Welcome - Weddings at St. Mary of Sorrows

Dear Engaged Couple,

Congratulations! St. Mary’s Church is very happy that you have chosen to be married. As a parish community we share your excitement and wish to be as helpful as possible as you prepare for your marriage. The following guidelines regarding the marriage preparation process, the ceremony, and the day of the wedding are for your careful attention. All questions regarding marriage preparation and any questions not answered in this brochure should be addressed to the clergy who is marrying you. Once you have been notified that your date has been confirmed and that a clergyman has been assigned, he will be pleased to assist you.

St. Mary’s Church is extremely interested in both the prayerfulness and joy of your wedding ceremony and the success of your marriage commitment. We require that our couples participate in a six-month Marriage Preparation Process involving multiple meetings with clergy, lay volunteers, and staff members.

Only after you have accomplished the following two steps will your wedding date and time be confirmed:

(1) Meet with a priest. You may make an appointment by calling the Parish Center at 703-978-4141.

(2) Complete the Wedding Survey.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you prepare for the reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Again, congratulations and best wishes to you and your families.

Rev. James S. Barkett, Pastor
St. Mary of Sorrows


MUSIC: Please call Sean Tunney, Director of Music Ministries at 703-978-4141, x114 to plan your wedding music. Music planning should be initiated at least 2 months before and finalized no later than 1 month before the wedding date. We will provide a piano accompanist and cantor for your wedding for a fee. Outside musicians (accompanist, cantors, soloists, instrumentalists, or other musicians) are only allowed if express approval is given by the Music Director. If outside musicians help you plan the music, selections should still be discussed with the Music Director. Pre-recorded music is not allowed. Wedding liturgy workshops may be held throughout the year; contact the Music Director for details.

COORDINATORS: Two St. Mary’s Wedding Coordinators are required at the Historic Church and the New Church. The Wedding Coordinators will call the family 1-3 weeks before the wedding to gather details, confirm logistics and answer questions. They will attend the Rehearsal and Wedding. They will Open and Unlock the Church, Set-up and Beak Down, Instruct the Ushers and Groomsmen on seating, Pin Boutonnieres and Corsages, Line Up and Cue the Bridal Party, Instruct and Cue the Bell Ringer, Inform the Florist, Photographers, Videographers, and Transportation on Church Rules, Placements, and Parking and assist Wedding Guests as needed. They are also a resource on etiquette!

PHOTOGRAPHS: Photography and Videography are permitted. Photos must be taken WITHOUT FLASH during the Ceremony. Photographers and Videographers should remain unobtrusive and not walk up and down the aisle or in front of guests at the Ceremony. Photos are allowed in the Church for 20 minutes immediately following the Ceremony. No auxiliary lighting, umbrellas, stands, etc. may be used. Photos may also be taken on the grounds, time permitting and pending other incoming functions. Please have the Photographers and Videographers check in with a Wedding Coordinator upon arrival at the Church.

FLOWERS: Two small arrangements may be used on the Back Altar at the Historic Church. At the New Church, two large arrangements may be used. Strictly NO flowers in front of the main altar. It is possible to share flowers with other weddings on the same day. Flowers are often left at the Church to beautify Sunday Masses, but you are not required to leave them and may take them to your Reception. Please let the Wedding Coordinators know your plans.

ENVIRONMENT: No rice, petals, birdseed, or balloons are to be thrown or released as they are an environmental hazard. Liturgical linens/furnishings/plants/candles (Advent/Lent) are not to be changed or removed. Unity candles may not be placed on the altar. Candelabra are only available for use in the Historic Church. No candelabra are available at the New Church.

BOWS: Pew Bows are allowed with restrictions. No tape, wires or pins are to be used, only ribbons or soft pipe cleaners. White Pew Bows are available for your use.

AISLE RUNNERS: Runners are not permitted.

WEDDING PARTY: The minimum age for a member of the Wedding Party is 5 years old. All members of the Wedding Party should be respectful of the Church and Grounds. Drinking alcohol is strictly prohibited at the Church and on the Grounds.

BELL RINGING: The Historic Church has a lovely tradition of Ringing the Bell at the start and at the end of the Ceremony. Bell Ringers should be age 12 or older. Wedding Coordinators will give instruction at the Rehearsal or on the Wedding Day.

RECEIVING LINES: No Receiving Lines are permitted at the Church due to the demand for the use of our facilities and other scheduled events.

REHEARSAL: Rehearsals are held the day before the wedding. The wedding rehearsal time is included in the letter that confirms the date and time of your wedding. The rehearsal should begin promptly and not last any longer than 45 minutes. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your start time to allow for rush hour traffic.

DAY OF THE WEDDING: The Bride and Bridal Party can arrive 1 hour before the wedding if dressing is needed. Old St. Mary’s Hall (next to the Historic Church) is available for use by the Bride and Bridal Party. For Weddings in the New Church, there is a room located off the Choir Loft (upstairs) for the Bride and Bridal Party to use for dressing and the Sacristy is available for the Groom and the Groom’s Party. Ushers and Groomsmen should arrive 45 minutes before the Ceremony. The Groom should arrive 30-45 minutes before the Cerem0ny. The Bride and Bridesmaids should arrive 25-35 minutes before the Ceremony (if dressing on site is not needed). Guests usually start arriving 5-30 minutes prior to the wedding.

CHURCH CAPACITY: The Historic Church seats 100 people comfortably (including the wedding party) and there is seating for 1,000 in the New Church.

MARRIAGE LICENSE: The marriage license is in force for 60 days from the date of issue and the license may be obtained at the Fairfax County Judicial Center, Fairfax Circuit Court, Jennings Building, 4110 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030. Call 703-246-4100 for a recorded message with details. YOU CANNOT GET MARRIED WITHOUT A MARRIAGE LICENSE. ONCE YOU HAVE OBTAINED YOUR LICENSE, PLEASE BRING IT TO THE PARISH CENTER OFFICE. THIS SHOULD BE DONE 1 MONTH PRIOR TO THE CEREMONY.

Clergy Free Will Offering
Accompanist (piano/organ) $250*
(*This represents a base rate which may increase in certain situations. Please contact the Music Director for more details.)
Cantor $200
Coordinators (2) $200 ($100 each)
Administrative Fee for Parishioners $400
Administrative Fee for Non-Parishioners $1,000

Please bring the checks for the administrative fee, the coordinators, organist, and cantor to the Parish Center office the week before the wedding. An itemized sheet will be available that week. These amounts are not intended to be prohibitive, so please do not hesitate to let us know if you have difficulty with them.

Please read this information carefully and keep it as a reference. Thank you!

Revised November 2022

Music Options Referenced in Music Form

Options with an asterisk (*) are not available in the Historic Church

Bridal Party Procession / Bridal Procession:
Avé Maria (Bach/Gounod)
Bridal Chorus
Canon in D
Deus In Loco Sancto Suo
God Is in His Holy Dwelling Place
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Priere à Notre Dame (Prayer to Our Lady)*
Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke) or Trumpet Voluntary (Stanley)*

Chant from the Roman Missal
Congregational Mass
Heritage Mass
Mass of the Immaculate Conception
Missa de Angelis

Responsorial Psalms
C1: Lord Let Your Mercy Be Upon Us (Psalm 33)
C2: Taste And See The Goodness Of The Lord (Dean – or – Wilcocks) (Psalm 34)
C3: The Lord Is Kind and Merciful (Psalm 103)
C4: Blessed the Man who Greatly Delights in the Lord’s Commands (Psalm 112)
C5: Blessed Are Those Who Fear the Lord (Psalm 128)
C6: I Will Praise Your Name (Psalm 145)
C7: Let All Praise the Name of the Lord (Psalm 148)

Gospel Acclamation
Celtic Alleluia
Gregorian Alleluia
I Give You a New Commandment
Optional for Easter Season: O Filii et Filiae

Amazing Grace
Avé Maria
Christ, Be Our Light
I Have Loved You
Lord Of All Hopefulness
Prayer of St Francis
These Alone Are Enough
Ubi Caritas

Ordinary of the Mass

  1. Chants of the Roman Missal (English): Holy, Holy – We Proclaim – Amen – Lamb of God
  2. Chants of the Roman Missal (Latin): Sanctus – Mortem Tuam – Amen – Agnus Dei
  3. Heritage Mass: Holy, Holy – When We Eat This Bread – Amen – Lamb of God
  4. Mass of Creation (Tracks 8 to 11)
  5. Mass of the Immaculate Conception: Holy, Holy – Lamb of God
  6. Missa de Angelis: Holy, Holy – Mortem Tuam – Lamb of God

Anima Christi
Bread of Life
Come Christ’s Beloved
Gift of Finest Wheat
I Received the Living God
On Eagle’s Wings
Panis Angelicus
Primum Quaerite
Seek First the Kingdom
Taste And See The Goodness Of The Lord (Dean – or – Wilcocks)
The Last Supper
Ubi Caritas (Hurd)

Presentation of Bouquet to Our Lady
Avé Maria (Bach/Gounod)
Avé Maria (Chant)
Avé Maria (Schubert)
Avé Maris Stella
Hail Holy Queen
My Soul Rejoices
Salve Regina
Sing of Mary Pure and Lowly
There is Nothing Told

Deux Bransles De Champagne
Ode to Joy
Prelude in G Major*
Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
Trumpet Voluntary (Stanley)*
Wedding March

General Music List
All People That on Earth Do Dwell
Be Thou My Vision
Holy God We Praise Thy Name
The Call (Come My Way, My Truth, My Life)
Hosea (Come Back to Me with All Your Heart)
How Great Thou Art
In Christ Alone
Lord Of All Hopefulness
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Not For Tongues of Heavens Angels
O Father, All Creating
O God, Beyond All Praising
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
O God, You Search Me, And You Know Me
Praise To the Lord
Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven
Shelter Me, O God
The Servant Song
Two Were Bound for Emmaus
Where Charity and Love Prevail

* Not available for ceremonies in the Historic Church.