My husband and I were very disappointed with our experience at Mary Help. Father Bruce just went through the motions of our marriage preparation, and didn't add any real value the the experience. I remember asking questions about the ceremony, and being brushed off and told, “oh, we'll go over all of that at the rehearsal they day before the wedding.” We began losing confidence in the church's competence when various pieces of paperwork were misplaced. My husband had to send them his baptismal record multiple times. We even had to re-take the pre-marital inventory that we had made a special trip from out of state to complete, after the results to our original test were lost. By this time, though, it was too close to our wedding date to change the venue.
No effort was made to clean the church and prepare it for our ceremony. My parents had to ensure that the pews (which had been shifted for some other purpose) were properly placed. They had to clear the entry to the church of the piles of donations (clothes, etc) that had been allowed to accumulate over time. They even had to clean up the candle holders, which had been encrusted in wax, after it was made clear that none of these items would be addressed by the church staff. As the ceremony grew closer, we realized that we needed to hire a wedding coordinator for the day of the wedding to handle all the minor details that a coordinator from the church would typically address (little details, like closing the door to the church after my father and I entered – there was no one to do that!). The final insult was when a cell phone went off during our ceremony – three times. The phone belonged to Father Bruce! He had set his alarm to wake him from his usual Saturday nap, didn't disable it for our ceremony, and left the phone out of reach behind the altar, where it could be heard, but not easily silenced. It was distracting, to say the least, and we never received so much as an apology for the disruption. If I had known any of this up front, I absolutely would have chosen a different church for my ceremony.
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