Preparation for Wedding Day and Lifetime Marriage

Wedding Guidelines

We welcome you to Little Flower Parish. We are glad that you have selected our church to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony. We will make every effort in helping you to prepare for this Sacrament, an important spiritual moment, one which will take you to the very presence of God. Many couples decide to celebrate their wedding day with us. Each wedding is unique and important. We anticipate that when the couples leave the church building on their wedding day, they will feel that their wedding ceremony was very personal, inspiring, and spiritual. Above all, we hope that when you leave the church building you will be well prepared for your new life as husband and wife.

We strive to work with each couple on an individual basis. We shall work with you in preparing all the necessary documentation and involving you in our marriage preparation programs so that you might be well prepared for your wedding day and throughout your married life together.

Preparation for Wedding Day and Lifetime Marriage

We feel that the best preparation for both events is your weekly attendance and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. As you prepare for a new phase in your lives, as husband and wife, faithful celebration of the Eucharist offers the opportunity to deepen your faith and spiritual lives.

Roman Catholic couples who go to Mass together every Sunday have the highest rate of successful marriages. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminds us that our Church today needs active practicing Roman Catholics, who give daily witness to their faith. As you prepare to live out together the Sacrament of Matrimony, we encourage you to attend Sunday Liturgy. We highly encourage that you participate in frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession as part of your spiritual preparation.

It is our intention that these wedding guidelines will help prepare you for the wedding ceremony. As beautiful and as spiritual as we hope this day will be, the wedding day lasts only a day. Your marriage is forever. Please reflect clearly on the mission to which God has called you.

Please prayerfully recall that these following guidelines deal only with the ceremony, not with the marriage. It is our hope that most of your time, energy and concern goes into the spiritual preparation for a lifelong marriage and not simply for all the important and necessary plans, work and time in organizing the wedding ceremony.

First Step

First, the Archdiocese of Miami requires that each party, the bride and the groom, be at least 19 years old by the wedding date. The process of wedding preparation takes at least six months. This time is one of learning and growth in your love for one another in the practice of your Catholic faith.

The wedding preparation process is as follows and will be addressed within these wedding guidelines:

  • Assessment
  • Instruction
  • Planning

Once you have read these guidelines, the couple will both sign and date Parish Guidelines form. Please then phone the Pastor’s Administrative Assistant, Mrs. Maria Elena Chialastri at 305-446-9950 ext. 306 for a tentative reservation of your wedding date.

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What's Next?

Please begin by gathering all necessary documentation:

  • Baptismal
  • Communion
  • Confirmation Certificates

You will both need to read all the pertinent wedding forms inside your wedding package.

Initially, only the first page of the Wedding Application must be filled out electronically and submitted via email to Mrs. Maria Elena Chialastri () The remainder of the forms must be completed and submitted as the planning progresses.

Within the first two months of submitting your application, please be sure to contact Mr. Juan A. del Sol, our wedding coordinator, for an appointment to complete the A Form, as well as the compatibility questionnaire. Additionally, Mr. del Sol will provide various important wedding forms and documentation.

Mr. del Sol will assist the couples in all the paper work necessary for your wedding file. Please realize that once you have been given your tentative wedding date you will have one month to submit to the parish office updated baptismal certificates from the church where you were baptized. We cannot accept photo copies nor fax copies.

Simply ask the church of baptism to issue you a new baptismal certificate. If you have any difficulty obtaining this new baptismal certificate, please speak with Mr. del Sol. Additionally, please provide the parish office with a copy of your First Holy Communion and Confirmation Certificates. Church of the Little Flower requires all Sacraments prior to entering the Sacrament of Matrimony. Therefore, the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation must be administered prior to the wedding date. At this time you will also bring your five-hundred dollars non-refundable deposit (only cash or check, no credit cards accepted). Kindly give all these initial documents to Mrs. Maria Elena Chialastri.

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What are the times for wedding ceremonies?

We celebrate weddings on Friday evenings and on Saturdays. Our schedule is as follows:

  • Fridays at 6:45 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. or 6:45 p.m.
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What about a previous marriage?

Some couples come to us with a history of a prior marriage. From the beginning let Mrs. Chialastri know your marital status/history. We are here to help you. If you were previously married, you will need to bring the following documents:

  • A copy of your prior civil wedding license certificate
  • A copy of your final civil divorce decree
  • If you obtained an annulment the original annulment decree issued by a church marriage tribunal must be submitted.

If a couple needs to begin an annulment process, please know that no wedding date can be set until the annulment process is fully resolved. No wedding date, even tentative, will be given until the issue of the prior marriage is fully settled by a church marriage tribunal.

In the event that there is a civil marriage and divorce we will submit proper canonical lack of form documentation to the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Miami, and for this process we shall need a $100.00 money order made payable to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Miami.

Please be completely honest in this regard. If the issue of a prior marriage should arise later, the Pastor withholds the right to cancel the wedding date and time altogether.

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What are the "A" and "B" Forms?

The “A” and “B” Forms establish your canonical freedom to marry within the Catholic Church. Both the bride and groom will have their respective “A” Forms completed by Mr. del Sol. Likewise, you will ask two witnesses to go before a notary public and testify to your freedom to marry (the “B” Forms).

The two witnesses for the bride and the groom often are the parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, or cousins; in total you will have four “B” Forms, two for the bride and two for the groom. As these forms establish your canonical freedom to marry and no wedding can take place without them, please be certain that they are completed within the first two months after you have submitted your initial paper work.

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What are the next steps in our sacramental preparation?

  • Assessment Process

    Compatibility Inventory: The compatibility inventory questionnaire is mandated by the Archdiocese of Miami for every couple preparing for marriage in all Catholic churches. This program will assist you in analyzing your readiness for marriage and many important issues present in every life-long commitment. Couples learn a great deal about themselves.

    The bride and groom separately read a series of statements and simply mark their individual responses with agree or disagree. The first part of the compatibility inventory questionnaire will be completed in the Parish Office. After the inventory questionnaire has been completed you will be assigned a trained parish facilitator couple with whom you will eventually meet and discuss differences and similarities noted on the compatibility inventory questionnaire. This is not a test, rather it is an important opportunity for you to grow and mature together as a couple. Couples may opt to complete the compatibility inventory questionnaire in their respective home parishes.

  • Instructional Process

    Couples will also participate in a Pre-Cana, El Camino, or Engaged Encounter pre-marriage retreat. Only one is required. You may decide to participate in one of the retreats sponsored by the Archdiocese of Miami or one sponsored elsewhere. Please be sure to provide Mr. del Sol a copy of the retreat you attended. If the retreat was completed outside the State of Florida, please be sure to request a letter of validation from Mr. del Sol for the purpose of obtaining a civil marriage license. No online pre-marriage retreats are permitted.

  • Planning Process

    Mr. del Sol will work with you in planning your wedding ceremony.

    Every wedding ceremony is unique.

    We wish to work with you to plan out the entire liturgy so that all the component parts come together for a beautiful celebration. Within the initial wedding package you will find a paper entitled “Your Wedding Celebration”. This paper will help you organize all aspects of the wedding liturgy. Please recall that the majority of our weddings are performed in the context of Sacred Liturgy (the Mass), therefore, we strongly encourage our couples to attend Sunday Mass regularly together and faithfully. Furthermore, please frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession as often as possible, but in particular a few days before the wedding ceremony.

    The faithful reception of these sacraments will deepen your spiritual lives and enhance the quality of your wedding liturgy. In this planning stage, please be sure to review the readings suitable for weddings which will be provided to you by Mr. del Sol. Please be certain that individuals who are good readers are indeed selected to read at your wedding ceremony. We will work with you while incorporating various cultural customs, i.e. unity candle, arras, mantilla, etc. Please realize that only those that truly have special meaning and familial significance should be considered by the couple entering marriage; often times less is best.

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How to obtain a civil marriage license in the State of Florida

Please go together and obtain the civil marriage license from any County Courthouse in the State of Florida. We highly recommend that you go together to the civil marriage license bureau located at 3100 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables, Florida. They may be reached at 305-275-1155. There is no need to have a prior civil marriage. Once you have obtained the civil marriage license, please be sure to bring it to our Parish Office. When you apply for a civil marriage license you will need to take your Social Security Card and your Driver’s License, as well as the original certificate of Pre-Cana or El Camino or Engaged Encounter. If you attended the pre-marriage retreat outside the State of Florida, you will need to take the letter of validation which you request from Mr. del Sol as previously indicated. In some cases it is necessary to take additional identification, such as passport, or any other valid form of identification. If you have a prior marriage, please be sure to take proof of the divorce decree.

You will need to purchase the civil marriage license within 30 days before the wedding date. Please be sure to check this out with the civil marriage license authorities.

Weddings cannot take place without this license from the State of Florida, equally Catholic priests/deacons cannot perform weddings without the proper State of Florida civil marriage license. Please recall that you will NOT get married civilly at the Marriage License Bureau. The final signing of the civil license will occur at the end of the church wedding ceremony.

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Wedding dress code for the bride and bridesmaids

We wish our brides and their bridesmaids to exercise great care and prudence in selecting their wedding dress. Please recall that you are entering the Sacrament of Matrimony before Almighty God, the priest or deacon, your family and friends. Select dresses that are dignified and beautiful.

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We are in the Holy Presence of God

Church of the Little Flower strives that all wedding liturgies provide a holy, spiritual, and personal experience for the bride, groom, and guests. We wish for them to feel welcome and longing to return again to worship with us. To create this atmosphere and to maintain a sense of respect for the Eucharist, we show a sense of reverence, silence, and proper decorum within the church.

We ask that your groomsmen serve as ushers in escorting your guests once they have entered the church. Likewise, they can assist your guests as they exit the church at the end of your wedding ceremony.

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Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

We kindly request that if you decide to have a Flower Girl and/or Ring Bearer you exercise great caution in selecting these little ones. We ask that the two children selected be five years or older, and behave accordingly in church.

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The Wedding Procession

The bridal court will consist of the following; maid of honor, best man, six (6) bridesmaids, and six (6) groomsmen. You may very well decide to have less or simply consider not having a bridal court at all. Additionally, you may ask the bride’s mother and groom’s mother to enter prior to the bridal court’s procession.

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Church Decorations

The church building is very beautiful and truly requires no further decorations. However, you may wish to place simple flower arrangements on the sanctuary. The florist agreement form outlines the specific places where these flower arrangements may be placed.

Flowers may not be utilized during the sacred holy season of Lent. However, the bride and her bridal court may carry flowers while entering and exiting the church, as well as the groomsmen wear boutonnieres. The Groom’s and Bride’s mothers may also wear corsages.

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Who may officiate or preside at the wedding liturgy?

Generally one of our parish priests or deacons will preside at your wedding ceremony. One will be assigned to your wedding, thus you will have time to meet before the wedding date. If you wish to have a family member or personal friend who is a Roman Catholic priest or deacon, please contact Mr. del Sol and he will guide you, and most importantly the presider/celebrant in obtaining proper canonical delegation from the Pastor at Church of the Little Flower, Rev. Michael W. Davis.

The priest or deacon to whom the delegation is granted must observe every guideline and all liturgical rubrics established by the Roman Catholic Church. If the presider/celebrant has any questions, please direct him to Mr. Juan A. del Sol.

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Photography and/or Videography during the wedding ceremony

Along with these wedding guidelines we have included the Photographer’s and Videographer’s guidelines for wedding ceremony. It is truly imperative that these guidelines are abided and respected; hence we can easily guarantee that your wedding ceremony will indeed be a celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Please select individual with experience in wedding photography and videography; especially experience working at Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables.

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Wedding Music

Our Parish Music Ministry, under the direction of Dr. Dawn Fontana, does host wedding music selection evenings during the course of the calendar year (January, May and September). These evenings are intended for your enjoyment and information as well as providing a wide range of possible music and song selections for the different component parts of the wedding ceremony. Additionally, there will be a variety of soloists and musical instruments. You will receive the dates and times of these highly informative and essential music selection evenings which are held in the church. The dates and times for these meetings can also be found in the wedding guidelines.

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The Kiss

Our couples are encouraged to kiss. We simply remind them to utilize church etiquette, thus we remind ourselves in Whose Presence we are celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church.

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Rice, bubbles, bird seed, confetti, flower petals, and the like

For the safety of your guests and the cleanliness of the church and grounds, we do not allow the use of rice, bird seeds, confetti, bubbles, flower petals, and/or anything else that might be potential hazards for your guests. Additionally, we ask that Limousine Company review our Responsibility Agreement with regard to your first toast and the bottle cork.

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Rest before Wedding Day

We wish to celebrate every wedding ceremony in a very spiritual way so that your family and guests will always recall how uniquely blessed they felt for you during this wedding ceremony. Therefore, we invite all involved in the wedding party to rest well the day before the ceremony. Accordingly, enjoy the wedding ceremony and the reception in their proper manner.

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Arrive on time on your wedding day

Our weddings are well planned, well-rehearsed, and scheduled with sufficient time; therefore, the wedding party, parents, bride and invited guests must arrive on time for the wedding ceremony. All wedding ceremonies begin and end with ample time. Please realize that we may very well have multiple sacramental celebrations in church on a given day. Please read the Timeliness Agreement carefully.

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Signing of documents after the ceremony

Immediately after the ceremony, two witnesses will be asked to sign the church marriage certificate and/or the civil marriage license.

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Wedding Rehearsals

Wedding rehearsals are assigned on either the Wednesday or Thursday before the wedding date. Please contact Mr. del Sol and make the appropriate arrangements.

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How do our parents fit into our parish wedding preparations?

From the very beginning and throughout your entire wedding preparation, we communicate only with the bride and groom. While we acknowledge, understand, comprehend, support their interest in the marriage ceremony of their son or daughter, should parents (or any other relative or friend) contact us regarding your marriage plans, we shall immediately thank them for their interest and refer them back to you, the couple. The bride and the groom together are the only persons who communicate decisions to us. Further, many couples do not appreciate their future-in-laws phoning the Pastor (or Wedding Coordinator) and trying to influence or change the decisions that they have already made and communicated to the parish priest and staff. Kindly, explain, from the beginning, that you alone will organize your wedding day and future marriage.

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Wedding Fees

Itemized schedule of fees for weddings at Church of the Little Flower
Sacrament of Matrimony $0.00
Personnel/church supplies/custodial/air con $1,810.00
Organist $200.00
Cantor   $175.00
Altar Servers $30.00
Wedding Coordinator/Documents/Rehears. $200.00
Historical church patrimony fee $85.00
Total

$2,500.00

The $500.00 non-refundable deposit is due within 30 days of reserving your date and the remaining Balance of $2,000.00 is due TWO months before the wedding date.

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Final Thoughts

Our written parish wedding guidelines are offered as a mean of assisting every couple in planning and celebrating a beautiful wedding ceremony. Naturally, our wedding guidelines cannot cover every possible questions or situation that arises in preparing any ceremony.

These wedding guidelines are in no way a legal document and can be changed by the Pastor at any time without prior notice. Our guidelines are on-going response to changing liturgical needs and customs of our parishioners. Any special concerns or questions can always be discussed with the Parish Administrator or the Wedding Coordinator. Questions and concerns are ONLY brought to our attention by either the bride or groom as we strive to maintain our couples as our primary goal. Therefore, if anyone other than the bride or groom should call or visit our offices regarding any wedding issue, we will ONLY address these with either the bride or groom. Ultimately, the Pastor has the final decisions in all matters. Again, we welcome you to our parish and look forward to celebrating with you the special joy of your wedding day.

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