Scheduling a Wedding

Congratulations on your engagement! We are honored to play a role in the beginning of your married life. Marriage is the way God will make you a saint!

Due to the large number of weddings requested at St. Mary’s, 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. You must contact a parish priest at least six months before the possible wedding date due to the preparation required for sacramental marriages. It is strongly recommended that you book the church prior to booking a reception venue. 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.

Contact the office

Marriage Preparation

  1. St. Mary’s requires six months of marriage preparation, beginning with your initial contact with your parish priest.
  2. Each couple marrying in the Diocese of Arlington is required to attend a marriage preparation conference such as a Conference for the Engaged.
  3. Most couples will be asked to take the FOCCUS premarital inventory. It is a tool designed to help engaged couples learn more about themselves and their relationship.
  4. St. Mary’s require couples to attend Natural Family Planning (NFP) classes. This method of fertility respects the integrity of your marriage and the dignity of the spouses.
  5. The preparing priest or deacon can assist you in preparing the liturgy, readings, music, and other elements for your wedding.

Begin Preparation

Planning the Wedding

  1. Marriage Guidelines: Please contact the office for an updated copy of our marriage guidelines.
  2. Music Selection: All matters related to wedding music (selection, musicians, cantors, etc.) must be coordinated and approved by the Director of Music. Wedding music must be sacred music and comply with norms established by the Diocese of Arlington and the parish.
  3. Altar Flowers and decorationsBecause of the historic nature of the Basilica and the number and variety of liturgies in addition to weddings, the Mary Martha Guild coordinates the decorative designs for all liturgies. The floral arrangements in the sanctuary are prepared by the parish’s florist only. Bridal couples who wish to make a contribution to the parish to help cover the cost of these arrangements may recommend their preference for colors and types of flowers to be included in the arrangements.  These requests should be made  at least three months prior to the date of the wedding. Please see the Wedding Flowers and Decorations page for more information.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Contact the office

“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

Cover photo courtesy of Emily Alyssa Photography.

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