Please note - while the general information here is correct, some of the documents at the bottom of this page need updating.
If you wish to arrange a wedding at Sacred Heart, you should contact the priest at least 6 months before the planned date.
If you want to see the Church - we recommend that you come to one of our weekend masses: At Sacred Heart, Hanley on Saturday at 12.05pm or Sunday at 11am when you will see the Church "in action" - take part in worship in the Church, hear the organ being played and people singing, have some experience of our parish community, and also have an opportunity to meet the priest.
To check on dates that are already booked for weddings, look at the Parish Calendar.
First, check this:
are you or the person you hope to marry a baptised Catholic?
will this be the first time either of you have married?
If the answer to either of these questions is 'no', (or you are uncertain) then you is possible you will not be able to marry at Sacred Heart (or at least, it may take some time to arrange). You should speak to the priest as soon as possible.
When you have contacted the priest he will arrange to meet with both of you. As you prepare for your wedding you will need to meet with the priest at least three times. He will explain all this when you meet.
There is some paperwork which you will need to gather. This will include
Baptism certificates for both of you (Do you know where, when and if you were baptised? It is helpful if you find out before the first meeting with the priest).
Certificates from the Registrar to allow your marriage at Sacred Heart (see the registrar about 6 months before the wedding)
You may also need to get written permission from the priest in the parish where you live, if you do not live in Hanley parish.
How much will it cost?
In most circumstances, you would expect to pay to the Church about £400. This includes the services of the priest, the organist, and the use of the Church. For a precise figure, please consult the priest.
There are other costs of which you also need to be aware.
You must get a certificate from the Registrar (people sometimes call this a "license") in order to get married in the Catholic Church in England - this costs about £35 each - the Registrar's office will give you the exact figure. This fee does not go to the Church.
You will be encouraged to follow a day course with Marriage Care. The full information is to be found in the 2015 leaflet which you can download here.
You may want flowers in Church - usually you provide these yourselves, but the Church's own flower arrangers may be able to help with this. The costs of flowers can vary from a little to a lot!
When you are spending a lot of money on the ceremony and the celebrations afterwards, these are a very small proportion of your total cost. However, if finances are very difficult, and you are planning a very simple wedding, the Priest will be very happy to discuss the arrangements. In all cases though, legal fees have to be paid.
To prepare for marriage in the Church you will need to meet with the priest on about four occasions, including the rehearsal. We also encourage you to follow a day course with the organisation Marriage Care. The full information is to be found in the 2015 leaflet which you can download here.
Planning the Service
At the bottom of this page are some documents to help with the planning of your service.
The Order of Service
Marriage can be celebrated during Mass. This is usually chosen by a catholic couple who are regular and committed mass-goers. Other couples generally prefer the marriage to be celebrated outside mass (often called a "service"). The differences between the two kinds of celebration are not great, though a mass may well have more music and therefore be a little longer.
Here is a an simple outline of the order of service, as it usually takes place at Sacred Heart. If you want to include an outline in a printed order of service, then we suggest you include only the words in bold.
Entrance of the Bride
Welcome and Opening Prayer
Readings from Scripture including Psalm or Hymn
When there is a Mass the Offertory, Eucharistic Prayer and Communion follows
The Signing of the Registers
The Wedding Procession
For more information, consult the priest.
Choice of Music
There are often five (or more) items of music which you may choose for your wedding:
Music for the entrance of the bride
Two hymns (typically)
Music during the signing of the registers (if not chosen, the organist will play something appropriate)
Music for the procession of the newly-weds out of the Church
Please note that you do not have to choose any music at all - but this is a typical pattern.
Readings and Readers
There are a small number of readings during the service
a first reading, followed by a psalm or hymn (sometimes omitted) - this can be read by a family member or members
a Gospel reading - read by the priest
the Bidding Prayers - introduced by the priest and read by one or more family members
At the bottom of this page, you can download sample readings and prayers. Other appropriate Bible readings are possible. The prayers may be adapted for the situation of the family. (The priest should approve choices and adaptations before the wedding).
Sometimes couples ask for a poem to be read. Often this would be more appropriate at the reception. If it is to be read in Church, this would be at the end of the service and must be approved in advance by the priest.
Other Roles for family members
In addition to the familiar roles of Best Man, Bridesmaid, and Father of the Bride there are other roles in the celebration which could be taken by family members.
the ushers, who hand out service cards or hymn books and direct people to their seats
witnesses: two people who sign the marriage register as witnesses
in addition, at a mass there is a role for
two or more people to take part in the offertory procession
altar servers (who should already be altar servers at Sacred Heart or another Catholic Church)
extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist (if there are family members who perform this role)
For all arrangements, it is essential to consult with the priest who will be very happy to advise and help you.
Have a look at the documents below which may provide some help - though some also need to be updated! (21 August 2013)