Planning your Wedding Liturgy

The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator

Holy Cross – Immaculata Parish follows the guidelines of the Roman Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the Rite of Matrimony. The revisions to the Rite of Matrimony were effective December 28, 2016. All priests and deacons who will be officiating at weddings at our parish are expected to follow the new rite. Our Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will review the changes to the new rite with you when you meet to plan the music and the liturgy.

Included in the fees you paid to Holy Cross – Immaculata Parish include the assistance of our Marriage Liturgy Coordinator. This professional staff person is well qualified to assist you in the planning of your wedding liturgy, including the selection of options for prayers and rituals permitted in the Rite of Matrimony, and for the selection of appropriate music. The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator is a trained professional musician and liturgist and will be the accompanist for your ceremony. If the Marriage Liturgy Coordinator is not available on the day of your wedding, another qualified accompanist will be provided.

One of the things the Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will help you decide is whether your wedding ceremony will include the celebration of the Eucharist or whether it will be a ceremony with the Liturgy of the Word and the Rite of Matrimony but not a full Mass. The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will take all pastoral concerns you may have into consideration and offer suggestions that will help you plan a liturgy that reflects your spirituality and will engage all your guests into full participation in this special celebration. The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator can also help you design the program or worship aid you choose to use.

It is possible to choose another person to be the accompanist at your ceremony, but this person must be approved by our Marriage Liturgy Coordinator so that we are certain that not only is the person a qualified musician, but also that he or she has a good understanding of the Catholic Rite of Matrimony.


We follow the wedding music guidelines of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Our Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will help you choose appropriate music for your liturgy. All song selections must be chosen from the repertoire of sacred or church music. They must be religious in their text, clearly referring to God by name in a significant way, quoting scriptures, or referring to the Sacrament of Matrimony. Popular songs that happen to mention God in an incidental manor do not qualify as sacred music. Secular or popular songs are not appropriate for a Catholic wedding and therefore should not be requested. Some music may be objectionable based on the musical style.

The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator has final approval about questionable music – even if you are bringing your own musicians. No recorded music or accompaniment tape may be used at the wedding liturgy.

Included in the fees you paid to our parish is the service of a professional singer who will serve in the role of Cantor or leader of song. The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will work with you to decide whether you might prefer a male or female voice, depending on the song choices you have made. We work only with people we know will be on time and who will have practiced all the vocal selections they will be singing.

It is also possible for you to include a friend of family member as a vocalist, but once again, our Marriage Liturgy Coordinator must have contact with any vocalist to ensure that she or he is qualified to sing in public on a day that is supposed to be free of glitches and embarrassing moments.

The best place to include non-professional singers is at the reception!

The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will also assist you if you choose to have other instrumentalists, such as trumpet, oboe, harp, flute or violin. We have connections with the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. The fees for professional musicians usually begin at $125 per hour. You may also invite friends who are musicians, but it is the responsibility of our Marriage Liturgy Coordinator to decide if they are qualified according to our professional standards.

All the professional musicians and singers we work with understand that they are expected to practice on their own in advance of the day of the wedding so that only a short rehearsal is needed. If you choose to include friends or family members who need a longer rehearsal time with the Marriage Liturgy Coordinator, an additional fee of $125 per hour is required.

The Liturgical Environment

Holy Cross – Immaculata church is a place of dignity and prayer. Most wedding couples tell us that the reason they have chosen to get married here is because of the beauty of the church and the rich history of the parish. Because of the beauty of the church itself, very little needs to be added to make it special for your wedding.

Since the Roman Catholic Church follows a liturgical calendar, there will be certain liturgical symbols and decorations present throughout the year (e.g. Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter). The seasonal environment is intended for all liturgical celebrations during that time of the year, including your wedding. The existing environment – including all furniture – may not be changed or removed for your wedding unless you have received permission from our pastor.

You may bring flower arrangements to the church for your wedding celebration. Flowers used for the wedding celebration are not merely decorative but are offered for the further honor and glory of God. You may choose to dedicate your flowers to the church in memory, in thanksgiving, or in honor of a relative or friend. When flower arrangements are donated to the church, we will gladly publish this information in our parish bulletin.

Because of the danger of slipping, the use of an aisle runner is prohibited. Candelabra in the aisle are not permitted. Any flowers attached to the pews must be attached only with ribbon – no wire or pins may be used. No flowers may be dropped in the main aisle or elsewhere in the church. Throwing rice, confetti, bird seed, etc. is prohibited anywhere on church property.

Photography & Videography

Photography and videography are, of course, permitted, but they should not distract the wedding party, the presider, musicians, singers or your guests. For this reason, flash or extra lighting is not permitted during the ceremony. (Photographers may use flash for pictures of the entrance procession.) Videographers should also make certain that any microphones used to not interfere with our sound system.

Photographers and videographers must position themselves in a place where they will not be blocking wedding guests or the wedding party. Photographers and videographers may never come up the steps into the sanctuary at any time. We encourage all video cameras to be set on a tripod in a stationary position.

Photographs may be taken before or after the ceremony, provided they do not interfere with the schedule of our weekend liturgies. No wedding parties are permitted to enter the church while other services are in session. We ask that photographs taken after the ceremony be limited.

We encourage you to make a list with your photographer of all the photographs you want prior to the wedding, during the ceremony and after the ceremony. We will do our best to help you in this process, especially after the ceremony, because we know that you do not want to keep your guests waiting at the reception.

Whether your photographer/videographer is a professional, friend or family member, that person should always check with our wedding coordinator before the wedding so that instructions are clear.

Liturgical Ministers

Anyone you ask to be an Acolyte (Server), Lector, or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist in a Catholic wedding must be a practicing Catholic. This is not necessary for those who assist in other ways. Only those who have been commissioned in their local parish can be an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.

The Marriage Liturgy Coordinator will help you decide how many Lectors (readers) and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist you will need. It is helpful if all these ministers are present at the rehearsal so they can receive instructions and practice if necessary.

The Acolyte or Altar Server

An acolyte or altar server is not required if you are not having a Mass. If you do not have a friend or family member who can serve in this capacity, we will arrange for a member of our parish to assist in this capacity. Unfortunately, parishes are not permitted to provide the servers with any kind of financial remuneration. It is customary, however, that this person is given an honorarium or stipend by the bride and groom. Our suggested amount is $40. (Any groom who was a server when he was in school can attest to the fact that the stipend is always appreciated!) We ask that you give the stipend (in cash) to the Wedding Coordinator at the rehearsal. She will give the stipend to the server on the day of the wedding.

The Wedding Party

We do not limit or restrict the size of the wedding party, but please keep in mind that with a large wedding party, better organization is needed, and the possibility exists for more complications, creating more stress for the bride and groom! If you are trying to involve friends and family, ask the priest, the deacon, or the Marriage Liturgy Coordinator for ideas. We will gladly suggest other ways they can be involved.

Common sense is the best guide when it comes to wedding attire. You want your outward appearance to reflect your style and inner dignity. You also want to avoid dressing in a way that will distract from the sacredness of the liturgy.

Flower Girls/Ring Bearers

We strongly suggest that children participating be at least five years of age and are mature enough to process down the aisle without fear. The best policy is to assume that things will not go as planned. Be prepared – because younger children may get stage fright. Always prepare for “Plan B.” To help minimize stage fright, we recommend that prior to the wedding ceremony you bring your young wedding participants to Mass a few times and to the rehearsal. Familiarizing them with the church can alleviate some of the wedding day angst.

The best advice we can give is to do your best to plan ahead and give everyone involved the practice and reassurance they need so that things go as planned!

The Wedding Coordinator

Included in the fees paid to Holy Cross – Immaculata Parish is a Wedding Coordinator from our parish who has thorough knowledge and understanding of the lighting system, the sound system, who knows where to find the first aid kit if necessary, and who also has an “emergency kit” of thread, pins and other necessary supplies. The coordinator will also have keys and access to all parish facilities. The Wedding Coordinator will assist all visiting clergy who may be presiding at wedding ceremonies at our parish. In some cases, the Wedding Coordinator may facilitate the wedding rehearsal if the presider is not available.

The Coordinator will work with all musicians, florists and photographers to make certain they are following the policies and guidelines of the parish. The Wedding Coordinator will assist the bride and bridesmaids before the ceremony and will monitor any unforeseen circumstances that may occur and communicate this to the Presider, the wedding party, and others that may need to be informed. And finally, the Coordinator will communicate to the photographer and the wedding party when the time for photographs is reaching the limit, especially when other services are scheduled to begin in the church.

The Wedding Coordinator will do her best to help the wedding party and others be at the right place at the right time and will help at the end of the service. We ask that the bridesmaids and groomsmen assist the Wedding Coordinator after the service by removing extra programs from the pews, removing any flowers, and generally helping to make certain that the church is cleared of any items brought for the wedding ceremony.

If you have a friend or paid wedding planner, please inform them that the parish Wedding Coordinator is the person designated by our parish to assist with the coordination of the rehearsal and the wedding ceremony. We recommend that your personal wedding planner help the bride and bridesmaids in the parish center.

The Rehearsal

The rehearsal time is to be arranged first with the presider. We do expect that all visiting priests and deacons attend the rehearsal so that they can become familiar with our church and have a chance to meet with the wedding coordinator to make certain that everything is organized for the day of the wedding.

All members of the wedding party are expected to attend the rehearsal as well as anyone who will be part of the entrance procession. Anyone who will be reading during the ceremony is also asked to attend so that they can practice reading using the microphone at the Ambo. Please have everyone arrive on time. We allocate 45 minutes for each rehearsal. If there is a Friday evening wedding, rehearsals for any Saturday wedding the same weekend must be scheduled for another day. Our office staff will let you know as soon as possible if a Friday evening wedding has been scheduled.

Marriage License

A civil marriage license is required in the state of Ohio. The license may be obtained 90 days prior to the date of the wedding. If you live in Ohio, you are required to obtain the marriage license in the county where you live. Couples who do not reside in the State of Ohio are required to obtain their marriage license at the Hamilton County Courthouse. For more information about the civil license, visit or call 513-946-3589.

Without exception, the marriage license must be brought to the rehearsal and given to the celebrant or the wedding coordinator. For your convenience, you may bring your license to the parish office prior to the rehearsal, but please do not send your marriage license in the mail!

Every priest or deacon who officiates at a wedding in the State of Ohio must have license to do so. A priest or deacon who is not a resident may obtain a temporary license through the office of the Secretary of State.

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