The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Bride and Groom
Either the bride or the groom should be a registered member of St. Luke’s parish and must be a Catholic (baptized as a Catholic or received into the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation).
If either party has been previously married, this fact must be made known to the parish priest. A wedding date may not be set unless and until the previous marriage has been declared invalid by the Church Tribunal.
If either party is non-Catholic, the priest will have to obtain a dispensation from the Bishop for the marriage. The Catholic party is required to reaffirm their faith, exhibit a willingness to continue living the faith, and promise to do all in their power to have the children baptized and raised Catholic.
An additional dispensation is required for marriage in a non-Catholic Church ceremony.
If either party is non-Catholic and wishes to become a Catholic they may take part in the parish RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process.
Catholics who have not received the sacrament of Confirmation are to receive it before marriage, if possible
Your parish priest is the usual presider at weddings. A priest who is a friend or relative may preside – arrangements must be made through a priest at St. Luke’s.
The parish arranges for two altar servers unless the rectory secretary (215-572-0128) is notified that you are choosing your own. The customary tip for the altar servers is $20 each.
Only music from approved liturgical sources may be used in church. You may use St. Luke’s musicians for your music. If you choose to use an outside musician, the musical selections must be approved by the parish music director or representative.
Floral decorations in good taste are permitted in the sanctuary (the area of the church near the altar). Flowers may not be placed on the altar, or directly in front of it (that is where the exchange of vows take place). Flowers used near the altar are to remain in church after the ceremony.
A runner for the center aisle is neither necessary nor recommended. If you wish one it can be obtained from your florist. The center aisle is 65 feet long.
No candles may be placed in the aisles or attached to the pews.
Your photographer is permitted to take photographs throughout the ceremony. The photographer is not permitted in the sanctuary and should not be a distraction. Floodlights are not permitted. The photographer must consult with the presiding priest prior to the ceremony.
There may be a brief period for photographs in the church following the ceremony. These sessions must be completed at least one-half hour before the next scheduled activity in the church. Check with the parish secretary before scheduling this after-ceremony photo session.
There are many readings available for the marriage ceremony and Nuptial Mass. You should consult with the priest to determine the options available. You might select members of the bridal party or family to be lectors. (The lector at Mass must be a Catholic.) Your parents or other members of the family may present the gifts at Mass.
All readings, prayers, blessings, and vows must be from approved texts.
If one party to the marriage is unbaptized, a Nuptial Mass is not permitted.
Order of Service for Weddings – useful when preparing programs.
St. Luke’s celebrates weddings any day of the week, except Sunday. Certain days may be excluded because of the liturgical calendar (for example, Good Friday). Weddings on Saturday are scheduled between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
Out of respect for the season, no weddings are celebrated during Lent.
We recommend having the receiving line at the reception.
Nothing is to be thrown or released inside church or on the church grounds. No rice, confetti, balloons, bubbles, etc.
No alcoholic beverages are to be consumed on Church property (including parking lots and sidewalks adjacent to the Church) either before or after the rehearsal or wedding.
Please be prompt for all appointments (including wedding) and remind your bridal party to do the same.
The Church fee for weddings is $400 for parishioners and $650 for others.
You may give a gift to the presiding priest.
If you have any questions concerning your wedding, call the rectory office at 215-572-0128.
- The couple must contact the church at least six months before the anticipated date for the wedding. At that time the couple receives the Marriage Memorandum (click here) .
- After the return of the completed Marriage Memorandum, the date for the wedding may be scheduled.
- Both the bride and the groom are required to attend a Marriage Preparation Program (Pre-Cana) prior to the wedding. The Archdiocese offers a number of programs throughout the year. Visit PhilaMarriagePrep.com for more information and to register.
- After completing the Marriage Preparation program, the couple will meet with the parish priest to complete the Pre-Nuptial Investigation. Documents needed for this meeting are
- a new copy of baptismal certificate, issued within the preceding six months
- a Letter of Freedom from home parish (not necessary for St. Luke parishioner) or notarized letter from parent or other relative that the bride or groom is free to marry
- certificate of attendance at Pre-Cana program
- You need a Pennsylvania Marriage License. This is valid for sixty days from issue and may be obtained at any county courthouse. Give the entire license to the parish priest at the rehearsal.
- Bring the church fee to the rehearsal.