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                                  4940 Tuscarawas St. W.

                                  Canton, OH 44708-5012



          Celebrating Your Wedding Day at Saint Joan of Arc Parish

      Your wedding is a special and joyful time not only for you and your families and friends, but for the entire parish community.  We are happy that you have chosen to celebrate this sacred and blessed event in your lives at St. Joan of Arc Parish.  We will do everything that we can to make your wedding a memorable and sacred occasion.  Feel free at any time over the next several months to call upon us to answer any questions or provide whatever help we can to prepare you as a couple for this momentous event in your lives.

     Keep in mind that your wedding remains primarily a very sacred and religious event.  A lifelong promise of committed love is about as profound a human event as there can be!  Therefore, great care needs to be taken to see that the prayer for this special moment is reverent, graceful, beautiful and open to the movement of God’s Spirit.  We hope that, together, we will plan a wedding that will convey to all who are present the sacredness and beauty of what is occurring on your wedding day.

     In this spirit, St. Joan of Arc Parish provides the following guidelines for celebrating weddings in the parish church.


1. Setting the Date and Time for Your Wedding

     When considering the date, please keep in  mind that, typically, the preparation process for marriage requires six months.  For this reason, no wedding can be scheduled less than six months in advance.  We ask that you contact the parish priest at least six months before the date on which you hope to celebrate your wedding.  Weddings are scheduled with respect to: 1) the couple’s wishes; 2) the availability of the church building; and 3) the availability of a parish priest or deacon.  Only one wedding will be scheduled per weekend.

     Weddings are usually scheduled for Saturday at either 2:00pm or 6:30pm.  (This means that at 2:00pm the bride and groom walk down the aisle.  Any prelude music would begin ½ hour before, i.e., at 1:30pm.)  Scheduling a wedding for a Saturday morning is also possible, and on occasion they may be scheduled for a Friday evening.  We cannot, however, schedule weddings on Sundays.

    Saturday afternoon we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation at 12:00, Noon and the Saturday anticipatory Mass is at 4:30pm.

    ** NOTE: Please advise the parish office in the event of any change in your wedding plans, e.g., time, date, cancellation, etc.

 2. The Marriage Preparation Process

     All couples are required to participate in an approved Marriage Preparation Program.  At St. Joan of Arc, we offer our own preparation program in which most couples are expected to participate.  For those couples who participate in programs other than at St. Joan of Arc, we require a written letter by the program coordinator stating your successful completion of their program.

    The Marriage Preparation Program at St. Joan of Arc consists of two components:
A. Meetings with the Priest: All couples will meet with a priest to begin the preparation process.  You will usually meet with the priest seven times, the first being about six months or earlier before your scheduled wedding date.  These meetings obtain baptismal documentation, ascertain both parties freedom to marry, and fill-out all the necessary forms and permissions for dispensation.  [Unusual circumstances may require more sessions.]
B. Sponsor Couple Program: After completing the first meeting with the priest, the engaged couple will usually participate in the Sponsor Couple program provided by St. Joan of Arc.  The Sponsor Couple program consists of one married couple meeting with the engaged couple to share and discuss their lived experience of married life.  There are normally five sessions to this program, arranged at mutually agreeable times.

    **For couples with unusual circumstances (i.e., out of town, unusual work schedules, etc.) the option of participating in an Engaged Encounter weekend retreat experience is available.  The Dioceses of Youngstown, Cleveland and Columbus sponsor these weekends at various times throughout the year.  For more details about this option, speak to the parish priest.

 3. Baptismal Certificates and Permission to Marry

     If either the bride or groom is not a registered member of St. Joan of Arc Parish, it is  necessary for the nonmember to receive permission to marry from the parish to which you belong.  Such permission is easily obtained by calling the pastor of your home parish.

    Similarly, all Catholics must obtain a recent copy of their baptismal certificate (dated within the past six months).  A baptismal certificate can be obtained by calling the parish at which you were baptized.

    Those who are not Catholic, but who were baptized in another Christian denomination, must likewise provide a certificate or letter testifying to the date and place of their baptism.  Also a letter from someone who will state you have never been married before is needed.

 4. Ministers for the Celebration of Marriage

    The Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of Marriage states: “consent makes the marriage.”  The Vows made by the man and the woman in the presence of the Church's minister and at least two witnesses are what make marriage sacramental.

    Most often, the priest from St. Joan of Arc will preside at weddings in the parish.  You may also invite another priest who is a relative, friend or home pastor to preside at your wedding, but please inform the priest at St. Joan of Arc in advance.

 5. Whether or Not to Have a Mass?

    For Catholics, choosing to be married in the Church is, in many ways, another profession of faith in the Church.  As a Catholic, the Church is important to you.  Continued, active, regular participation in the day-to-day life and work of the parish community is necessary.

    Here are some other things to consider when deciding which ceremony you want:
            >        What is your relationship to the Sunday Eucharist?
            >        Are you faithful in attending Sunday Mass?
            >        Are you committed to regular and active participation in our parish, especially at Sunday worship?
            >        Would a Mass or a Ceremony be the better context for the celebration of your Marriage?
            >        Who will be your guests?  Will they feel included in the prayers?
            >        Will the celebration of the Eucharist be the best way to help your guests join with us and pray with us?

    If a good number of your family and friends are not Catholic, you may want to consider celebrating your wedding outside the context of Mass, or, if you choose to have Mass, you can design a pew booklet that outlines the Mass parts so your non-Catholic guests can follow along.

    Finally, some people think that a couple is not really married, or that the ceremony was not completely Catholic unless the wedding takes place at Mass.  This is simply not true.  The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage can, but does not have to be, celebrated with Mass.  Ultimately, the deciding factor should be the quality and degree to which both you and most of your guests can participate in the wedding and understand their participation.  Your decision to have either a Mass or a ceremony should be based on which of these will provide the best context for prayer and celebration by you and your guests.

 6. Planning Music for the Wedding

    Music is an integral part of every sacramental celebration in the Church.  Its purpose is to draw people into the celebration and foster their participation in a way that words alone simply cannot do.  It is an expression of the assembly’s prayer and praise to God.  At its root, music is not simply something to be listened to, but is, in fact, a vehicle for prayerful participation by all those present.

    Our parish’s music minister and organist is Mr. Steve Dallas, and his cell phone number is (330)705-8623.  You should call him as soon as possible to reserve his services for your wedding.  All couples must discuss with Steve the music for your wedding.

    When choosing music, please keep in mind the sacred nature of your wedding and select music that is liturgically permitted.  Steve can give you valuable guidance in selecting music that is appropriate for a Church setting.  If you plan on inviting additional vocalists or other musicians, Steve can assist in making these options available and in coordinating their efforts.  Any musicians you ask to play for your Wedding should have knowledge of Church music and have some experience playing for a Catholic liturgy.

    Additionally, please be aware that all arrangements regarding payment for Steve Dallas and for any other musicians and/or vocalists are solely your responsibility.

 7. Decorations and Flowers

    A simple elegance best describes the environment and decor of St. Joan of Arc Parish.  Keep this in mind when planning your arrangements because more does not mean better!  The sanctuary of the church will always contain some seasonal decorations depending on the various liturgical seasons of the Church year.  Any decorations or plants in the church on the day of your wedding are to stay where they are and may not be moved or removed.  You may, of course, add your own floral arrangements and plants to the existing decorations.  Every attempt should be made to insure that any flowers, plants and/or trees that you choose are genuine and real. 

    We ask that you and your florist observe the following guidelines:
          >          At certain times of the year (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter) there will be extensive sanctuary decorations; rearrangement of these decorations is prohibited.
          >          Floral arrangements may not be placed on the altar table.
          >          Floral arrangements should not in any way impede the approach to the altar or inhibit the ritual movements or actions of the priest or the assembly.
          >          Pew decorations used must not mark or damage the pews in any way. [There are 52 pews in the main aisle, 26 per side.]
          >          Aisle candles are also permitted. If these are used, they must be protected by a glass globe so that they do not drip wax on the floor or the pews.




Some other options you may consider:
1. Papal Blessing - If you (or your family) wish to request from the Pope a special Marriage Blessing, please contact the Office of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Youngstown at (330)744-8451.  Be advised that there may be a considerable delay in receiving a Papal Blessing (up to four months), so please make your request well in advance.
2. Candelabra - Our parish owns two candelabra that can be rented for use in your wedding.  The fee for renting the candelabra is $20.00 (to cover the cost of the candles).
3. Aisle Runner/cloth - The aisle runners are not permitted.
4. Dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary - The practice of placing a flower before the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is another option for you to consider.  In order for this gesture to have a fuller meaning, it is presumed that your faith already embraces a devotion and dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In exercising this option, please remember that the movements to and from the statue, the song during the visit and the flower should be unpretentious and reverent.
5. Unity candle - The unity candle usually consists of a trio of candles (two small and one large) with the expectation that the bride and groom share in lighting the larger candle with the flame from the two smaller ones.  If you choose to use a unity candle, the candles are to be simple, non decorative white candles.  When purchasing these candles, make sure they are actual candles (made of wax, not plastic) that will burn for at least one hour.  St. Joan of Arc will provide the candle stand.
6. NO Birdseed, rice and balloons - Because of the mess it makes on the sidewalks, and due to insurance and liability restrictions, the throwing of birdseed, rice, etc. after weddings is prohibited.  Because of certain environmental concerns, releasing balloons after weddings, while permitted, is not encouraged.  [Many couples have taken to using bells or bubbles in place of rice or balloons.]

 8. Photos and Videos

As stated above, the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is a sacred moment.  While we understand your desire to record this moment, we ask you and your photographers to observe the following instructions so that the sacred joy of this day will not be interrupted by photo and video equipment and those who operate it:
            >        Please instruct all professional photographers and videographers to speak with the priest before the wedding.
            >        Photographers and videographers may NOT enter the sanctuary to take any pictures during the ceremony.
            >        Photographers and videographers and their equipment may not obstruct the assembly’s view at any time.
            >        Once the ceremony has begun, their movement and flashes should be kept to an absolute minimum.
            >        Post ceremonial pictures may be taken. Couples are asked to be aware of and respect the 20 minute time limit for wedding photos.
            >        All members of the wedding party should remain reverent and respectful of the sanctuary and the tabernacle.
            >        No pictures may be taken in the Blessed Sacrament chapel (the tabernacle is NOT a backdrop!)

 9. The Wedding Rehearsal

    We usually schedule rehearsals in the evening the day before the wedding.  We appreciate punctuality.  All members of your bridal party, and anyone else who has a walking or talking role in the wedding are expected to attend the rehearsal.  The usual time for rehearsals is 5:30pm, but if this time is not convenient, it can be scheduled for a more convenient time.  Please be sure everyone is on time.

    The musician typically does not attend the rehearsal.  A copy of the printed program must be brought to rehearsal.  Even if they are not printed yet, several copies should be provided for the presiding ministers.

    Please bring to the rehearsal your Marriage License, Wedding Fees not already paid, Guest Book, Printed Program, and Unity Candle (if any will be used).

 10. Other Participants in Your Wedding

    For a wedding outside of Mass, you may choose friends and family members to do the reading(s) from Scripture and to read the universal prayers.  In this case, you can choose up to three other people to do these parts.

    For a wedding with a Mass, in addition to the people you  choose to do the reading(s) and universal prayers, you also need to choose up to four people to bring up the gifts (the bread and wine, etc.) for the Eucharist.  You may also select your own altar servers of the parish (if you know any); otherwise, servers from the parish will be selected for you.

    As discussed in the Music section, if you are inviting other people to play musical instruments or to sing for your wedding, please make arrangements with Steve Dallas.

11. Getting a Marriage License

    In order to celebrate your wedding in the Church, you must also obtain an Ohio Marriage License.  Make sure you give this license to the priest or deacon sometime on or before the date of your rehearsal.  Marriage cannot go on without a marriage license.

    Stark County residents can apply for a Marriage License at the County Probate Court, 110 Central Plaza South in downtown Canton.  The phone number for the Marriage License office is (330)451-7759.

12. The Sacrament of Reconciliation

    Before celebrating the sacrament of Marriage, we encourage you (if you are Catholic) to avail yourself of the opportunity to receive the grace of God's forgiveness.  Please make an effort to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation sometime prior to the date of your rehearsal.  At St. Joan of Arc, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available on Saturdays at 12:00, Noon, or by appointment with a priest.  You should also advise members of your wedding party and family of this opportunity to receive the sacrament, either here at St. Joan of Arc or at their home parish.

13. Fees

    Since you have chosen to get married at St. Joan of Arc Parish, we assume that you are already a registered member of the parish.  In order to cover the various expenses of the parish, St. Joan of Arc charges the following fees for all weddings.  Your church donation should be paid before your rehearsal.  You can mail a check, payable to St. Joan of Arc Parish, to the parish office, 4940 Tuscarawas Street West, Canton, OH 44708-5012.

Fees include:


                     Church donation                                          $150.00

                     Suggested amount for celebrant                  $100.00
                     Altar Servers $20 each if needed                 $40.00


                     Non-parishioner additional fee                    $100.00

    The non-parishioner fee should be paid before your rehearsal.  This fee may be combined with your donation.

    In addition to the above, you are responsible for paying the parish organist and any other musicians.  Steve Dallas’ basic fee is $100.00.  [If the parish organist is not used, Steve still receives a bench fee of $75.00.]  Each separate appointment with Steve (e.g.,  private consultations, rehearsals with soloists, etc.) is $50 per hour.  Other musicians and soloists generally expect between $50 and $75.  Fees for musicians should be paid directly to each person.  They are NOT paid by the Church.

14. Church Maintenance and Security

    We are happy to have you celebrate your wedding here at St. Joan of Arc.  We ask that you keep in mind that there are other Masses, therefore, please respect the time restrictions for your wedding.

    We also ask that, in all reasonableness, you please leave the church as clean and in the same order as you found it.  The bride and her party may wish to use the Bride’s room (located in the church basement) before the ceremony.  However, we cannot take responsibility for any items (such as purses, clothing, etc.) left there during the wedding itself.  After the wedding, please make sure that the room is left in good order and that you have collected all of your belongings.  There is to be no food or beverage brought into the church, bottled water is recommended, and there is no smoking.

 15. Your Sunday Obligation

    One question that often comes up regarding a Saturday wedding is: does this count for my Sunday obligation?

    The answer is NO!  All Catholics are required to go to church on Sunday.  This is the outward, communal expression of our faith.  Christianity is not just about me and God, but is only fully expressed when we join together in prayer.  (For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.- Matthew 18:20).

__ Have we set a date and time for the wedding?
__ Have we set a date and time for the rehearsal?
__ Have we begun our own prayerful preparations for our married life?
__ Have we gathered information on where we were baptized?
__ Have we met with the priest? (Usually beginning 6 months before your scheduled wedding date.)
__ Have we contacted the parish's Director of Music Ministry (Steve Dallas) to employ his services for our wedding?
__ Are we being active members of our parish by attending Mass on Sunday and contributing our time, talent and treasure to the parish?
__ Have we received the sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for our wedding day?
__ Will the wedding ceremony include the celebration of the Eucharist (Mass)?
__ Have we chosen people to do the scripture readings (usually two) and the universal prayers?


                          Click here for a List of Reminders for your Wedding



























                               Bride and Groom’s Agreement

I have read and will abide by the guidelines for a wedding at St. Joan of Arc Parish, Canton, Ohio.

Changes to these guidelines may only be made with the permission of the Pastor.

I hereby agree to observe all these guidelines when having our
wedding at St. Joan of Arc Parish, Canton, Ohio.


_______________________________ __________________
Bride Signature                                         Date


Bride Printed Name


_______________________________ __________________
Groom Signature                                       Date


Groom Printed Name


(Revised: September 29, 2015)
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