St. Mary of the Angels Wedding Policy

Your wedding ceremony is a sign of your love and lifelong commitment to each other. It is an expression of your faith in God and your faith in each other and is, therefore, one of the most significant events of your lives. The Chaplain’s Office is happy to assist you with your marriage preparations. To assure that these preparations progress smoothly, please read the information below.

Eligibility
The use of the St. Mary of the Angels Chapel for weddings may be granted only to the following:
1. Alumni/Alumnae of Siena College
2. Students currently matriculating for a degree at Siena College
3. Faculty of Siena College and their children
4. Current employees of Siena College and their children
5. Current staff of Siena College and their children
6. Relatives of Franciscan friars

Requirements
1. Only Roman Catholic religious ceremonies are permitted.

2. At least one of the parties must be a practicing Roman Catholic.

3. Copies of Baptismal Certificates for Roman Catholic parties. These must be obtained from the parish church where you were baptized and dated not   more than six months before the wedding. Originals from a family album or photocopies are not acceptable. Usually a phone call to the church where you were baptized is all that is needed to get a new certificate.

4. Baptized non-Catholic Christians who are marrying a Catholic are asked to provide documentation of their baptism. In this case an original certificate or a photocopy will suffice.

5. Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter Certificate. Couples are required to attend Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter sessions. For those living locally, arrangements can be made with the Diocese of Albany’s Office of Evangelization, Catechesis and Family Life (518 - 453-6644 ). The Chaplains Office will provide you with more information regarding these programs.

6. If there has been a previous marriage for either party, proof of the dissolution of the bond must be presented, i.e., death certificate or an ecclesiastical decree of nullity. Both parties must be "free to marry" before any definite plans can be made for a Catholic wedding. This applies even if the one who was married before is not Roman Catholic.

7. Please bring your New York State Marriage License to the rehearsal. Blood tests are not presently required in New York. 

8. The Prenuptial Investigation is a document, completed during interviews with the bride and groom, providing biographical information and attesting to their freedom to marry in the Catholic Church. Ordinarily, the Prenuptial Investigation along with other paper work such as the FOCCUS inventory is administered by the priest or deacon officiating at your wedding and submitted by him directly to the Chaplain’s Office. If, however, the priest or deacon presiding at your wedding cannot complete this form, please make arrangements with the College Chaplain to help you. This paperwork must be completed well in advance of the ceremony in a face-to-face interview and cannot be done by mail or by telephone.

9. The Prenuptial Investigation, Baptismal Certificates, Letter of Celebrant’s Good Standing, the $475.00 fee for the use of the Siena Chapel, and any other necessary documents must be submitted to the Chaplain’s Office at least two months before your wedding. Make checks payable to: Siena College Chaplain’s Office. Please note that the $475.00 is a fee for the use of the Chapel and is not considered a compensation for the presiding minister or musician(s).

10. You are responsible to provide the clergy to officiate at your wedding. You are welcome to ask a friar from Siena College or another Roman Catholic priest or deacon to officiate at the ceremony. Should you select a priest or deacon not from Siena College or the Diocese of Albany, that priest or deacon will need to provide a Letter of Good Standing from his Ordinary to the Chaplain’s Office that will be sent on to the Diocesan Chancery for approval. You are responsible to provide the Chaplain’s Office with the name and address of the clergy presiding at your wedding within one month of tentatively reserving the Chapel in order for you to secure your wedding date on our calendar. It is advisable to secure a commitment from the priest or deacon who will preside at your wedding at least six months in advance. Several meetings are usually needed to plan for the wedding.

11. Please keep the Chaplain’s Office informed of changes in the bride’s and groom’s addresses as well as work and home phone numbers. If for some reason you cancel or change your wedding plans, please inform the Chaplain’s Office immediately.

 

General Information
1. The chapel seats approximately 225-250 people.

2. When two Roman Catholics are getting married, it is strongly recommended that they plan for a Nuptial Mass. A marriage ceremony without Mass should be a rare exception when both the bride and groom are Catholic, but may be advisable if one of the parties is not Roman Catholic.

3. Music. Procuring soloists and musicians is the responsibility of the couple. Kate Kaufman Burns is the Director of Liturgical Arts for the Office of the College Chaplain and is given priority for playing at all weddings. Arrangements with the Director of Liturgical Arts are made separately by the couple. However, if Kate Kaufman Burns' services are not used, a customary “bench fee” of $50.00 is paid to her. If you have any questions please contact the Chaplain’s Administrative Assistant. An organ and a piano are available in the Chapel.

4. In view of the sacred character of the occasion, you are asked to select only appropriate liturgical music for your wedding. Most secular music is not appropriate. A good rule of thumb is: if it can be played at your reception, it probably should not be played in church. The purpose of music in church is to enhance prayer, not to entertain.

5. The time for your wedding depends on the availability of the Chapel and the priest or deacon who is officiating. The rehearsal is conducted by the officiating priest or deacon usually the evening before the wedding. The Chapel is not available for rehearsal before 5 PM. As a courtesy to others, please be prompt.

6. No weddings may be scheduled when the College is officially closed, e.g. Christmas Eve, Christmas, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, inclusive, the Independence Day holiday, and other holidays.

7. To ensure safety and preserve our environment, rice, birdseed, and confetti are not permitted. Please do not throw or drop flower (rose) petals in or outside of the Chapel. Since we are unable to clean after each ceremony we ask that as best as possible you leave the Chapel in the condition you found it.

8. We do NOT permit the movement of the Chapel furnishings.

9. The Siena Chapel is very simply appointed and designed to focus attention on the activity of the liturgical celebration. A few flowers enhance the space; too many flowers or extra candles tend to add clutter and distract attention from the ceremony.

10. If you wish to light a “unity candle,” you are asked to provide your own.

11. Nails, tacks, clamps and tape may not be used on woodwork, molding, doors, pillars, pews, the carpet, etc.

12. Since the Chapel is carpeted throughout, runners are not permitted.

13. Fire regulations prevent the use of torches and candles fastened to the pews. Candelabras are not permitted. Also, candles and flowers may not be placed on the piano and organ. Prior permission from the College Chaplain is required for the use of candles outside of the Sanctuary.

14. The Chaplain’s Office cannot be responsible for flower stands and other items left in the Chapel. However, with advance notice, minimum safeguards can be arranged.

 

SUMMARY
Documents needed:
Baptismal Certificates (dated not more than 6 months before wedding)
Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter Certificates
Prenuptial Investigation (filled out by couple and priest/deacon)
Documentation related to dissolution of previous marriage (if needed)
Letter of Good Standing from Ordinary (for priests and deacons from outside the Diocese of Albany)

Timetable
Reserve Chapel minimum of 6 months before wedding
Commit priest or deacon not more than a month after reserving Chapel
Submit information on visiting clergy not more than a month after reserving Chapel
Pay fee for use of Chapel two to six months before wedding
Pre-Cana/ Engaged Encounter as soon as possible
Prenuptial Investigation as soon as possible
Marriage License about a week before the wedding


For more information, or to book the Chapel for your wedding, please contact the Chaplain’s Office.