So, you’re interested in getting married at Church of the Ascension? Congratulations on your engagement!
To determine the next steps, please complete the following questions:
Congratulations, you qualify to have your wedding at Church of the Ascension dependent on the availability of the date you desire.
Please read the following marriage preparation process and follow the steps in the “Start Here” section to begin the process.
Since the parishioners of Church of the Ascension contribute to the construction and upkeep of parish facilities, use of the parish church for weddings is reserved to parishioners (or children of parishioners). There is no charge for parishioners to use the parish church.
Those who are not members of Church of the Ascension, or whose parents are not members, are encouraged to contact the local Catholic parish in which they currently live to make plans for their wedding.
Note: Non-parishioners who are Catholic and who complete an approved marriage preparation program at their own parish, may rent the Ascension parish church worship space for their wedding for a fee of $1,500, contingent on the availability of the space. The reservation and down payment are required six months in advance of the planned wedding date. Additional requirements for the valid celebration of Catholic marriage must also be met. Please contact the Bobbie Jo Baier firstname.lastname@example.org or through the parish office at 913-681-3348 for further information about rental of the worship space and to determine availability.
The Marriage Preparation Process:
If you are newly engaged, you likely have many questions about the marriage preparation process. Below is a quick snapshot of our process at Ascension. We would love to talk with you and answer any additional questions that you may have! Keep reading below the info-graphic for more information and pertinent links for each step.
Start Here: Before Your First Meeting
Fill out the Marriage Prep Registration Form:
Click the Marriage Prep Registration button below to open a smart PDF. Type in answers on page 1 and page 5 only. Save the PDF as GroomLastName-BrideLastName and email it to Elizabeth Whitehead: email@example.com. If you are unable to access the smart feature of this PDF, you are welcome to print the form and write in your answers. Please scan or take a clear photo of the form and email it to Elizabeth. NOTE: Please save this form for your own records, as you will need to access it again in step 6. Also, if you can, please attach a photo of you two to place in your file here for the priests. This will help them recognize you when you’re coming in for your meetings.
For general questions:
Marriage Prep Coordinator
Schedule an appointment with Fr. Gary or Fr. Viet:
Fr. Gary Pennings, Pastor
Set up appointment through Susan Roth
Fr. Viet Nguyen, Associate Pastor
Set up an appointment through Elizabeth Whitehead
913-681-3348 x142 x138
Step 1: Meet with one of our Priests (90 Minutes)
Please make this appointment shortly after you are engaged, BEFORE you have reserved a reception hall or made other date-specific plans.
What to expect:
- Your priest will likely ask some questions to get to know you both a bit better. He will also discuss Marriage as a Sacrament and what it means to be married in the Catholic Church.
- You will be given instructions for the FOCCUS survey, which you will complete independently, before your next meeting.
- After this meeting, you can officially schedule your wedding on the Ascension Calendar. See the button below for the parish Calendar. Weddings are scheduled on Saturdays at 10:30 AM or 1:30 PM and Friday evenings, typically beginning between 4:00 and 6:30 PM. NOTE: You cannot reserve a date on the Ascension Calendar until you have had your initial meeting with one of our priests (accommodations will be made for couples living out of town).
Step 2: Second Meeting with Priest (90 Minutes)
Please make this appointment after you have finished your FOCCUS Survey, preferably 6-12 months before your wedding date.
What to expect:
- Your priest will review information with you from your FOCCUS Survey. He will also give you more information on Marriage Prep Courses and Introduction to Natural Family Planning courses.
- After this meeting, you can sign up for Marriage Prep (step 3) and Intro to NFP (step 4). Contact Elizabeth Whitehead if you need updated course information. Keep in mind that these next two steps (step 3 & 4) can be completed in any order.
Step 3: Marriage Prep Course
- Ideally completed 4-8 months prior to your wedding date.
- Small group (meeting weekly for 5 weeks).
- If the Marriage Prep Sessions at Ascension do not fit into your schedule, please call or email Elizabeth Whitehead at 913-681-3348 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about more options.
Marriage Prep at Ascension
Based on the Beloved Marriage Prep program, small groups of 3-4 engaged couples will meet one evening a week for 5 weeks at the home of an Ascension Marriage Prep Lead Couple. Couples will receive access to Beloved Marriage Prep videos, which will be watched independently before each session. A binder of materials will be provided.
- In Person
Step 4: Intro to Natural Family Planning (NFP) Course
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the general title for the scientific, natural, and moral methods of family planning that can help married couples achieve a pregnancy or, if life circumstances dictate, temporarily postpone pregnancy.
NFP methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.
Since the methods of NFP respect the love-giving (unitive) and life-giving (procreative) nature of the conjugal (marital) act, they support God’s design for married love!
All engaged couples in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas are required to take at least an introductory course on Natural Family Planning (NFP). NFP is a research-based method of spacing births that is not only effective but healthy for the woman and the couple’s relationship.
- Ideally completed 4-8 months prior to your wedding date.
- Various options and formats available; typically only a single session required.
- Email a copy of your course completion certificate to Elizabeth Whitehead (email@example.com). Note: if your Intro to NFP Course was completed through Ascension, you do not need to obtain a certificate – we will automatically add it to your file.
Ascension’s Intro to NFP Course
Approximately every three months an introductory course on NFP is offered at Church of the Ascension specifically for engaged couples. This course meets on a Sunday from 3:00pm-4:00pm in the St. Matthew/St. Mark Room and includes talks by various married couples from the parish and from parishioner, Dr. Isaac Johnston. There is no fee to attend this course.
If Ascension’s Intro to NFP Course does not fit into your schedule, please call or email Elizabeth Whitehead at 913-681-3348 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about more options.
Dates: Oct 16, Jan 8, March 26, July 9,
Oct 8, 2023
Step 5: Meet with Wedding Liturgy Coordinator + Music Director
- Meet with Ascension’s Music Director 6 months prior to your wedding date.
- Meet with your Wedding Liturgy Coordinator 6 months prior to your wedding.
- Schedule the date/time for you wedding rehearsal.
- Finalize liturgy options for your wedding ceremony.
- Our wedding Liturgy Coordinators are assigned based on their availability. Your coordinator should reach out to you directly.
Before Step 6: Things to do Before your Final Meeting
1) Contact information update: We would like to update our church database to reflect any new contact information and your (soon to change!) marital status. Please take a moment to fill out this short digital form, so we can import your information into our system. Please know that this information is for internal purpose only!
2) Live-Stream: We understand that the ongoing pandemic may make traveling and attendance difficult for some of your important wedding guests. To help you include those who cannot attend your wedding in person, Church of the Ascension is currently offering live-stream options for weddings. Please fill out the basic information in this form and choose a live-stream option for your wedding (Note: do NOT live-stream is an option!).
3) Required Paperwork: Please turn in any outstanding documents to church office BEFORE your final meeting with your priest.
4) Let Elizabeth Whitehead (email@example.com) know when you have scheduled your final meeting with your priest.
Step 6: Final Meeting with Priest (60 Minutes)
Ideally completed 1-2 months prior to your wedding date, after all previous steps have been completed.
What to expect:
- You will discuss your wedding vows and marriage commitment.
- You will complete your prenuptial paperwork and review your wedding liturgy.
A reminder about your Civil Marriage License:
You must obtain a civil marriage license and bring it to your wedding rehearsal. A civil marriage license can be obtained from the Marriage License Division of the District Court. Note: In Kansas, there is a three day waiting period after application, and once issued, the license is valid for six months from the date of issuance. More information can be found at www.courts.jocogov.org.
Scheduling Your Wedding:
Engaged couples must meet with one of our priests before being permitted to schedule a wedding on the Ascension Parish Calendar. If you want to schedule a wedding at Ascension, start here.
- Friday: Wedding may begin anytime from 4 PM until 6:30 PM
- Saturday: Wedding must begin precisely at 10:30 AM or 1:30 PM
Typically each wedding is scheduled to allow three hours of time in church for dressing, ceremony, and pictures. Except for the rare instance of two weddings occurring on the same day, the church is available 90 minutes prior to the ceremony. For a Saturday 1:30 PM wedding ceremony, due to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, pictures and cleanup must be completed by 3:15 PM.
Weddings are not celebrated in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in KS on Saturday evenings or on Sunday. Weddings are not celebrated on Holy Days of Obligation or All Souls Day (Nov. 2).
Weddings are not celebrated during Lent; however, with special reason, permission may be granted.
A wedding rehearsal helps to assure a smooth-flowing ceremony. Specifics regarding the ceremony, seating, the order of procession, inclusion of optional symbols, etc., will have previously been discussed with the wedding assistant. The priest and/or wedding assistant guides the wedding party through the rehearsal. It is essential that all persons having a direct role in the wedding be present at the rehearsal. The rehearsal is scheduled with the Wedding Liturgy Coordinator and Priest and will last approximately 45-60 minutes. There is no music at the wedding rehearsal.
To allow ample time for engaged couples to schedule Friday Night weddings at Ascension, we do not allow Friday evening rehearsals to be officially scheduled more than 6 months prior to the wedding date.
- Friday Wedding: Rehearsal is normally held Thursday at 5 or 5:30 PM
- Saturday Wedding: Rehearsal is normally held Friday at 5 or 6 PM, depending on availability
On occasions when there is a wedding scheduled for that Friday, it may be necessary to schedule the rehearsal earlier or later on Friday or to even move the rehearsal date to another day.
If you have any questions about your paperwork, please reach out to Elizabeth Whitehead (firstname.lastname@example.org). See additional information below the info-graphic.
Baptismal Certificate(s) with Notations:
Call the churches where each of you were baptized and request a “Baptismal Certificate with Notations.” All pertinent sacramental information (even if your baptism was in a different parish from subsequent sacraments) will be notated on this form. Please note that the baptismal certificate that you were given as an infant will NOT suffice; these certificates must be dated less than 6 months prior to your wedding date. Please have these paper certificates mailed directly to Ascension.
- Catholic Baptismal Certificate with Notations for Groom
- Catholic Baptismal Certificate with Notations for Bride
- If the Bride or Groom was NOT Baptized in the Catholic Church, please confirm one of the following:
Other Baptismal Circumstances:
Reception into the Church: If you entered the Catholic Church through RCIA, please contact the church where you attended RCIA and request your “Certificate of Reception with Notations.”
Christian (non-Catholic) Baptism: If you or your spouse was baptized in a Christian (non-Catholic) church, basically any record of your Baptism will suffice. You can contact the church where the baptism occurred and ask for a letter confirming the date and other basic information or for a photo of the pertinent page of their Baptismal record book. You could also submit an old church program, bulletin, or newspaper listing – basically any written documentation will suffice.
Christian (Non-Catholic) Baptism without written proof: If record of your Baptism cannot be obtained (see above), that is fine – just discuss this with your priest during your final meeting.
Bride or Groom never baptized: Please discuss this with your priest.
Marriage Prep Certificate:
Once your Marriage Prep Course (small group, weekend retreat, or online course) is complete, send us the digital certificate of completion. Note: if your Marriage Prep Course was completed through Ascension, you do not need to obtain a certificate – we will automatically add it to your file.
Introduction to Natural Family Planning (NFP) Certificate:
Once you have completed an Introduction to Natural Family Planning Session, send us the digital certificate of completion. Note: if your Intro to NFP session was completed through Ascension, you do not need to obtain a certificate – we will automatically add it to your file.
Documents for Other (Less Common) Circumstances
4 Witness Forms: If you are getting married outside of our diocese, you will need to have 2 witness forms completed by two friends or family members for each of you (4 forms total). These forms do NOT need to be notarized. You can mail the original paper forms or simply scan and email them to us. See link blow.
Civil Marriage Certificate: If you are civilly married and seeking a convalidation, please scan or send us a non-original copy of your civil married certificate.
Decree of Nullity: If you are seeking marriage after a previous marriage was annulled, please scan or send us a non-original copy of your Decree of Nullity.
Death Certificate: If you are seeking marriage after the death of a spouse, please scan or send us a non-original copy of the Death Certificate.
Click the Handbook image below to download the digital PDF Version:
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my Fiancé is not Catholic?
Inter-church marriages are between two baptized persons, one of whom is Catholic and the other a member of another Christian community. When one party is not Catholic and the wedding does not include a Mass, a minister of another church is welcome to participate by reading Scripture passages, offering prayers/blessings or giving an exhortation. The couple should discuss this with the priest celebrant early in the preparation process.
Inter-faith marriages are between a Catholic and a person who is not baptized and/or is a member of a non-Christian religion. According to church norms, inter-faith weddings take place without a Mass.
When a Catholic marries any Non-Catholic, the Catholic is required to make the following promise and the non-Catholic party should be made aware of this promise:
“As a Catholic wishing to enter into marriage with a non-Catholic, I take this occasion under oath to re-affirm my Faith in Jesus Christ and, with God’s help, I intend to continue living that Faith in the Catholic Church. I am aware of my serious obligations regarding the Faith and I promise to do all in my power to share the Faith I have received with our children by having them baptized and reared as Catholics.”
What if my Fiancé and I are already living together?
The wedding liturgy expresses and celebrates the coming together of a couple to share the intimacy of the marriage relationship. If a couple is living together as though already married, they should discuss this with their priest.
While many in our society see no problem with engaged couples living together and having sexual relations before marriage, this arrangement can never be reconciled with what God expects of us. Additionally, studies have shown that couples who live together before marriage have higher rates of divorce and a poorer quality of marital relationship than those who do not.
Living chastely during the months of engagement teaches future spouses many things about one another. It helps them grow in the virtues of self-restraint, sacrificial giving, generous love and good communication – all which are essential for a good and lasting marriage. Cohabitating couples are encouraged to prayerfully consider separating prior to their marriage and committing to a renewed virginity so that they grow in virtue and so their wedding night takes on a specialness that it is meant to have.
Can we get married at my Fiancé’s church?
The appropriate place for a Catholic marriage is the bride or groom’s parish church. Archdiocesan regulations prohibit the celebration of weddings in private homes, parks, etc.
When the bride is not Catholic, the couple may wish to marry in the church of her denomination with her minister officiating. Special permission can be readily obtained from the Archbishop for the Catholic party. The outlined marriage preparation is still necessary but a Catholic priest need not be present at the wedding. When present, he simply serves as another guest. With the host minister’s permission, the priest may read a scripture passage or offer a prayer of blessing at the ceremony.
Do we need to use one of Ascension’s Wedding Liturgy Coordinators?
Most wedding ceremonies will require the use of a Wedding Liturgy Coordinator from Ascension. If you are planning a very simple convalidation ceremony, a Wedding Liturgy Coordinator may not be required. Feel free to check with us if you have any questions or feel like your wedding may be an exception to the rule.
As the wedding date nears, a Wedding Liturgy Coordinator will be assigned to a couple based on their availability. The coordinator will help with the wedding ceremony within the church including: liturgical ministers, seating of guests, procession, symbols of marriage, review of music, floral, photography and video guidelines, and use of facilities, as well as answering any questions relating to the wedding day. The Wedding Liturgy Coordinator will help with all arrangements at the church on the day of the wedding and will be at the rehearsal.
A couple should meet with their wedding liturgy coordinator approximately 3-6 months before the wedding. A couple should meet with their wedding liturgy coordinator approximately 3-6 months before the wedding. The wedding liturgy coordinator fee is $200.
May we have a visiting Priest as our Wedding Celebrant?
Usually one of the parish priests or deacons will be the celebrant at weddings. However, because of a special relationship, a couple may invite another Catholic priest or deacon to celebrate with them. The visiting priest must receive permission and delegation from the pastor before the wedding takes place. Visiting priests or deacons are asked to observe local regulations and parish customs.
The following are acceptable but optional practices for Catholic Weddings:
Unity Candle: A common practice is the lighting of a unity candle. In this symbolic action, a large white candle is lit by the bride and groom from two tapers typically lit prior to the wedding procession by the mothers or other representatives from both families. The meaning of the action is obvious: the bride and groom “are no longer two but one in Christ” (Matthew 19:6). The church provides only a unity candle stand. You will need to supply your own candles (one pillar candle and two tapers). This ritual usually takes place after the exchange of rings.
Bouquet to Blessed Mother: A couple may wish to place a flower or small floral arrangement at the statue of the Blessed Mother, saying a prayer there. For centuries, couples have asked for Mary’s prayers since it was she who interceded to her Son on behalf of a newly married couple at their wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-11). This visit usually takes place after Communion.
Sign of Peace: During the sign of peace, the couple can choose to greet the bride’s mother/parents first, then the groom’s mother/parents.
Other Helpful Links:
Fees and Figures
FEES FOR SERVICES:
There are no fees for the sacrament per se, but special reservations and services listed below are accompanied by fees to help cover the cost of compensate service providers.
USE OF CHURCH FACILITY FEE:
Facility Fee for Registered Ascension Parishioners: If the bride, groom, or parents of the bride or groom are registered Ascension Parishioners, there is no facility fee for getting married in our church.
Facility Fee for Non-Parishioners: Catholics are encouraged to be married in the parish where they are members. Non-parishioners are charged $1,500 for the use of our Church Facility. Our parishioners contribute to build and maintain our parish church. It is only fair that those from outside the parish pay to use the facility.
WEDDING LITURGY COORDINATOR FEE:
Payment of $200 is due at the rehearsal. Please issue your payment directly to the wedding liturgy coordinator.
An outside organist or pianist is permitted only with the approval of the parish organist. The Bench fee is compensation to the parish organist for the music coordination, assistance with the sound system, and scheduling of one practice at Ascension for the visiting musician, usually a week prior to the wedding. A payment of $100 due at the rehearsal.
The parish organist, other musicians and vocalists will quote their fees and payment time.
If altar servers are required for a wedding (when the wedding takes place within a Mass), a $10-$20 tip is customary for each server.
MARRIAGE PREPARATION PROGRAM FEE:
The marriage preparation program fee depends on which program a couple chooses. The fee can range from $0 to $225.
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING COURSE:
The Natural Family Planning Course fee depends on which program a couple chooses. The fee can range from $0 to $65.