Congratulations on your engagement! Having your marriage at Boston College speaks to the important place our University community has in your life and, as you begin wedding preparations, we want to help make planning this special celebration easier. We are pleased to offer Trinity Chapel, on the Newton Campus, as the location for all weddings at Boston College. The chapel is available for weddings only to students, alumni, and employees, except by special permission. Below you will find helpful planning information as you consider a wedding at Boston College.
About the Chapel
Trinity Chapel is a stand-alone building located on the Newton Campus that seats approximately 400 people.
A main aisle separates two sections of pews and chairs. The chapel has a large sanctuary area and a vestibule which is separated from the main church by glass doors. The chapel has a sound system but no other built-in media equipment. There are no dressing or reception facilities in the chapel.There is a wheelchair ramp into the building; the bathroom on the main level of the chapel is a step up from the main floor.
Parking is available in several lots on the grounds of the Newton Campus, and handicapped parking is adjacent to Trinity Chapel. Other than limousines and other cars attended by drivers, it is not permissible to be parked in the circle in front of the chapel. Parking regulations at Boston College are enforced by the Boston College Police and tickets may be issued to those parked illegally.
The address of the chapel is 885 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02458. Please note, however, that this address is for the entire Newton Campus. The chapel is easily identified by its tall steeple.
The chapel is open daily by 9 a.m. Florists and other vendors are encouraged to contact the Campus Ministry office during the week for information on the chapel schedule for specific wedding days. Based on schedule, the chapel may be decorated at a time that is convenient provided there are no other events.
Reserve the Date
Trinity Chapel is available for weddings only to students, alumni, and employees of Boston College, except by special permission. Weddings can be scheduled for a variety of times on a Saturday, and occasionally on other days. We do not schedule weddings during holiday weekends, school breaks, University move-in/move-out, or home football game days. Blackout dates are noted here.
You will also need to find a priest or deacon to celebrate your liturgy. Unfortunately, Campus Ministry is unable to assist in finding a presider for wedding ceremonies. You are welcome to invite any priest or deacon (as appropriate) to preside at your wedding, and there will be a member of our Campus Ministry staff at both the rehearsal and wedding to assist any priest not familiar with the chapel.
Contact Ellen Modica via email or at (617) 552-4665 to reserve Trinity Chapel for your wedding. There is a $750 for use of the chapel. It is payble by check to Boston College Campus Ministry. All correspondence should be sent to: Boston College Campus Ministry, McElroy 233, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, attention Ellen Modica.
Marriage Preparation Classes
Marriage preparation classes, generally referred to as Pre-Cana, prepares the couple for the sacrament of marriage and is required for marrying in the Catholic Church. These programs are run in a variety of formats and schedules and are offered in all dioceses of the country. You may attend one wherever you would; your presider should be able to assist you in finding an appropriate program.
Boston College Campus Ministry offers two marriage preparation workshops, one in the fall and one in the spring. You may also contact the Archdiocese of Boston’s Office of Family Life Ministry or (617) 746-5801 for other options in the Boston area.
You will receive a certificate upon the completion of your marriage preparation course; the original should be forwarded to our office and is required for official approval of all weddings at Trinity Chapel.
A number of forms are required prior to marriage, all of which should be sent to Campus Ministry at least four weeks prior to your wedding.
- All Catholics and baptized Christians must send us a copy of their baptismal certificates, obtained from the place of baptism within the previous six months. Please do not send family originals as they cannot be returned.
- Confirmed Catholics are asked, but not required, to send a copy of their confirmation certificates. This information is often supplied with the baptismal certificate so a separate certificate is not always necessary. There is no time restriction and photocopies are allowed.
- An original (no copies, please) certificate attesting to attendance at an approved marriage preparation class is required.
- A preliminary interrogatory form that establishes both parties are free to marry. This form must be filled out in the presence of your priest and then sent to our office. If necessary (i.e., you and your priest reside in different areas), another priest can help you with this form.
- We will let you know if other paperwork is necessary for your wedding.
- Our office will also communicate with the priest celebrating your wedding about any paperwork he needs to submit.
Music for the liturgy should be sacred and follow the guidelines set by the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy and Archdiocesan guidelines.
All music planning should be done in consultation with Timothy Zimmerman, Coordinator of Wedding Music/Organist. Music should be planned at least 8-12 weeks in advance. In addition to helping you choose appropriate music, Mr. Zimmerman will contract with professional cantors and instrumentalists for your wedding. Mr. Zimmerman receives a consulting fee of $75 for his services and the fees for the musicians range from $200 to $250 per-musician depending upon the music selected.
It is strongly recommended that one of our resident cantors serve in this capacity at your wedding liturgy. The ability to cantor a Mass requires specific training and demands more than a good singing voice. If you request a guest cantor, they must have the approval of Mr. Zimmerman before being contracted. They must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Be a parish cantor (professional musician of their own parish)
- Have degrees in music and/or liturgy (or the equivalent training and experience, including as solo leader of song)
- Submit a tape of liturgical vocal music
- Audition in person
If you would like a family member or friend who is not trained as a cantor to sing at your wedding, having them perform a solo piece could be a good way to include them. Again, please check with Mr. Zimmerman for approval.The same rules as above apply to all guest instrumentalists (guitars, flutists, trumpeters, oboists, etc.). This policy is in place to maintain an appropriate level of musical competency, and to ensure the sacredness of your wedding liturgy, which is a public act of worship.
Payment of the musicians is the responsibility of the wedding party. It is preferable that checks be sent directly to Mr. Zimmerman, but if necessary, individual checks for each musician may be mailed together to our office, to the attention of Ellen Modica, and should be received prior to the week of the wedding.
Photography and Videography
The Wedding liturgy is a sacred moment of rejoicing in prayer, song and gesture. While we understand your desire to record this moment, we ask you to observe the following so that the sacred joy of this day will not be intruded upon by photo and video equipment and those who operate it. Flash photography is not permitted at any point except for the processional, recessional, and the wedding ceremony itself.
The representative from Campus Ministry at your wedding will be responsible for managing the procession. Photographers should not stop the procession for pictures nor interfere in the flow of any liturgical action.
Photographers and videographers are asked to be as discreet as possible (staying to side aisles, for example) when moving in the chapel once the liturgy has begun. Under no circumstances may photographers and videographers enter the sanctuary, stop the wedding party while they are in procession, impede the musicians from their jobs, or stand/move in front of the guests and wedding party. Only the lighting already available in the chapel may be used. No additional lighting may be brought into the chapel.
After the wedding, provided that there is time based on the schedule of the day, the chapel will remain open for the taking of posed pictures.
It is very important that any vendor (florist, photographer, videographer or wedding planner) working with you on your wedding have a copy of these guidelines so that they can plan in advance what equipment, etc. to bring. Exceptions to these rules will not be made for vendors who have not been made aware of our policies. Additionally, if you are using a wedding planner, please have them contact us at least two (2) months prior to the wedding; it is important that the chapel staff and the wedding planner are working together to make your ceremony go as smoothly as possible.
Rehearsals are booked through the Campus Ministry office and are usually scheduled for the evening before the wedding at 5 or 6 pm., although other times are possible. Wedding rehearsals are slotted for no more than one hour. It is strongly expected that rehearsals will begin and end on time. Traffic in the Boston area is very heavy in the late afternoon/evening and an appropriate amount of time should be allotted for travel. A representative from Campus Ministry will be present for both the rehearsal and the wedding. As the rehearsal is meant to be a run-through of what has already been decided, please be prepared with the following information (as applicable):
- Order of the procession and people involved
- Number of pieces of processional music
- Approximate number of people receiving communion
- Total number of communion ministers, including the priest
- Number of people who will be presenting the gifts
The following items should be brought with you to the rehearsal:
- Marriage license
- Two copies of each reading, including the Gospel and the Prayer of the Faithful, in a clear, typed format
- A copy of the wedding program and/or programs for the guests, if they are ready at that time
It is normative at Trinity Chapel to use seats in the sanctuary for the wedding couple and the priest, with the seats oriented toward the assembly who are called to be witnesses of this sacrament of which the bride and groom are primary ministers. If desired, seats for the maid of honor and best man may be included in this arrangement. Sitting is the appropriate posture for listening to the Word of God and to the presider’s homily, with all standing for the Gospel.
Seating in the chapel consists of both chairs and pews, with chairs forming the first few rows of seating. There are no kneelers in the main seating in the chapel, therefore the entire assembly is invited to stand and face the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If, for some good reason such as a cultural ritual, there is a desire for different arrangements, these must be reviewed with the Campus Minister for Catechesis prior to the rehearsal. During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are standing, facing each other.
While not required, the normative practice for Eucharist at Trinity Chapel is Communion under both species. Three or four Eucharistic Ministers, including the priest, are required for the assembly to be able to receive both bread and wine. These additional Eucharistic Ministers may be members of the wedding party, relatives or guests. The wedding couple may serve in this capacity although the Church advises against this practice. Campus Ministry is not able to supply Eucharistic Ministers for weddings. Please note that by Church law, only confirmed Catholics are allowed to distribute communion.
Any reading proclaimed during the Liturgy of the Word must be taken from sacred scripture. If so desired, poetry and other types of secular writing are welcome to be read at other appropriate places in the ceremony. Please speak to your presider or the Campus Minister for Catechesis during the planning process for additional information.
You are welcome to have a family member or friend participate as an altar server at your wedding. Guest altar servers are asked to provide their own albs. Campus Ministry does not provide altar servers for weddings, and all available albs are sized for adults. The use of unity candles is permitted, although not encouraged, as they are not a prescribed part of the wedding liturgy. Campus Ministry does not supply unity candles or stands.
The Campus Ministers for Catechesis is available to consult on the planning of your wedding liturgy. Please contact the Campus Ministry office (617-352-3475) for further information. Below are a few helpful suggestions as you plan your wedding.
- Consider purchasing Together For Life, by Joseph Champlin, or Celebrating Marriage: Preparing the Wedding Liturgy, edited by Paul Covino. These books are two of the most comprehensive and helpful we have seen and they will be invaluable guides as you shape a liturgy that is as thoughtfully prepared as the other components of your wedding day. Both books are usually available from Amazon.com; you may also want to check local religious bookstores to see if they carry them.
- Meet or speak several times with the priest or deacon who is witnessing your vows. Be sure to work cooperatively on the ceremony. Remember that you are the ministers of this sacrament and that you have a responsibility to plan this liturgy with him. It cannot be done for you.
- Weddings are communal celebrations and provide many opportunities for the assembly to participate in your ceremony. Consider preparing a program that has the order of service and includes words to the music so that the assembly can join in the singing. Proclaiming the readings in more than one language if your families are multilingual is a great sign of inclusiveness. Specifically, you might have family or friends proclaim the readings and the Prayer of the Faithful, bring up the gifts at the Preparation Rite, and serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Communion.
- Include traditions that are meaningful and express what is important to you, but be mindful of including traditions simply for the sake of doing so. If hospitality is of great concern to you, consider greeting your guests together as they arrive at the church instead of having a receiving line when the wedding is over. Having both the bride and the groom be escorted into the church by their parents is a wonderful symbol of the importance they all have played in your lives. Ethnic traditions and customs passed down through the generations, such as the arras and cord, help to symbolize the importance of your heritage.
- Choose the readings and music carefully. The Word should proclaim the generosity of God’s love reflected in your faithful partnership, and the music should amplify that Word. Consider using inclusive language texts, language that incorporates both males and females and which uses a multiplicity of images for God. There are several inclusive language lectionaries and we recommend the New Revised Standard Version, available on Amazon from several publishers.
Especially for Interfaith Couples:
- Be sure that the common elements of your traditions are emphasized: e.g., in Catholic-Jewish weddings, the Hebrew Scriptures should have a special prominence, since these are shared by the two traditions.
- Be sure that the distinctive elements of your traditions are represented: e.g., in Christian-Hindu weddings, the defining rituals of each tradition should be incorporated.
- Explanations of unfamiliar rituals to the assembly should be made in the printed order of worship and/or by brief statements during the ceremony.
- If a representative of both faiths will be present at the wedding, it is highly recommended that you meet with both of them together to discuss all aspects of the ceremony. This would be a good opportunity to discuss how you each plan to live out your faith separately and together and how you would like that to be reflected in the ceremony. If you choose to have a clergyperson of another faith participate in your wedding ceremony, please be aware that by canon law, only the priest may officiate at a Catholic wedding. A minister or other clergyperson may offer a few words, but he or she may not officiate or preside at a joint ceremony.