The Cathedral of Saint James




The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. (Book of Common Prayer 1979)

Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between two adults in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church. (Book of Common Prayer 1979, p 422)


It is The Cathedral of Saint James’ desire to help make every wedding an event that will live in memory as a significant, joyful, and sacred occasion. As the church calendar is established well in advance, it is important that the wedding date is determined as early as possible. A minimum of 6 months notice should be given to the church in order to reserve the date. Because of the significance of Advent (the 4 weeks preceding Christmas) and Lent (the 7 weeks preceding Easter), and Easter Week, weddings are not appropriate during these seasons. Please call the church office, (574) 232-4837 to make an appointment. Once the church is reserved, please make an appointment with the Dean to discuss the details of the premarital process and the wedding itself.


A proper marriage license, issued in the State of Indiana, is required under the provisions of the law of the State of Indiana. The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. It must be secured in advance, and must be brought to the church at the time of the rehearsal.


All weddings in the Cathedral of Saint James are conducted by Clergy of the Episcopal Church. If participants wish clergy of other denominations to participate, they may do so with an Episcopal Priest. All details of the wedding ceremony are subject to final authority of the Dean of the Cathedral.




Premarital counseling is required by the canons of the Episcopal Church and is a strong pastoral policy of this congregation. Counseling is directed by the Dean or his designee and must be completed at least 1 month in advance of the wedding date.

Couples will be asked to complete an online pre-marital relationship inventory as part of the counseling process. The couple is responsible for paying the provider’s fee for the inventory online.


If either party has been married before and that marriage ended in divorce, the Bishop must grant permission for a re-marriage to be performed at The Cathedral of Saint James. If this situation applies, please call the church office at (574) 232-4837 to schedule an appointment with the Dean. In the case of a re-marriage, all counseling should be completed no later than 6 weeks prior to the ceremony.


Ceremony Preparation


The Altar Guild members of The Cathedral of Saint James adorn and prepare the altar for participants' wedding service. They are responsible for the reverent care of all the outward symbols of the inward and spiritual truths taught by these symbols. Altar Guild members will be present at the wedding rehearsal and on the wedding day to assist the wedding party with the ceremony.


When a wedding takes place at The Cathedral of Saint James, the sanctuary is allowed to be used for 3 hours per ceremony. Participants have use of the facility for 1½ hours prior to the appointed wedding time, and ½ hour following the ceremony. It is suggested that photographs be taken before the ceremony since there will be only ½ hour of photography allowed in the sanctuary following the ceremony.


The order of worship for the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage can be found in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 422. A copy is available upon request or may be found online at . Readings should be selected in advance, with the advice of the officiating clergy. You will need to choose four readings: one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, one from the New Testament, and one Gospel reading.

Suggested Readings for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage
From the Old Testament
  • Genesis 1:26-28 (Male and female God created them)
  • Genesis 2:4-9, 15-24 (A man cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh)
  • Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7 (Many waters cannot quench love)
  • Tobit 8:5b-8 (New English Bible) (That sha and I may grow old together)
From the Psalter
  • Psalm 67
  • Psalm 127
  • Psalm 128
From the New Testament
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (Love is patient and kind)
  • Ephesians 3:14-19 (The Father from whom every family is named)
  • Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33 (Walk in love, as Christ loved us)
  • Colossians 3:12-17 (Love which binds everything together in harmony)
  • 1 John 4:7-16 (Let us love one another for love is of God)
From the Gospels
  • Matthew 5:1-10 (The Beatitudes)
  • Matthew 5:13-16 (You are the light…Let your light so shine)
  • Matthew 7:21, 24-29 (Like a wise man who built his house upon the rock)
  • Mark 10:6-9, 13-16 (They are no longer two but one)
  • John 15:9-12 (Love one another as I have loved you)



Couples are encouraged to invite family members of friends to read from sacred scripture at their weddings. Readers should be present at rehearsals and should arrive for the ceremony at least ½ hour before the start of the ceremony. If Holy Communion is part of the ceremony, a Deacon, Priest, or Bishop is appointed to read the Gospel lesson.


If Holy Communion is part of the ceremony, Chalice Bearers can be friends or family members.


Music for the wedding is to be in keeping with the solemnity of the sacred occasion and the tradition of the Episcopal Church. Our Director of Music will personally meet with the bride and groom to select the music. Please call to schedule an appointment. Vocal solos, if any, should be based on Holy Scripture. The couple can furnish their own soloist or a soloist can be hired through the Church. Instrumental music that complements the musical style of the organist’s selections is permitted with the approval of the Director of Music.


Policies at The Cathedral of Saint James are intended to enable the church to preserve the solemn nature of the ceremony as a Christian Service of Worship, while also making it possible for the photography/videography professional to provide beautiful, artistic pictures of the couple’s special day.

Formal poses may be taken up to ½ hour before the beginning of the ceremony and up to ½ hour after the recessional takes place. No flash photographs, professional or private, are to be taken during the wedding ceremony.

Flash pictures may be taken during the embrace and as the wedding party recesses the center aisle at the close of the service. Under no circumstances should the photographer stop the procession. Time exposures may be taken from one, and only one, stationary position at the back of the church at any time during the service.

Professional video taping is permitted throughout the entire service provided the videographer and his/her equipment remain stationary. The Dean can advise as to the best place to position video equipment.


Because of the beauty of the Sanctuary, extensive floral arrangements are not necessary. Two floral arrangements in vases may be placed on either side of the altar on the designated locations on the altar screen. These arrangements may be removed following the wedding ceremony, or may be dedicated to the Parish for use on the following Sunday and distributed to local service agencies afterwards.

Pew ribbons and flower arrangements are permitted, but may not be taped, tacked, or nailed to any part of the pews. Appropriate hooks or ties must be used.

No additional candelabra may be used. The center-aisle pew candles for candlelight services are available for a small additional fee.

The early delivery of flowers ensures proper display and relieves any related anxiety. All arrangements, boutonnieres, bridesmaid’s bouquets, corsages for the Mothers, and the bridal bouquet should arrive at least 1½ hours before the start of the ceremony. The florist must vacate the sanctuary ½ hour prior to the commencement of the ceremony.

Flowers or other adornments may not be placed upon the altar or altar rail.

Flower girls are allowed to drop petals only along the central aisle of the church at the beginning of the ceremony.

Birdseed and rice are permissible outdoors only; but confetti is prohibited.

Aisle runners, which are a tripping hazard, are not permitted.

Unity candles, which are a recent cultural innovation, have no clear and consistent theological meaning or practice. The ceremonial actions taken by marrying couples in the Episcopal wedding rite - the joining of hands; the exchanging of vows; the giving and receiving of rings; the wrapping of the newly married couples’ hands in the priest’s stole; the solemn marriage blessing; and Holy Communion - are deep, ancient, sacramental symbols that speak clearly to the spiritual grace of union in heart, body, and mind in marriage.


A rehearsal is required in order to ensure a smooth ceremony on the day of the wedding. Rehearsals are conducted on the Friday before the wedding ceremony.

The rehearsal usually includes an introduction by the officiating clergy person, a walk-through with music, and a period for questions and responses.

Persons present during the rehearsal who are not part of the wedding are asked to sit respectfully and quietly while the rehearsal is being conducted.

All members of the wedding party are required to attend the rehearsal. Those coming from any distance should be alerted to possible traffic congestion so that they arrive on time. Cathedral of Saint James staff (sexton, organist, and Altar Guild) are available for 1 hour only. Please be punctual.


Wedding Day

All members of the wedding party are to arrive 1½ hours prior to the ceremony. The bride, maid of honor, bridesmaids, mothers, and grandmothers should assemble in the bride’s dressing room located at the back of Cathedral Hall. An Altar Guild member will assist the bride and her party from the bride’s room into the Sanctuary at the appropriate time.

If photographs of the wedding party are to be taken inside the church before the ceremony, it is suggested that the wedding party, as well as the bride, come ready for the camera as the Sanctuary is to be cleared approximately ½ hour before the start of the ceremony.

The groom, best man, groomsmen, ushers, and fathers are to assemble in the designated area as directed to prepare for the ceremony. Ushers are to gather with an Altar Guild member for instructions in seating the guests ½ hour before the start of the ceremony. All guests are to be escorted to their seats in the church. Ushers are to be assigned in accordance with the bride and groom’s wishes to serve as escorts for the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom.


Smoking and the use of alcohol are strictly forbidden on Cathedral of Saint James property. The bride and groom are under obligation to notify all members of the wedding party accordingly. Persons in violation of this policy will be asked to leave; should they decline, the service will not proceed.



Weddings are "at cost" for all parish members in good standing. For all others there is an additional rental fees and honoraria to support the ongoing mission and ministry of the Cathedral of Saint James. To request an itemized list of services included in the Wedding fee, please contact the Cathedral of Saint James office at (574) 232-4837.


Service Times



8:00 am -- Spoken Eucharist, Rite I
10:15 am -- Choral Eucharist, Rite II


9:00 am -- Morning Prayer


5:30 pm -- Eucharist


12:00 noon -- Eucharist

The Cathedral of Saint James
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The Cathedral of Saint James ||| 117 N Lafayette Blvd ||| South Bend, IN 46601 ||| Phone: 574-232-4837 ||| office at stjamessouthbend dot org

Office hours are currently irregular; please call before stopping by the offices