St. Alphonsus Church
54 E. Prospect Street
Hopewell, NJ 08525
guidelines have been developed to help in the planning of your wedding.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call the parish office at
Marriage is a sacrament of
the Catholic Church that is celebrated in a sacred place. Therefore we
remind you that modest attire is not only appropriate, but is also a
sign of respect and reverence for God’s house. We ask you to reconcile
fashion with modest attire so that your celebration will be both joyful
Date and time of your wedding
new regulations of the Diocese of Trenton, as of October 1, 2003,
couples can no longer set a date and time over the phone for their
wedding. Please call the parish office to schedule a meeting with the
priest or deacon you wish to be a part of your wedding day.
Pre-Cana or Engaged encounter
A Pre-Cana or
Engaged Encounter Weekend is a required part of the marriage preparation
program. The Pre-Cana Conference program is held frequently during the
year at various times and at many locations throughout the Diocese of
Trenton. Your officiant will supply you with a booklet that contains
The Engaged Encounter
Weekend, extending from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, is usually
held at a local retreat house. Because it is a full weekend program, it
affords greater opportunity for sharing, reflection, and gathering a
view of married life that can extend beyond the wedding day. You should
plan to attend this special preparation sometime after you have had your
first meeting with your officiant, but please reserve your time as early
as possible. The conferences and weekends fill up quickly. You may
attend a Pre-Cana Conference or Engaged Encounter Weekend sponsored by
Catholic agencies outside of the Diocese of Trenton.
Church Certificates Needed
a.) If Catholic, a certificate should be issued from parish of
baptism within six months of the wedding.
b.) If a baptized Christian, a copy of your baptismal certificate is
If Catholic, a copy of
your First Communion and Confirmation certificates are needed.
If you have not lived in
your present parish since your Confirmation, or if you are not
Catholic, witnesses are needed to fill out a form testifying to your
freedom to marry. These forms must be filled out with a Catholic
You must obtain a
civil marriage license prior to your rehearsal date. The license is
good for only 30 days. After you apply for your marriage license, you
may not pick it up until 72 hours have elapsed. For more information,
please call the town hall in which you live. The marriage license may be
brought to the rehearsal.
Altar Flowers and Runners
the altar are up to you to obtain from whatever florist you
choose. Usually there are two bouquets placed on either side of the
altar. We encourage couples getting married the same day to purchase
their flowers together. Our insurance company has informed us that the
white runners are no longer allowed.
Rehearsal Time and Wedding Time
scheduled with the Church and with the priest or deacon celebrating your
wedding. Please make sure your entire wedding party is on time for the
rehearsal and the wedding itself. A late start for your wedding may
cause your liturgy to be shortened.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
fully in your wedding, it is appropriate for all Catholics to go to
Confession. Please ask the priest or deacon about the Sacrament of
Reconciliation during your preparation meetings.
throughout your wedding liturgy are acceptable. We do ask that you tell
your photographer about the following rules:
He or she is not to stop
the procession entering or leaving the Church.
No photographer is
allowed on the steps or the sanctuary area.
No photographer should
block the view of your guests. Nor should a photographer walk in
front of the first pew.
Formal pictures may be taken
in the sanctuary after the ceremony, time permitting. If you have a
Saturday afternoon wedding, we remind you that Confessions begin at
4:00, so you will need to be finished with your pictures by 3:55. We
remind you and the photographer that you are still in Church. Please
keep your voices low and be as respectful as possible. Your photographer
will have about 15 minutes after your ceremony for these formal
The fee for the Church
has been set at $300 for active parishioners; $400 for inactive or non-parishioners. This fee should be brought to the
rehearsal with the marriage license.
Gerard Mirandilla is our Director of Music Ministry.
His phone number is 732-618-7372. After the wedding date is confirmed with the priest and the church,
please contact the Director of Music Ministry regarding organ music, possibly other instruments, and a vocalist
for the wedding. The Director of Music Ministry will help you choose appropriate liturgical music for your wedding.
The fee for music is set between the bridal couple and Gerard Mirandilla and /or other musicians and vocalists, and
is paid directly to them.
If you plan to use musicians and /or vocalists that
do not regularly serve at St. Alphonsus, please seek the Pastor's permission before making your own arrangements.
Rice, Confetti, and Birdseed
We do not
allow the throwing of rice, birdseed, or confetti on Church grounds.
People have slipped on it and have been seriously hurt. We also do not
allow the scattering of flower petals by any of the attendants.
Wedding Candle (unity candle)
wedding candle, sometimes referred to as the unity candle, is not part
of the Church’s marriage rite, it is regarded by many as an intrusion
into the ceremony. Moreover, when its use is accompanied by words of
explanation, it overburdens the ceremony (especially the Mass) and
overshadows the primary symbols, namely the exchange of consent (vows)
and the exchange of rings, which should stand out above all else. These
are the Church’s symbols of unity.
Because of its overpowering
presence, however, some couples think that the wedding candle is an
integral part of the marriage rite, when in reality; it is frowned upon
by some priests, and even forbidden by others. Nevertheless, it has
become a popular visual symbol. You may want to consider using it as
part of the “table prayer” at your reception, rather than adding it to
the church ceremony.
Here is a “table grace” which
may be used before the wedding banquet. It incorporates a ceremony of
lighting the wedding candle. Why not consider giving it a try? You and
your guests might be surprised at the effect it will have. Used at the
wedding banquet, rather than during the liturgy, it can be an effective
reminder of what happened in Church. It may help those who attend only
the reception to connect with the marriage ceremony.
LIGHTING THE WEDDING CANDLE
AND THE TABLE PRAYER
candle, two side candles, matches and tapers for lighting are set up at
the table where the newly-married couple will be seated.
Just before the entrance of
the bridal party, the parents (or family representatives) light the two
The bridal party enters the
reception hall according to custom.
Once all are in place a
designated person may offer a blessing for the meal using the following
or similar words.
Jesus, be present among us
as you were present at Cana in Galilee.
Come with abundant gifts for N. and N.
May their union in marriage
truly image your love for your Church.
Bless all of us, too,
who have come to join with them
in joyful celebration.
We thank you, Lord, for this food
and for the grace to eat it together.
May we all feast with you one day
at the banquet of eternal life.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Immediately following the
blessing, one of the attendants (possibly the matron of honor) continues
the prayer with the lighting of the wedding candle saying:
We continue to ask
God’s blessing upon N. and N. as we celebrate their commitment to
each other in the sacrament of matrimony.
sign of their marriage, they light the wedding candle from the two
candles which represent their individual lives.
Lighting their tapers from
the two side candles, the bride and groom join the two flames and light
the wedding candle.
As the two flames
become one, symbolizing their union with each other in the Lord, we
ask God to bless their marriage, and to keep N. and N. close to him
in the years ahead.
May they always turn
to God in times of joy and in times of need. We pray this through
Christ our Lord. Amen.
The two side candles are
The best man may offer the
The reception continues.
Life After The Wedding
As you begin
your life together, it is very important that you become members of a
parish. If you intend to live within the boundaries of St. Alphonsus,
you must now register as a family. If you move into another parish, it
is very important that you register in that parish as soon as possible.