Conferencing & Event Services  
 

Wedding Ceremonies

 

Congratulations on your engagement to be married!  We look forward to serving all of your needs on your special day.  Please feel free to contact Conferencing and Event Services with any questions at (616) 632-1047 or confer@aquinas.edu.  Please read through the following guidelines governing wedding ceremonies on the campus of Aquinas College:

 
Catholic Weddings

Catholic parties must abide by the marriage policy of the Grand Rapids Diocese; there is a nine month preparation period. If neither party is a member of a parish, it is important to find one that is willing to accommodate the preparation process with you and your fiancé. Couples must contact their own pastor or deacon to preside at their wedding. Couples must make arrangements to participate in a diocesan approved marriage preparation process. If the couple is unable to meet the conditions of the requirements for marriage preparation and documentation two weeks prior to the wedding, Aquinas College is not bound to the rental contract (room deposits are non-refundable). Catholic Weddings may take place on campus only in the Bukowski Chapel.

 
Non-Catholic Weddings

If neither of the parties to be married are baptized Catholic, they may use the Bukowski Chapel or the designated area on the grounds of Aquinas College (Holmdene Gardens) for a non-Catholic wedding. If neither party is a baptized Catholic, the couple is not bound to the Catholic preparation requirements for marriage, but must respect the sacred space and the arrangement of the chapel. Non-Catholic weddings (in which neither party is a baptized Catholic) may also take place on the grounds or in other buildings such as the Kretschmer Auditorium, the Performing Arts Center, etc., as available.

 
Chapel Coordinator and Conferencing Services

The prospective bride or groom is required to contact the Chapel Coordinator before a chapel reservation can be made with the Conferencing Coordinator for Catholic Weddings.  After talking with one party of the engaged couple, and after assessing that the requirements of the marriage policy will be met, the Chapel Coordinator contacts the Conferencing Department with a request to tentatively reserve the chapel space for an available date of the party’s preference.  The Conferencing Department makes contact with the party in order to mail the contract and to remain in correspondence as needed. Once the engaged party makes a full deposit of the rental fee, the tentative reservation is confirmed.

 
Relationship of Aquinas College to St. Thomas Parish

In Church juridical matters, Aquinas College is an extension of St. Thomas Parish. The Sacrament of Matrimony is a juridical matter. All canon law, provincial and diocesan statutes, and parish policies and guidelines apply to Aquinas College as well.

 
Common factors affecting College related requests for a Catholic Wedding
  • At least one party is to be a practicing Catholic
  • Aquinas College is not a parish; one of the parties involved is to be a member of a Catholic parish or in the process of becoming one.
  • If either party has been previously married, whether Catholic or not, earliest possible contact with the priest of the Catholic party is necessary.
 

Delegation of a Priest or a Deacon for a Catholic Wedding in the Bukowski Chapel

When Aquinas College grants permission for a wedding on campus, it should be clear that neither Aquinas College nor St. Thomas Parish provides a presider for the marriage. When speaking with a priest about getting ready for a marriage, the couple should inquire whether he is willing to preside at Aquinas College for the wedding. The pastor of St. Thomas Parish will delegate your presider to officiate at the wedding.

 

The pastor of St. Thomas Parish can delegate a priest other than the canonical pastor of either or both parties to preside at the nuptial ceremony. In such cases, however, St. Thomas Parish will do so only with written permission from the canonical pastor of the bride or groom. St. Thomas Parish will also require that all proper preparations are made and that the Diocesan Pre-Marriage file is accurately kept during the preparation and submitted to St. Thomas Parish to be filed after the ceremony.

 

Physical Arrangements of the Bukowski Chapel

  • The Bukowski Chapel has a seating capacity of 120 on the main floor. The Upper Balcony can accommodate up to 40 more seats, some with limited view.
  • An organ and piano are available for use by your accompanist. Arrangements can be made for your accompanist to practice beforehand by contacting the Conferencing Department.
  • There is no additional sound equipment in the space due to the small size and orientation of the Chapel.  Additional sound equipment may be rented through the Conferencing Department.
  • There is no space conducive for the bridal party to change into their wedding garments. Rooms can be made available as needed through the Conferencing Department based on availability at no extra charge.
  • The Chapel does not have air-conditioning, but is heated.  The Chapel remains relatively cool throughout the summer months.  Auxiliary fans can be provided through the Conferencing Department.
 

Rental Fee

  • The fee for the use of the Chapel is $400 ($500 on Friday or Saturday evenings), payable with the signed contract. Pricing includes rehearsal. No discounts apply to wedding ceremonies on campus.
  • The Chapel Coordinator can be available to the wedding party on the day of the rehearsal for a fee of $40.
 

Availability for Weddings

Availability for weddings is determined by contacting the Conferencing Department at (616) 632-1047 or confer@aquinas.edu.  Rehearsals are to take place the evening before the wedding date, unless otherwise arranged through AQ Conferencing.

 

If more than one ceremony or event is scheduled for the day of the ceremony in the Bukowski Chapel, specific time restrictions may be necessary: generally three hours before and one hour after the ceremony will be included in the rental. All floral deliveries must be made within the rental period.

 

Officiate, Musician and Miscellaneous Information

It is the responsibility of the couple to provide their own officiating clergy, accompanist, vocalists, unity candle or holder. No food, drinks, or smoking are allowed in the Chapel.

 

Steps to Reserving Space (preferably one year in advance):

  • Catholic Weddings - Contact Chapel Coordinator at (616) 632-2492 or marshthe@aquinas.edu. After talking with one party of the engaged couple, and after assessing that the requirements of the marriage policy will be met, the Chapel Coordinator contacts the Conferencing Department with a request to tentatively reserve the chapel space for an available date of the party’s preference.
  • Non-Catholic Indoor/Outdoor Weddings - Contact the Conferencing Department for rates and information at (616) 632-1047 or confer@aquinas.edu.
  • Contact your clergy.
 

Catholic Wedding Time-line Requirements

  • Nine months in advance begin an approved marriage preparation process (Catholic Weddings).
  • One month in advance, submit the Pre-Marriage File to the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle (Catholic Weddings) at 1449 Wilcox Park Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49506. You can e-mail Margo Dean at margodean@stthomasgr.org or call at (616) 459-4662.