Celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage @ IC
As a parish community, we offer our warmest congratulations on your engagement and upcoming marriage! This is a blessed time for you and your family & friends, and we would be honored to celebrate this joyous occasion with you. The Catholic Church recognizes your marriage as a sacrament, as your visible love and faithfulness to each other will become a powerful sign of God’s love. It is a sacred celebration meant to express your faith in God and your love for each other. Marriage emulates the relationship that God intends to have with all creation — ever-faithful, life-giving, and eternally loving.
Please know that our Parish Staff will do our best to make your wedding as professional and prayerful as possible. For your convenience, we have provided basic information below regarding weddings at IC (including an overview of our process as well as our policies.) Please review the information provided carefully.
As you will see below, music and liturgical norms play a critical role when planning your wedding. Our Priests and our Director of Worship will assist you as you prepare and plan for your ceremony (a wedding without Mass) or a Wedding Mass.
Please contact our Parish Office at 773.775.3833 to inquire about available dates, a diocese preparation program (Pre-Cana or One in Christ), marriage preparation with a priest, and associated fees.
If you are seeking to celebrate your wedding at our parish, please contact our Parish Office at least six months prior to the desired date to begin making the necessary arrangements. At that time, a member of our parish staff will assist you in completing our wedding intake form and guide you through the initial process. Although it is not required for you to be a registered parishioner at our parish in order to celebrate your wedding with us at IC, you are always welcome to become a part of our parish family and we would be more than happy to register you at any time.
In our parish community, weddings are traditionally celebrated on Saturday afternoons at 2:00 P.M. Special weekday and weekend wedding dates are permitted as well, if our parish schedule allows. On the day of the wedding, the wedding party and florist/decorator will have access to our church one hour prior to the ceremony (for decorating/dressing purposes), and 30 minutes after the conclusion of the ceremony (for photographs, etc.)
Once you have determined your desired wedding date (as well as confirmed your corresponding reservation with your Reception Hall), a $250.00 non-refundable deposit is required to officially reserve the date on our schedule. (Please note: the remaining balance of our Church Use fee is due one month prior to your wedding.) Once your wedding date has been confirmed, one of our priests will contact you to schedule an appointment to meet with you as a couple to determine your readiness for marriage and begin the preliminary paperwork process by completing the prenuptial questionnaire. During this preliminary meeting, you will also receive a booklet entitled Together for Life that will assist you with your choices for prayers and Scripture readings. Over a series of meetings leading up to your wedding, our priest will walk together with you on your journey, offering guidance and spiritual support, preparing you to enter into a covenant with God and with each other.
See below for the specific breakdown of fees.
Please note: If you are requesting a priest from outside the Archdiocese of Chicago to celebrate your wedding at IC, you are welcome to do so, but the guest priest will need to secure a “Letter of Good Standing” from their bishop or provincial beforehand (which we will need to have on file at our parish prior to your wedding.) If the guest priest of your choosing is in the Archdiocese of Chicago, please provide his contact information (email & telephone number) so that our parish staff can coordinate communications with him. Generally, the required wedding paperwork is still coordinated by one of our parish priests (particularly if the guest priest resides out of state and is unable to meet with the couple.)
Required Documentation For Weddings:
- Both the bride and groom will need to provide a recently issued copy of their baptismal certificate from the Church of their Baptism (which should include all recorded sacramental notations – i.e. First Communion, Confirmation, previous marriages (if applicable), etc.)
- You will also need to select 2 witnesses each (ideally either parents, siblings, or relatives) to complete and sign witness affidavit forms on your behalf (attesting to your freedom to marry, etc.).
- For those previously married, a Declaration of Nullity must be provided in order to demonstrate that you are free to re-marry in the Catholic Church. This applies for all forms of previous marriages, even those celebrated civilly.
- A Certificate of Completion of the Marriage Preparation Program – commonly known as Pre-Cana – is also required and must be completed within one year of the day you wish to be married. A list of programs available in the Archdiocese of Chicago can be found at https://pvm.archchicago.org/lifelong-formation/marriage-and-family-ministries/getting-married. These programs are designed to deepen your awareness of the challenges of living together in a Christian marriage. Through discussion, exercises, and presentations, you will have the opportunity to concentrate more intensely on many facets of married life.
- You are also responsible for securing a valid civil marriage license issued by the Cook County Clerk’s Office prior to your wedding date – for additional information, please visit: https://www.cookcountyclerkil.gov/service/marriage-licenses. Once secured, couples are encouraged to bring the Marriage License to our Parish Office one week prior to your wedding date (or you may present it to our priest on the evening of your wedding rehearsal - along with your wedding programs - if applicable.) Rehearsals for weddings are typically held one to two days prior to your scheduled wedding date (typically in the late afternoon or early evening, depending upon the availability of our Church and all involved.)
Planning The Music & Contacting Our Director Of Worship:
We encourage you to contact Scott Will, our Director of Worship, either via telephone @ 773.775.3833 Ext. 104 or via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org approximately six weeks prior to your wedding date to schedule a wedding consultation to discuss and plan the music for your wedding celebration.
Please note: Due to the volume of weddings, funerals, and special liturgies at IC, we recommend keeping wedding day music inquiries within this six-week time period. In the event of time-sensitive inquiries (involving contracting additional musicians, etc.), please feel free to email Scott, but please take a moment to review our policies below prior to doing so.
There will be only one in-person consult with our Director of Worship, but you are always free to email or exchange phone calls with him regarding any details that may come up after your consultation.
Policies Regarding Musicians & Music For Weddings:
A minimum of two IC Music Ministers are required for all wedding ceremonies/Masses. This includes a cantor (vocal soloist), who leads the sung prayer (sung parts of the Mass) of those present, and a pianist, who accompanies the sung prayer.
Only an IC cantor is permitted to sing most of the Mass. We do allow guest soloists (a family member, a close friend, or professional musician) to sing one or two solo pieces, but this request must be approved by the Director of Worship.
It is important to remember that a certain professional level is required to perform in public, so we discourage amateur musicians from participating in high profile liturgical celebrations. Please be advised that our parish cantors often work outside jobs or travel on the weekends, especially during the summer. If you have a specific cantor in mind from our professional ensemble, we will try our best to accommodate your request, but please remember that their participation is based upon their availability. Please feel free to come to one of our weekend liturgies if you would like to hear them singing within the context of Mass.
You can visit your local library or many online sources such as YouTube to hear recordings or get ideas regarding the type of repertoire you might like to hear on your special day.
For additional details, please click on each subcategory listed below to expand and review content:
- All of our musicians are professionally trained and hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.
- They are familiar with congregational singing and leading it.
- They know the standard musical repertoire for weddings and can lead the required parts of the Mass that some non-Catholic soloists might not be familiar with.
- They know our church and its acoustics, sound system and microphone set-up, piano, etc.
- Our musicians also know the presiding styles of our priests and what to expect from them.
- They are vetted and reliable.
- They have worked with our Director of Worship on musical collaborations frequently.
If your budget allows, you may want to enhance the celebration by hiring additional vocalists or instrumentalists to play before and during your wedding liturgy. Please discuss this with our Director of Worship at the time of your in-person consultation. Again, musician availability plays a crucial role.
While we realize that there are many other fine musicians from surrounding Catholic parishes, we cannot recommend them as we are unfamiliar with their abilities. There are differences between “soloists” and well-trained cantors. There are many elements of celebrating a Mass that vary from one parish to the next. A guest singer may not be familiar with the Mass setting used at Immaculate Conception, the Psalm selection made, acclamations, etc.
We welcome external instrumentalists, but please note that they set their own fees. If you want to ensure quality, we highly recommend that you go with an instrumentalist(s) hired by our Director of Worship. They will be familiar with our liturgies and will have a proven performance track record at Immaculate Conception.
If you choose to use an external instrumentalist (non-pianist) such as violin, flute, trumpet, etc., you will need to contact our Director of Worship to provide contact information (email or cell number) for the instrumentalist, so that we can best determine their role in the liturgy.
Please note: our musician fees are in line with what is recommended by the Office of Divine Worship of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The bench fee for our Director of Worship is not optional, but speaks to the time spent on coordination and work outside the wedding day itself.
- Director of Worship/Wedding Coordinator: $250 (*bench fee)
- Cantor: $150 (from our parish)
- Additional rehearsals: $75 per call
- Additional instrumentalists: $150-200 (from our parish)
- Additional instrumentalists/soloists from other parishes set their own fees. These fees are to be paid directly to the musician(s) by the bride and groom.
Please be advised that the fees for all music ministers will be due (in full) on the day of your in-person consultation with our Director of Worship.
Church fees are coordinated by our Secretary upon scheduling your wedding at IC.
Additional Fees (optional):
2 Altar Servers -- $20.00 per server (cash is preferred)
Priest: The priest does not receive money from the above associated fees. A traditional gift of $200 is suggested for the priest directly, but any amount may be given at your discretion. We do recommend offering a gift to our priest, given that they often work coordinating, meeting, and planning with you as a couple.
Live-Streaming: We have the option of live-streaming your Wedding Mass/Ceremony to out-of-town family and friends or those unable to travel. This is an additional $200 dollars should you choose this option.
If an extra rehearsal is required (typically in the instance of a guest musician), this is normally conducted before the start of the wedding. As such, members of the bridal party are highly discouraged from participating in the musical component of the Mass as scheduling a rehearsal may be difficult.
If you are planning on using a guest pianist for your wedding celebration (or if you are hiring a string quartet or any other combination of instruments that does not require keyboard accompaniment), then the bench fee of $250 is required to assist guest musicians. This stipend includes running our advanced sound system, setting up microphones, music stands, etc. Consultation with our Director of Worship on music selections and liturgical options is still required and is covered by this stipend as well.
Please note: All guest musicians must be approved by our Director of Worship in advance.
We do not permit the use of a prerecorded homily, readings, or vows. The liturgy is a sacred space where the expression of the living faithful is our worship to God. Likewise, profane (i.e., secular) music is not permitted. The Church and liturgy are a sacred time and place, and thus any music without a Scriptural or liturgical basis is not allowed.
The couple is required to furnish all music bought for the wedding if neither our Director of Worship, Cantor, or instrumentalist(s) own a copy of the music requested. Our Director of Worship, in tandem with the Cantor and Instrumentalist(s), will determine the arrangement of the piece(s) that suits all the musicians.
We do not use a specific list that you must choose from as we want you to have options. However, we do follow liturgical guidelines: secular texts (non-religious) are not sung at our liturgies, and this includes wedding liturgies. Simply put, non-liturgical music does not adequately represent the Christian view of love and the Sacrament of Marriage.
We do understand that non-religious music can be beautiful and sentimental, however, it is inappropriate for liturgy and is best used either at your reception, rehearsal dinner, etc.
Our Director of Worship will work with you closely to make the most appropriate selections for this especially important day.
Preparation of the Gifts/Offertory
Post Communion Meditation
Visitation to Blessed Mother Altar
Recessional (a secular, instrumental version may be permitted, based upon availability)
Worship Aids and Wedding Programs are not a requirement for a Wedding Mass. Hymnals are available in our pews. If you choose to create a worship aid or program, Immaculate Conception is not responsible for its compilation, proofreading, printing, or distribution. Any printed music will require copyright information when reprinting. Prior to submitting it to the printer, you may contact the priest handling your wedding to review your worship aid/program.
Prelude (begins about 10 minutes prior to Mass)
Entrance of the Bridal Party (this includes seating of Grandparents and Mothers)
Entrance of the Bride
Welcome and Opening Prayer
General Intercessions/Prayers of the Faithful
Presentation of Gifts
Eucharistic Acclamations (if a Mass is being celebrated)
Visitation to Blessed Mother Altar (Optional)
A sample list of music appropriate to any portion of the Mass can be obtained by request directed to our Director of Worship.
Readings/Readers, Gift Bearers, General Intercession, and most logistical matters (including your rehearsal) are handled in consultation with the priest presiding at your wedding.
If any additional questions should happen to arise after reviewing our wedding policies and procedures, please don't hesitate to contact us at our Parish Office via telephone at 773.775.3833. Our prayers and best wishes are with you as a community as you embark upon this lifetime journey of love together and we thank you for inviting us to be a part of this special milestone in your lives!
*If you have been married previously, or married outside the Catholic Church (civilly), we would be happy to assist you through the Annulment process or with a Marriage Convalidation ceremony. Please contact our Parish Office via telephone @ 773.775.3833 for additional information.