Marrying at St Mary’s

POLICES AND PROCEDURES

Congratulations on your decision to marry! May God bless you on your wedding day and give you the grace to consecrate your lives to each other, and to love each other as Jesus loves his church.

The gothic splendour of St Mary Star of the Sea evokes the grandeur of a cathedral, but it’s not so big that your guests will feel ‘lost in space.’ St Mary’s is a very popular wedding church, so it is advisable to book the church at least 12 months in advance.

A few policies have been adopted to ensure optimal satisfaction for everyone. More details are available when you book. The church can only be booked by personally contacting the parish office.

A Christian marriage is not just a social institution, much less a mere remedy for human weakness. It is a real supernatural calling. A great sacrament, in Christ and in the Church, says St Paul. It is a permanent contract that sanctifies in cooperation with Jesus Christ. He fills the souls of husband and wife and invites them to follow him. He transforms their whole married life into an occasion for God’s presence on earth.

Husband and wife are called to sanctify their married life and to sanctify themselves in it. The marriage union, the care and education of children, the effort to provide for the needs of the family as well as for its security and development, the relationships with other persons who make up the community, all these are among the ordinary human situations that Christian couples are called upon to sanctify.

St Josemaría Escrivá

Christ is passing by, 23

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All of the information on this page is contained in an easily downloadable and printable booklet.

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Wedding times, booking and pricing

Saturday Sunday Weekdays
  • 12:30pm
  • 2:00pm
  • 3:30pm
  • 1:30pm
  • 3:30pm
  • Weddings can be celebrated on any weekday. Times are negotiable.

Bookings can be made by phoning the office between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday. At the time of booking, we require the names, addresses and all phone numbers of both parties.

$700 must be paid to secure your booking. This can be paid by credit card, cheque, money order or cash. The parties will then receive a receipt, a letter of confirmation of date and time, and forms for both parties to complete. Subject to availability of the church, a wedding can be transferred to another date and time without incurring extra expense.

If you wish to cancel your booking, you must do so in writing. Your booking fee will be returned, less $250. Final payment must be made to St Mary’s at least a month before the wedding.

With your own priest

$2,400
  • Use of the church for wedding (1½ hours)
  • Use of the church for wedding rehearsal
  • Celebrant’s fee
  • 3 marriage preparation sessions with priest
  • 2 group sessions with a married couple
  • Flowers and pew bows

Planning your wedding music

Booking the church and arranging music are separate exercises. Download and complete our music booking form and return it to the parish office before your first preparation meeting with the priest.

Download

Preparation for marriage

A marriage preparation programme is an integral part of preparing for your wedding. This preparation is usually organised by the priest celebrating your wedding.

The priests at St Mary’s, Fr Anthony Bernal, Fr Jerry Gehringer, and Fr Joseph Pich, are available for weddings. However, you are most welcome to choose a priest known to you. If so, please ring the St Mary’s office to advise us of the name of your chosen priest. Please understand that the guidelines governing weddings at St Mary’s are not at the priest’s discretion. These are diocesan guidelines mandated by the Archbishop of Melbourne. Any variation requires consultation with the parish priest and his approval.

If you are being married by a priest from St Mary’s, then the parish secretary will arrange three appointments with the priest. Two of these appointments relate to the sacrament of marriage and the meaning and implications of your commitment. The last appointment is a wedding rehearsal in the church.

Whether you are being married by a St Mary’s priest, or your own priest, the parish secretary will arrange two appointments with a small group of other couples also getting married at St Mary’s. These sessions, which are facilitated by a married couple, cover interpersonal relationships, communication, finances, and raising children. These practical sessions are included in the cost of the church booking.

If you organise your own priest

It is the policy of the Archdiocese that couples undertake an approved preparation course. These programs are designed to open up many issues which contribute to a successful and happy marriage. If you opt for your own priest to celebrate your wedding, you will need to discuss a course with him. Most stand-alone courses cost about $250.

It is customary and courteous to make an offering to the priest or deacon who celebrates your wedding. The offering should take account of the amount of time involved in the preparation of your documents, the ceremony, the rehearsal and the actual celebration of your marriage. As a guide, Civil Marriage Celebrants usually receive more than $300 for a wedding.

On your wedding day

Arrival time

It is a matter of courtesy to your guests and to other couples being married on the same day that your wedding begins and ends as scheduled.

It is very important that brides arrive on time. Any delay of more than 10 minutes is unacceptable, and can cause serious inconvenience to the next wedding party. A delayed start may result in a shortened ceremony and restricted music and photography.

Confetti

Like most churches today, we do not permit the throwing of confetti, rose petals or rice in the church or surrounding grounds. Bubble blowing is allowed. We appreciate your support in keeping our church and environment clean for everyone.

Pew bows and flowers

Pew bows are put on the first fourteen pews (each side of the aisle) for weddings. Fresh flowers are arranged in the church each Friday and are suitable for weddings. The colour of the flowers typically reflects the liturgical season, so they do vary. These services are included in the pricing schedule.

Wedding guests and cars

Please encourage your guests to use the street parking around St Mary’s, thus making it safer for human traffic on church grounds. Bridal cars must enter via Howard Street, not Victoria Street.

White doves

The custom of releasing white doves outside the wedding church is engraved in ancient history. Doves are scriptural and cultural symbols of peace and harmony, and they are also notable for choosing a life-long mate.

St Mary’s have their own white doves available for release at weddings. At the conclusion of your wedding, the doves are waiting in a basket at the entrance of the church. The bride and bridegroom release them simultaneously, symbolising their new life together.

St Mary’s doves are bred in the church grounds and feel very comfortable in their home. They are homing pigeons, going back to their house when released. They are naturally fed and looked after.

The release of two white doves costs $100. Some couples release a larger number of doves. Call the parish office for details.