Congratulations on your engagement!
The parish and staff of Old St. Mary’s congratulate you on your love for each other, your faith in Jesus Christ, and your desire to be married in the Catholic Church. We joyfully welcome you as you prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony. The love you have come to realize and share together will now be proclaimed publicly through a sacred sacrament. We join with your family and friends in supporting you as you undertake a new way of life together.
Below we provide the answers to questions which cover insights, information, guidelines and procedures which will help to make your wedding day a happy and holy event. We assure you of our continued support, help and prayers. If we may be of further assistance, answer additional questions, or help clarify church policy, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Old St. Mary’s Church
1500 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 922-3444
Phone extension and E-mail:
- Fr. Bradford Schoeberle, ext. 29, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Fr. Patrick Johnson, ext. 20, email@example.com
- Fr. Stuart Wilson-Smith, ext. 25, firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointments with the priest can be scheduled during Parish Office Hours, Monday-Friday 8 am-4 pm.
Frequently asked questionsBefore we sit down with a priest, is it possible to find out what dates are available at Old St. Mary’s for a wedding?
How soon should we contact a priest in advance of the date in which we would like to be married?
What are the pre-marriage requirements that need to be completed?
Pre-Cana sessions are scheduled as one day-experiences on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM at many sites throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago (i.e., Lake and Cook counties). Most couples have found these of great value – a good primer for a healthy married life to come. The cost for these programs will be your responsibility.
The Discovery Weekend experience is usually held at a retreat house. Like the Pre-Cana Program, it is led by married couples and a priest. Because it is a full weekend, it affords a greater opportunity for sharing, reflecting and developing a view of married life that can extend beyond the wedding day. Given lodging and length it costs a bit more.
You can find the steps for marriage preparation at Marriage Preparation
You can find the schedule online at Family Ministry Resources or call the Chicago Archdiocesan Family Ministries Office at (312) 534-8340.
The priest will also help you complete a pre-marriage survey (FOCCUS) to assist you in identifying areas for further discussion before the important commitment of marriage.
What documents are required in preparation for the wedding?
- A Baptismal certificate – dated within six months of the wedding – is to be submitted by each Catholic person. The original copy from 20-30 years ago is not acceptable. The ‘recent’ copy that we request and need will have additional notations of all the one-time-only Catholic sacraments you have received.
- In an ecumenical marriage, a baptized non-Catholic is also asked to present a record of Baptism, if possible. This may be a church certificate or a personal affidavit.
- A recently issued Confirmation certificate is requested for Catholics, if this is not already included in the notations on your Catholic Baptismal certificate.
- The attendance certificate presented at the completion of your Pre-Marriage or Pre-Cana program is to be given to the priest to be kept on file with the other documents.
- Two affidavits affirming each person’s freedom-to-marry may be required, in some cases. The consulting priest will advise you if this is needed.
- A marriage license from Cook County, Illinois is required and is to be presented to the Old St. Mary’s Church priest (or visiting minister/presider) at the time of the rehearsal. For information on obtaining a marriage license, including locations and hours, see Cook County Marriage Licenses or phone 312.603.7790.
- Because every couple is unique, there may be some cases where other documents are required. The consulting priest will assist you in this regard.
Who may be married at Old St. Mary’s?
How are weddings celebrated during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Celebration of Weddings
During Covid‐19 Pandemic
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and thank you for choosing Old St. Mary’s as your parish for this wonderful event in your lives. Because of the COVID‐19 pandemic and the guidelines set forth by the Archdiocese, Old St. Mary’s is following these mandated guidelines for your wedding.
Entry to the Church
Thirty minutes before your wedding, the front doors to the church will be propped open, allowing access to the church. There will be a greeter at the door checking that everyone is healthy and checking to see if you are wearing masks – which are required. They will point you and your guests to the table set up with another greeter with hand sanitizer and extra masks (if you did not bring your own). All guests must use the hand sanitizer. Please follow the directions of the ushers and the arrows and stay to the right through the propped doors into the church.
In the Sanctuary
GUESTS ‐ Marked seating will be the first few rows in the middle of the sanctuary. An usher will be on hand to lead you down the center aisle to your seats. Masks must be worn through the entirety of the event. If a guest removes his/her mask, an usher will ask the guest to put it back on. If it occurs a second time, the presiding priest may halt the service.
BRIDE AND GROOM – Your walk down the aisle will be the center aisle of the sanctuary. There is a room for preparation including a washroom marked at the rear of the church if needed. Bride and Groom and others in the wedding party will be shown their waiting areas at the back of the main aisle. Priest will indicate when to begin your procession and how the wedding party will move. The bride and groom will be provided chairs independent of the pews for seating at points during the service. The Priest will wear a mask until at the Altar but will wear a face shield when in proximity to the bride and groom.
Please reference the attached Archdiocese sheets related to masks, face shields, sanitizer, and more for specific safety details during your wedding.
Exiting the Church
When exiting the church, please follow the marked path, one aisle east of the center aisle. This aisle will lead to the propped open sanctuary and exit doors allowing smooth, touchless exit of the church.
Other Important Information
At this time, we are mandated not to have more than ten (10) guests, including Bride & Groom. This does not include clergy and supporting staff. Programs will not be used for guests to maintain a safe environment for all involved. Ushers may show guests the washroom at the rear of the church if needed. We will have the doors closed during your service to avoid unintended guests during your ceremony.
Thank you again for choosing Old St. Mary’s. If you have any questions related to mandates and restrictions, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the church lay‐leaders, Kevin Marcus at email@example.com or Beth Toth at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will be happy to assist you.
If neither the bride nor the groom belong to Old St. Mary’s, can they still have their wedding at Old St. Mary’s Church?
What if I don’t have a parish? I’m not registered anywhere and don’t go to any one particular church.
What sort of liturgy should be planned?
What type of readings should be used and who should we ask to read?
What are the Wedding Fees?
A non-refundable deposit of $250 (toward the $1000 total) is requested when you reserve a wedding date on the Church calendar. This should be given to the priest arranging your wedding or to the parish business office as early in the process as possible. The balance of $750 is due at least two weeks prior to the wedding date. Both amounts are made payable to Old St. Mary’s Church.
Is a Donation given to the priest?
If our wedding is being conducted elsewhere, can we do the paperwork at Old St. Mary’s.
Our wedding will be relatively small, what is the seating capacity of the Church and Small Chapel?”]
Old St. Mary’s Church has a seating capacity for 700. The Small Chapel has a seating capacity of 45.
We are using a private wedding consultant. Is there anything they should know?
Are there any restrictions that we should know about for the day of the wedding?
What are the procedures regarding music?”] a. All wedding music is to be planned in consultation with the Director of Liturgy and Music. Note: Since we follow The National Association of Pastoral Musicians Guidelines, if a visiting organist or pianist is granted permission to play, the music director’s fees are still to be paid. Please refer to the Music for your Wedding section below for further information about music options and fees.
b. We ask all couples being married at Old St. Mary’s Church to call our Director of Liturgy and Music, at 312.922.3444. Please call at least six weeks before the wedding to schedule a wedding music consultation appointment. It is helpful if you have reviewed and chosen your scripture readings, especially the responsorial psalm, since music accompanies the ritual. Our Liturgy and Music Director is the organist and musical advisor who will guide you through the music selection process.
c. It is our policy that a cantor be engaged for each wedding. The cantor is the vocal soloist and leads the congregational singing. Our Liturgy and Music Director will secure the services of a cantor for your wedding. It is important that a cantor from Old St. Mary’s Church participate in your wedding because of their high level of skill, familiarity with the liturgy, experience in the church space, and ongoing working relationship with our staff and clergy.
d. Additional instrumentalists (trumpets, violins, etc.) are often desired as part of the wedding music. Our Director of Liturgy and Music knows local instrumentalists who are superbly skilled and experienced in working at Old St. Mary’s Church. They will engage these musicians for you after your wedding music planning meeting. It is our policy that instrumentalists for Old St. Mary’s Church weddings be engaged through our Liturgy and Music Director.
e. The use of pre-recorded music is NEVER permitted in Old St. Mary’s Church liturgy.
What do we need to know about flowers at our wedding?
The following guidelines are to be followed by all florists who service Old St. Mary’s Church.
- No floral arrangements, candles, hurricane lamps, trellises, canopies, ribbons or any other decorations are allowed in the aisles or on the pews. Decorations should be focused in the sanctuary.
- Floral arrangements in the sanctuary are not to block the liturgical movements. Also note that additional floral arrangements may interfere with videotaping.
- Flowers are not to be placed on the altar. Deliveries and decorations can be done starting one hour before the wedding time, or at another time to be arranged with the priest.
What are the guidelines for photographers?
Are there particular times that weddings can be scheduled at Old St. Mary’s?”] With the growing number of weddings and religious services in our church, it is necessary that the rehearsal (45 minutes) and the wedding (one hour) start and end on time. Weddings can be scheduled on Saturdays between 11 AM and 3 PM as well as during the week. By 4:15 PM on Saturdays the Church and parking lot must be vacated in order that we may set up and prepare for our 5 PM Mass.
Unfortunately, the church is not equipped with a bridal room, so it is best that the bride, groom and wedding party arrive prepared. There are restrooms in the foyer.
What should I know about the celebrants, participants, and guests?
We encourage that the number of people in the wedding party be kept modest. The two witnesses to the marriage (traditionally known as the Best Man and Maid of Honor) are essential to the wedding. Others may be involved in the wedding in a variety of ways – reading the scriptures, serving as Eucharistic ministers (if they have been trained), bringing up the offertory gifts of bread and wine, or helping to seat the wedding guests.