Q. Who can have their wedding celebrated at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill?

A. Any Catholic is welcome to contact us about your wedding. Please reach out to Fr. Gurnee for more information.

Q. Can a Catholic married in a civil ceremony be remarried in the church?

A. A Catholic can have their civil marriage validated by the Church; this would be done in
consultation with the parish priest or deacon.

Q. What is required for a Catholic to marry someone of another religious tradition?

A. The Catholic must obtain a canonical dispensation issued by the Archdiocese of Washington.
This can be arranged through the parish priest or deacon at the time of sacramental preparation.

Q. What is the proper liturgy for an interfaith marriage?

A. The Church respects the sensitivity of an interfaith situation and provides for the wedding to be
celebrated within a Liturgy of the Word, and not a Mass.

Q. Can we have a priest or deacon from outside St. Joseph’s officiate at the

A. Yes, any clergy from outside the city of Washington, DC must have a DC license
to officiate, and if outside the Archdiocese of Washington, the proper canonical credentials and
delegation of the pastor.

Q. Can clergy other than Catholic clergy, such as a minister or rabbi, officiate at the

A. The minister who officiates must be a Catholic priest or deacon; but ministers from other
religious traditions may participate with the approval of the pastor.

Q. What details are involved in planning the liturgical celebration?

A. The specific details will be covered in discussions with the priest or deacon and the parish
musician. A special planning booklet and checklist will be provided to the bridal couple for this

Q. Can I use musicians other than those at St. Joseph’s?

A. Yes.

Q. What is the policy on decorating the church?

A. Unfortunately, we cannot allow rice/confetti to be thrown or other decorations that leave residue or stain the church or wooden pews or hardwood floors.

Q. Are there any restrictions on when the wedding can be celebrated at St.

A. Weddings are usually celebrated at 3:00 pm on Saturdays. For other times, please consult with
the pastor. Weddings are normally discouraged during the seasons of Advent and Lent (especially
Holy Week) as inconsistent with their liturgical nature.

Q. What is required to prepare for the wedding?

A. Attending two or three meetings with the parish priest or deacon, participating in a special
sacramental preparation program, completing the prenuptial questionnaire and complying with the
civil license requirement.

Q. Can the wedding be celebrated somewhere other than at St. Joseph’s Church?

A. For two Catholics, Church norms require the celebration to be in a Catholic church as the focus
of our sacramental life. If you wish to have your wedding at a Catholic church other than St.
Joseph’s, we are happy to assist you. When a Catholic is marrying a non-Catholic, they may receive permission to celebrate the wedding in a non-Catholic church. Please consult with the pastor about special circumstances.

Q. What costs are usually involved in weddings at St. Joseph’s?

A. The suggested donation for use of the parish church is $1500 and is tax-deductible. The fees for our musicians are considered payment for personal services and not tax-deductible. The cost for the organist is $250 and the cantor is $175. Please check with the music director for more information on music selections. Giving a stipend to the priest or deacon who celebrates the wedding is up to the couple.