"The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator."
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1603
Please contact the parish office at (631)588-7869 at least nine months to a year in advance of your wedding.
Congratulations on your engagement! The entire Parish of Good Shepherd rejoices with you in your decision to enter into married life.
We look upon marriage as a covenant relationship that a couple freely enters into with God and with one another. It is a relationship of love and sharing to “last as long as you both shall live.” Marriage, by its nature, is sacred and sanctifies this relationship. The love that a couple shares is modeled after the self-giving love Jesus has for his people.
Below is an abridged guide for planning your wedding. You will receive more detailed instructions after you contact the parish office.
The following documents must be provided by the couple in order to be married in the Church of the Good Shepherd:
Baptismal Certificates – If you are Catholic, and were not baptized at Good Shepherd Church, you must obtain a new copy of your baptismal record from the church where you were baptized, by calling or writing to that parish. The certificate should normally be obtained no more than six months prior to the date of your wedding. If you were baptized at Good Shepherd, you do not need to obtain any such certificate. Non-Catholics who have been baptized should give the priest a copy of the original certificate, indicating the date and place of baptism.
Civil Marriage License – In order for your marriage to be recognized by the State of New York, you will need to apply for a marriage license by going to the Marriage Bureau in any town/city hall in New York State. You may only obtain this document within the 60 days prior to your wedding date. The license (and its return envelope) are to be brought with you to your rehearsal, and will be mailed to the town/city hall by the priest or deacon who officiates at your wedding. Please note: you must have obtained that document at least 24 hours before the ceremony takes place. Brookhaven Town Hall’s number is 654-7828.
Permission From Your Pastor – If neither you nor your fiancé belongs to our parish; one of you must obtain written permission from your own pastor to be married here.
The Church of the Good Shepherd will provide the following documents for the couple to complete:
Pre-Nuptial Investigation – Despite its intimidating title, this form asks only very basic information of you and your fiancé (e.g., full names, addresses, dates and places of birth, etc.) It also asks some simple questions to ascertain whether you are free to celebrate a wedding in the Church. The priest or deacon with whom you initially meet will fill out this paperwork with you.
Affidavit of Freedom to Marry – If either you or your fiancé is non-Catholic, a simple affidavit must be signed by two witnesses on behalf of each of you, attesting to your freedom (eligibility) to celebrate a wedding in the Church. You can obtain this form from the priest or deacon handling your arrangements.
Announcements of Banns of Marriage – Any bride or groom who does not belong to Good Shepherd should inform his/her home parish of the forth-coming wedding, so that it may be announced there. This announcement is traditionally known as the Banns of Marriage, and will appear in our own bulletin three weekends prior to the wedding.
Under 19 Years of Age – The Church wishes to show special care for marriages in which one or both parties will be under 19 at the time of the wedding. The priest will explain the steps required by the Bishop, to help the couple be sure they are making a mature decision. No wedding date may be set until the process has been completed.
Bride or Groom is Non-Catholic – When either the bride or the groom is non-Catholic, a Dispensation is obtained from the Office of the Bishop. The priest or deacon working with you will handle this simple procedure.
Previous Marriage – If there is a previous marriage, all details must be discussed with a priest or deacon. An annulment may be required, or a simpler process known as “Defect of Form” petition may be initiated.
Pre-Cana and FOCCUS
One of your most important responsibilities prior to the day of your wedding is to be sure that your hearts and minds are truly ready to enter into such a sacred covenant. The Church asks that engaged couples enter into a process of thoughtful and helpful preparation often known as “Pre-Cana”.
Its purpose is to allow you an added opportunity to look carefully at your relationship and to dialogue honestly about your prospective life together: your strengths and weaknesses, your goals, needs and ambitions; your dreams and plans.
FOCCUS is a self-assessment instrument designed to help couples learn more about themselves and determine their readiness for marriage.
FOCCUS is not a test but a tool to assist couples in examining their individual and shared attitudes concerning commitment, children, gender roles, finances, religion, and values.
FOCCUS also addresses areas such as communication, problem solving, dual careers, marriage, interfaith relationships, cohabitation and domestic violence.
Good Shepherd Church will provide you with more information on Pre-Cana and FOCCUS after you contact the parish office.
The Wedding Liturgy
The following times are the only times available for celebrating a wedding on the weekend:
Friday – 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. (Ceremony or Mass)
Saturday – 11:30, noon, 1:00 and 2:30 p.m. (Ceremony or Mass)
Sunday – 3:30 p.m. (Ceremony or Mass)
Officiating at the Wedding Mass or Ceremony
The priest or deacon who helps you in setting a date and making your arrangements will ordinarily perform the liturgy, unless you request another priest or deacon (perhaps a relative or friend) come to officiate. Please have that person write to the pastor requesting delegation to officiate.
Planning the Liturgy
You will receive a copy of Together for Life, by Fr. Joseph Champlin, a booklet which explains the wedding liturgy and the various options you have in planning it. You are asked to complete the selection sheet found at the back of the booklet prior to your final meeting with the priest or deacon who is officiating.
Ordinarily it is helpful to have the opportunity to rehearse for your wedding. The rehearsal is conducted by the Wedding Coordinator of our parish, who will guide you through all the elements of the ceremony. The Church is a sacred space. Please remind your guests to be attentive and respectful during the wedding practice and ceremony. The Wedding Coordinator will also be present at the wedding. Please contact the Wedding Coordinator at the Rectory Office to determine rehearsal time and date.
The planning of music is an integral part of your Wedding Ceremony or Nuptial Mass. Because your wedding is both personal and a parish event, the music chosen for the celebration in Church should have a sacred character, reflecting the spiritual dimensions of the commitment into which you are entering. A list of music selections can be found on the Selecting Nuptial Wedding Music page.
Flowers are supplied by the couple and please keep in mind when ordering flower arrangements to not clutter up the sanctuary space. Consider a minimalist approach – either 2 arrangements placed on either side of the altar or 1 arrangement placed in front of the altar. If flowers or bows are to be attached to the pews, please arrange for your florist to provide appropriate plastic clips. Masking or scotch tape cannot be used because tape removes the finish from the pews. Flower petals may not be strewn in the aisle since this poses a safety hazard.
Limousine Service, Photography and Videography
You are welcome to have the occasion of your wedding liturgy captured on film for future enjoyment. It is important to bear in mind, however, that your wedding is a sacred event whose dignity and prayerfulness should not be spoiled by photographers and videographers who should conduct themselves in an unobtrusive and professional manner. The priest or deacon working with you will explain the Guidelines and Agreements Concerning Limousine Service and Photography/Videography.
Candle-lighting ceremony (optional)
A wedding (or “unity”) candle is sometimes used to highlight the coming together of two individuals in a sacred bond. The purchase of a stand or candleholder for use in the church is the responsibility of the couple. Only the bride and groom may take part in the candle ceremony.
Creating a Booklet for the Liturgy
A specially printed booklet or program can be an excellent participation aid. If you choose to prepare one, it should include the order of the service, the acclamations and the responses of the congregation, and the words to any music the people would be singing. Preparation of a booklet and securing of the necessary copyrights is the task of the bride and groom.
Due to carpeting in the church and for safety reasons, a runner is not permitted.
Throwing of Rice, Birdseed, Etc.
There has been absolutely no proof that throwing rice increases fertility for the newlyweds, and has caused people to slip and fall, we discourage the use of rice. Likewise, we love birds, but birdseed can also become very slippery underfoot, so we ask that you refrain from using birdseed. Finally, because confetti and flower petals are almost impossible to sweep up, we discourage their use. Bubbles, ribbon wands, and bells make great alternatives.