Wedding Guidelines
Our Lady of the Lake Parish

Wedding Preparation, Scheduling, and Information

All dioceses of the State of Michigan require at least six months be available for a period of marriage preparation. Weddings are scheduled for parishioners on a first-come basis. Please make sure the wedding date is confirmed with the parish before making contracts with caterers or banquet halls. No wedding date can be confirmed before the couple meets with Fr. Mike Cilibraise. So as not to displace the needs of parish-related activities and events, weddings involving couples who are not parishioners or do not have a family affiliation with the parish cannot be accommodated unless special circumstances exist as determined by Fr. Mike. Saturday weddings may be scheduled for 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., or 2 p.m. The parish must be completely vacated by 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays to allow for preparation of the 5 p.m. Mass. Friday weddings may be scheduled for 4:30 or 5 p.m.


Carol McAndrew is the Director of Music and Liturgy. She should be contacted at least three months prior to the wedding. She is responsible for ensuring that musical selections are appropriate for a Catholic sacramental celebration. She can also provide information about musician and cantor fees as well as the arrangements to be made for guest musicians or cantors. Carol can be contacted at or 616-399-1062 ext. 119.

Wedding Coordinator

Maryann Hensley is the wedding coordinator. She assists in preparing the wedding ceremony, directs the rehearsal, and is the site coordinator for the day of the wedding. She will need to be contacted at least six weeks in advance of the wedding day to get all the planning started.  The stipend for her services is $175. Maryann can be contacted at or 616-866-6846.

Decorations and Environment

Flowers, banners, ribbons, and anything that will provide a festive atmosphere is permitted. All flowers and decorations need to be respectful of the liturgy and the church. Flowers are allowed in the sanctuary but cannot be placed on the altar or overtake the more important elements of altar, priest, bride, and groom. Floral arrangements can be attached to the pews, but only in ways that do not damage the pews (e.g. glue, tape, or wire). Due to safety concerns, an aisle runner may not be used. Rice, balloons, birdseed, confetti, and sparklers are not allowed inside or outside of the church. Food and beverages should not be brought into the church. However, water and simple, portable snacks may be brought into the bride’s room and library. The wedding party is responsible for cleaning up and disposing of trash.

Photography and Videotaping

The wedding liturgy is a sacred, communal prayer. As such, persons taking photographs should be as inconspicuous and discreet as possible. Flash and flood lights are to be avoided. Photographers are guests in the church and are accountable to the priest or his designee. The bride and groom should encourage their photographer to seek out the wedding coordinator for instructions and to answer any questions.

Alcohol and Smoking

Alcohol is not allowed on church property on the day of the wedding. This includes parking lots. Please make sure that the wedding party is aware that the parish reserves the right to cancel a wedding if alcohol is present. Those under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be asked to leave. Smoking is not permitted in the building.

Church Stipends/Marriage License

The marriage license and stipends for the parish, music, and wedding coordinator should be brought to the church office at least one week prior to the wedding. The State of Michigan requires that the two witnesses who will sign the marriage license be at least 18 years of age.

Marriage Preparation Completed at Another Church

These steps will need to be completed if marriage preparation takes place at another church.

Marriage Preparation: The preparing priest or minister will need to complete all necessary paperwork for the marriage file. After being reviewed and approved by the appropriate diocesan official, the marriage file needs to be mailed to Msgr.  William Duncan with a letter from the preparing priest that all requirements have been satisfied to marry. This needs to be received by Msgr. Duncan at least four weeks before the wedding day. After Msgr. Duncan approves the marriage file, he will forward it to Our Lady of the Lake.                                             

Msgr. William Duncan
Cathedral Square Center
360 Division Ave. S.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-4539

Priest Presider: If a priest or deacon outside of the Diocese of Grand Rapids presides at the wedding, they will need to have their respective Bishop or Vicar General write a letter which confirms they are in good standing and have permission to preside at the wedding. This letter needs to be mailed to Msgr. Duncan with the marriage file.

Wedding Fees

Parishioner: $200
Non-Parishioner: $500
Wedding Coordinator: $175


Pianist/Music Director: $200
Cantor/Soloist: $125
Flute or Violin Professional Players: $150
Flute, Violin, Cello Student Players: $75

Marriage Preparation

Option #1: Mentor Couple
Pre-Cana: $40-$90
Marriage Inventory: $TBD
Natural Family Planning (Online): $99

Option #2: Online
On-Line Preparation: $194
Marriage Inventory: $45
Natural Family Planning: $99

Note: In case of financial hardship, please speak with the pastor.

Updated on August 28, 2018