The Catholic vision of marriage is rooted in Sacred Scripture and is expressed in the teachings and practices of the Church. It has these main elements:
Marriage unites a couple in faithful and mutual love
Marriage opens a couple to giving life
Marriage is a way to respond to God’s call to holiness
Marriage calls the couple to be a sign of Christ’s love in the world
Parishioners and their families are welcome to celebrate the sacrament of marriage at St. Christopher's Church. Please contact the Pastor at least one year in advance of your wedding date.
We would first like to Congratulations you on your engagement! This is an exciting and wonderful time in your life.
We are happy to assist you In planning your church wedding.
Please review the church and diocesan instruction before you call to book a date. A church wedding is not for everyone.
Please call our parish to make sure the date you are looking for is available. We book up quickly and some months are more popular than others.
Don’t hesitate to call and ask.
Make arrangements with our Pastor or other Catholic Priest to schedule marriage preparation.
Read through our Music Planning information and contact our Music Minister to plan for the music.
Familiarize yourself with our Flower Arrangement norms and Fees.
Select the readings for your wedding. (Linked PDF)
Church and Diocesan Instructions
The Diocese of Wilmington requires that a couple notify a priest at least twelve months before the wedding. Exceptions to this policy can be made by the local parish pastor. Those under the age of 18 will be discouraged from receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony until they have been evaluated by Catholic Social Services and permission from the Bishop has been obtained. Pregnancy is not a positive determining factor in proceeding with a marriage.
All couples must be spiritually prepared and free to marry in the Catholic Church. Couples marrying at St. Christopher’s must attend a marriage preparation course provided by the Diocese of Wilmington, or the Diocese in which they reside. The Pre-cana Certificate, along with the Spiritual and Personality Assessment, must be delivered to St. Christopher’s at least three months prior to the wedding date.
If either the bride or groom have had a previous marriage ending in divorce, they must speak to the pastor before a wedding date can be scheduled.
If a priest or deacon not affiliated with St. Christopher’s will be presiding at the wedding ceremony, they will be responsible for completing all paperwork and forwarding it to St. Christopher’s.
In an inter-faith marriage, our rule is to have a wedding ceremony, not a Mass. Special circumstances can be discussed with the priest.
Members of the Catholic faith must obtain a recent copy of their baptismal certificate dated no more than six months prior to their wedding date. You must obtain this certificate from the church in which you were baptized.
Weddings are celebrated on Saturdays at 2 PM. Approval must be received by the Pastor if another day or time is requested. The ceremony must start and end promptly. Ceremonies are expected to last no more than one hour. All members of the wedding party are to arrive ½ hour before the ceremony. Rehearsals are usually scheduled the evening before the wedding.
A Wedding Coordinator is provided by the parish for rehearsal and wedding ceremony planning and coordination.
The fee for weddings for parishioners is $500.00. This includes the services of our Wedding Coordinator (required) and the use of the Church for the rehearsal and wedding ceremony. This fee is due immediately upon setting the date of the wedding. If not received within 15 days of scheduling the wedding, your date and time will not be saved for you.
For information on fees associated with your wedding, please contact the rectory 410-643-6220 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Your Wedding Music at St. Christopher’s
St. Christopher’s music ministry shares in your joy over your upcoming wedding. We are honored to help you plan the music for your happy event.
What to do first:
The first step in planning music for your wedding is to contact our parish Director of Music and Ministry, Maryalice Davis. It is never too early to begin to plan for your ceremony, but you should contact Maryalice at least six months before your wedding.
Please contact Maryalice at either of the following:
Email: email@example.com or (410)643-6220 X-213
You can schedule a in person, or plan over the phone and through emails.
When you talk with Maryalice she will explain what happens during a Catholic wedding and where music fits into the celebration. She will help you plan the scripture readings for your liturgy and will discuss the selections available to you and begin a “working list” of music that can be used for your wedding. You do not have to have specific songs in mind before you contact Maryalice, she will be able to provide you with suggestions for your wedding. However, if you already have some ideas for your wedding, you should be prepared with that list.
You will also discuss the musicians available for your wedding. Most weddings at St. Christopher’s have a Vocal Soloist (cantor) and Organist for the wedding. These musicians come from our parish. It is possible to use other musicians in addition to the organist and cantor. That is something to you can discuss with the music director.
Music for Catholic weddings:
The Catholic Church requires that all music used in Catholic worship must reverently reflect the sacred prayer that is being celebrated. Music perceived as “secular” (non-sacred) by our culture may not be used in Catholic worship. Music for a Catholic wedding with a mass also includes music for the sung texts of the wedding liturgy - the peoples’ texts-that are often sung by your guests as part of your wedding celebration. If you plan to use musicians from elsewhere, your musicians will also be required to observe the Catholic Church’s music requirements. Therefore, you will need to plan this music with the music director for her to review before your wedding. A more complete explanation of what is appropriate music, where music can be placed in a Catholic wedding and lists of typical music selections can all be found in the document:
The normal structure of a Wedding Liturgy is as follows:
WEDDING SERVICE AND MASS:
Gathering Hymn – (sung)
Greeting by the Priest/Deacon
Gloria – (sung)
Opening Prayer – Priest/Deacon
First Reading (Old Testament) by a Reader
Responsorial Psalm (sung)
Second Reading (New Testament) by a second Reader
Alleluia and Verse (sung)
Gospel Reading by priest or deacon
Homily – Priest/Deacon
Exchange of vows and rings
Prayer of the Faithful by a Reader
NUPTIAL MASS: (add these parts)
Preparation of Gifts (sung)
Mass Parts: -Sung
Eucharistic Prayer Communion Prayer – Priest
Sign of Peace
Communion Hymn (sung)
[Dedication of flowers to Our Lady - optional]
Planning Your Wedding Music
St. Christopher's Church
1861 Harbor Dr.
Chester, MD 21619-0660
Parish Office: 410-643-6220
Hours: Mon.–Fri. ( 9:00 – 4:00 p.m.)