Preparation for Wedding Day and Lifetime Marriage

Marriage Requirements

A Marriage that takes place in the Catholic Church requires a Marriage License from the State of Florida. The Church ceremony suffices both the civil law and the church law.

As a couple, you will have an initial meeting with the priest or deacon follow by a series of workshops to help grow in conscience from a Roman Catholic perspective on the importance of the Sacrament of Marriage, this will help you to grow closer to God, the community of faith that will witness your marriage and grow even closer to one another.

This preparation process is threefold: the evaluation, the formative encounters, and the planning. The wedding process takes up to six months to complete.

First Step

Become acquainted with the Wedding Coordinator in charge of the weddings for the planning of the Sacramental ceremony. Schedule an appointment with the Priest or Deacon.

Bring to the meeting the following documents:

An actualized baptismal certificate from the Church where you were baptized within 6 months of your wedding day, First Holy Communion and Confirmation Certificates. If you were previously married, you will need to bring the following documents:

  • A copy of your prior civil wedding license certificate.
  • A copy of your final civil divorce decree.
  • If you obtained an annulment the original annulment decree issued by a church marriage tribunal must be submitted.

To Reserve the Marriage Date

To secure a date for your wedding, a $500.00 non-refundable deposit is required. If you are not a registered parishioner of St. Joseph Church and live outside the parish boundaries, you must first obtain authorization from your local parish to marry at St. Joseph. The letter from your Pastor and the $500.00 non-refundable deposit is submitted together to secure the wedding date.

What are the Times for Wedding Ceremonies?

Weddings take place on, Saturdays at 11:00am, 1:00pm & 3:00pm.

If a couple needs to begin an annulment process, please know that no wedding date can be set until the annulment process is fully resolved. No wedding date, even tentative, will be given until the issue of the prior marriage is fully settled by a church marriage tribunal.

What are the Next Steps in our Sacramental Preparation?

Evaluation Process

It begins by participating in “Fully Engaged” program, initial inventory designed to raise your awareness of the multiple aspects of marriage, marital life, and each of your respective positions. Afterwards, you will meet with a mentor couple that will review the results of the survey and help you to interpret your responses and identify the strengths and weakness of the relationship. Generally, this will make you feel more confident and committed to the Sacramental Marriage. There are times when the findings of the evaluation expose difficulties and issues that could result in advising the postponement of the marriage in order to resolve the issues; shall this be the case, the Priest will meet with the couple.

Formative Encounters

After you have completed the Fully Engaged Course you need to complete a series of encounters sponsored by the Archdiocese of Miami. One is called “Transformed in Love” which is conducted in English and “Camino” in Spanish. The other is a course in Natural Family Planning which is mandatory. They also include talks on spirituality and on topics related to marital life and marriage that shall strengthen your commitment and deepen your inner life. This is an opportunity to ask the priest or deacon to help you in whatever way possible to prepare you on your journey for life together.

Planning Process

The wedding coordinator will meet with the couple to plan every aspect of the Wedding Ceremony, including the selection of Sacred Scriptures for the Mass, bridal court,and rehearsal. We encourage the couple to attend Sunday Mass regularly. In selecting the lectors, please ensure that they are active Catholics familiar with the Mass. This will enhance your wedding ceremony.

How to Obtain a Civil Marriage License in the State of Florida

You can obtain the civil marriage license from any County Courthouse in the State of Florida, both parties must go together. Once you obtained the civil marriage license, please to bring it to our Parish Office. The marriage license shall be obtained within 30 days of the Marriage date.

Apply in person at the clerk's office at 601 NW 1st Ct #1900, Miami, FL 33136, (305) 275-1155.

Bring valid photo id (driver's license/state ID, passport, military ID, or alien registration card)

Know your social security number, however, the card itself is not necessary.

The priest performing the ceremony will complete the license and return the entire document to the Clerk of the Court within 10 days following your wedding. The priest will marry you civilly and by the church. There is no need for a civil ceremony before or after the Church wedding.

Weddings cannot take place without this license from the State of Florida, equally Catholic priests/deacons cannot perform weddings without the proper State of Florida civil marriage license.


You must have two witness male and female for each party, that will provide a written testimony. These forms must be signed by a notary public. For the day of the wedding you need two witnesses to sign the Marriage License at the ceremony.

During the Ceremony we are in the Holy Presence of God

St. Joseph Church strives to make the wedding liturgy holy, spiritual and a personal experience for the couple, we ask that the guest maintain a sense of reverence, silence, and proper decorum within the Church.

Church Decorations

We allow TWO (2) bouquets of flowers for the altar, the aisle may be decorated with simplicity, for instance with a simple rope or individual bows, provided that the wooden pews are not damaged with staples or tags. Placing candles or flowers in the aisle is not permitted.

Photography and/or Videography during the Wedding Ceremony

We recommend that you designate ONE (1) official photographer. The photographers are not to go on the altar (no photos are permitted inside the sanctuary). No light-fixtures are to be set up in the sanctuary, as this is a sacred place. Videos are permitted, without permanent lights. The photographer MUST see the priest, deacon or wedding coordinator before the ceremony begins. Encourage family and friends not to take personal photos since this will only create confusion and otherwise degrade a most dignified celebration, YOUR MARRIAGE.

Wedding Music

All couples are to schedule a Music Planning Session with the Director of Music, Ralph D’Ovidio at 305-904-5982.

All music shall be selected from the menu of musical works provided by the Director of Music. All music must be sacred and have lyrics which express Christian values. The music shall be sacred, classical in style, and the text shall be a meaningful fit for the sacramental moment. Secular music is not permitted during a liturgy.


It is the policy of St. Joseph Church that only parish musicians must be utilized for all Wedding Liturgies. A soloist/cantor and organist will be selected from the pastor approved list. Although it is discouraged that outside musicians perform at weddings, an exception may be made only with the written approval of the Pastor. Outside musicians can only participate in one song during the ceremony. It is helpful if the cantor/musician is of the Catholic faith and is experienced with Catholic Liturgy. In the event, that an outside musician is approved, our Director of music and cantor will be present. Recorded music of any kind is not permitted.

Rice, Bubbles, Bird Seed, Confetti, Flower Petals, and the Like

For the safety of your guests and the cleanliness of the church and grounds, we do not allow the use of rice, bird seeds, confetti, bubbles, flower petals, and/or anything else that might be potential hazards for your guests.

Wedding Rehearsals

Wedding rehearsals are typically held on Thursday or Friday before the wedding date. The wedding coordinator will make the appropriate arrangements with the couple.


  • For Parishioners, Donation $1000 (Contributors to the church on a regular basis).
  • For Non-Parishioners, Donation $1200. Donations must be offered to the parish in full one month in advance of the Weddings Date.

Marriage Outside of St. Joseph Church (International, Out of State or Parish)

We will prepare the couple to receive the sacrament of marriage elsewhere. The same preparation guidelines apply. The donation of $225.00 is made to the parish to prepare the documents on the first meeting, a separate check is required for Fed Ex courier services (International services $80.00, local or State $40.00) to send the documents to the appropriate Archdiocese. The file must be submitted first to the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Miami (3 months) prior to the wedding for review and approval.

Visiting Priest

If you are bringing a visiting priest as the presider of the wedding ceremony, there are certain requirements to meet. The priest must contact the parish office for information. We do not provide altar servers for the wedding ceremony.