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Catholic ceremonies in D.C./NoVA: Experiences?

Hi all,

I live in D.C. but am getting married in Northern Virginia. We're looking for a Catholic church that will perform the ceremony in NoVa but allow us to attend church leading up to the event in D.C.

Does anyone have any experience with getting married in the Catholic Church in this area? We are currently not active members of the Church and I'm worried that is going to cause some problems as we figure out where to hold the ceremony.

Any advice/stories are welcome! Thanks!

Re: Catholic ceremonies in D.C./NoVA: Experiences?

  • aubreynsaubreyns member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We actually did the opposite.  We live in NoVa and ended up having the wedding in DC because the DC churches were much more reasonable.  Our issue was finding a church that would marry us even though we live together.  The NoVa churches we looked at required that you become a member at least 1 year in advance of the wedding, and you have to take classes 6 months before the wedding.  I got the impression though that the membership requirement was more about money than anything and if you explain that you are going to a church in DC they might be willing to marry you.  I have heard St. Mary's and other Alexandria churches are more conservative and less open to outside couples getting married.  Arlington churches are better, but we had trouble with St. Agnes.  I have heard REALLY good things about St. Charles Barromeo in Clarendon, and the Good Shepherd Catholic Church which is out near Mount Vernon.

    Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    We're doing marriage prep in NoVa, live together and wedding is in NC.  St. Philip in Falls Church (Father Wu) didn't love that we live together but is still doing our marriage prep.  DC churches are much more relaxed about it.
  • edited December 2011
    We got married at St. Charles Borromeo by Fr. Creedon.  My DH and I lived together before we were engaged.  I was a member there, but he was not. 

    Our experiences with St. Charles were pretty good.  We even moved our wedding up six months (it was originially going to be next May).  Fr. Creedon met with us once at the church to go over the FOCUS test.  The living-together issue came up once in conversation, but he didn't scold us.  THere is a section on the FOCUS test for "cohabitators".  Not a big deal.  We both used our actual address - we weren't hiding anything. 

    The rehearsal and Mass were great!  Fr. Creedon even came to our rehearsal dinner.  The church isn't the most beautiful in this area, but it was perfect for us!  Email me if you have more questions:  erin.sylvester at gmail.com
  • edited December 2011
    We are getting married at St. Matthew's Cathedral in DC.  We had problems finding a Church in Virginia because some jurisdictions have district lines- if you do not live within a certain boundary you cannot get married there.  We live in Alexandria, and we did not want to get married in the only church in Alexandria that is in our "boundary" so we chose to go to DC. 
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks, everyone! This was very helpful. I did find that a lot of NoVa churches were finnicky about district lines. However, I'm in talks with a couple in Springfield that seem to be a little bit more lax about that kind of thing.

    Appreciate all your thoughts!
  • edited December 2011
    Father Creeden at st. charles in arlington has been known to pull some strings. contact the parish office for more info.
  • edited December 2011
    I'm getting married at the cathedral, and it's a pretty easy experience.  You do have to register for membership at least six months before your wedding day, but I honestly think that you could fill out the paperwork and not attend the church without them caring (not that I would advocate for that).  Fr. Rippy is pretty easy-going, and he's super understanding and nice.

    And, no, it's not at all about the money; churches just want to make sure that you're a part of the community before marrying you there.  Whether or not you agree with that is your own opinion.  Fr. Rippy would love for us to donate what we can, but he has never counted the number of collection envelopes with our names on them to see if we are allowed to get married there.
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