Married couples are among God’s gifts to the Church. We believe in what Saint John says in one of his letters, “Where love is, there is God.”
To witness the love of a man and woman in the sacrament of marriage is to glimpse God. That is why marriage fills us with wonder and gratitude. For this reason too, we take preparation for the sacrament of marriage seriously.
Couples seeking to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony should meet with a priest at least six months prior to their planned wedding date. Call the parish rectory at 314-373-8202 to make an appointment with a priest. Marriage preparation classes offered or approved by the Archdiocese of St. Louis are also required. Click here to view a list of current classes.
As you consider the possibility of celebrating your marriage in the Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica, the following guidelines will provide some detail regarding weddings in our Church. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Mary Ann Fox at 314-373-8208.
CONFIRMING THE CATHEDRAL BASILICA FOR YOUR WEDDING
Before any other arrangements can be made, please call Mary Ann Fox at 314-373-8208 to reserve a tentative date for your wedding. You may schedule your wedding on Friday evening, Saturday morning, or until 1:30 pm Saturday afternoon. If you wish a weekday wedding, you may arrange for this pending availability of the Church. On days when more than one wedding is scheduled, there will be an interval of one and one half hours between them. Upon reserving a tentative date on the parish calendar, Mary Ann will provide you with a contract and other necessary forms and information (detailed below) to complete the booking process.
IF YOU ARE A REGISTERED ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE CATHEDRAL PARISH, you should contact a member of the Cathedral clergy prior to arranging any of the other details of your wedding. The initial meeting will enable the priest/deacon to outline the requirements of marriage preparation for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, as well as specific details for weddings at the Cathedral. For parishioners who have been registered and actively supporting the parish for a minimum of 6 months, a $1,275 donation is required before the date is confirmed (includes a $275 stipend for a Cathedral organist). For parishioners who have been registered for less than 6 months at the time the wedding date is booked, a $2,275 donation is required (includes a $275 stipend for a Cathedral organist). This is suggested as the minimum offering for use of the Church, and is not intended to limit your generosity.
IF YOU LIVE WITHIN THE CATHEDRAL PARISH BOUNDARIES BUT ARE NOT REGISTERED AS AN ACTIVE PARISH MEMBER (or have not been active for at least one year), a member of the Cathedral clergy will be happy to meet with you to discuss your marriage plans. The minimum donation required before the date is confirmed for a non-registered or inactive resident is $2,275 (includes a $275 stipend for a Cathedral organist). This is suggested as the minimum offering for use of the Church, and is not intended to limit your generosity.
IF YOU ARE NOT A REGISTERED ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE CATHEDRAL PARISH AND YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE PARISH BOUNDARIES, you must:
a. Obtain written permission of the Pastor of the parish in which either the bride or the groom reside, if both are Catholic. If only one member of the engaged couple is of the Catholic faith, then the written permission is obtained from the Pastor of the Catholic party. This permission is granted by completion of the “Form for Pastor’s Permission”, included in the initial marriage preparation packet. This form not only grants permission for the couple to marry outside of their own parish boundaries, but also confirms the person/couple’s status as Catholic(s) in good-standing;
b. Contact the priest/deacon who will be officiating at your wedding. This may be a priest/deacon from one of your parishes or another priest/deacon with whom you are acquainted. He will need to agree to the following:
i. Accept responsibility for sharing in your marriage preparation with you;
ii. Complete all the necessary paperwork and submit to the Cathedral the completed pre-nuptial investigation PRIOR to the time of your wedding rehearsal;
iii. Be present for your wedding rehearsal;
iv. Witness your marriage.
c. A $2,275 minimum donation is required before the date is confirmed (includes a $275 stipend for a Cathedral organist). This is suggested as the minimum offering for use of the Church, and is not intended to limit your generosity.
Whether registered parishioner or non-parishioner, complete and return contract and all required forms with your check to Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Boulevard, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63108, by the due date provided on the contract. Note well: No date is considered final until all of the above is received by the Cathedral.
In addition to meeting with the officiating priest and attending an Archdiocesan approved Marriage Preparation classes, all couples married in the Cathedral Basilica will plan to attend meetings with two members of the Cathedral Staff: one with a Cathedral organist and one with the Cathedral sacristan.
Approximately 2-3 months prior to the wedding date, couples will meet with a Cathedral organist to set up the music for the wedding program. For suggested wedding music and other details to consider when planning your wedding music, click here.
Approximately one month prior to the wedding, couples will meet with the Cathedral sacristan to review policies and protocol, as well as discuss all elements of ceremony, including method and order of entrance procession, Liturgy of the Word, presentations to Blessed Virgin (if desired), and whether Cathedral Basilica servers will be required.
Once a date for the wedding ceremony has been secured, the engaged couple will be prepared to receive the sacrament of Matrimony, both spiritually and specifically, in the planning of the wedding ceremony. In accord with the marriage preparation policy established by the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, your spiritual preparation will be performed under the direction of the priest/deacon who you have asked to witness your marriage, and that preparation will include (but may not be limited) to the following:
1. Preliminary assessment of readiness for marriage (FOCCUS Survey);
2. Participation in at least one Archdiocesan recommended marriage preparation programs;
3. Completion of the necessary forms for our Church records, including copies of baptismal certificates;
Planning of the ceremony will also be performed under the guidance of the officiating priest/deacon and the Office of Sacred Music for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
If the priest/deacon who is to witness your marriage serves outside of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, please discuss this with a member of the Cathedral Pastoral Staff as soon as possible.
PLANNING YOUR CEREMONY
Your wedding celebration must follow the directives of the Church; however the church provides a rich resource of Scripture readings, prayers, vows, blessings, and music from which you can personalize your wedding celebration. When planning your ceremony, please be mindful of the following:
1. If both bride and groom are practicing Catholics, you are encouraged to celebrate your wedding within the context of the Eucharist. If one of you is not Catholic, it may be more appropriate to celebrate the wedding ceremony within a service of Scripture readings and prayers which would enable all of your guests to fully participate. If either the bride or the groom has never been baptized in any Church, the wedding ceremony outside of the Eucharist is the only option.
2. The Cathedral Sanctuary can accommodate wedding parties of up to 14 people (i.e., bride, groom, and up to 6 attendants each). Additional attendants are not encouraged but are allowed. However, any wedding party that exceeds the 14-person capacity of the sanctuary will be required to seat the extra attendants outside of the communion rail, in the pews.
3. The Marriage Rite is a Sacrament of the Church, a solemn exchange of vows between a bride and a groom, and an act of worship on the part of all those present to offer thanks and praise for God’s blessings on the couple’s life together as husband and wife. All of the music before, during and after the wedding liturgy reflects the Christian meaning of the Rite. Therefore, all music must be taken from the treasury of sacred repertoire.
a. Contact the Cathedral Music Office at 314-373-8227 to set up a meeting 2-3 months prior to your wedding in order to discuss musical selections for your wedding or to schedule additional musicians or choirs.
b. The Cathedral organist is employed for all weddings and will suggest the use of cantors and instrumentalists for you to employ.
c. Arrangements for visiting vocalists and instrumentalists are made with the Cathedral organist.
d. All fees and stipends for your organist and/or any additional musicians are to be paid prior to the meeting with your organist.
4. When planning for your photography, please note the following guidelines:
a. Photographers are never allowed to enter the sanctuary, balcony, or pulpit.
b. Flashes and camera lights are not to be used during the ceremony.
c. Videographers are requested to remain stationary during the ceremony.
d. With permission, posed photographs may be taken following the ceremony in the All Saints Chapel only. Wedding parties will NOT be allowed to enter the sanctuary after the ceremony is completed for posed photography. Weather permitting, posed pictures may also be taken outside on the grounds of the Cathedral.
5. Other items of décor and decorum specific to weddings in the Cathedral Basilica of note are:
a. The use of “Unity” candles and/or candelabra in the sanctuary is not permitted.
b. Floral arrangements are not required, however ONLY fresh cut flowers and live plants are permitted in the sanctuary.
c. Any flowers, floral arrangements, or greenery used to decorate the sanctuary and altar will not be allowed to be removed from the church following the ceremony.
d. Ribbons or tulle may be used to decorate/mark pews, and any decoration of the pews must be removed by the wedding party immediately after the completion of the wedding ceremony in order to allow the Church to prepare for the next wedding, Mass, or other service.
e. The use of aisle runners of any kind is not allowed.
f. No bottled water, gum, food, or drink of any type is allowed in the Cathedral or on its grounds.
g. Appropriate dress for rehearsal and wedding is required. No strapless gowns are allowed unless a jacket, shawl, or other covering is worn over the shoulders during the ceremony. If the attire of any member of the wedding party is deemed inappropriate, the Cathedral is within its right to immediately cancel the wedding with no refund of the wedding stipend provided. No exceptions.
h. There is no facility in the Cathedral available as a dressing area.
i. The wedding sacristan, on the behalf of the Cathedral Basilica and the officiating priest/deacon, assumes the responsibility for maintaining the sacred nature of the church, directing the entrance procession, and ensuring that the ceremony begins on time. Wedding parties who do not respect the space or are not prepared to begin on time run the risk of having their wedding cancelled, with no refund of the wedding stipend provided.
j. For insurance reasons, we cannot allow rice, birdseed, flower petals, or any other item to be thrown in or on the grounds of the Cathedral.
The Marriage Rite is a Sacrament of the Church, a solemn exchange of vows between a bride and a groom, and an act of worship on the part of all those present to offer thanks and praise for God’s blessings on the couple’s life together as husband and wife. Therefore all of the music during the wedding liturgy reflects the sacred nature of the ceremony and must be taken from sacred or religious music repertoire.
Music at worship is a form of sung prayer and must relate to the glory of God and reflect the redeeming grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All music at your wedding ceremony should follow that principle, and your favorite popular music should be reserved for your reception.
The wedding fee, paid upon contract confirmation, includes the services of a Cathedral Basilica cantor. In addition to singing the parts of the Mass, your cantor may also serve as a vocal soloist. If you are interested in having a choir sing at your wedding, you should contact the Cathedral Music Office at 314-373-8227. The Cathedral Singers, a professional chamber choir of the highest standards, is available for $1,200. For repertoire questions or more information, please contact the Cathedral Music Office.
For your wedding at the Cathedral Basilica, one of the Cathedral Staff Organists will play. The fee for the organist is $275.00, which includes a planning meeting with your organist and their services at the ceremony itself. You should schedule your planning meeting approximately 2 months prior to your wedding date. To schedule your planning meeting, please call the Music Office at 314-373-8227. Also, while the cantor fee is included in the stipend given to the Cathedral, the organist’s fee is not. The organist’s fee, made payable to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, will be required prior to the scheduling of your planning meeting.
If you would like additional musicians to participate in your wedding, the Music Office may be able to help contract some of the finest professional musicians in the area, who have performed at the Cathedral on a regular basis. Particularly popular are trumpet, violin, harp, a string quartet, or brass ensemble. The fees vary from instrument to instrument, and you may call the Music Office for additional information. If contracted, fees for the services of additional musicians, vocalists, or choirs are due in full by the wedding rehearsal.
The use of outside musicians/vocalists must be approved by the Director of Sacred Music. References and an audition may be requested. Singers should be professionally trained and experienced singing in large spaces and liturgical settings. Amateur musicians may better perform at your wedding reception. Music selections must be made with or approved by the Director of Sacred Music. If additional meetings or rehearsals with the organist are required, there may be an extra fee.
RESERVING YOUR DATE
Before any other arrangements can be made, you will need to reserve a tentative date for your wedding. Please note: the Cathedral Basilica calendar displays only dates that are fully confirmed (i.e., contracts, stipends, and all required paperwork have been submitted). Tentative dates, dates that have been reserved but are not yet fully confirmed, may not be reflected on the calendar. To ensure availability of a particular date, please call Mary Ann Fox at 314-373-8208.