The Sacrament of Matrimony

“Almighty and eternal God, you have so exalted the unbreakable bond of marriage that it has become the sacramental sign of your Son’s union with the Church as his spouse.”

--Book of Blessings

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! It is the hope of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church that your marriage will bring you many blessings throughout your lives. The staff at St. John’s is pleased to share in the preparations for your matrimony and your married life.

What is your first step?

The couple should contact the parish Wedding Coordinator to obtain our wedding application packet. We ask that only the bride or groom make any inquiries. Ideally, this initial contact will occur a minimum of nine months prior to your desired wedding date. This will provide enough time for the priest or deacon to work with you throughout the marriage preparation process.

This step is necessary even if you plan to wed outside of the diocese, and all agreements with the church should transpire before any social arrangements for the wedding are finalized.

Preparing for Your Wedding

After the application is picked up at the parish office, you will need to thoroughly read the Information and Policy booklet. Click here to download a copy of the booklet. Jot down any questions you might have regarding specific ceremonial nuances, and ask our wedding coordinator about them prior to completing and signing all of the application attachments.

Each bridal party has a scheduled time for both the rehearsal and wedding ceremony. Times are listed below. Because of our Confession schedule on Saturdays, the wedding party and all guests must be out of the church by 3:45 pm.

Wedding Times

Day for Weddings:

Usually Saturday; another day may be selected, if approved by the pastor. Weddings are not permitted on Sundays.

Time for Weddings:

Saturday wedding times are as follows:

11:00 am (access to the church from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm)

2:00 pm (access to the church from 1:00 pm to 3:45 pm)

Time for rehearsals:

Friday evening at 5:00 pm for 11:00 am Saturday weddings.

Friday evening at 6:00 pm for 2:00 pm Saturday weddings.

For weddings on days other than Saturday, a time mutually convenient to the celebrant and the engaged couples.

After you submit your application, it will be reviewed, your date will be set, and a celebrant will be assigned. Nuptial Masses are celebrated by our pastor, and Nuptial ceremonies are officiated by one of our deacons. You will be given the celebrant’s email and phone information, and it will be up to you to make the initial contact with him. This should be done at least six-to-nine months before the wedding.

At the time of your first meeting with the priest or deacon, he will explain the marriage preparation process and its requirements. He will also begin to fill out the necessary canonical forms and advise you as to what Church and civil documents are needed.

Is St. John’s the proper parish for your wedding?

Church law specifies that the proper place for a baptized Catholic to marry is the parish in which they live. If your residence is within our parish boundaries, you may marry here. Only one person of the engaged couple must meet this requirement.

Newly registered individuals should be participating members of St. John’s for six (6) months prior to beginning the marriage preparation process.

Those not residing within our parish and not registered here will be considered on a case-by-case basis, provided they fulfill the following stipulations:

  • All marriage preparation will be completed with a priest or deacon from the parish in which you are currently registered.
  • Your pastor will send a letter granting our pastor permission to perform the sacrament of marriage for you. The letter must also acknowledge that your pastor or a deacon agrees to complete the documentation and preparation that is required prior to a Catholic marriage.
  • The permission/acknowledgement letter must be received by St. John’s prior to our reserving your wedding date.
  • The completed marriage file from your home parish must be received in our office a minimum of one month before the wedding date.
  • At the time your wedding application is approved and the date is confirmed for St. John’s, a fifty percent deposit is required for our use-of-church fee.
    • assist with program distribution, if needed
    • ensure the comfort of the bridal party
    • direct the bridal party when to process down the aisle
    • fluff the veil and gown and arrange the train
    • seat late arriving guests

Music

Music holds an important place in your wedding liturgy. Our Director of Music, Dr. Brandon Spence, will assist you with planning the music for your wedding. Please email him at bspence@sjavb.org or call 757-426-2180 to schedule an appointment. All music must be approved by the Music Director.

Photography

Professional photographers are encouraged to contact the Wedding Coordinator prior to the ceremony to review the policies of the church.

Flash photography is not permitted during the ceremony.

Photographers and videographers should be as inconspicuous and discrete as possible during the ceremony and should remain near the rear of the church or in the wings.

Flowers and Decorations

Sanctuary floral arrangements are discouraged. Pew decorations are limited to modest bows only. No organic material, such as fresh or dried flowers, may be affixed to the pews.

NOTE: For the safety of all, runners are not permitted nor are flower petals to be dropped by flower girls in the church. To maintain the dignity of the ceremony, signs carried by the wedding party are not allowed. Animals, confetti, birdseed, balloons, and rice are not permitted on church property. Bubbles may be used outdoors only.

Wedding coordination services

St. John’s has two wedding coordinators, one of whom will be present one hour before the wedding and throughout your entire wedding at the church. Your assigned coordinator will also attend the rehearsal.

Our coordinators are prepared to assist with most aspects of your ceremony at the church, with the exception of questions pertaining to the liturgy itself. Outside professional wedding planners or coordinators are not necessary at the church.

Our wedding coordinators will be on site to:

  • assist with program distribution, if needed
  • ensure the comfort of the bridal party
  • direct the bridal party when to process down the aisle
  • fluff the veil and gown and arrange the train
  • seat late arriving guests



Catholic Weddings in Virginia Beach
First Communion information at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Virginia Beach
Learn about Confirmation at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, VA.
Having Your Child Baptized at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church
Information to help prepare for Matrimony at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, VA