Sacrament of Marriage

Interested in Getting Married at St. Michael's?

 

For many years, Catholics from Chicago and throughout the U.S. have chosen to marry at St. Michael in Old Town. The church’s beautiful interior, its long history, 1,300 main floor guest capacity, 125-foot main aisle (longest in Chicago), historic Kilgen pipe organ and adjacent parking lot make it the perfect place for this special occasion. The church also has a courtyard across the plaza, perfect for photos – weather permitting!

We will be happy to work with you to plan your wedding celebration.
Here you will find important information to help begin your planning:

 

Scheduling a Wedding

The Archdiocese of Chicago recommends making wedding arrangements at least four months prior to the ceremony.  To be sure your preferred date is available, we recommend contacting St. Michael’s even sooner than that, if possible.

We normally schedule weddings for 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. on Fridays and at 12:30, 3:00 and 6:30p.m. on Saturdays; however, with demand as it is we will consider a wedding any day of the week. All wedding times must be approved by  St. Michael’s wedding scheduler and the priest witnessing the wedding.

To begin the planning process and determine available dates and times, contact Toni Dunning in the Parish Center Office 312-642-2498, Ext. 210.

Wedding Venues at St. Michael's

 

For a larger wedding with many guests, you’ll want the main church. There are three seating areas, separated by three aisles, can seat up to1300 guests, with excellent sight lines.  At this time, however, the protocols and procedures outlined by the Archdiocese of Chicago limits us to 20% of our capacity. For our own comfort and the number of volunteers required, St. Michael's limits lituriges including weddings, to around 100 guests. All guests are socially distanced and everyone is required to wear a mask to enter.

Music in the church is provided by St. Michael’s historic Kilgen pipe organ. 

                                    

The Ancilla Domini Chapel is not available for weddings due to social distancing requirements mandated by the State of Illinois, City of Chicago and Archdiocese of Chicago. All weddings will take place in the church at this time.

When we are able to use the Chapel again it is a perfect location for a smaller, more intimate wedding, a space that will hold 25 people. Music in the chapel is provided by a baby grand piano.  (Chapel scheduling is fairly flexible and date availability is often more open.)

                           

Stipends for Weddings

Stipends for a wedding ceremony or Mass in the main St. Michael’s church are  $2300 which include offering for the church; stipends for the priest, cantor, and Music Director; and the services of the wedding coordinator for the rehearsal and the day of the wedding. The couple and the priest witnessing the marriage determine whether or not the wedding will take place in a ceremony or Mass setting.

There are two options for weddings (ceremony or Mass) in the Ancilla Domini Chapel.  A $1100 stipend is requested for the chapel and stipends for the priest,  pianist, cantor, and the services of the wedding coordinator for the rehearsal and the day of the wedding. When no music is requested, a stipend of $775 is requested for the chapel and the stipend for the priest.

A deposit is required when the couple to be married submit a signed contract to the wedding coordinator. The deposit is non-refundable, but the wedding date can be changed, subject to availability.                                                                       

Paperwork and Other Requirements

The Catholic Church requires couples to complete a Pre-Cana Marriage Preparation program before the wedding ceremony. Contact the Parish Office for a brochure that lists dates and locations. This program is not hosted by St. Michael’s, and an additional offering is required. To register for Pre-Cana, go to www.familyministries.org. The program can require a number of weekly meetings.

There are also a number of documents you’ll have to complete, including:

  • Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire: you’ll complete this questionnaire with the assistance of a priest. It establishes your desire and readiness for marriage within the Catholic Church.
  • Witness Affidavits: the bride and groom will each require two affidavits, completed by two people who know them well – perhaps a parent, brother or sister, or close friend – and who can affirm your eligibility to marry in the church. (You should discuss this requirement during your first meeting with your priest.)
  • Certificate of Baptism: the bride and groom will each need one (if they have been baptized), issued within the last six months. You should write or call the church in which you were baptized to request a copy of this certificate. If that church no longer exists, contact the local diocese or archdiocese to determine where records are currently held.
  • Cook County Marriage License: you will need to go to the Cook County Clerk’s Office to obtain a license. Check the office’s Web site to determine requirements and location.

Couples will also have to complete a Relationship inventory program or couple check up with their priest. This program looks at how effectively couples communicate regarding their marriage expectations.

A Wedding Planning Timetable

Couples should start the planning process well in advance of the proposed wedding date, ideally four to six months. The first step, as noted earlier, is the work with the wedding coordinator to check time and availability, select a site (church or chapel), complete a contract, and submit the initial stipend. At that time, you’ll want to contact the Parish Office to schedule your first meeting with the priest who will be witnessing the marriage. Things begin to move at a quick pace after that.

Four Months before the Wedding:

  • Begin meeting with the priest you will be doing your wedding preparation with. The paperwork can NOT be completed without meeting with a priest. If you are not contacted by the priest, call the Parish Office to set a meeting with the priest presiding at your wedding. If you are doing your wedding preparation with a priest outside of the Archdiocese of Chicago, you will want to contact that priest sooner as the paperwork must be approved by the Archdiocese of Chicago prior to St. Michael's receiving it. This will add time to the process.

Three Months before the Wedding:

  • Send in any balance due on the stipend for the wedding.
  • Continue to meet and/or talk with your priest to ensure all paperwork is coming in as expected.

Two Months before the Wedding:

  • Speak with the priest who will preside at the wedding to be certain that all necessary paperwork has been submitted and other requirements met.
  • Contact the Parish Office 312-642-2498 - to schedule a meeting with the music minister who will be serving at the wedding. At this time, you can plan the music, discuss whether you prefer a male or female cantor (the person who leads the singing responses that are part of the wedding), and determine if you wish to hire additional musicians for the ceremony or Mass. St. Michael’s cantors are familiar with the church’s sound system, its acoustics, and the order of the ceremony or Mass. They are experienced professionals. For these reasons, the church strongly recommends using one of these musicians, not an outsider or family friend, for this important milestone in your lives.  If you wish to do differently, you must work with the Music Minister to schedule a rehearsal (a $75 fee) and plan the music.
  • Verify the time of your rehearsal with the Parish Office - 312-642-2498.
  • Make sure you have obtained the necessary Cook County Marriage License. You should bring it to the Parish Office, where it will be kept on file until the wedding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my family priest preside at the ceremony or Mass?

Of course. We require that your priest provide St. Michael’s with a Letter of Good Standing from his diocese if he resides outside the Archdiocese of Chicago. The stipend structure, however, does not change.

May I request a specific priest from St. Michael’s?

Yes, provided that his schedule is open for that date and time. 

Is there any flexibility regarding the times St. Michael’s can perform weddings?

The standard noon and 3 p.m. times were set because they don’t conflict with other planned activities at St. Michael’s. With the current procedures for Covid-19, we must have time between weddings to disinfect the church. That said, we’ll work with you to be flexible, if possible, but any changes must be approved by the wedding coordinator and the priest witnessing the wedding.

How do we schedule the wedding rehearsal?

Discuss this with the wedding coordinator. Rehearsals are normally the Friday before the wedding, and the times are specified on the agreement. It may be possible, schedules permitting, to change the timing.

How do we select the music and cantors for the wedding?

The wedding coordinator will set up a meeting with a St. Michael’s music minister, with whom you will make all of these plans. St. Michael's does not allow musicians, who do not have affiliation with the parish, to lead the music. There are other opportunities for guests to participate in the music at your wedding. To avoid hardship, please contact the Director of Music prior to making any music plans.

If you have any additional questions regarding the wedding planning process, just contact the Parish Office, 312-642-2498. 

The priests and staff of St. Michael’s promise to work with you to make this wedding a most memorable one as you commit your lives to each other in unity, in marriage. We look forward to meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations.

 
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