Weddings

Marriage FAQs

We’re engaged! What next? Begin by contacting the parish church at which the bride or groom is a registered and practicing member. Contact your parish first, before making any other arrangements (reception, attendants, etc.).

What if we’re not registered? Every Catholic is called upon to assume an active and supportive role in a specific parish community. If you are a practicing member of another parish, please contact your pastor first. If you wish to become a member of St. Mary Parish, we invite you to register and begin attending Mass before inquiring formally about a wedding.

What is a practicing Catholic? A practicing Catholic is someone who accepts and strives to live the teaching and Commandments of Jesus Christ and His Church and who regularly participates in the worship of the Church. This means receiving the Sacraments regularly, and supporting the Church financially.

What if we’re not practicing? Now is the time to begin. Seeking a Catholic wedding presumes that a Catholic is striving to live his or her faith.

What if one of us is not Catholic? The bishop can grant permission for a wedding ceremony between a Catholic and non-Catholic through the Archdiocese of Denver. It is presumed by the Church, however, that the faith of the Catholic party is of such importance that he/she will strive to live that faith and pass on that faith to any children the couple may have.

What if we’re already living together? Choosing to live together before receiving God’s blessing is a public statement that is inconsistent with the teaching of Jesus and the Church. Living together is not a good preparation for the life-long commitment of marriage. Secular studies, confirming the wisdom of the teaching of Jesus, show that cohabitation before marriage drastically increases instances of infidelity and divorce. We urge couples to publicly affirm their faith by separating until after they have publicly committed themselves to each other before God and the Church.

I’m divorced. Can we get married? Following the teaching of Jesus, the Catholic Church considers any previous marriage(s) of the bride or groom, whether contracted in a religious or civil ceremony, binding unless shown to be invalid. We are unable to set a date for a wedding until all previous marriages have been declared null by the authority of the Church. This is true even for parties who are not Catholic. The time and effort needed to acquire a declaration of nullity (annulment) varies depending upon the circumstances. For further assistance and information on a declaration of nullity, please contact Fr. Jim Baird at 970-926-2821.

For more information contact Kathy Fagan, Wedding Coordinator  at kfagan@stclareparish.com or at the parish office at 970-926-2821 x107.

Practical Details

Becoming a married couple takes more than an exchange of wedding vows; it requires two people living in union with one another and with the Lord. The Catholic Church, as many other religions throughout the world, asks engaged couples to take time in preparing for marriage. The Archdiocese of Denver requires all of its parishes to provide an eight month minimum Marriage Preparation process for those considering marriage. This is not an eight-month waiting period, but rather a time for you to look seriously at your relationship in a structured, supportive way.

Getting Started

Contact our parish wedding coordinator, Kathy Fagan at kfagan@stclareparish.com or 970-926-2821 x107 to guide you through the following steps.

  • Select a tentative wedding date. This date should be reserved before the reception facility is booked.
  • Schedule a meeting with a parish priest or deacon to complete the Marriage Application form.
  • Attend an engaged couple’s weekend.
  • Complete the FOCCUS questionnaire (a communication inventory), turn in paperwork, and pay fees.
  • Participate in the Archdiocese of Denver workshop: God’s Plan for a Joy-filled Marriage.
  • Attend Natural Family Planning classes.

Scheduling and Paperwork

Days and Times

Weddings are usually scheduled on Saturdays. However, the Beaver Creek Chapel is used by five denominations and it books up quickly. We do make arrangements for Friday and Sunday weddings, when necessary. There are times when we cannot schedule weddings because of special feasts during the Church Year Calendar. For instance, weddings are not celebrated during Lent, during the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday), Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (with the exception of extenuating circumstances.)

Friday evenings are available for rehearsals. Rehearsals are 45 to 60 minutes in length and must begin on time. Remember to bring your Marriage License to the rehearsal and leave it with the Parish Wedding Coordinator.

Presider: Priest or Deacon

A priest or deacon from our parish is the usual official church witness for the Rite of Marriage. The Rite of Marriage is usually celebrated within a Mass if both bride and groom are Catholic. If one party is not Catholic, a ceremony will be held. It is also possible for you to request a priest or deacon from another parish. This needs to be discussed early in the marriage preparation process and delegation can be approved by the parish priest.

Documents Needed

Documents that the engaged couple is responsible for obtaining or completing during St. Mary Parish Marriage Preparation Process are:

  • Marriage Application: MA form
  • Baptismal Certificate
    CURRENT – Obtain from your church of baptism, no more than 6 months prior. For a non-Catholic partner, provide a baptismal form or letter with certification of baptism, if possible.
  • Freedom To Marry Witness Form: MB form
  • Dispensation or Permission Marry
    MC form – May be needed for various reasons, for example, the bride or groom is not Catholic.
  • Marriage License from the State of Colorado: These are good for 30 days. Bring to your rehearsal and leave it with your facilitator.

Planning Your Ceremony

Wedding Decor:  The church is a house of prayer, and so an atmosphere of reverence and respect must be maintained in the church at all times. Loud talking, smoking, eating, chewing of gum, drinking, and boisterous behavior is unacceptable in the church at any time.

The use of a UNITY CANDLE is optional during the wedding ceremony. If used, the wedding party will provide the unity candle holder and holders which will be on a separate table from the altar. (The altar is for sacred vessels only. No candles or flowers belong on the altar.)

Rice, Confetti, Bird Seed, Bubbles:  For insurance, maintenance, and safety reasons, these may NOT be used at the church.

Aisle Runners Are allowed. The length of the church is 50 feet.

Balloons: These are permitted to be released OUTSIDE the church.

Alcohol:  There is to be no alcohol (hard liquor, beer, wine, or champagne) on the church premises during the wedding or rehearsal. Both the Church and the State of Colorado require that one must be of sound mind and free of any obstacles that prevent them to enter into marriage. If there is any evidence of such, the wedding can be cancelled immediately. This policy also holds for any use of illegal drugs. Please make sure that the wedding party is aware and understands the importance of this Church and State policy.

Photography/Videotaping:  A wedding is a prayer event! The lower the profile on the photography during the ceremony, the better. Photographers and those videotaping should be appropriately dressed, and are asked not to move around during the ceremony. They are not to interfere with the furnishings of the church. They should not be in the sanctuary area during the ceremony, or in any way, be a distraction to the wedding celebration. They should stay off to the side and behind the pew line so as to maintain the sacredness and dignity of the ceremony.

Music:  St. Clare provides the pianist and the cantor for your wedding. The music selections must be coordinated with our Music Director, Ms. Carleen Sweet at 970-331-4211 or carleensweet@comcast.net.

To schedule a wedding please call the parish wedding coordinator,  Kathy Fagan at 970-926-2821 Ext. 107  or email to: kfagan@stclareparish.com