Congratulations

The St. Barnabas Parish Family rejoices in your decision to love and marry each other.  We are happy that you have decided to come to our parish to prepare to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage.  As you know you are not just preparing for the Wedding Day, but a new life together as husband and wife.

No doubt you will spend much time in planning your big day with dresses, invitations, tuxedoes etc.  But it is now most important for you to take a keen interest in the Sacrament of Marriage.

In order to make sure that you are willing and prepared to enter into the Sacrament of Marriage, and in order to preserve the sacredness and meaning of this sacrament, St. Barnabas and the Diocese of Trenton presents these guidelines for our couples who are taking this most significant step in life.  It may seem like a lot of information, but please read it over carefully so that you have no problem with what is required and things will flow smoothly for you.

It is our hope that your Wedding will be a beautiful celebration and we want to help you be assured of this.  It is even more our hope that your marriage is beautiful, life-giving and truly sacramental in every way.

Why Marry at St. Barnabas?

Today , couples have many options available to them in the way they choose to live their commitment to one another.  In choosing to be married in the Catholic Church couples are expressing not only their commitment to one another, but also their commitment to the Church and the community of faith.  Therefore a choice to be married “in the Church” at St. Barnabas makes sense if:

  • a person has a faithful relationship with the Lord.
  • At least one person is a practicing Catholic who takes that commitment seriously.
  • Both are physically, psychologically and emotionally mature enough to make a permanent, exclusive commitment.  (given the fact that we expect such maturity we ask that parents not be involved in the wedding planning process at the parish)
  • The couple gives witness to their faith and to their appreciation of the Sacrament of Marriage by striving to live according to the teachings of the Church

Please Note:  Parents are respectfully asked NOT to be involved in the preparation and planning process at the parish.  This is for couples ONLY.  If a couple is mature enough to be married, there is no need for mothers or fathers to get involved in this process.  Parents will be kindly asked to have their daughters or sons contact us directly. Questions and concerns brought to us by parents will be re-directed to the couple.  Parents must not attend parish meetings with the couple unless the couple is under the age requirement of the State of NJ.  Thank you!

Wedding Times

WEDDINGS TAKE PLACE AT ST. BARNABAS ON SATURDAYS ONLY AT 11:00AM AND 2:00PM, ON FRIDAYS WEDDING CEREMONIES ONLY ARE PERMITTED AT 4:00PM

What Documents are Needed?

1.A Baptismal Certificate DATED WITHIN ONE YEAR of the wedding (NOT YOUR ORIGINAL) along with a CONFIRMATION certificate.  (If you have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation please discuss this with the priest or deacon.  The RCIA program is available to you, but not mandatory.)
2.The Pre-Marital Inquiry will be done at your First and Second meetings along with the FOCUS instrument which is a compatibility profile.
3.a certificate indicating the completion of the Pre-Cana session
4.a MARRIAGE LICENSE obtained WITHIN  30 DAYS of the Wedding.  It is obtained:

  • From the town in NJ where the bride resides
  • Or from the town in NJ where the groom resides
  • Or from Berkeley Township if the legal residence of both the bride and groom is outside the state of NJ. 

The Berkeley Township Clerk can be reached at 732-244-7400 ext. 14.
The witnesses sign the license and THE LICENSE MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE WEDDING REHEARSAL.  Weddings cannot take place without a civil license.

What About the Wedding Itself?

The actual details regarding the Marriage Rite of the Catholic Church are the last thing we will plan together.  Before this discussion takes place there is much to talk about regarding the couple’s relationship with each other and God, plans for a future family, communication etc. 
At the Third Session the Liturgy planning will take place only after the couple has carefully and prayerfully discussed the actual ceremony. 
The celebration of the Rite of Marriage belongs to the Church at large.  Although there is some flexibility within the Rite, it must be in accordance with Liturgical and Diocesan guidelines.  All sacramental celebrations belong to the community of the
Church, so it is not simply about the couple.  In choosing St. Barnabas for your wedding, we assume you agree with our policies presented here..  We thank you for your cooperation as we work together for the beauty and sanctity of your wedding ceremony.
In order for the liturgy to fully reflect its religious and spiritual nature, we encourage you to invite family members, friends, or members of your wedding party to take special roles during the celebration. 

Planning the Wedding Liturgy

  • The date should be arranged with the Church FIRST before any reception plans are made.
  • All Wedding plans need to be approved by a priest or deacon from St. Barnabas Parish
  • Readings:  You may have two readings from Scripture read by friends or relatives. The Prayer of the Faithful may also be read by friends or relatives.  The priest will read the Gospel.  So you need to choose 3 people to read. Since Scripture must be heard and understood, the person (s) you choose should have a strong and articulate speaking voice. 
  • If you are having a Mass you may ask 2 people to bring up the Offertory Gifts (bread and wine).
  • If you include children in your wedding party we ask that they be at least five years old.  If they carry rings they should carry props, the real rings should be held by the Best Man or Maid of Honor.  It is strongly advised that the couple exercise good judgment when making their choice regarding the involvement of children.  Weddings and public display can be traumatic to some children.  We ask that all children be at least 5 years old and care should be taken when deciding where the child will sit during the service.  Younger children should be seated in a pew with a parent or another relative.  Please make informed and prudent choices in determining how best to involve children in the wedding party. This day should focus on the couple and the Sacrament, it is not meant to be about anything else.

Visiting Priests and Deacons:  Priests and Deacons from outside St. Barnabas are most welcome.  They need to be delegated by our pastor and have a letter from their Diocesan Chancery indicating that they are in good standing.  They are asked to respect the practice of the celebration of weddings at St. Barnabas. 


Witnesses:  At least one witness (the BEST MAN and MAID OR MATRON OF HONOR) must be a practicing Catholic according to Church law.

The Rehearsal

The rehearsal date should be made at your First meeting.  It is usually the evening before the wedding.  It includes the wedding party and anyone else taking part in the ceremony (readers, gift bearers etc.)  Please ask these people to commit themselves to both the wedding and the rehearsal.  PLEASE BRING YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE TO THE REHEARSAL as well as any optional donations to the priest or deacon.  We want you to come on your wedding day and not have to worry about any paperwork or money, so we take care of this at the rehearsal. If you plan to have a Unity Candle please bring that to the rehearsal as well.
PLEASE COMMIT TO BEING ON TIME FOR THE WEDDING AND THE REHEARSAL AND TAKE THIS COMMITMENT SERIOUSLY.  THERE IS MUCH HAPPENING IN OUR PARISH ON WEEKENDS.  THANK YOU!

Music

Sacred music is an essential part of the Church’s tradition of prayer, it sets the tone for the experience.  Music invites the assembly to participate with heart, mind and spirit.  Music is not just a “nice touch” to the liturgy, but indeed draws the whole person into the celebration; it is therefore not an option not to have music since it is very much a part of the Sacramental celebration.  Our Music Director will assist you in the selection of the music for your wedding.  Popular songs that have special meaning for the couple are more appropriate at the reception.  To schedule an appointment to plan your music selections, contact our Music minister through our parish office.  Please make your appointment 2-3 months before the wedding. 

Contact

Parish Office: 732-269-2208

 

Flowers & Wedding Decorations

The flowers used for your wedding should be in accordance with the Church environment and Liturgical Season. Please inform your florist that nothing should be moved that is already in the Church or Sanctuary.  The flowers which are placed in the Church are considered a DONATION to St. Barnabas and should remain in the Church after your wedding.  If you wish to take your flowers with you, please inform the priest or deacon so we can plan on replacing them for the weekend Masses.  Please also remind your florist that any bows or floral pieces that are placed on pews that use glue, tape, or wire cannot be used.  Rubber bands or pipe cleaners can be used.  Flowers are NOT to be placed on the Altar Table itself.  Arbors, gates, trellises, gazebos, lanterns and torches or any other architectural or garden structures are also prohibited.

A WEDDING CANDLE OR UNITY CANDLE is permitted during Weddings at St. Barnabas, but it must be provided by the couple and brought to the rehearsal.  We recommend that such candles be used at the reception as well to connect what happened in Church to the ongoing celebration and party afterwards. 

The principal symbols of the Sacrament of Marriage are the Exchange of Consent (vows) and Rings.  Over the years, other secondary symbols have overshadowed these two key elements of Marriage.  The Wedding Candle is not a part of the Roman Catholic Rite of Marriage, but we do allow it if you so wish.  We suggest that when a Unity or Wedding Candle is used that parents light the taper candles as they are being seated before the ceremony begins, then the couple may light the center candle after they exchange their vows.

As the Wedding Comes to A Close...

Guests are requested to congratulate the bride and groom with applause in place of rice, birdseed or confetti.  Please do not have your guests throw anything that has to be picked up after your wedding. There is often more than one wedding at St. Barnabas on a weekend. There is also confessions and Masses to be prepared and celebrated.  Please respect our sacred environment and the other events being held at the parish.  You are not permitted to have rose petals or anything else thrown inside or outside the Church.  Because of Diocesan policy and insurance regulations, runners are not permitted down the center aisle. 
We ask that you either have pictures taken or a receiving line after the Wedding, but not both..  Too much time is taken up when couples greet all their guests and then take pictures.  Please choose only one.

Photographers & Videographers

NO VIDEO PERMITTED -PLEASE READ
As of September, 2009

COUPLES MUST READ AND SIGN BEFORE EACH WEDDING
*PLEASE SHOW A COPY OF THIS POLICY TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

To preserve the sanctity and reverence of the Sacrament of Marriage, Still Photographers must NOT be in the way of any movement (i.e. bride, groom, bridesmaids, etc) during the celebration, they are to stay out of the sanctuary, off the altar, or not to be directly in front of the altar or people.  In other words, the less they are seen the better.  They may use flash photography, but please keep it MINIMAL and do not flash in people’s eyes or faces. 

NO VIDEOGRAPHERS ARE PERMITTED IN THE CHURCH.  This is due to many past abuses which take away from the sanctity of the Sacrament.  We are sorry for any inconvenience and hope you understand. However, SINCE VIDEO RECORDING  IS NO LONGER PERMITTED AT WEDDINGS. YOU MAY HAVE YOUR WEDDING VIDEO TAPED WITH OUR NEW AUDIO-VISUAL SYSTEM FOR A FEE OF $85.00.  
If you would like to have your Wedding video recorded on a DVD with our in-house HD Camera, please ask your priest or deacon for a form to schedule it.  Thank you

Your Contribution to the Church

Because we are a stewardship parish, it is our sincere hope that you remain part of our ongoing community here at St. Barnabas.  We look forward to having you join us in worship and activities.  We invite you as a couple to get involved in our parish community.  It will truly enhance your marriage and family life.  St. Barnabas makes its facilities and staff available to the couple during the months of Marriage Preparation and the actual Wedding Day.  For these services a donation is generally made which goes to the Parish. 
For registered parishioners, the fee for Weddings is $450.00 and for non-parishioners with special permission from the pastor the fee is $550.00.  Due to difficulties in the past, these fees must be paid before or at your first appointment with a priest or deacon.  No weddings will be scheduled until the first meeting and fees are paid in full.  Some people have asked why there is such a fee.  Our parish has enormous expenses with electric, maintenance, grounds keeping, sacristan salary, taxes, and general upkeep.  When you think of what the wedding dress alone costs, we feel this is good stewardship and our fee is a reasonable donation.  If, however you feel you cannot afford this fee please feel free to speak to the pastor, priest or deacon assisting you.  Do not let this be a reason to prevent you from having a Church wedding.  You may wish to thank the priest or deacon with a stipend of your choice, they are not compensated for weddings by the parish.

Alcohol is prohibited on the grounds before, during or after your wedding.  If there is champagne it must be kept in the car.  Please make sure that all persons in the wedding party are sober and respectful of the Church and the Sacrament.

With all this in mind, have a wonderful wedding and God bless you both in your new life to come as husband and wife!