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The Sacrament of Matrimony 
 

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Father,
you have made the bond of marriage
a holy mystery,
a symbol of Christ’s love for his Church.
Hear our prayers for this couple.
With faith in you and in each other
they pledge their love today.
May their lives always bear witness
to the reality of that love.
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The Shrine Church has always been a popular site for a wedding.  Besides providing beautiful weddings for our parishioners, Saint Anthony's also welcomes non-parishioners to have their weddings at our beautiful church.  Saint Anthony's was just recently named number two in New York Time Out Magazine's list of the "ten most beautiful churches in New York City."   Besides the physical beauty of Saint Anthony's, there are other reasons to consider having your wedding here.   Saint Anthony's stands at the cross roads of major downtown neighborhoods, straddling the border of Greenwich Village, Soho, and Tribeca.   It is the ideal setting for a Catholic wedding if you have booked such venues as Tribeca Rooftop, The Lighthouse, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Puck Building,  Sixty Thompson Street,  or other places in the area.  St. Anthonys is only a few streets from the Holland Tunnel Manhattan side entrance, and is easily accessible to locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey. 
 
Saint Anthony's magnificence presents a stunning place for a wedding.   Our 87 foot long main aisle, and our towering 80 foot high ceilings, the beautiful stained glass windows, will certainly make your wedding Mass or service the most important part of your wedding day.   Our music program is excellent, and you will be accompanied by the triumphant sounds of our 1888 Jardine Pipe Organ, in perfect working condition.   


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General Guidelines:

The Shrine Church is a parish of the Archdiocese of New York.  All of the requirements of the Archdiocese of New York must be met in order to have a wedding here at Saint Anthony's.   We do not perform non-denominational, civil, or non-Catholic weddings.   At least one of the parties marrying must be a baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic, and you must secure permission of the pastor of your current parish if you are not a member of Saint Anthony's.

~Please make an appointment with one of the parish priests for an initial consultation and interview.  The purpose of this is to determine your freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.  The priest will walk you through all the necessary preparations, as well as any paperwork which may be needed.

~You will be given a booklet with a choice of marriage preparation programs of different length being offered through the Archdiocese of New York, such as day programs, weekend programs, night sessions, and also the Engaged Encounter Weekend.  You will need to discuss your plans with the priest to receive his approval.  Unfortunately, we do not offer these programs here at St. Anthony’s.  The Archdiocese of New York's Office of Family Life/Respect Life provides an opportunity to register for Preparation Programs for the sacrament of Marriage, sometimes referred to as "Pre-Cana" classes.   This is the website: www.nyfamilylife.org/marriage-preparation/

~Catholic parties must have received the sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist, and Confirmation, and provide certificates for these sacraments.  These certificates must be issued within six months of the wedding date.  You can obtain them from the church where you received these sacraments and have them mailed directly to St. Anthony’s.  Non-Catholic Christians must also provide proof of baptism, but these may be in any form available.

~ If either party has been previously married, documentation and paperwork must be done to assure that you are free to marry and whether your marriage can take place in the Catholic Church.                  

~Dates and times for weddings are available on a first come, first served basis.  

~Weddings can be scheduled for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, or any weekday. 

~A priest or deacon who is a family member or friend will be most welcomed to officiate at your wedding.  However, he must be registered as a wedding officiant with the City of New York before this can take place.  Information about this can be found at cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/marriage/officiant_reg.shtml                 

~The couple is responsible for obtaining a proper marriage license.  The license must be presented to the parish in advance.

 Ceremony or Mass?

A Nuptial Mass is a special celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage in the context of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The reception of the Body and Blood of Christ is a sign of God’s love for us in the person of Jesus Christ.   It is also a special gathering of  God’s people in unity as the Roman Catholic Church.  While it is desirable to celebrate wedding at a Nuptial Mass, certain criteria should be met.   A ceremony is a wonderful and valid option for those who do not meet these criteria.  Both parties must be practicing,  church-going Catholics.  This would presume that both bride and groom attend Sunday Mass on a regular basis, are practicing members of the  Catholic faith, and are not cohabiting.    Couples who are living together before marriage do not constitute the proper sign within the Catholic church of the nature of the Sacrament of Marriage.  Nuptial Masses cannot be celebrated in the case of a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic.  To prepare for your wedding ceremony or Nuptial Mass, you will be given a booklet called "Together for Life."  This contains choices for readings, vows, prayers, etc.  An online version can be found at  http://togetherforlifeonline.com and for reading slections at http://togetherforlifeonline.com/wedding/catholic-wedding-readings/.

Photography Guidelines

Please discuss these guidelines with the photographer and /or videographer.  Your marriage Liturgy is a sacred moment of prayer.  Anything that disrupts this time of prayer is to be avoided at all costs.  While we understand your desire to record this moment, we ask you to observe the following guidelines so that the sacredness of this celebration will not be marred by photo or taping equipment and those who operate them.  Photographers and videographers  should check in with the celebrant  before the wedding Mass or ceremony.  Professional photographers and videographers  are more aware of respecting limits and boundaries of a religious ceremony than are amateur photographers.      

 Music Guidelines

We cannot emphasize enough that a Nuptial Mass or Wedding Service is a time of worship.  Any music chosen for your wedding must be appropriate for use in a church.   We do not permit secular or popular music.  Classical music must be appropriate for use in church, and must be approved.  Love songs and poems are very often inappropriate, since they do not express the religious nature of the Sacrament of Marriage, nor do they reflect the special relationship with Christ and His Church involved in the Sacrament of Marriage.

 Our church provides professional and capable music ministers to assist you in the preparation of music for your wedding.  You may have relatives or friends who would like to participate in the music program of  your wedding.   This is subject to the permission of the parish priests and musicians.   Not all musicians are familiar with the challenges of singing or performing in a church setting.  Not all musicians understand the nuances of playing the organ or piano in a church, or leading a congregation in singing.   Just because someone sings does not mean they are appropriate singers for a church Mass or service.   For those having a Mass, there are parts of the Mass which must be sung.  This is not an option.   For wedding services, there may be more leeway, but the same principles come into play.   Someone who sings in a recital hall or a lounge may not be suitable for singing in church.    Musical repetoir is also something to take into consideration.  Your favorite love song may be more appropriate for your wedding reception than in the church.   Music used in the church must be religious and liturgical.  Our parish cantor and organist are employed to handle the music at all our Masses and services.  Just as you would not expect to bring a friend who is a chef or a waiter to provide that service at any restaurant, so too we do not permit musicians to completely take the place of our own parish musicians.   This is also a matter of justice, since providing music at our church is their means of employment.

The parish musician you work with is the representative of the Pastor and staff of St. Anthony's, and will have final word in determining the use of guest musicians.   You can contact Christine Sperry, Music Minister, at christine@stanthonynyc.org or 917-435-6669.  

 Flowers  

It is most appropriate for families to supply flowers for the church altar for the embellishment of the church sanctuary.  Flower pieces can be placed on pedestals by the florists.  Other flowere that are appropriate could be placed on the church pews, and special arrangments can be provided for presentation to the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, if that is your family tradition.  Please realize that the church is very large, and small flower arrangements tend to get lost in such a large environment.   Larger arrangements would enhance your wedding more than small ones.  Please know that flower arrangements SHOULD NOT BE REMOVED from the church after the wedding and brought to the banquet hall.  Flowers presented to God at His altar should remain there as your gift of gratitude to God Himself.

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