St. Matthew > Sacraments > Marriage

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
(Genesis 1:24)

“The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.”87 The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. … “The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1603)

Wedding Preparation at Saint Matthew should start at least 6 months before the hoped for date.

As soon as you are engaged you can send in the marriage inquiry form to get started.

Due to our size, we are limited to celebrating weddings for parishioners. You can learn more about becoming a parishioner here. You must be an active parishioner for at least three months prior to booking a wedding.

There are a few steps to the pre-cana process, and we want to make sure that you and we have the time needed to prepare peacefully and well. Remember, we are a large church and sometimes the date that you are hoping for is already booked. It is safest to book your date at the church before booking a venue.

Getting Started

Once you are ready to approach Saint Matthew seeking the Sacrament of Marriage, please fill out the wedding inquiry form and email it to Cathy Strasswimmer. Cathy will reach out to you once she has received your inquiry.

Preparing for marriage can be a bit overwhelming. We want to provide you with as much information as possible here so that you can know what to expect when you come in to meet with us for the first time. Please keep reading to find out details about marriage preparation, details for the wedding day and budgeting. This is  just a quick overview. For a more thorough explanation, download our wedding guidelines. A printed copy will be provided for you at your first meeting.

Common Elements of Marriage Preparation at Saint Matthew

  • 1st Meeting: Your first formal meeting with us should be no later than 6 months prior to your hoped for date. At this meeting we will fill out some paperwork, talk about dates and the marriage preparation process and answer any questions you might have. Cathy will help you arrange this when you send in your marriage inquiry form.
  • On-Going Meetings with your Pre-Cana director: You will meet to study the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and plan your Pre-Cana preparations. The frequency and number of these meetings is at the discretion of the director.
  • FOCCUS Pre-Marriage Inventory: FOCCUS is a series of questions answered by both the bride and the groom which examines all aspects of your relationship. This instrument is not an exam, but merely a tool to help you take a look at your relationship. You will identify your strengths and your weaknesses, and, in subsequent meetings, will talk about how to improve on areas in your relationship that need growth. Your pre-cana director will send a link to the bride and to the groom when he is ready to lead you through this.
  • One-Day Marriage Preparation Workshop: This one-day course gives you an opportunity to receive an in-depth treatment of certain important topics, such as:
    • Marriage as Sacrament and Covenant
    • Families of Origin and Procreation
    • Marital Sexuality and Natural Family Planning
    • Communication and Conflict Resolution
    • Money and Finances
  • Natural Family Planning Course: Natural Family Planning teaches couples how they are to embrace God’s beautiful design for the life of intimacy that husband and wife will share. As the use of contraception has become so prevalent in our society, NFP is an essential part of the preparation that couples receive for marriage. REGISTER HERE

Wedding Day Arrangements (music, bridal party, flowers, etc...)

  • Wedding Readings and Liturgy:
    • These readings will come from a book we provide called “Together for Life”. You will receive this at your first meeting.
    • Together with your pre-cana director, you will discuss the liturgy surrounding your vows.
  • Wedding Director:
    • Once your date is confirmed, you may contact one of our Saint Matthew Wedding Directors to begin planning the ceremony details. St. Matthew has two wedding directors,
      • Marjory Dury, cell: 704-562-7886
      • Rossana Alvarez, cell: 980-297-3704
    • It is a requirement for you to use a Wedding Director from St. Matthew Catholic Church. Our directors are familiar with the wedding policies and procedures at St. Matthew and will help you navigate the rehearsal and the wedding day.
    • Budgeting: the Fee for the director is $250, paid directly to the director two weeks prior to the wedding ceremony.
  • Wedding Music
    • Our Music Director will walk you through everything you need to know about music for your wedding day. Whether you are planning a full Mass or Ceremony there are similar needs for music to make your wedding beautiful.
    • Once your date is confirmed, you can contact Ken Boyce.
    • Budgeting: the fee for a cantor and accompanist is $450. The final amount should be paid no later than two weeks prior to the ceremony.
  • Photography and Videography:
    • You will be allowed 30 minutes after the ceremony for pictures. There are a complete list of guidelines for the photographer/videographer in the Wedding Guidelines.
  • Other details:
    • We have a bride’s room available 90 minutes prior to your wedding.
    • Flowers and bows may be brought in to decorate the church in a limited capacity.
    • We cannot accommodate confetti, flower petals, bird seed or anything that is thrown and will potentially remain on the ground.
  • For more information on any of these topics, please read our Wedding Guidelines. They will be very helpful in answering other questions you have.

Documents and Paperwork

  • Baptismal Certificates
    • For any Catholic preparing for marriage, we request a new annotated baptismal certificate from their church of baptism.
    • In order for us to help you with this, please make sure we have the name and location of your church of baptism as well as your approximate baptismal date.
    • If you are not baptized Catholic but are marrying a Catholic, we would like to include some proof of your baptism as well. If you are having trouble getting this proof from your church of baptism, let us know and we will be happy to help.
  • Workshop Certificates
    • The FOCCUS, the Pre-Cana Workshop and the NFP Workshop will each have a certificate that we should include in your wedding file. Please save these and bring them to the church the next time you are here.
  • Freedom to Marry Witness Affidavit
    • You will receive these at your first meeting at Saint Matthew. The bride and the groom will each be asked to have two witnesses testify that they are free to marry. Typically we ask that the parents of the bride and the groom be these witnesses, however if your parents are unable to do this, then we can suggest an alternative.
  • Marriage License
    • You can pick up your marriage license from any county in North Carolina up to 60 days prior to the ceremony. Bride and groom have to go together to the county registrar’s office (Mecklenburg County Marriage License Requirements).
    • Once you have obtained it, please drop both pages and the envelope at the church for safe-keeping. Please drop it off at the church no later than one week prior to the wedding.
    • Your wedding director will make sure that it gets signed and we will mail it back to the county on the first business day following the wedding.
  • Names of your witnesses
    • Please also email Cathy the names of the witnesses who will be signing your marriage license at least two weeks prior to the wedding so that we can have everything ready for the day of the ceremony.


  • Each of the Diocesan workshops mentioned above costs $99 at the time of registration. Lunch is provided.
  • Wedding Director: $250, please make the check out to the Wedding Director
  • Music (Cantor and Accompanist): $450, please make the check out to Saint Matthew Catholic Church
    • The total amount can be paid when planning, or it can be paid in two portions, $225 at planning and $225 no later than 2 weeks prior to the ceremony.
  • Often people like to give an honorarium to the priest or deacon celebrating. $250 is a common amount for this gift.
  • If you have not been a parishioner for at least a year, we ask that you place a $200 deposit to reserve the date.