“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
Due to the large number of weddings requested at St. Mary only parishioners (either bride or groom) in good standing, or those whose parents are parishioners in good standing, may reserve the church for a wedding.
If you wish to marry at St. Mary you must contact a parish priest at least six months before the possible wedding date due to the mandatory preparation required for sacramental marriages. It is strongly recommended that you book the church, in consultation with a priest, prior to booking a reception venue.
The Catholic Church teaches that cohabitation prior to marriage is sinful and therefore a hindrance to proper preparation for the sacrament. Couples who are living together will be asked to live separately during the marriage preparation time.
The priests of the parish prepare all couples and officiate at weddings. Roman Catholic priests or deacons who are relatives or close personal friends are welcome to officiate at weddings if they are in good standing with their bishop or religious superior and have the religious and civil authority to officiate at marriages for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Meetings with Priest: All couples will have several meetings with a priest who will assist them in preparing for marriage and the wedding.
- Engaged Encounter of Conference for the Engaged: All couples are required to participate in one of these weekend conferences.
- Natural Family Planning: Couples are normally required to attend these classes, usually 2 hours long and 3 or 4 in number.
- FOCCUS: Couples must complete this personality profile. Click here for more information.
Planning the Wedding:
- Music Selection: All matters related to wedding music (selection, musicians, cantors, etc.) must be coordinated and approved by the Director of Music for St. Mary’s. Wedding music must be sacred music and comply with norms established by the Diocese of Arlington and the parish.
- Altar Flowers: Because of the many events held at St. Mary Church, the parish provides all floral arrangements for the altar. Bridal couples who wish to make a donation to the parish to help cover the cost of these arrangements may provide their preferences for color and type of flowers to be included in the arrangements if the requests are made at least two months prior to the date of their wedding. Please see the Wedding Flowers page for more information.
- Other Decorations: For information about other decorations in the church, such as pew markers, please contact the wedding coordinator of the Mary Martha Guild.
- Photography: Photographers should respect the sacred nature of the the ceremony and the church. During the ceremony the photographer may not use flash, block the congregation or enter the sanctuary. After the wedding the photographer will be allowed a maximum of twenty minutes for inside and outside photography. The photographer must take care not to disrupt traffic on South Royal Street while taking pictures outside.
- City Parking: The City of Alexandria will post reserved parking signs outside the church for your wedding to reserve the front parking spaces for wedding vehicles. For special parking permits call 703-746-4035.
More detailed policies regarding weddings at St. Mary can be found in the Wedding Handbook (Blue Book) given to all couples at their first meeting with a priest.