Preliminary Arrangements

The wedding Mass or ceremony is a public acknowledgement of a couple’s willingness to take on the responsibilities of marriage. A priest or deacon is the ordained minister of the church who can officiate at your wedding and witness your vows of mutual love. Our ministry to you begins before the actual ceremony and is offered to you as our community of faith supported by the Christian ministry.

Father Timothy J. Kruthaupt, Pastor or Father James Petrovsky, SPA can serve as the celebrant for weddings. However, a couple is welcome to have a priest, who is relative or a family friend, concelebrate, or if the priest is a relative or family friend, he may act as the celebrant for the wedding with the approval of the pastor. The priest must, however, contact Father Tim Kruthaupt to discuss the upcoming wedding.

Ministers of other Christian denominations may participate in marriages between a Catholic and non-Catholic. Their participation, however, will follow guidelines as set forth by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, and the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. The minister is required to contact the pastor to discuss their participation.

Dates and Times

A marriage date is set by first contacting the parish office. The parish secretary will let you know if the date is available in the parish calendar. Then the secretary will contact Father Tim to determine if his schedule is open to the requested date.

Once the priest confirms the requested date, the date will be set and recorded in the parish calendar and the priest’s schedule.

Please do not make any other commitments relative to the wedding, e.g. renting a venue for the reception, etc., until the date is officially confirmed.

A nine to 12 month advance notice for preparation is required. Please note a date cannot be set if one of the parties has determined that an annulment is necessary, or if an annulment case is pending.

The Roman Catholic Church does not permit weddings to be celebrated outside the church building. There are no exceptions to this guideline. A priest or deacon can only celebrate a marriage in a church.

Permission can be given by the local bishop for a couple to be married by a minister of the non-Catholic in the non-Catholic’s church.

Weddings are usually celebrated on Saturdays, but may be celebrated on another day of the week, with the exception of Sunday or a holy day of obligation.

Other specific dates that Weddings cannot be scheduled include Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or the parish festival weekend.

Occasionally other dates may be unavailable due to previously scheduled parish events. During the Liturgical Season of Lent weddings are not scheduled, and during the liturgical season of Advent scheduling of weddings is not encouraged.

During the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Easter, the sanctuary and church are already decorated and additional flowers are not permitted.

 The latest time for a Saturday wedding is 1:30 p.m. An earlier time can be arranged if the parish schedule permits. Time for weddings on weekdays can be negotiated with the pastor, with regard to the parish schedule.

 Meeting with the Pastor

You will have a series of meetings with the parish priest, beginning approximately six to nine months prior to the wedding date. It will be your responsibility to contact the priest and schedule the first appointment. These meetings are essential to our ministry to you and your preparation. In these meetings the basic wedding paperwork will be completed.

 You will be given the FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding Study) Inventory, which the Diocese of Greensburg requires for couples preparing for marriage. This is a very useful tool to ascertain a perception of yourself and the person you are to marry.

 The priest will provide you with a copy of the “Together for Life” booklet, which will assist you in the planning of your marriage.

 A couple seeking to married in the church should be practicing the faith (i.e. celebrating the Sunday Eucharist regularly/weekly with the parish community). The fundamental purpose of the Sunday gathering is to acknowledge God’s presence; offer him worship; and to unite yourself with Christ and his community of believers.

 The Roman Catholic Church and diocesan policy requires that every couple planning to celebrate marriage have some form of instruction for the sacrament. This requirement is normally fulfilled by participation in an Engaged Encounter Weekend; it is advisable to attend the weekend earlier, rather than later.

 This requirement can also be fulfilled through meeting with a parish sponsor couple from our parish of who will hold a series of meetings with the engaged couple discussing important topics that will aid them in having a strong relationship, and providing the necessary tools to have a strong, lifelong relationship with each other and God.  It is acceptable to enter into one of these programs as early as 18 months prior to your wedding day.

The Ceremony

The history of the unity candle is unclear, but it appears to have begun in the 1970’s. This ritual has secular origins, and has since enjoyed widespread commercialization by the wedding industry, leading to increased cost to the wedding.

 The use of the unity candle is strongly discouraged at Historic Church of St. Peter & St. Cecilia because of the candle’s secular origins and lack of Christian symbolism. The true symbolism of a Christian wedding is your exchange of vows and exchange of rings.

 The usual placement of the lighting of the unity candle after these important and sacramental moments makes it appear that this unnecessary gesture is the culmination of the rite, but in reality is just a gratuitous addition.

 Couples may choose to take flowers to the parents during the sign of peace, but it is not required. Taking flowers to the image of the Blessed Mother is not (despite common misconceptions) part of the Catholic Rite of Marriage. This gesture only has importance if a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary exists. In such cases, the couple may take flowers to a representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Official Witnesses and the Wedding Party

Your best man and maid/matron of honor are the official witnesses. They need not be Catholic, but all who are asked to participate should believe and live according to Christian traditions.

 If a flower girl is used, she may not drop flower petals down the aisle, as this presents a safety hazard.

 Gentlemen in the wedding party are not permitted to wear hats of any sort, at any time, while in the church. This includes the rehearsal and wedding day.

 The church does not regulate the size of your wedding party. All that are necessary are a bride, groom, two witnesses, and a priest or deacon. It is at your discretion as to the numbers you want in your wedding party.

 The witnesses (best man and maid/matron of honor) and the other members of the wedding party will be seated in the first pew, or as negotiated with the priest at the rehearsal.

 The actual Rite of Marriage takes place immediately following the homily. After the Rite of Marriage, the newly married couple will take their place at the kneeler in front of the sanctuary.

 Rehearsals are generally scheduled the evening prior to the wedding day, and should not last longer than one hour. We ask you please stress punctuality with your wedding party and schedule accordingly.

 Proper behavior and attire is necessary during the rehearsal and wedding. Please make note, that there is no music at the time of rehearsal.

Usage of the Church

 The church will be open and available to your wedding party and guests one hour before and one hour after the wedding. Please be ready to start the wedding and rehearsal on time. This is important because of other possible liturgical services in the church. On Saturdays, reconciliation is scheduled from 3:00 p.m.-3:45 p.m., and Mass at 4:00 p.m. (DST) or 4:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m., and Mass at 5:00 p.m.

 People attending these will begin arriving and entering the church for prayer. Please remember: The church is a holy place; a house of prayer; a house of worship. A respect for the house of God is expected. This means, the church and its’ grounds are not to be treated as a mere social gathering place.

 While absolute silence is not expected, a reverential quiet should be observed at all times in the church. Please conduct yourselves in a manner befitting God’s house. You are responsible to kindly inform your wedding party, guests, family, and videographers and photographers as to this conduct.

Decorations for the Wedding Mass/Ceremony

 Only live flowers are permitted for use in the church and those used in the sanctuary are to remain for the weekend liturgies. Nothing is to be placed on the altar.

 The sanctuary will not be rearranged to accommodate flowers. The florist that is chosen, must contact the parish office seven to five days before the wedding to inform us the time they will be at the church to place the flowers in the sanctuary or in other areas of the church.

 If you choose a holiday time for your wedding, for example, the Christmas or Easter season, please be aware that the church decorations will stay in keeping with the season and not be changed or moved for the wedding.

 Pew bows, if desired, are to be secured by clip, elastic, or string. No tape or adhesives are permitted on any of the furnishings in the church.

 A crash (the white runner covering the main aisle) is not permitted, as it presents a safety hazard.

 Please do not use glitter-filled bouquets or have your bridesmaids covered with glitter. This creates quite a mess in the pews and floors in the church.

 Rice, birdseed, or confetti may not be used after the ceremony to greet the newly married couple, nor may balloons or doves be released. However, bells or bubbles may be used, but not brought into the church.

 It will be your responsibility to have the church cleared of all decorations and left as you found it. You can, however, choose for a fee to have the parish maintenance staff handle post ceremony cleaning.

Videographers and Photographers

 We welcome videographers and photographers to Historic Church of St. Peter. It is important that you be made aware of several items. There are specific locations in the church which work best for taking pictures and filming.

 They are the side aisles or the center aisle entrance of the church. There are no cameras or video equipment permitted in the sanctuary (altar) area during the wedding. Stationary cameras or video equipment can be used, however, they cannot block the main or side aisles. This is for fire or emergency safety.

 Please check with the priest before setting up. Extra lighting, sound equipment, microphones, flashes, ladders, and other such equipment are not permitted. Flash can be used only during the processional and recessional.

 Photographers and Videographers are asked to be as discreet and professional as possible. Processions or rituals are not to be slowed or interrupted for taking pictures or videos. The photographers and videographers are to be dressed in attire appropriate for the celebration.

 No jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or tennis shoes are permitted, as they are part of the wedding party and improper attire detracts from the magnitude of the celebration.

 Receiving Line and Photographs

A receiving line is at the discretion of the couple. Bear in mind, however, that a receiving line limits the time available for post-wedding pictures. When pictures are being taken, all are reminded to be conscious of the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle. Respectful behavior at this time is expected.

 Remember, you are still in the house of God, not in a hall, ballroom, or restaurant. No one is permitted to run or walk in the sanctuary (altar) area of the church. Furniture cannot be moved or rearranged. Nothing is to be placed on the altar, for it is where the bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ, and it is the most sacred place in the church. The altar is not another piece of furniture.

General Policies of the Church

 All alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited both inside and outside of the church or on church property. If anyone in the wedding party consumes alcohol before the ceremony, they will not be permitted to participate in the wedding mass/ceremony, there can be no exceptions. It is your responsibility to be sure that everyone is aware of this policy.

 If either the bride or groom are found to be consuming alcohol prior to the wedding, no marriage will take place.  According to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, a couple under the influence of alcohol are incapable of freely and validly exchanging consent.

 Smoking is prohibited (in keeping with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) inside or outside the church.

 Much effort has been expended our parish volunteers to beautify the parish grounds. We do not appreciate you or your guests marring what has been accomplished at such loving effort.

 The church is not responsible for any personal property left behind.

 It is within the right of the priest or deacon to delay witnessing a marriage for a just cause. This would include:

  • Lack of minimum faith
  • Severe faith conflicts
  • Lack of a readiness for marriage
  • Refusal of the couple or wedding party to adhere to pre-marriage requirements and guidelines

Professional pre-marriage counseling may be required in the case of the couple

Music

 As you begin your initial planning and preparation, please contact our principal organist, Eric Blanda by phone at 412-582-2512.

 Actual planning can be scheduled about eight weeks prior to your wedding. The primary organist will work with the bridal couple to help make suitable music selections for the wedding liturgy and assist in completing the music selection form.

 Since the nature of the wedding is religious, only liturgically appropriate music may be used. The music should complement the liturgy and not compete with it.  The ministry of cantor is proper liturgical junction and is required for all wedding liturgies.

The liturgy is the living prayer of the church; pre-recorded and/or secular music is not permitted. This general policy applies to both prelude and the liturgy rites. 

The parish’s organist will be the primary musician for your wedding. The parish organist has the right of first refusal, if unavailable.

 The organist will have a pre-wedding consultation where music for the wedding is discussed, both the prelude and the wedding liturgy/ceremony itself. An outside organist will be permitted if our principal organist is unavailable.

 If the organist is unavailable or is not the primary musician, the guest organist will still need to meet with the organist to discuss music. The principal organist will plan all music for your wedding.

 Any guest soloist will also need to meet with the principal organist. Guest soloists, musicians, and outside organists must follow parish wedding policies concerning music, and they all must be of high quality and have experience with Catholic liturgy.

 There is no musical accompaniment at the time of rehearsal. If there is need for rehearsal with guest soloist or musicians, prior meeting arrangements are recommended with the principal organist and an additional fee is required.

 Stipends for all musicians will be the exclusive responsibility of the bride and groom. The parish accepts no responsibility for payment. In order to avoid any confusion, you are requested to please have all stipends ready before the wedding begins. If you prefer, they may be remitted prior to or at the rehearsal.

Stipends and Fees (Please call the office for further information)