What is the sacrament of Matrimony? (and other Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the sacrament of Matrimony?

Matrimony is the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties.

And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them.
And God blessed them, saying “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

What are the chief duties of husband and wife in the married state?

The chief duties of husband and wife in the married state are to be faithful to each other, and to provide in every way for the welfare of the children God may give them.  The three Goods of Marriage are The Good of Children, The Good of Fidelity and the Good of Permanence.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them. (Colossians 3:18-19)

Why is every true marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman a sacrament?

Every true marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament because Christ Himself raised every marriage of this kind to the dignity of a sacrament.

What are the chief effects of the sacrament of Matrimony?

The chief effects of the sacrament of Matrimony are: first, an increase of sanctifying grace; second, the special help of God for husband and wife to love each other faithfully, to bear with each other’s faults, and to bring up their children properly.

How can Catholics best obtain God’s blessing for their marriage?

Catholics can best obtain God’s blessing for their marriage by being married at a Nuptial Mass and by receiving Holy Communion devoutly.

Getting Married at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church

Congratulations on your engagement! We wish you every blessing as you begin your journey toward marriage. This time of preparation during your engagement is a time of great joy; however, it can also be a very stressful time for many. The following information should help you as you begin the process of preparing as a couple for the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Scheduling Your Wedding

As with all Sacraments of the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Matrimony requires special sacramental preparation.  Couples should contact the church at least nine (9) months prior to the desired date of their wedding to begin their preparation.  To begin the process please contact Cheryl Base in the Pastor’s Office as soon as possible at 770-485-0825 or cbase@stclarecc.org to discuss the date and time of your wedding. You will then meet with your celebrant to formalize the date and determine the next steps of marriage preparation. Please bring the formal reservation form (included in this packet) along with your payment to your initial meeting with the clergy.  Reservations are not confirmed until this form has been submitted and fees are fully paid.

Wedding Times

Weddings are normally held on Saturdays at 1:00 pm; rehearsals are normally on Fridays at 5:00 pm. Both the rehearsal and wedding time can be scheduled at other times by special arrangement.  Please do not finalize any reception or travel plans until the date and time has been reserved with your celebrant.


For registered active parishioners, the fee to reserve the church is $300. To qualify as a registered active parishioner you, or your parents, must be registered at St. Clare’s, be active for at least six months prior to the reservation of the wedding date, attend mass regularly and financially contribute through the use of online giving, envelopes or checks. For non-parishioners or non-active registered parishioners, the fee is $1000 to reserve the church. Please note that these fees do not include musicians. If there is a real inability to pay, the pastor may waive or discount fees at his discretion. Additionally, there is a refundable cleaning deposit of $500.

General Requirements

Freedom to Marry: Church law requires that both parties be free to marry, that is, neither party has been previously, validly married. If one or both of you were married before (even if not Catholic), and your former spouse is still living, you will need to obtain a declaration of nullity from a Catholic marriage tribunal. A priest or deacon of the parish can assist you in starting this process. Under no circumstances may a date be set for the ceremony, not even tentatively, until a declaration of nullity has been granted.

Marriage Preparation: The marriage preparation process in the Catholic Church consists of pre-marital counseling and the completion of certain paperwork. Typically, this process involves four or five meetings with your celebrant. Normally the clergy who will be officiating at the ceremony will complete this process; however, there may be exceptions to this, as outlined below.

Visiting Clergy Officiants: If you wish to have another Catholic priest or deacon outside of St. Clare’s officiate at your wedding, you must personally contact him and ask him to contact Cheryl Base at cbase@stclarecc.org for instructions on how to proceed.

Interfaith Marriage: In an interfaith marriage, the Catholic party promises to maintain his or her own faith, and to do all in his or her power to ensure that any children born of the union will be raised in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic party makes no promises but is made aware of the promise by the Catholic party.


Wedding Day:  Please be aware that the entire ceremony is under the direction of the St. Clare’s clergy and staff. An outside bridal consultant, if you choose to have one, must not interfere and may function only under the direction of the clergy and staff. We will provide staff to be at the rehearsal and at the wedding.

Facilities: The church seats up to approximately 450 guests and may be reserved for a 2.5-hour block. This includes Bridal Room and post-ceremony pictures. The wedding party, photographers, etc. may arrive 1 hour before the ceremony for preparation and pictures.  For example, if the wedding is scheduled for 1:00 pm Saturday, the bridal party may arrive no earlier than noon and will depart no later than 2:30 pm.

Marriage License/Certificate: A couple must obtain a civil marriage license from the state of Georgia in order to be married at St. Clare. Applying for a civil marriage license does not mean that the couple is civilly married, it merely gives license to the officiant to perform the ceremony. After the ceremony, the officiant completes the license and sends it back to the county. The official civil marriage certificate will be mailed to the couple from the county. The civil marriage license should be submitted to the office no later than 2 weeks before the wedding. If the couple has already been civilly married, a copy of the civil marriage certificate should be submitted to the officiant no later than 60 days before the wedding. Please see www.usmarriagelaws.com/marriage-license/georgia/ for more information. There is a discount for the license that may be obtained using a certificate given by the clergy performing your preparation. If the marriage license or marriage certificate is not submitted prior the rehearsal, the wedding is cancelled.

Photography, Video, Streaming: The bride and groom are responsible for the photographer and videographer. Photographers and videographers may not enter the sanctuary (altar area) at any time and may not come forward past the last seated pew in the center aisle, except during the entrance processional. St. Clare’s does not allow flash photography during the liturgy. The photographer is allowed forty-five minutes after the liturgy for posed photographs. Any posed photographs involving the officiant are to be taken first. All photos must be respectfully posed.

We will have an AV staff member at the wedding for sound.  We also can record the wedding from our cameras for you as well as stream it for anyone who is unable to attend. Our AV staff will be happy to coordinate with a videographer. Please have the videographer contact the Pastor’s office.

Ceremony Decorations: St. Clare’s has pre-selected altar arrangements for each weekend and the colors are based on the liturgical season. These remain in place for the wedding.  Please check with church staff for the colors selected for your date. You may sponsor the flowers on the weekend of your wedding. This would be noted in the bulletin “The Altar Flowers have been donated this week in honor of Mr. & Mrs. John Smith’s Wedding Day.” You can also donate Altar Candles with a similar notice in the bulletin. No aisle runners are allowed. Flower petals, rice, bird seed may not be thrown inside or outside of the Church. No glitter is allowed on any ribbons, tulle or flowers. Unity candles are not a part of the Catholic rite and are not permitted. All decorating plans should be discussed with the Pastor’s office before purchasing.

Additionally, a fully refundable $500 cleaning/damage deposit is required. Refundability will be determined at the end of the ceremony by the celebrant.

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