The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Congratulations on your engagement. Engagement is a special time – a time of love and preparation. We at Immaculate Heart seek to do all that we can to help couples prepare for marriage. Due to its very special nature, this type of serious preparation cannot be accomplished overnight.

The first step in the marriage preparation is for you, as a couple, to meet with Fr. Boyd. By diocesan policy, couples planning to marry in the Church should contact their pastor at least six months prior to the wedding. No wedding date can be set until this initial contact has been made.

Planning your Wedding at Immaculate Heart

Weddings are typically celebrated on Saturday afternoons at 12:00 PM or 2:00 PM. One you have submitted your Wedding Scheduling Request Form you may proceed to Step 2 and begin reading through the Wedding Information Packet. The date is not guaranteed until you hear back from our office. You will still need to schedule your initial meeting with Father Andy after submission of the first form.


Please read the information in this packet carefully. It outlines several important areas that are instrumental in the planning of your wedding ceremony. It is recommended you save and print a copy for easy reference.


The Wedding Liturgy Planning Form allows you to plan all aspects of your wedding liturgy online.

NOTE: You will proceed to Step 3 after you have been contacted by Father Boyd.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can marriages be scheduled?

There will ordinarily be only one wedding on any given Saturday. Marriages are celebrated at either 12 noon or 2 PM. Weddings are ordinarily not scheduled during Lent. Weddings may take place on days other than Saturday; this should be arranged with the priest. Weddings are not permitted on Sundays, Holy Days, and during Holy Week.

What about Interfaith Marriages?
When one of the parties to the marriage is not Catholic, both parties need to understand and respect the role that the Church plays in married life. We assure you at the same time of our respect for other religious traditions. In the conversation with the priest, the Catholic partner will be asked to make a commitment to have their children baptized in the Catholic Faith and to Marriage 3share his or her faith with their children. The non-Catholic partner will be asked to be trusting, open and understanding about the Catholic Faith and traditions. We welcome ministers of other faiths to participate in your wedding ceremony; arrangements should be made with the parish priest. Your witnesses may also be persons of another faith.
How do we choose between having a Nuptial Mass or Nuptial Ceremony?

When both parties in the marriage are Catholic, a Nuptial Mass is most appropriate. Choosing to be married within the Mass is particularly appropriate if the couple is active and regular in the practice of their faith.

When only one party in the marriage is non-Catholic and many people attending the wedding will be non-Catholic, we strongly recommend a Nuptial Ceremony where the wedding takes place in the Liturgy of the Word. Since there is no inter-communion in the Catholic Church, a Nuptial Ceremony will make all feel welcomed, at home and part of the celebration.

What documents are required?

Any baptized person will be asked to obtain a recently issued Baptismal Certificate from the church of their baptism. This applies to both Catholics and non-Catholics. For Catholics, old baptismal certificates can’t be used. You must present a certificate less than six months old. First Communion and Confirmation Dates should also be included. You can get a certificate by contacting the parish in which you were baptized. If you were baptized at Saint James, no certificate is required since we already have the information in our records.

personal information sheet filled out by the priest for both the bride and groom at the first meeting, which you arrange with the priest.

close relative or friend of the bride and groom may also be required to fill out a witness form in the presence of the priest or over the phone. Father will determine if this is necessary.

In the case of an interfaith marriage, the promise to have the children baptized and raised as Catholics must be signed by the Catholic party. This should be discussed an agreed upon by both parties during the Marriage Preparation.

For those entering a second marriage, a death certificate for a deceased spouse or an annulment decree as well as divorce certificate for a previous marriage. For all marriages, a wedding license issued by any County in Pennsylvania.

What about the use of the Church?

Members of the parish and visitors to Immaculate Heart are asked to remember that our church is a house of prayer and the home of this faith community. We ask that the conduct of visitors reflect the dignity and respect you would like afforded in your own home.

Smoking is not permitted anywhere within the church structure, including the restrooms and bridal room.

All alcoholic beverages are STRICTLY prohibited both inside and outside the church or on church property.

What about music?

Music is one of the most visible signs of the liturgical celebration and should be chosen carefully. The priest and organist will help you in selecting appropriate music, which should express the faith of the couple and the common faith of the whole church. Secular songs may be moving or a particular favorite of the couple, but when they do not express faith, they are not appropriate in the church and should be saved for the reception. Ordinarily, the parish organist and soloist are to be used for all weddings. If you choose to have someone other than the parish organist and soloist, that is permitted. However, you must have the pastor’s approval. 

What about photography and videos?

These are permitted, but must not be done in an obtrusive manner. 

What about flowers and other decorations?

When setting a date for your wedding, take into consideration the special nature of the liturgical seasons (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time). The Church’s celebration of these seasons will affect the decoration of the Church. When a wedding takes place during such a liturgical season, the liturgical environment will remain in place and will  be removed. 

Arrangements for flowers, candelabras, candles, etc. are to be made by the bride and groom with the florist of their choice. Flowers should be considered a gift to the church and should not be removed at the end of the ceremony. It is your responsibility to caution the florist against stapling, gluing or taping floral arrangements to the Church pews or carpets.

Aisle runners are explicitly not permitted due to insurance regulations; they pose a tripping problem, especially to the elderly.


Other things to take note of:

  • The proper place of a receiving line is at the reception. We do not suggest having a recieving line at church as it diminishes the time for pictures.
  • You may wish to have bottles water available for those in the wedding party.
  • The throwing of rice, confetti, or birdseed is forbidden on church grounds.
  • Alcohol is strictly forbidden on Parish property. Anyone visibly intoxicated will be forbidden from participating in the ceremony.
  • Rehearsals are usually held the night before the ceremony. The time is to be scheduled with the priest. Rehearsals generally last 45 minutes. Musicians do not attend the rehearsal.
  • Please ask everyone to arrive on time, as punctuality is key. Due to scheduling, we cannot wait beyond 5 minutes for everyone to arrive.

"Go out to all the world
and proclaim the Good News"
Mark 16:15

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Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish
100 Penn Avenue
Mercer, PA 16137

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish,
a Pennsylvania Charitable Trust
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