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Wedding Guidelines

All of us on the staff at Holy Name Cathedral are thrilled about your engagement, and we look forward to helping both of you prepare for the wedding and for the marriage. We realize that preparing for your marriage might well be your most involved connection with the Cathedral up until now. That’s OK. We would like to make you feel that you chose the absolutely right place to prepare for your new life together. If we are lucky, maybe you will become a more involved and active parishioner after the wedding day. We promise to do our best to make sure that the preparations and the years ahead are blessed by your association with Holy Name Cathedral.

The main advice is simple:

Enjoy your preparations.
Pray together.
Work hard and pay attention to the details. Especially, be on time.
Pray together.
Be considerate of your families.
Pray together.
Be joyful about the whole experience. Smile at least every day.
Pray Together.
Once more – pray together. That’s the most important step. We will be with you.

This guide describes our prescribed plan for helping you prepare. Read the booklet carefully. Ask questions. The Cathedral staff is very aware that every wedding is unique. No two are alike. Still, we need to fashion your beautiful wedding into a marriage ministry that assures that we are doing our job – not only providing a memorable wedding but also launching a holy married life. We always keep our eyes on that entire responsibility. We also need to be sure that we can efficiently, yet gracefully, accommodate all of the many couples who ask us to help. The Cathedral is a busy place. Still, we promise to blend you beautifully into the scheduled mosaic of your wedding day. All we require is your cooperation with our policies and guidelines. If we work together, the wedding and the marriage will be the best.

Please do not make additional wedding-related plans (reception, flowers, etc.) until you have received written confirmation from the Cathedral that your wedding date and time is confirmed and you have made the required payments.

As soon as one of our priests or deacons phones you, he will be your contact with Holy Name Cathedral. Any scheduling concerns and any questions should be directed to him. Ask questions. Please, ask questions. We want to make this a beautiful wedding, a blessed marriage. Priests, deacons, musicians, the Family Ministries Office of the Archdiocese, the One in Christ, the FOCCUS and the Natural Family Planning facilitators, and our support staff all want you to be pleased that your marriage began at Holy Name Cathedral.

Congratulations, again. We hope our part in your plans will help you to see forever. That’s where you are headed together. Thanks for letting us help you.

~The Pastoral Staff of Holy Name Cathedral

After reviewing the BELOW guidelines, please click here to complete our Wedding Inquiry Form. Note: Our wedding fees will increase from $2250 to $2550 for all inquiries received on October 1, 2023 or later.

Once you have contacted Martha Welter, Wedding & Baptism Coordinator, at, and provided the requested information, you will be assigned a Priest or Deacon who will work with you throughout the preparation and the wedding. He will call you to set up an appointment.

1. One in Christ Marriage Seminar: This seminar will give you an all-inclusive and comprehensive appreciation and knowledge of the Vocation and Sacrament of Marriage. Our goal is to present both the theology and the practical “tools” of Christian Marriage so that you will come to a deeper understanding of how marriage is a participation in the life of heaven and what that means for your life together here on earth.

To sign up for the One in Christ Marriage Seminar, please go to

2. FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding, and Study) is a marriage preparation inventory designed to help couples learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. An inventory is filled out online separately. The inventory is scored and a trained facilitator shares the findings with the couple. FOCCUS gives the couple a chance to look at the strengths and limitations of their relationship at this point in their life. Instructions for registration for FOCCUS are available at – foccus

3. Sacrament of Reconciliation: An important aspect of preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage for Catholic brides and grooms is to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before the wedding day. Confession Schedule: consult the bulletin or website for times for Confessions at Holy Name Cathedral or ask your priest to set up a time that is convenient for you.

  • A Baptism Certificate dated within six months of the wedding is to be submitted by each Catholic person. In an interfaith marriage, a baptized non-Catholic is asked to present a record of Baptism, if that is possible.
  • A recently issued Confirmation Certificate is requested, but not required.
  • A pre-marital questionnaire for both the bride and the groom will be completed by the consulting priest or deacon.
  • Two affidavits affirming each person’s freedom to marry may be required in some cases. The consulting priest or deacon will advise.
  • The certificate from One In Christ Marriage Seminar.
  • A letter that documents your completion of the FOCCUS.

A marriage license from Cook County, Illinois, is required and is to be presented to the priest or deacon at the time of the rehearsal. Currently, a Cook County license is valid for sixty days from the date of issue and must be obtained at least one day prior to the wedding. For information on obtaining a marriage license, including locations and hours, go to or contact Cook County Clerk’s Office at 312-603-7790. Additional documents: in some cases, other documents may be required. The consulting priest or deacon will advise and assist in this regard. If a priest or deacon from outside the Archdiocese of Chicago is to officiate at your wedding, it is Archdiocesan policy for him to provide a letter of current status from his bishop or religious superior. Your Cathedral priest or deacon will explain what needs to be done.

Preparation AND Documents:
Holy Name Cathedral asks that all required preparation and documents be completed several weeks before the wedding. If additional documentation is required, you will be advised of this by your consulting parish priest or deacon.

Friday: 2:30 and 4:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am, 1:30, 3:30
No weddings are celebrated on Sunday

Thursday 5:30pm and 6:15pm
Friday: 5:30pm, 6:15pm, and 7:00pm

With the volume of weddings and liturgies in the Cathedral, it is essential that the rehearsals (45 minutes) and the wedding (one hour) start and end on time.


Offerings should be made out to Holy Name Cathedral and mailed to Holy Name Cathedral, 730 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Wedding Payment Form can be found here.

The Chapel, located on the south side of the Cathedral behind the sanctuary organ.

  • The couple will make arrangements for flowers with a florist of their choice.
  • Flowers may not be placed in the aisles or on the pews.
  • Flower arrangements and candle stands may not obstruct the liturgical movements of the ceremony.
  • Flowers can never be placed on the altar.
  • Liturgical decorations around the altar may never be removed or rearranged.
  • Aisle runners are not allowed.
  • Flower petals must not be dropped inside of the cathedral during the processional or outside after the wedding.
  • All flowers/decorations must be removed from the cathedral immediately after the ceremony.
  • Flowers are not permitted inside or around the cathedral and courtyard due to safety, maintenance, and time concerns.
  • Please give a copy of the “Guidelines for the Florist” to your florist.

1. No floral arrangements, candles, hurricane lamps, trellises, canopies, ribbons, aisle runners, or other decorations are allowed in the aisles or on the pews.
2. Flower arrangements and candle stands in the sanctuary should not obstruct the liturgical movements of the ceremony.
3. Flowers are not to be placed on the altar itself.
4. Aisle runners are never allowed.
5. Flower petals must not be dropped inside or outside of the Cathedral.
6. If the area around the altar is decorated for the Liturgical Season, it is not changeable. No items may be removed or added to this area.
7. All flowers and decorations must be removed from the Cathedral immediately after the ceremony.
8. Cell phones and pagers must be turned off:
Personal calls should be made outside the Cathedral.

Note: Since Holy Name Cathedral is open to our visitors and parishioners for private prayer, fitting reverence is expected at all times.

Please print this sheet and give it to your florist.

The couple will make arrangements for photographs with a photographer and videographer of their choice.

No group photographs of the wedding party and/or the families will be allowed around the altar before or after the ceremony. Photographs are allowed after the ceremony in the Courtyard if weather permits.

All wedding music is planned in consultation with our Cathedral Music Department. An organist and cantor provided by the Cathedral Music Department must be used for the wedding. Additional musicians will be provided through the Music Department at the request of the couple. Non-cathedral musicians will not be allowed unless approved by the Music Department.

The music for your wedding is an important part of making the sacramental celebration of your marriage a beautiful, prayerful and joyful event. The Music Ministries Department of Holy Name Cathedral will guide you in planning your music and will provide all the vocal and instrumental musicians who will be engaged at the wedding.


Couples must contact the Cathedral Music Office at or 312-573-4415 at least 2-3 months before the wedding to begin arranging your music. Couples will be provided with an online link with recordings of appropriate wedding music. The music selections must be appropriate to the solemn sacramental nature of the liturgical celebration of marriage.

After listening to the recordings, please send your selections to the music ministries office using the online form found on the link.

While the music on the recording does not exhaust all possibilities, it contains a large sampling of pieces which are most effective, and most requested for the wedding liturgy.

The use of pre-recorded music is never permitted in Cathedral liturgies.


A Cathedral organist plays for all weddings at Holy Name Cathedral. The Cathedral organist assigned to your wedding is the principal musician for your wedding. As the principal musician, your organist will guide you through the music selection process. Any questions regarding the suitability of wedding music selections are decided by your organist/principal musician after discussion with you.


The cantor sings the Responsorial Psalm, any vocal solos and, aids the congregational singing. A Cathedral cantor will be engaged for each wedding liturgy in the Cathedral. Your organist/principal musician will secure the services of the cantor for your wedding.


Additional instrumentalists (trumpets, violin, etc.) may be contracted as part of the wedding music upon your request, your Cathedral organists/principal musicians will engage instrumentalists who are superbly skilled and experienced in providing liturgical music in the Cathedral space. Your organist/principal musician can help you with the selection process for instrumentalists.


A quartet, octet, large choir, or other combination of Cathedral singers may be contracted for your wedding upon your request.

Due to the high level of skill required, familiarity with wedding liturgies, and experience in performing in the cathedral space, the use of non-cathedral musicians for weddings is discouraged. In the event, however, that you wish to request a non-cathedral musician for your wedding, the following applies:

Submit an audio recording of the musician, CD or cassette-only (sorry, no DVDs, Video Cassettes, or internet pages/links), to your organist/principal musician at least two weeks before the scheduled wedding music planning time (consultation). Your organist/principal musician will use the recording to determine the musician’s ability to fulfill their musical role in the liturgy, in order to ensure the quality of musical and liturgical prayer at your wedding.
If approved, your musician will be allowed to perform one selection determined by your organist/principal musician. In any case, a cathedral organist and cantor will be engaged to lead the liturgical music.

Rehearsal time with a non-cathedral musician and your organist must be arranged. This rehearsal will require an extra fee.

The use of pre-recorded music is never permitted in cathedral liturgies.

When you call to make your music planning consultation appointment with the Music Ministries Office, you must also make arrangements with the Music Ministries Department to provide you with a CD of wedding music for you to review. The recording can be picked up in the Parish Office at 730 N. Wabash during regular business hours. After listening to the recording, please make a list of selections and bring them to the planning meeting.
While the music on the recording does not exhaust all possibilities, it contains a large sampling of pieces which are most effective, and most requested for the wedding liturgies. The recording contains portions of the suggested music which are listed here.

Do not make arrangements with other musicians.
Please contact the Music Department. The minimum base price for Wedding music is $550. Additional singers and instrumentalists can be arranged with our Music Department, who will provide the fee schedule.

Processionals and Recessionals

Air (Suite 3) Bach
Canon in d Pachelbel
The Rejoicing Handel
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring Bach
Ode to Joy Beethoven
Trumpet Voluntary Stanley
Rondeau Mouret
Toccata in F Widor
Trumpet Tune Purcell
Hornpipe (Water Music) Handel
Air (Water Music) Handel
Arioso Bach
Largo (Sonata II) Bach
Air Telemann
Trumpet Tune Telemann

Vocal Solos

Gift of Love Hopson
Ubi Caritas Gregorian Chant
Laudate Dominum Mozart
Let the Bright Seraphim Handel
Love is Patient Powell
Love is the Sunlight Trad Gaelic
Panis Angelicus Franck
O Perfect Love Barnsby-Cassler
Thy Perfect Love Rutter
Wedding Song Peeters
Ave Verum Vierne
Arise, My Love Near
My Shepherd is the Lord Dvorak

Music of the Unity Candle Ceremony

Unity Candle Song Haan
La Grace Telemann
Nuptial Blessing Proulx

Music for the Marian Devotion

Ave Maria Bach-Gounod
Ave Maria Dupre

The beautiful Catholic tradition of the bride’s offering of prayers and flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary after the wedding vows or after communion is welcome. Your florist can furnish a single flower or a small bouquet for the ceremony.

While not a part of the official Roman Rite, couples may choose to light a Unity Candle at the wedding. If a Unity Candle is to be used, it must be provided by the couple and the couple should take it, as a memento, after the ceremony.
Unity Candles are available at religious goods stores, florist shops, and greeting card shops. Couples may choose to use their Baptismal Candles.

The bride’s room is located on the lower level of the Cathedral accessible via the elevator to the base of the bell tower. It is a large room with mirrors and a restroom. The room will be available thirty (30) minutes prior to the start of the ceremony for assembly, touch-ups, and photographs. Please do not plan to use the room for a dressing room.

No personal possessions may be left in the Bride’s Room after the bride leaves the room to begin the wedding. All coats, purses, make-up, and garment bags must be removed. The room should be left tidy for the next bride and her attendants. When your wedding begins, the Bride’s room is no longer yours.
Holy Name Cathedral is not responsible for any item left in the Bride’s Room when the bride and her party have gone upstairs to the ceremony.

RECEIVING LINES ARE NOT ALLOWED INSIDE THE Cathedral, in the Vestibule, OR ON THE FRONT STEPS. You are welcome to use the courtyard on the north side of the Cathedral for greeting and pictures.

Confetti, rice, birdseed, rose petals and other objects may not be thrown inside or outside of the cathedral, nor can balloons, doves, or butterflies be released. Bubbles or bells are allowed. No alcoholic beverages, champagne included, are to be brought onto the Cathedral property.

If a private Wedding Consultant is retained, please duplicate this booklet for that person’s information. Keep in mind that the priest or deacon of the Cathedral will conduct the rehearsal and officiate at the marriage liturgy in consultation with the bride and groom only.

Parking is available at our One Chicago Square parking garage, located at 14 W. Superior Street (northside between State and Dearborn). You may park on Lower Level One or Lower Level Two for a maximum of two hours. Your parking ticket must be validated inside the church. For more details and a map, please go here.

Cell phones and pagers must be turned off WHEN INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL:
Personal calls should be made outside the Cathedral.

Address of the Cathedral:
Holy Name Cathedral
735 North State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654

Send all correspondence to:
Holy Name Cathedral
730 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Attn: (Add the Name of your Cathedral Priest/Deacon)
Telephone: 312-787-8040
Fax: 312-787-9113
Music Dept. 312-573-4415

Name of Priest or Deacon: _________________________________

Name of Organist/Advisor _________________________________

Date and Time of Wedding: ____________________________

Date and Time of Rehearsal: ____________________________