Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our Lady of Victory Basilica FAQs

I've received a few emails about weddings at OLV in Lackawanna from both brides that want to get married there and current brides planning their wedding there. I wanted to share some guidance for frequently asked questions.

1. How much does it cost to have a wedding at OLV?

Like most churches, OLV asks for a contribution. Of course, if there are any financial hardships it's best to speak with a priest. The requested contribution is $450 and includes everything (organist, sacristan/altar servers, priest). In my opinion, this keeps it simple, no need to fret over how much of a contribution you give to the priest, organist, etc.

2. How can I have my wedding at OLV?

First and foremost, you need to be a member of the parish (this is typical of most Catholic churches in Western New York). This, in my opinion, ensures that the party getting married is getting married in the Church for proper reasons. To ensure that you are a practicing member, OLV requires that you are a member for at least 9 months prior to setting a wedding date.

3. What days of the week/what times can weddings take place?

Saturdays are without a doubt the most requested day. For Saturday weddings, there are two time spots: 11.30am and 1.30pm. They also have weddings on Friday afternoons and evenings. You can inquire about other days of the week as well, however you cannot have a wedding on a Sunday, per the Diocese of Buffalo's regulations.

4. Is there a bridal preparation or waiting room?

No. You will need to be dressed prior to arriving at the church. You can wait in the basement, where there are some benches, if you're looking for a spot to sit or are worried about anyone seeing you prior to the ceremony.

5. What are the photography/videography restrictions?

Each priest at OLV has their own guidelines whether or not flash photography is allowed. The priests at OLV during my preparation had no problems with flash. Photographers and filmmakers are encouraged to be as discrete as possible, but they are allowed to walk around for coverage. They can also go up into the organ and choir loft for photos/film. In my opinion, they were overall lax in this category compared to other churches I've heard about.

Other Guidance:
* The floor of the Basilica is quite dirty. The heavier the dress, the more dirt seems to adhere to it according to a few OLV Brides I've spoken with. You cannot use an aisle runner in the church.

* There is a Pepsi machine downstairs. This is helpful in case you need or want a drink after the ceremony to take with you for your formal portraits.

* Getting a phone call in return from a priest or secretary can be difficult. Stay on top of them. The secretaries don't seem to know anything and always defer to the priest -- even down to the question "who needs to be in attendance at the rehearsal?" We had to call our local parish in Washington, DC to inquire about the norms of rehearsal because we never received a phone call back after numerous attempts.

* If there is another wedding taking place the same day you can work with the other couple to share in the cost of flowers, etc.

Grotto Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes
(personal photo)

* If you choose to give flowers to the Virgin Mary during the ceremony, you will be giving them to her in the Lourdes Grotto (where Father Baker is located) and not the Mary behind the altar (and out-of-view from the church). It's important to notify your film crew and photographers because it's behind where the filmmakers/photogs generally cover -- they set up their tripods facing the altar -- and they may not be prepared for this if you don't notify them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Nuptial Mass Music

We had a full Catholic Mass that included Communion (aka a "nuptial mass").

We narrowed down the selections to the following and linked the choices to YouTube videos:

considered Trumpet Tune in D Major, David Johnson

selected Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

We selected Holy God, We Praise Thy Name to walk down the aisle together because we met at Adoration, so this song holds a special place in our hearts. Although when I heard that Trumpet Tune, I was stunned! It's beautiful!!

Offertory Hymn (Preparation of the Gifts):
Improvisation/Organ Music (organist just plays something he likes/makes something up)

Sign of Peace:
Prayer of St Francis ("Make me a channel of your peace") -- I'm not sure if this was actually played.

Agnes Dei (Lamb of God):
Agnes Dei (in Latin)

The groom requested the Latin version although it's not typically used wide-spread in Buffalo (and not at all at Our Lady of Victory, but the organist was fine with it)

considered One Bread, One Body [organ-only version]

selected Gift of Finest Wheat

We wanted a Eucharist-related song for communion, as it is a highlight of the ceremony. However, as we were having many non-Catholics attend the ceremony we didn't consider "Taste and See" due to the lyrics, knowing that those non-Catholics would not be able to receive communion (and therefore won't be able to 'taste'). We thought that "One Bread, One Body" may be a bit along the border too.

Post-Communion Meditation (taking flowers to the Virgin Mary):
Ave Maria

Hallelujah Chorus, Handel [this rendition wanted me to have a choir]