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Weddings Guide

Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage

St. James Parish, Menomonee Falls

A welcoming, Catholic, faith community seeking to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When a man and woman commit themselves to one another through the sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church, they are making a covenant through Jesus Christ that they will love, cherish and nurture each other all of their days. Because of its primary importance to the Christian community, marriage is celebrated as sacrament.

When a couple marries in the Church, they become sacrament to one another and sacrament to all those they encounter. They are grace for and to each other; they become grace for others ….a grace that is activated by their love of God and their desire to be the best faith-filled people they can be.

Marriage is a life-long commitment, meant to nurture the couple, those children who become part of their family and the faith community itself. It takes a lot of effort to have a good, Christ-centered marriage. That effort is supported by prayer, both private and participation in Sunday Eucharist.

Marriage has a very high value in the Catholic Church. We want to do all we can to support you as a couple as you prepare for this sacrament at St. James.

St. James Parish Staff
Saint James Parish
W220 N6588 Townline Road
Menomonee Falls, WI  53051

“Stuff” to remember: Documents needed!

The Marriage license! There is a specific time period toapply for your marriage license; be sure to meet it. And, then, remember to pick it up. We cannot perform the civil part of the marriage ceremony without it!

Your Baptismal certificates. Both of you must have a baptismal certificate issued no more than six months before the marriage.

It helps us if both certificates are here at least a month before the wedding. Just call the church where you were baptized and ask them to send the certificate. In some Christian faiths, that will mean that they send this parish a letter affirming your Baptism.

The Engaged Enrichment certificate: When you complete that process, the Archdiocese issues a certificate that you forward

to the preside at your ceremony.

And “good to know”:

**      No runners are used for the safety of the participants. (We have immaculate slate floors.)
**      The plants and flowers in church are not to be moved.
**      Other flowers may be added for the wedding.
**      The photographer and videographer need to stay out of the altar area and not interfere with the sight lines of the musicians.
**      They are very welcome to take pictures during the ceremony as long as they do not distract the assembly or interrupt the liturgy.

Please call us if you have any questions. We want this special time to be prayerful and meaningful for you!


“Married Christians signify and share in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love that exists between Christ and his Church; they thus help each other to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and rearing children; and they have their own special place and gift among the people of God.”

“Christian couples, therefore, are to strive to nourish and develop their marriage by undivided affection, which wells up from the fountain of divine love: in a merging of the human and the divine, they remain faithful in body and in mind, in good times as in bad.”

The Rite of Marriage

United Stated Conference
of Catholic Bishops



You have taken the first step in the celebration of your marriage by meeting with Deacon Sandy Sites or Father.  Please note that the wedding date you have requested will not be finalized until your meeting with Deacon Sandy Sites or Father.

During your meeting Father or Deacon Sandy we will determine whether each of you is free to marry in the Catholic Church.  The major inhibition might be a previous marriage.

Interfaith marriages are welcomed and those entering into these relationships should clearly understand the duties and obligations of each other’s faith traditions.

It is important that you read this booklet in preparation for your meeting with Deacon Sandy or Father.

Be assured of the prayers and support of the St. James Community as you journey in this exciting time of your lives.


More details….

Your ushers are responsible for two major tasks. The first is the seating of people as soon as they come into the gathering space. This movement helps the flow of the celebration. Their second task is tidying up all of the “stuff” you have brought into the space so the church is ready for the next wedding or the Saturday evening Mass. All of the “throw a-ways” must be neatly bagged and put next to a wastebasket.

The throwing of rice, birdseed, flower petals or other items, inside or outside is not permitted. All of these items are hazardous to others who use our worshipping space.

Drinking of alcoholic beverages on church property or within the church itself is also forbidden.

We welcome you to come to prepare in plenty of time for the wedding itself. Just arrange that time with Father at the rehearsal!

Wedding Fees:

The cost for having a wedding at St. James is:
Presider Fee: $175.00
Parish Fee: $300.00

An envelope is included in your wedding packet for you to make your payment to St. James.

There are separate fees for the musicians for your wedding liturgy. Barbara Schuelke will explain these to you when you meet with her or you may call her at 253-2225 to get more information.



We are delighted that you are considering celebrating your marriage here at St. James, Menomonee Falls. This booklet is a resource to outline the process for preparation for marriage in the Catholic Church, the details that need attention here and practicalities that will be helpful.

Some basics:

At least one of the engaged couple must be a practicing Catholic. In the best of all worlds, the Catholic(s) will also have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

At least one of the engaged couple must be an active, registered member of St. James before setting the date of the marriage. The membership of your parent(s) is not sufficient. For more details, please call the parish office (251-3944.)

Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church and this presumes that those who are seeking the Church’s blessing are living out their baptismal commitment by attending Eucharist and contributing to the strengthening of the faith community.

The preparation process for marriage in the Catholic Church is the same throughout the state of Wisconsin by agreement among the Bishops of the five dioceses in the state. We need a minimum of six months for preparation time in order to fulfill the required guidelines set by the Bishops. These include:

  • an initial interview with the priest to determine both the man’s and woman’s freedom to marry in the Catholic Church
  • participation in an engaged enrichment session, Engaged Encounter or Retreat
  • a two phase process called FOCCUS which is a pre-marital inventory
  • planning of the liturgy for the marriage.

Details and Practicalities!

It is possible that we will have more than one wedding at St. James on the date you have chosen. That will require consideration of the other party as well. To facilitate that, please know:

Saturday weddings are scheduled only at 12 noon or 2 PM.. Weddings may be scheduled for Friday as well..

Rehearsals are usually scheduled the day before the wedding. The rehearsal times are at 5:00 PM. It is imperative that everyone in your wedding party be on time and, if possible, early.

If you are the noon wedding on Saturday and there is another wedding that day, you will need to take all of your pictures before the liturgy. This will allow enough arrival time for the 2 PM celebration.

If you are the 2 PM wedding on Saturday and there has been another wedding that day, you will need to take all of your pictures after the liturgy. You must be out of the church by 4:00 PM so we can prepare for the 4:30 PM parish Mass.

And the celebration itself….

The wedding liturgy, like the Sunday liturgy, requires full, conscious, active participation of the faith community. Too often the assembly acts more as spectators watching the event rather than as participants. The music and prayers, approved in advance, hopefully will aid the entire assembly to pray well together.

The wedding liturgy should express what we believe as contemporary Catholics. For example, the old wedding service treated the bride as property to be exchanged between two men – her father and her spouse. Today we believe that a wedding liturgy is the blending of two families and so both the bride and the groom, with their families, should be involved in the entrance procession, along with the readers. The bride and groom could come in procession together or each with his/her parents.



Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Church. However, the sacra-ment of marriage between two Catholics is commonly celebrated during a Mass, which is another sacrament. Thus, when two Catholics celebrate their marriage during a Mass they are in effect celebrating two sacraments: Marriage and Eucharist.

The core elements of the celebration of the sacrament of marriage are these:

1)    the statement of the intentions of the couple to enter the marriage freely and to accept children lovingly from God,

2)    the declaration of the consent (the wedding vows),

3)    the acceptance of this consent by the priest or deacon, and

4)    the exchange of rings symbolizing the promises.

A marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic is usually celebrated without the Mass. This ceremony is called a marriage service or Rite of Marriage Out-side of Mass. It is, of course, a celebration of the sacrament of marriage. The service includes the music, the procession, Scripture readings, a homily, and the core elements of the celebration described above. There is usually a light-ing of the unity candle, prayers of petition and the blessing of the couple, similar to what are said in a Mass. But in a service there is no presentation of the bread and wine, no Eucharistic prayer, and no Communion. A deacon usually presides at this wedding service.

Two Catholics may also choose to celebrate their marriage using the service, the Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass. This is sometimes preferred when extended families and/or a majority of friends attending the wedding may not be Catholic and therefore unable to fully participate in the Mass. Having a service without a Mass might be a way to make them feel more comfortable at the wedding. A deacon rather than a priest usually presides at this service.

In your first meeting with Father he will ask you to consider which option you want for your marriage celebration: the marriage rite within a Mass or a marriage service without the Mass. Father can answer any questions at your meeting with him.

Participation in an Engaged Enrichment Session

Three options are available for couples:

  1. An Engaged Enrichment Conference offered throughout the Archdiocese on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The format for this program includes keynote speakers along with the opportunity to participate in various workshops related to marriage.
  1. An Engaged Enrichment Day which is similar to the Enrichment Conference and is offered on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. These days are offered in smaller venues and the format has various keynote speakers and no workshops.
  1. Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat which offers couples a longer and more intense opportunity to engage in couple to couple communication about important issues in their relationship and preparation for marriage. The retreat begins on Friday evening and concludes on Sunday afternoon.

Further information and registration will be found at


FOCCUS, the pre-marital inventory

As a way to help the couple better understand their relationship, particularly in light of the Church’s strong support of marriage,

the couple participates in a pre-marital inventory. The couple meets with a married couple from St. James Parish who have

been specially trained to assist the engaged couple to use this communication tool. In the near future you will receive a phone call from our Foccus Coordinators, John & Louise Vos. They will give you the name and phone number of your Foccus Couple. Please call your Foccus Couple to arrange your first meeting.


Planning of the Liturgy for Marriage

This process has two components. The first is selecting the prayers, Readings, and blessings (options described in the book, Celebrating Marriage, which is given to the couple at the first meeting with Father. (Please read this book!!) After you have made the selections and completed the worksheet at the back of the book call Father or the Deacon who is doing your wedding, to arrange a planning Meeting. The second component to the liturgy planning is to select Music. This is done by meeting with Barbara Schuelke, the pastoral Musician. Call Barb for an appointment (262-253-2225)

When you meet with Barbara Schuelke, you will choose music not only for the liturgy itself but that which is played beforehand and after the liturgy. If you anticipate using other musicians as part of this liturgy, you still work with our pastoral musician in the planning. It is important to remember that the songs in this liturgy will be similar to those sung at a Sunday Mass, songs with a strong scriptural and faith-based text. Your favorite secular songs are best used at the reception.

You will be expected to have an order of worship (program) for your wedding celebration. It will include all of the new assembly responses, music you have chosen with our parish musician and the listing of readings you have chosen. You are expected to put together this program and have it proofed as well. Then it will be ready for printing.. (Our pastoral musician will help you with the format.)