Wedding Guidelines

Scheduling a Wedding at Saint Mary Cathedral
Thank you for considering celebrating your wedding in our beautiful historic Cathedral.  Many couples throughout the diocese, state, and country express interest in celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony at Saint Mary Cathedral.  It is for this reason, that we ask couples to contact the Cathedral office at (512) 476-6182 after you have completed and/or answered questions 1-4 at least six months before you desire to have your wedding.  Because the Church considers marriage a sacrament, that is, a sign of the presence of God among us, and takes the marriage commitment very seriously, certain preparation is necessary and expected.
  1. Are you and/or your fiancée Roman Catholic?  If “yes,” there are documents you need to obtain prior to scheduling your wedding at the Cathedral.
    1. Obtain a Baptism Certificate from the church where you were baptized. The certificate must have been issued within the last six months and include any notations such as, Sacraments which have already been conferred.
    2. Obtain a Confirmation Certificate from the church where you received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  If Confirmation is noted on your Baptism Certificate, there is no need to obtain this certificate.
  2. Is there a previous marriage?  If so, no preparations may be made until a Decree of Nullity has been obtained.  Contact the parish office at (512) 476-6182 about more information regarding an Annulment.
  3. If you are not a parishioner of Saint Mary Cathedral, where will you complete your marriage preparation?  Will you complete the preparation in your home parish or Catholic student center?  Due to the limited number of clergy serving at the Cathedral, we unfortunately do not have the personnel to prepare every couple who desires to celebrate their wedding here at the Cathedral.*
  4. If you are not a parishioner of Saint Mary Cathedral, have you selected a clergy member to receive your vows at the marriage ceremony?  Again, due to the limited number of clergy serving at the Cathedral, we unfortunately do not have the personnel to celebrate every wedding here at the Cathedral.**
 
*Cathedral parishioners may contact the parish office after obtaining Baptismal and Confirmation Documents.  The Wedding Coordinator will assign a deacon or priest to assist you with your marriage preparations.
**Cathedral parishioners may wish to have a specific Cathedral priest, or deacon, receive their vows; this may be arranged with the Wedding Coordinator after you have obtained the appropriate documents.

Preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony

Introduction

Congratulations on your engagement! As you begin the preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony, be assured of our prayers and support. These guidelines are designed to assist in the planning of your wedding at the Cathedral. We ask that you read carefully through the following guidelines.

Please note: No arrangements for a wedding may be undertaken if there has been a previous marriage until the Decree of Nullity is obtained and there has been compliance with tribunal prohibitions and stipulations.
 
As Saint Mary Cathedral is the Cathedral Church in the heart of downtown Austin, we receive many requests for weddings. Our clergy personnel is limited and we must ask couples who are not parishioners to make arrangements with another priest or deacon to work with them in the preparation and celebration of their marriage at the Cathedral. Once you have met with the priest or deacon, contact the Cathedral office so that the appropriate paperwork may be sent to him. This is necessary before you can schedule a date and time for the wedding. Once the completed and signed paperwork is returned to the Cathedral, you may give to the Cathedral office:
  • For active parishioners, those who have been registered for one year prior to the booking, a contribution of $500. Participants in RCIA are considered to be active members of the parish from the beginning of participation in the required classes.
  • For non-parishioners, those who have not been registered for one year prior to the booking, a contribution of $1,200.
A Letter of Confirmation will be issued when these steps have been completed. The ceremony should not be considered as scheduled until you receive this letter.

The fee is due at the time you reserve the Cathedral for your wedding in both cases and is partially refundable should the wedding be cancelled. A full refund will be issued if cancellation is received at least six months in advance of the scheduled date. If a cancellation notice is received between three and six months prior to the scheduled date, a partial refund will be considered. No refund will be given if the cancellation notice is received less than three months prior to the scheduled date. A cancellation notice stating the reason for the request must be received from the bride or groom in writing.

Weddings are scheduled at least six months in advance, depending on the availability of the date. Weddings occur at either 2 or 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Rehearsals are scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. on the Friday evening before and must be attended by everyone taking part in the wedding. A wedding coordinator is provided and present at the rehearsal and ceremony in order to facilitate the event. The Cathedral does not schedule weddings during Lent and Advent.

In summary, a date for the wedding ceremony cannot be reserved until the Cathedral office has received:
  • Updated Baptism / Confirmation certificates from Catholics,
  • Completed and signed Agreement Form from the priest or deacon presiding at the ceremony and
  • A check for the building use contribution.

Gentle Reminders

The couple is responsible for obtaining a marriage license from the Travis County Courthouse. You must give the license to the priest or deacon at the wedding rehearsal or before.

The Alma Hansen Brides' Room is located on the Cathedral campus across from Bishops Hall. Brides and bridesmaids are welcome to use it. Arrangements for using the room may be made through the Cathedral office. Prior to and during the ceremony, items may be left in the bride's room but be reminded to securely shut the coded door to the room.

The Cathedral dedicates the large sacristy to the left of the Sanctuary for the groom and groomsmen.

Food, alcohol and tobacco are not permitted in any of the Cathedral facilities, including the bride's dressing room. Water is the exception, but all containers and glasses must be disposed of properly.

The Cathedral assumes no responsibility for items that are lost or left in any part of the facility. It is not recommended that purses and items of value NOT be left in the back of the church.
 

Marriage Preparation Programs
All couples being married by a priest or deacon of the Cathedral are required to complete each of the following:

  • Together in God's Love: An introduction to Catholic Marriage, Diocese of Austin. For information, call (512) 873-7771,
  • Foccus: An instrument for marriage preparation designed to facilitate communication and understanding between the couple. There is a $30 processing fee for each couple.
  • Natural Family Planning: All couples who participate in the Sponsor Couple Program are required to attend a pre-marriage session of Natural Family Planning offered by the Natural Family Planning Center. For more information, call (512) 474-2757.
All couples being married by a priest or deacon not assigned to the Cathedral are to follow his instructions and requirements for marriage preparation.

It is your responsibility to make arrangements for your marriage preparation programs. We recommend that you complete all the required programs by three months before the wedding.

Decoration

Arrangements for floral decoration of the Cathedral are made by calling the Cathedral office. You are allowed to place two arrangements composed of live flowers on the High Altar and one each on the shrines to St. Mary and St. Joseph. These flowers are to remain in the church for the Sunday liturgies.

The use of a unity candle is not allowed.

Pew markers are permitted if attached with elastic or ribbon, but removal of such decorations is the responsibility of the wedding party. It is encouraged to designate a wedding party member prior to the rehearsal.

An aisle runner is not allowed.

No decorations are allowed outside the Cathedral or in the narthex.

No objects may be tossed in the air as the bride and groom leave after the ceremony. This proscription includes birdseed, confetti, rice and bubbles.

Photography


During the ceremony, a photographer is permitted to take photographs only from outside the Sanctuary area and without a flash. The photographer is not to interrupt the liturgy by moving around excessively. These guidelines apply to members of the congregation as well.

After the ceremony, photographs are allowed to be taken; however, we would remind you that the Cathedral is a house of prayer and certain decorum should be maintained. Please limit the post ceremony photographs to 30 minutes.

The small sacristy to the right of the Sanctuary is dedicated to the photographer and videographer.  Photography and videography is never permitted from the choir loft.  No guests may be seated in the choir loft.

Please inform your photographer of these guidelines.

Videotaping

Videotaping equipment is allowed when it is done from a stationary tripod. The equipment may be set up in the Sanctuary alongside the column to the right of the High Altar only. Modern videotaping equipment does quite well with the Cathedral's lighting; therefore, additional lighting is not allowed. The small sacristy to the right of the Sanctuary is dedicated to the photographer and videographer.
 

In Closing, We are honored that you are considering marriage at the Cathedral, and it is our prayer that the ceremony will begin a lifelong walk of faith in the company of our Savior.