Arlington parishioners marrying in an Arlington parish

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How do I know if I’m a resident of the Diocese of Arlington?

Go to our Diocesan Parish Locator and enter the zip code of your home address. You are the subject of the diocese in which you live, and not necessarily the one in which you attend church. Be sure to check what diocese you belong to, especially if you are close to the diocesan borders.

We want to celebrate our wedding in a non-traditional setting (outdoors, at a hotel or reception center, etc.). What is the Diocese of Arlington’s policy on such celebrations?

Canon 1118 of the Code of Canon Law states:

§1 “Marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic party is to be celebrated in a parish church; with the permission of the local ordinary or the pastor, it can be celebrated in another church or oratory.”

§2 “The local ordinary can permit marriage to be celebrated in some other suitable place.”

Please see the Office of Family Life for the policy regarding what is considered a suitable place. Please be advised that the Diocese of Arlington does not ordinarily permit outdoor weddings. 

We have a particular style of music or decoration we want to incorporate in the wedding ceremony. Are there any guidelines I need to know about in advance?

Each parish has its own guidelines for music, decoration, and other elements of the ceremony. Please talk to the pastor of the parish at which the wedding is to take place before you finalize your plans.

What do we do with the marriage file once it’s complete?

Leave it with the priest who is preparing you for marriage. He will ensure that it is kept at the church of record when you are married, so that the information will be available should you ever need it.

What do I need to have in order before the wedding?

As you prepare for marriage with your pastor, he will put together a marriage file with you. This will include a pre-nuptial investigation for the bride and the groom, sacramental records, four sworn and notarized affidavits (two for the bride, two for the groom) establishing the parties’ freedom to marry, a certificate of completion for a marriage preparation course, and a completed FOCCUS survey.

Where can I find out about the Diocese of Arlington’s marriage preparation policy?

The Catholic Marriage Preparation Guidelines page has full details. Please be aware that you will need to start the marriage preparation process at least six monthsbefore the wedding.