Marriage Preparation and Planning Your Wedding at Saint Clement Parish

For further information on pre-marriage preparation (Pre-Cana), and planning your wedding at Saint Clement Parish, please read the information below. We hope that your experience of marriage preparation is one that enriches you as a couple and provides you with a solid foundation as you begin your Sacramental marriage together. 


The love between two people is a gift from God. The commitment you make to be together for the rest of your lives is sealed before the community and God during the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. Here you will find information on our parish wedding procedures, as well as help in planning your paperwork, liturgy and music. We invite you to acquaint yourself thoroughly with the materials and guidelines presented here. They have been prepared with an eye toward making your wedding day both beautiful and memorable, and we hope you will find them most helpful in that regard.
Saint Clement offers a wealth of assistance, encouragement and talent to help in preparing for the celebration of weddings. Please understand that every wedding ceremony is a unique event, and that all final details are settled only after meeting with the Saint Clement Parish staff.

How to Prepare

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we begin planning?

Download the marriage principles and procedures: Your Wedding At Saint Clement Church. Read it thoroughly and agree to the information contained within.

Then fill out the online wedding inquiry form, located on the sidebar.
How far in advance should we contact Saint Clement?

At least six months in advance.

What fees are involved?

The wedding fee is $2,200.00.  

This fee is mostly all-inclusive. It includes:

  • Paperwork preparation
  • Preparation meetings
  • Organist and cantor (singer)
  • Music planning, music website, musician scheduling
  • Priest stipend
  • Saint Clement Pre-Cana (other pre-cana courses not offered by Saint Clement are not included and refunds are not given for other pre-cana courses)
  • Wedding planner to answer your questions throughout preparation.
  • Wedding attendant who will organize and run your rehearsal and wedding ceremony.
  • Parish donation
A $300 deposit is required at the time of booking. This deposit is non-refundable but can be transferred to another wedding date at Saint Clement. 
Saint Clement is a vital parish providing for the spiritual and ministerial needs of its people and the surrounding community. It is a "museum quality" church that provides a jewel-like setting Sunday and feast day celebrations as well as weddings. The wedding fee helps to cover not only the expenses incurred by the parish in helping the couple, their friends and families to celebrate a most joyous day, but also goes toward the maintenance and upkeep (including heating and air conditioning) of the magnificent building in which weddings take place. Wedding fees also help support the ministries and outreach programs for which Saint Clement Parish is known.
Can the wedding be Livestreamed?

Yes, we are able to Livestream the wedding service on our parish's YouTube page. The fee to Livestream is $150.

What required documents do we need to obtain on our own?

1. Witness Affadivits testifying to your freedom to marry are required from both the bride and groom. There are two witnesses for the bride, and two for the groom. The form can be obtained from the parish office or from the downloadable online resources located on this page. The form must then be filled out in the presence of a priest, deacon or another church representative. This can be done at any Catholic church.  

2. A new Baptismal Certificate dated within six months of the day you wish to be married must be submitted by each Catholic party.  In the marriage of a Catholic and a non-Catholic Christian, the non-Catholic also presents a Baptismal record.  Writing or phoning the church in which the baptism took place easily obtains these certificates.  Copies of original certificates are unacceptable.

3. A Confirmation Certificate is also required for all Catholics.  
4. A civil Marriage License is required for the marriage to take place in church. Information on obtaining the license can be found at the Cook County Clerk.  It is good for 60 days from when it is issued, but cannot be used within the first 24 hours of receiving it.  It should be brought to the wedding rehearsal. No wedding can take place without a valid license.
5. In case of a marriage ceremony at a non-Catholic church involving a Catholic and a non-Catholic, a dispensation must be obtained from the Archdiocese of Chicago before the wedding. We will help you with this process.  Because of the time involved in such a procedure, it is advisable to complete all of the necessary paperwork as well in advance.
What required documents do we complete with the church?

1. A statement of intention by both bride and groom, called a pre-nuptial questionnaire, is required and will be completed with your priest, deacon or marriage minister at your first meeting.

2. Two witness affidavits for each of you are required.  Adults who know you well complete these affidavits in any Catholic parish in the presence of a priest, deacon, or pastoral associate.  Close family members (parents, sisters, brothers) are most acceptable since they can easily answer the questions asked.  They need not be Catholic, but should be at least eighteen years of age. The form is downloadable from this page.
3. In case of a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, a dispensation must be granted.  The church will assist you with this.
How do I take the required FOCCUS inventory?

All couples are required to take the FOCCUS inventory. (Facilitating Open Caring Communication Understanding Study) This will help facilitate a discussion tailored to their individual situations. The results of the check-up will be discussed with your priest or deacon.  Begin the process by contacting Noemi Benavides.

What if one person is Catholic and the other is not?

A special type of Church permission called a "dispensation" is required. Contact Noemi Benavides for additional information.

What if someone was previously married?

There are a number of issues that must be addressed surrounding the matter of previous marriage. The couple will need to meet with one of the parish priests or premarital ministers to discuss their situation.

What classes are required? What is Pre-Cana?

Pre-marriage preparation, often called Pre-Cana, includes a program that offers you the time and setting to consider together your life as a married couple. All couples must participate in a pre-cana program since it is required by the Archdiocese.  A number of programs are available to you including the Archdiocesan Pre-Cana and Saint Clement Pre-Cana.  Arrangements for any of the programs are the responsibility of the couple.  Plan early since reservations are required for all programs.

Saint Clement offers its own Pre-Cana program and is available to a limited number of couples. Please contact Lori Howard for details.

May priests or ministers from other denominations participate in the wedding?

Priests from other Catholic parishes or ministers from other denominations are welcome to participate in the wedding ceremony. The presider for your wedding must be a Catholic priest or deacon and the liturgy must take place according to the Rite of Marriage within the Catholic Church. Visiting presiders are expected to be present at the wedding rehearsal. Please inform us at least two months in advance if other ministers or priests will take part in your liturgy and discuss the possibility with your priest or deacon.

How do I plan music?

Click "Plan my wedding music" on the sidebar.

What if I have a friend, family member, etc. who would like to play music?

Saint Clement strictly does not allow musicians who are not affiliated with the parish lead the music. There are other limited opportunities for friends and family to be a part of the music at your ceremony. Contact the music staff with questions. To prevent any hardship, be sure to contact the music staff before making any plans. 

How can I prepare a wedding program? Or can Saint Clement prepare it?

You are welcome to design your own program. Outlines can be found in the resources on this page. Or, Saint Clement offers a service to design and print a wedding program for your liturgy. Click "prepare my wedding program" on the sidebar for more information.  Keep in mind that Saint Clement does not have any hymnals, missalettes, or worship books in the pews. We design orders of service (programs) for all of our liturgies.

Which Scripture readings can I choose from?

The readings at a Catholic wedding liturgy are a proclamation of God’s Word and of the Church’s faith about marriage. For this reason, they are limited to readings from the scriptures (the Bible). Click here to learn more.

May I allow my guests to leave cars in the parking lot after the wedding?

No. Any cars left in the parking will be towed. Other weddings may follow your wedding, or the parish may be preparing for another event. Parking is at a premium and we will not allow any exceptions. 

What do I need to tell my florist photographer and videographer?

All information regarding florists, photographers and videographers can be on the final pages of Your Wedding At Saint Clement Church. You can also download the information from the resources on this page. To prevent hardship or difficulty, it is very important that you share this information to your florist, photographer and videographer well in advance of your wedding. 

My mom, sister, brother, wedding coordinator would like to plan our wedding.

We cannot work with anyone other than the bride and groom since the expectation is that you take an active role in planning your wedding. Other people becoming involved causes difficulty for our staff and will only lead to confusion throughout the process. 

I have a wedding coordinator working with me. How can they plan my wedding?

Outside wedding coordinators are strictly not permitted to plan a wedding. Our wedding attendant will lead both the rehearsal and ceremony. Outside wedding coordinators are not permitted to lead these occasions or interfere.

After we're married how do we obtain a marriage certificate?

After you're married, information on obtaining a marriage certificate from Cook County and legally changing any names can be found in the resouces on this page.