The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  – Book of Common Prayer

Weddings at St. Mary’s

The parish of St. Mary’s has established policies and traditions to assist couples at the beginning of their life-long covenant with God and one another.  It is understood that persons who wish to be married at St. Mary’s are active, committed parishioners either here or in the community of faith in which they live.  The beginning of this life-long covenant is supported by the entire parish in general and, in particular, by the following specific areas of ministry.

Premarital counseling is required and is conducted in small groups, complemented by individual sessions.  Classes are in the early fall, early winter, and spring with the exact dates varying from year to year.  There are usually four to six sessions covering topics such as the meaning of Christian marriage as contrasted to secular/civil marriage, family, communication, sexuality, children, the use of time, money, etc.  It is within this context that wedding dates may be discussed and confirmed.

Dr. Gregory Hooker our Minister of Music, a talented and well-known organist,  normally provides music for all parish weddings. We strongly encourage the use of classical music and hymns from The Hymnal 1982.  All music must be approved by the Minister of Music and Officiant.

Anyone providing music in lieu of or in addition to, the parish organist may only be authorized by the Minister of Music and the Officiant.  Our Minister of Music works closely with a talented soprano soloist and other musicians.  Please contact him if you would be interested in contracting their services.

Parish Wedding Consultant
The St. Mary’s Altar Guild provides one of its members, who will be assigned when the wedding is scheduled,  as the Parish Wedding Consultant.  They provide liturgical advice and supervise and direct the logistical aspects of the rehearsal and the wedding itself.  This group of devoted volunteers is extremely knowledgeable about wedding protocol in general and St. Mary’s protocol in particular.  Contact information will be provided at scheduling.

Flowers used in the church are provided and arranged by the St. Mary’s Flower Guild, in consultation with and in consideration of the preferences of the couple.  These volunteers are trained and experienced in providing floral offerings for our liturgical spaces.  Commercial florists may not provide flowers to be used in any liturgical spaces.

Facilities Available for the Wedding
The sanctuary seats 275 comfortably.  The chapel seats 40.  The Vestry, a large conference room on the ground level, is available as a “Bride’s Dressing Room.”  All flowers and candles used in liturgical spaces are provided by the St. Mary’s Flower Guild.  Commercial florists may only be used for flowers to be worn or carried by the wedding party and for those used in Paca Hall.  White bows can be used to mark family pews.  A runner is not used because the aisle is carpeted.  Rice, birdseed, confetti, bubbles or rose petals are not permitted inside or outside the church.

Wedding Bulletins are optional.  Couples may provide their own or St. Mary’s will provide a basic bulletin upon request. If you are interested in having St. Mary’s produce the bulletins, speak with the Staff Wedding Coordinator as soon as the wedding date is confirmed.  Any bulletins provided by the couple must be approved by St. Mary’s clergy.

Marriage is a solemn sacrament of the church in a sacred space.  To maintain the dignity of that sacrament, absolutely no photographs are allowed during the liturgy. All photographs taken in the sanctuary must be taken prior to or immediately following the service.  Posed photographs taken following the service should take no more than fifteen minutes. Photographs with clergy should be taken promptly.  There are no restrictions on photography outside the church or in Paca Hall. Video Recordings are only allowed from a stationary point as directed by the wedding coordinator.

A rehearsal for all members of the wedding party is scheduled for the day before the Marriage at 6:00 p.m.  It lasts approximately forty-five minutes and is under the direction of the Officiant assisted by the Parish Wedding Consultant and the Minister of Music.

Parish Guidelines permit the use of wine, champagne, and beer only.  Nonalcoholic beverages must be offered as attractively as the alcoholic items.  Alcoholic beverages must never be sold. All applicable laws and ordinances must be observed.

Paca Hall can be reserved at the same time wedding dates are finalized. For both members and non-members, if more than punch and wedding cake are to be served, there is an additional refundable deposit of $200 required. The deposit will be billed at the same time as the other fees due to St. Mary’s. The deposit will be refunded if the kitchen and hall are returned to the appropriate state after the event.   Due to the heavy use of the hall, all clean-up must be completed immediately following the event.  Under no circumstances can rented equipment or furniture remain on St. Mary’s premises after the event is completed.  St. Mary’s does have some equipment available. Please contact the Staff Wedding Coordinator for further details concerning the use of Paca Hall.

Scheduling a Wedding
Weddings are scheduled in the context of premarital counseling.  If at least one member of the couple is not currently a committed, active member of this parish, then the initial step is for the couple to attend worship services at St. Mary’s and to determine if this is the community of faith within which they wish to live out their marriage vows.
The St. Mary’s Staff Wedding Coordinator will forward a Wedding Information form to prospective couples. Once the completed form hs been returned, the Coordinator will confirm the wedding date. Weddings are normally scheduled on Saturdays between 10:00 am and 4:00 p.m.   Weddings are not held during the seasons of Advent, Lent or on holiday weekends.  As the wedding date is being scheduled, the Minister of Music should be contacted to ensure his availability and to schedule a consultation.
Questions? Email or call the Wedding Coordinator Janet Tasker at 703-527-6800.