Who may get married at Christ the King Chapel at Canisius College?
Usually at least one of the people being married must be a Roman Catholic to be married in Christ the King Chapel. Both parties must meet all the marriage requirements of both Roman Catholic and civil law.
You may be allowed to celebrate your wedding in the Canisius College Chapel if you are:
- Currently a Canisius College student
- An alumnus/alumna of Canisius College
- Currently a member of the faculty or staff of Canisius College
- A son or daughter of a current member of the faculty, staff, Board of Trustees or Board of Regents of Canisius College
When are weddings held at Christ the King Chapel?
Marriages normally take place on Saturdays and are scheduled two hours apart.
The following times are available for Saturday weddings:10 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.
The policy of the Diocese of Buffalo does not permit weddings on Sundays.
The activities of the College usually do not allow us to schedule weddings for weekdays and do exclude certain weekends. Occasionally weddings can take place on Friday afternoons during the summer.
Weddings are not scheduled on major holy days, particularly Christmas and Easter, or during Holy Week. Lenten weddings are discouraged. We are also unable to schedule marriage ceremonies during certain vacation periods.
How does one make arrangements for a wedding at Christ the King Chapel?
It is a four-step process:
- STEP 1: Those who are planning to get married should call the Canisius Campus Ministry Office at (716) 888-2420 and talk with the secretary to schedule a date for their wedding. [This process must start at least six months before the date of the wedding and not longer than 18 months before the date of the wedding.] At this time you can set a tentative date and time and the secretary will then send you an information packet with all the details.
- STEP 2: Soon after scheduling the wedding, couples should make arrangements with the secretary to meet with one of the priests in the Campus Ministry Office for an initial interview. This meeting will take about an hour; most of the Pre-marriage Investigation will be completed and all the various requirements will be reviewed and explained at that time. You will also be required to provide a non-refundable deposit for half of your chapel fee and you will need to provide the musician's fee to reserve our musician.
- STEP 3: After the initial interview the couple should work on getting the following in order:
- A letter from the pastor of the bride (if bride is not Catholic, a letter from the pastor of the groom) stating his willingness to allow your Catholic wedding to take place in Christ the King Chapel.
- Recently-dated copies of the bride's and the groom's baptismal certificates (each must be dated not more than six months before the wedding). If bride or groom is not Catholic, a letter of testimony from a parent stating he/she has never been married must also be obtained.
- A certificate verifying your attendance (together) at a diocesan-approved marriage preparation program (i.e. Pre-Cana, Engaged Encounter, etc.). Campus Ministry will provide you with a list of diocesan programs that are available. You can also make arrangements through your local parish. You should make reservations for one of the programs as soon as possible, since they tend to fill up quickly. This program should be completed not less than two months before your wedding (earlier if possible).
- A priest or deacon to witness your marriage (Canisius College Campus Ministry may have someone available, but you may choose any priest who can obtain faculties in the Diocese of Buffalo).
- STEP 4: At the end of the first interview the couple should make plans for a second interview with our campus ministry marriage minister to complete the Pre-marriage Investigation and to turn in the paper work collected in step three. At this time, the couple should pay the remaining chapel fee.
What about planning the details of the ceremony?
When you come for your first interview, you will be given a copy a booklet called Together for Life. This booklet outlines a Catholic wedding ceremony and the decisions that must be made for your ceremony. The booklet contains possible scriptural readings for your wedding. You will plan the details of the ceremony with the priest or deacon who will be presiding at your ceremony. You will also work with our Director of Music, Jeff Jeckovich, on the music for your ceremony.
What about a wedding rehearsal?
A rehearsal (often held on a Thursday or Friday evening) may be scheduled after the second interview is complete (see step four). The priest or deacon performing the ceremony is normally expected to be present to direct the rehearsal. Rehearsals are scheduled for an hour. Normally, they will take less than an hour. A Campus Ministry sacristan will be present to open the chapel and get what things you need.
What is the fee for having a wedding in Christ the King Chapel?
Chapel use fees (effective June 1, 2015)
Current students: $200
Board of Regents/Trustees/President Council and their children and children of faculty and staff: $400
Non-alumni (with approval by Director of Campus Ministry ONLY): $600
Out of town preparation (with approval by Director of Campus Ministry ONLY): +$50
Alumni, etc.: $425
Baptisms (with approval of Director only): $50
Holiday Baptisms: $60
Funerals (with approval of director only): **$100
Special Masses (anniversary, memorial, etc.): $50
Holiday Special Masses: $60
**Check with Director for exception.
The chapel use fee covers the stipend for the sacristan. You are responsible for any monetary stipends for other persons, including the priest. Please be courteous, prepare their stipends ahead of time, and perhaps give them the stipends before the ceremony so that they will not be forgotten.
Items such as floral decorations and stands, and unity candles are not provided. Runners are prohibited in Christ the King Chapel. You must arrange for these items yourselves. Floral arrangements and other appointments must work around the furnishings in the Chapel. Chapel furnishings and liturgical decorations cannot be removed or changed.
Are there cases where a Catholic is unable to marry in the church?
Yes, there are several instances where this is the case. But they are usually able to be rectified in most cases.
- If there was a previous marriage, a death certificate or a Declaration of Nullity or annulment must be obtained. If needed, you will discuss this with the priest at the first interview.
- If one party is not Catholic, the Catholic party will need to obtain a dispensation from the Bishop's office. Discuss this with the priest at the first interview. He will help you apply for it during the second interview.
- All marriages that take place in the chapel must be Catholic marriages, however, If you wish to have other clergyperons preside at the marriage ceremony you will need a dispensation from form. Talk with the priest about this at the first interview.
- There are other "impediments" to Catholic marriage, but they are rare and unlikely. These would almost always be uncovered in the marriage preparation process.
Who can preside at my marriage?
The presider at your marriage will be a Roman Catholic priest or deacon who is in good standing with the church. We recommend strongly that you contact a priest or deacon as soon as possible to talk to him about your intended marriage and to invite him to preside at your wedding and conduct your rehearsal. Arranging for a priest or deacon is your responsibility. You may ask a priest who is pastor or assistant at your parish, a personal/family friend, former teacher, etc.
If one of the parties is not Catholic it is possible to arrange to invite a non-Catholic clergy person to participate in the ceremony in some way. Talk to your Catholic priest or deacon and to the priest at your first interview, before you arrange for this. In some cases, the marriage can be presided over by a non-Catholic clergy person, if one gets a "dispensation from form" from the bishop.
After you complete your second interview, we will send a letter of delegation to the priest or deacon who will be presiding over your ceremony.
You must arrange to meet with your priest or deacon to plan the details of the ceremony. At the first interview, you will be given a copy of Together for Life, to help you with planning the ceremony.
Does the couple need to get a license from the civil authorities?
Yes. You must obtain a marriage license from New York State. Usually such a license is good for 60 days and cannot be used for 24 hours after being issued. The City Clerk's Office in Buffalo at 1308 City Hall can provide you with your license. Bring your license to the rehearsal. If you fail to get a license, by law, we cannot do the wedding.
How much time does one have for the wedding?
Weddings are expected to start at the scheduled time. From the scheduled time of your ceremony, you will have one and a half hours for the ceremony and photography (e.g. the ceremony and any photography in the church for a marriage scheduled at 2 p.m. must be completed by 3:30 p.m.). Please allow plenty of time to arrive at the chapel. You have the chapel for one half hour before the ceremony is scheduled. Normally, yours will not be the only wedding in the chapel that day and delays cause great difficulties and inconveniences for others. If your ceremony is unduly late in starting, it may have to be shortened and you will not be able to use the chapel after the ceremony for photography.
Any other rules?
Remember that the chapel is a place of worship and a sacred space. The use of any type of alcoholic beverages in or near the church is strictly prohibited. Please do not throw rice, confetti, bird seed, flower petals, potpourri, pennies, etc., inside or outside the Chapel.
What other details should one be aware of in having a wedding in Christ the King Chapel?
FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS: Advise your florist to call the Office of Public Safety at Canisius College at (716) 888-2330 an hour or two before delivering the flowers so that an officer may unlock the Chapel. Ask the florist to place your name on each item to avoid confusion since other floral deliveries might be arriving that day. Floral arrangements which include candles are not permitted. If pedestals/stands for flowers are desired, they must be supplied by you or your florist. Flowers are not allowed on the altar. If you want an aisle-runner, inform the florist that the distance to the altar is 85 feet and aisle width is 5 1/2 feet. For your information there are 23 rows of pews in the chapel. The chapel holds approximately 300 people.
CANDLES: If you are having a unity candle ceremony (optional) as part of your wedding, you should bring that candle and two tapers and place them on the altar; please take them with you after the wedding (The unity candle cannot be a part of a floral arrangement). No other candles, candelabra, torches, and the like are to be brought into or used anywhere in the Chapel. (The sacristan will provide appropriate altar candles and if needed, a unity candle holder.)
PHOTOGRAPHY: The photographer should be as inconspicuous as possible throughout the ceremony. Check with your priest or deacon concerning photography. Photographers at work will not be allowed to delay the preparations for a scheduled event which follows your wedding. If your wedding finishes in a timely manner, you should have time to take photos after mass either in the church or on the campus grounds.
MUSIC: You are responsible for finding your own musician, however, our wedding coordinator will assist you in this by providing you with our preferred musicians. All Music and musical texts must be performed live and should be appropriate for a church ceremony and support the sacred, religious nature of the ceremony. The chapel is equipped with a piano and an electric organ and you music selections must be able to be played on one of those instruments.
NO RICE, CONFETTI, BIRDSEED, FLOWER PETALS, BALLOONS, ETC.: Please notify your guests that rice, confetti, birdseed, flower petals, etc. are not to be thrown either inside or outside the Chapel or anywhere on the grounds of Canisius College. We are concerned about "litter" making the area unsightly and creating any condition that may be hazardous for the elderly or is disrespectful of the Chapel as a house of prayer. The release of balloons creates a problem for airport radar and is also considered a hazard to the environment.
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES: After your ceremony, a copy of a marriage certificate will be sent to you by mail. If you should need more copies in the future, call Campus Ministry at (716) 888-2420.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Are not permitted in the Chapel or anywhere on the property. Brides and grooms who show up inebriated cannot be married as this would make their vows invalid (can't give consent freely). Bridal party participants who are not sober will be asked not to participate in the ceremony.
CONFESSIONS: Are not usually available here on Saturdays. You and your guests should arrange to confess at your local parish or you are most welcome to call Campus Ministry for an appointment for confession.
BATHROOM FACILITIES: Facilities are available in the sacristy (right front of the Chapel). There are also bathrooms on the first floor of the Student Center and in the basement of the chapel.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: There is wheelchair accessibility to Christ the King Chapel via the ramp at right front of the Chapel.
PROMPTNESS: Please be prompt for your rehearsal as well as for your wedding. This will minimize congestion in the Chapel and the parking lots. Urge your wedding party to be on time for your rehearsal and your wedding. All weddings will require a deposit and a couple showing up 15 minutes beyond their wedding start time will lose their deposit.
PARKING & DIRECTIONS: For directions to Canisius, you can click here. There is a note at the end of this page about parking and there is information about downloading a parking map. Please realize that many events take place on campus, often simultaneously, so on some occasions there can be high demand for parking and our campus ministry office has no control over this.
What should I do if I have other questions?
Call our office at (716) 888-2420. The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Download a Campus Parking Map
Parking locations for wedding guests on Saturdays:
a. Eastwood Lot (#4), on Eastwood, behind Dugan Hall and Bosch Hall.
b. Old Main Lot (#2), on Hughes, between Old Main and Horan-O’Donnell
c. Main Jefferson Lot (#15), entered at the intersection of Jefferson and Hughes.
d. Street parking, as permitted by law, on Hughes, Meech, Main and other local streets.
e. Tower Lot (#1), on Main Street, in front of the Churchhill tower
f. Loring Lot (#6), on Loring Street, behind Bosch Hall
Other parking locations that will be available are:
a. Village Townhouse and Lyons Hall Parking across Main Street (#8,9,10,11,12)
b. The former "Blue Cross" Ramp (#16)
Please do not park in the Loyola Hall parking spaces which are behind the Main-Eastwood Lot (#4).