The Parish of St. James Catholic Church welcomes you in your preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage. We celebrate with you and it is our hope that we can assist you so that your wedding and your marriage are a blessed event in your lives and in the lives of others.  Please read over the materials below and keep in mind that although we do need to cover policies and guidelines, our ultimate goal is to help enrich your marriage and its connection with Christ and the Church.  


Location, Visiting Clergy, and Time:

Weddings generally take place in the parish of the bride or the groom.  The parish where the wedding will take place will usually take care of the marriage preparation process and the completion of necessary documents.  In some circumstances the preparation can take place elsewhere with the wedding occurring at St. James.  Also, if you live here we can do the preparation even if your wedding will be elsewhere.  Weddings outside the parish are almost never granted.  See question 5 below under “Frequently Asked Questions” for more information about that.


Couples may request a priest or deacon whom they know from outside St. James to witness their wedding at St. James Catholic Church.  We will need to know of this in advance to process the necessary permissions and delegations that they will need to witness the wedding.


Weddings typically take place at 12:30 pm on Saturdays.  The church will be reserved from 12:00 (for set up and decorating) through 2:00 (to allow for photos & cleanup). It is possible to have weddings on Friday night in rare circumstances.  To reserve your date and time, we ask a $150 deposit to be placed at the office to do so.  We do that because we want to make sure that the dates are truly scheduled and reserved.  Any deposit will be applied to your donation schedule explained toward the end of this brochure.



Music, though optional, is an important element for most couples, and every effort must be made to have appropriate and good music in keeping with the religious nature of ceremony.  Therefore, it is not permitted to have prerecorded music or music that is secular in nature including secular music that may have some religious component.  Some instrumental music that might not be explicitly religious can be permitted if it is appropriate to the occasion.  It is your obligation to provide an outline of the music you wish to use at the wedding well in advance for approval.


A list of quality musicians that can be used is given below.  You are welcome to include musicians of your choice as long as they are capable of fulfilling the basic functions of a religious ceremony.  If you use musicians other than those listed below, it is required to have a St. James musician there to help with the setup of the sound system and microphones.  You are also responsible for the compensation of all musicians and will need to negotiate any fees directly with them.  


St. James musicians available for weddings:

English: Kathy Bernards                     971-237-1558 vocals/piano/organ

English: Colleen Johnson                    414-510-7058 vocals/piano

Spanish: Engracia Arellano                  503-474-2940 vocals/guitar

Spanish: Efren Plancarte                      503-474-7866 vocals/guitar/piano


Mass or Without a Mass?

The celebration of marriage between two Catholics should normally take place during Mass.  In circumstances where the marriage is between a Catholic and non-Catholic or the vast majority of the guests are not Catholic, the celebration of marriage outside of Mass (without the prayers of the Eucharist and distribution of Communion) may be a good option.  In a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, the marriage is normally celebrated outside of Mass.


Also, if you were already married civilly, your church wedding is actually a Convalidation ceremony, where your legal marriage is con-validated to become sacramental marriage. 



Rehearsals are 5:00 pm the evening before the wedding.  However, this can change depending on the schedule of the priest or deacon and the availability of the church.  Rehearsals include: the groom and bride, groomsmen and bridesmaids, ring and object bearers, readers, and liturgical ministers.  Musicians may use the rehearsal to become familiar with the ceremony.  For some simpler weddings a rehearsal may not be necessary. 



Photos and video are optional. The couple may secure their own photographers/videographers. Care must be taken to ensure the sacredness of the event. For example a photographer should not enter the altar area or be in the way.  Flash isn’t really needed since the church is well lit.  Photos may also be taken before and after the wedding service, but please be attentive to the time constraints due to prior and later events.



St. James is a church that is beautiful in its simplicity but you may want to provide some further decorations such as pew bows, aisle runners, and/or flowers.  These are all optional, and must not damage church furnishings or be a danger to others. 


Please do not use anything that could or would stain, damage, or leave markings or residues.  If you have an idea of what you would like to do for decorations, check with the pastor to see if there are other things that might want to be considered.




Timeliness is of critical importance because of other events and liturgies that are often scheduled.  Therefore, please be ready 15 minutes before the ceremony starts.


Bride’s Room:

St James has a small bride’s room with a full-length mirror. However, this room is also used for Reconciliation. Since space is very limited, it would likely be more convenient for the bridal party to come as dressed and prepared as possible. The groom and his attendants should also come to the church dressed.


Clean Up:

Because the Church is used for other services on the weekends, we ask that the church and other facilities be fully cleaned and cleared by 15 minutes prior to our next event.  For example if your wedding is at 1:00 it must typically be totally cleared and cleaned by 2:45.  Please assign someone for clean-up as we don’t have a janitor during events.


Recommended Church Offering:

Use of Church & marriage coordination procedures: $500

Priest or Deacon Celebrant: $150



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):


  1. Is it true that a divorced person can’t marry in the Catholic Church and are “excommunicated”? No, neither assertion is true.  It is true that Catholics and non-Catholics will need to be “free to marry”.  This means that any former marriages must be resolved through annulment.  Please contact the priest or the deacon for this. 


  1. Can we be married outside the church? This used to be easier than it is today.  Today only the Archbishop can give the exception and he typically does not do it.  This is because a Catholic wedding is a religious sacrament that is done in the house of God. However, reception afterwards may be done somewhere else.


  1. Do you have to be Catholic to get married? At least one member of the marriage party will need to be Catholic but both do not have to be.  Keep in mind that the prayers and the focus of the wedding are Catholic in nature.  Also, if the non-Catholic party wishes to become Catholic, the priest or deacon will gladly help you with this.


  1. Can we have dancing processions, Elvis giving away the bride, Gothic themes, or involved animals? The reception might be a better place for these types of things.  The church wedding is a religious event inside a sacred space.  We want to maintain an atmosphere that is festive, yet appropriate, while maintaining the spirituality and intention of the rite. 




Checklist of items to complete:


Paperwork and administrative information:

[   ]  Meet with the Priest or Deacon:  Initial meeting with Fr. Mike or Deacon Raúl so that the process can begin.

[   ]  Freedom to Marry Forms:  Basic information the couple fills out about themselves.

[   ]  Witness Forms:  Two witnesses are required per person.  These are not necessarily the same witnesses that you will have at your wedding, but simply validate your information.

[   ]  Dispensation or Delegation Forms (if needed):  These are used for visiting priests, marriages between a Catholic and a non baptized person, and marriages that take place in another Catholic Church. 

[   ]  Baptismal Certificates:  Baptized persons must obtain recent copies of their certificates of baptism.  These certificates must be within six months of the current date.  They are obtained by calling the parishes where the person was baptized and requesting an official copy to be sent to St. James.

[   ]  Marriage License: You will need to go to the Yamhill County Courthouse and obtain your marriage license to be used at the wedding.  If you already are civilly married, you will need to provide a copy of your marriage license

[  ]  Annulment Papers (if needed): Divorced Catholics or non Catholics may still be able to marry in the Catholic Church.  There is a process for this to take place.  Please contact Fr. Mike to begin this process as soon as possible if needed.  It can take some time and must be completed before a wedding date can be assigned.

[   ]  Choosing and Reserving the Date:  The date will need to be selected and written into the Church Calendar in order for it to be reserved.  This is only possible after the initial meeting with the priest and the $150 deposit is placed at the front office.

[   ]  Church Offering: The offering must be arranged and paid before the wedding.  Contact the front office of the Church to complete that process.


Preparation and Requirement Checklist:

[   ]  Meeting with the Priest: There are typically at least a couple of meetings with the couple to talk about marriage as well as the wedding.

[   ]  Engaged Encounter:  This is a weekend retreat in the Portland area.  You can find dates, times, and information at their website: 

[   ]  NFP Workshop or Information:  This is an informational workshop to help people to understand a natural and effective way for real family planning.  It depends on the availability of an expert to be able to offer it but you will be given notice of the date and time when it is available.



If you want to understand the Christian and Catholic understanding of marriage, please look over the US Catholic Bishops website that deals with marriage. It is an excellent resource.
Un sitio acerca de Matrimonio de los obispos de los Estados Unidos:
USCCB Marriage Website
USCCB Sitio de Internet en Español

A retreat as an engaged couple is part of the Marriage Preparation Program. Engaged Encounter offers retreats at various times during the year. You can find information at the link below:
Engaged Encounter Retreat Information

If you want to have some Resources and information on what Natural Family Planning (NFP) is, how to do it, and why it is a good option for couples, click the link below:
Información acerca de Planificación Familiar Natural (NFP):
NFP Information Link