal takes between 30-45 minutes.
In addition to the bride and groom and members of the wedding party, you may want to have your lectors present in order to learn where they will sit, when they will read, and to go through their readings at the rehearsal. Parents and any of your guests are always welcome at the rehearsal.
Please ask everyone who will be attending the rehearsal to be on time. Often there will be other rehearsals before or after yours or other services scheduled in the church.
It has been traditional for wedding couples to provide floral decorations for church on the day of their wedding. We encourage you to use fresh flowers with strong colors. Our church is large and ornamented; arrangements of white flowers and greenery tend to "disappear" in this large space. Usually two large arrangements placed on either side of the altar will serve as beautiful and dignified decorations which everyone in church can see and will not interfere in any of the movements of the wedding party.
Please do not order any flowers to be placed upon the altar itself. The altar is meant to be kept very simple - with only the gifts of bread and wine, the book of prayers, and the chalice and paten on it.
Be sure to let your florist know if you are choosing to make a floral tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary or are presenting flowers to members of your family (e.g. roses to mothers.)
If you wish to have a runner for the center aisle, this can be arranged through your florist. The center aisle is 110 feet long - we suggest an additional 10 feet of runner.
If you choose to have bows or other decorations placed upon pews in the center aisle, please inform your florist that they are asked not to use tape on the wooden pews (it removes the finish). Alternatives to tape are usually available. Also, if you wish to drape ribbon along the edge of the pew, be sure the ribbon is removed before the wedding begins. It is against fire regulations to block access to the pews in this or any other manner.
A photographer may take pictures at any time as long as the wedding ceremony is not interrupted. The photographer is not allowed into the sanctuary of the church and should never stand between the couple and the congregation, nor should any part of the ceremony (e.g., the procession up the aisle) be stopped by the photographer. Flash photography is acceptable. If time permits, the church is available for a maximum time of 30 minutes after the ceremony for the taking of pictures.
Please note, the photographer should never remove items from the altar or anywhere else before taking pictures. The time allowed will be shortened if there are other weddings or church services to follow. If the services start on time, there will be more than enough time for pictures. (All this is especially true for 3:00 pm Saturday weddings.)
Video-taping of the wedding is certainly permitted by a professional. We ask that the taping take place from one spot only and without a sustained high intensity lamp turning on and off. The videographer is not allowed to walk around with his or her equipment nor set up a camera in the sanctuary.
Please show these guidelines to the photographers so they are aware of the restrictions and abide by our rules. Then, tell them they too must touch base with the priest prior to the ceremony. These guidelines will help to make your ceremony more reverent, special, and prayerful.
The Church fee is $1,000 which breaks down to and includes:
It is a requirement that one of the parties be a registered parishioner of at least four months when arranging the date for the wedding. Please register with the parish before making arrangements for the wedding. Registration can be done at the Rectory or online.
At least a partial payment of the wedding fee is necessary to secure the date and time for your wedding. If there is any financial difficulty, a wedding ceremony can be arranged for little or no cost. An additional $25 rice fee must be paid if rice is to be thrown. This money will go to feed the hungry in our community.
Wedding music fees are detailed below.
We ask that you remember that unlike a hall or a restaurant, the church is not "rented" for a wedding. As a place of worship it should be respected. It is also the symbol of the faith community before which you will be exchanging your vows. It should also be stated that the parish staff (priests, music director, altar servers, sacristans, etc.) are not employed by the couple getting married.
Respect with regards to punctuality and decorum in the church is essential. Drinking of alcohol before the rehearsal or ceremony will lead to the expulsion of those drinking from the church. Failure to comply could mean the forfeiture of the privilege of marriage in St. Gertrude Church at the discretion of the priest at any point in the preparation or ceremony.
You are expected to be on time for the rehearsal and the ceremony. We will not delay the start of another ceremony in church because of a tardy start of yours. The church is open one half hour before the ceremony. All weddings have 90 minutes for the ceremony and picture taking.
Fr. Rich deals only with the engaged couple and not with parents or wedding coordinators to avoid any confusion or miscommunication.
Remember, it is the love shared between the couple that calls down God's presence in the Sacrament of Matrimony. You are the ministers of this beautiful sacrament. As you schedule and work on all the details, try to relax.
The ceremony will be beautiful because the people in attendance are choosing to be there, drawn to the church by your love for each other. In the rush of things, take time for each other, support each other. We will do everything on our part to make your wedding a fitting and prayerful beginning to your Christian Marriage. Feel free to contact the Rectory at 773.764.3621 with any questions you might have.
An integral part of your wedding liturgy is the music. Saint Gertrude’s Music Director is looking forward to helping you through this important aspect of the planning. The Music Director will meet with you at a mutually convenient time. At this time, the Music Director will outline the Order of Service for the wedding showing you the many places where music would be appropriate. After hearing the choices, it is easy to find things that you both like and that work well in the liturgy.
Please know that Saint Gertrude’s Music Department is an excellent resource for soloists (male and/or female) and instrumentalists. Soloists offered by the Music Department are professionals that regularly do solo work in and around the Chicagoland area as well as singing in professional ensembles. All instruments are available through the Music Department and come highly recommended: trumpet(s), flute, oboe, strings, solo violin, cello, French horn, harp as well as combinations in trios and quartets. We even can recommend some fine bagpipe players!
The musicians that regularly play here are highly qualified and offer a fair price. Booking and arrangements should be made through the Music Department.
In following the liturgical guidelines of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Saint Gertrude does have some restrictions as to what you may choose to have played during the church service. These can be discussed during your planning meeting.
Finally, if you have a family member that would like to participate musically in the wedding, please call and make arrangements with the Music Director as soon as possible. Oftentimes, extra rehearsals need to be scheduled to rehearse and learn the music. An additional fee for these rehearsals will be charged.
Standard Wedding Music Fees:
Our wedding fee (referenced above) includes the following:
Each additional instrumentalist is $200. Please note, harp, timpani, and bagpipes are more expensive.
Our Music Director, Mary Clare Barker, can be reached by phone at the Rectory at 773.764.3621 or emailed at email@example.com.