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Weddings at St. Paul’s

The first step in planning a wedding at St. Paul’s is to complete the marriage inquiry form and to speak with a member of the clergy. If you are most comfortable speaking with a certain clergyperson, feel free to ask for him or her. If you are not active members of St. Paul’s, you will be asked to make yourselves known to the clergy. Until this contact is made, a wedding date cannot be finalized.

In order to secure a wedding date, please provide the parish office with at least three months’ notice. If one or both parties has been divorced, additional time may be needed. Please do not make a public announcement of the wedding until after your initial meeting with the clergy.

Click to download the wedding guide.

Wedding Policy

Typically those who choose to get married at St. Paul’s have some current or prior connection to the parish. St. Paul’s expects that it is the intention of the couple to worship with us regularly and become active members of the St. Paul’s community.

Weddings at St. Paul’s take place throughout the year with the following exceptions: Sundays, the season of Lent, or major holidays and holiday weekends such as Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter.

Morning weddings may be scheduled between 10:00 a.m. and noon, and afternoon weddings between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. No more than two weddings are scheduled on any one day. Rehearsals take place the day before the wedding, no later than 4:00 p.m., and we ask that all taking part in the rehearsal arrive on time.

Those married at St. Paul’s are expected to attend a premarital conference. The session is an all-day meeting on a Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (lunch included) for a $150 fee and is offered twice a year. Please contact Laura Rose to see when a conference is scheduled. Engaged couples find this to be time well spent as the group discusses finances and respectful and helpful ways to communicate. A panel of married couples, some newlyweds and others married for up to 50 years, offer their insights into what they believe it takes to have a successful relationship.

It is our preference that you attend our pre-wedding conference. If you live out of town and cannot attend the pre-wedding conference, some other clergy or professional counselor, mutually agreed upon by you and the officiating clergy, may prepare you for marriage. A letter or email reporting the successful completion of the premarital conversations shall be sent to the officiating priest.

Please plan to meet with the officiating clergy to plan the liturgy.

St. Paul’s policy on prior divorce is consistent with the policies of the Diocese of Virginia and the Canons of the Episcopal Church. At least one year must have elapsed between the final decree of the divorce and the date of petition. Counseling with clergy or some other mutually acceptable person is required. If a person approaches St. Paul’s seeking to marry for their third time or more, additional consultation is our policy. All Episcopal clergy are required to seek permission from the Bishop to solemnize a wedding in the case of prior divorce(s).

Weddings at St. Paul’s are officiated by parish clergy. If you would like another duly ordained clergy person to assist, we are happy to invite them upon the approval of the rector.

The matrimonial services conducted at St. Paul’s will conform to the Constitution & Canons of the Episcopal Church; as such only Episcopal marriages performed from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the supplemental approved liturgy “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” and “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2” (as approved by the General Convention in 2015 for same-sex couples) will be performed.

To plan music for the wedding, please contact our organist, Grant Hellmers, at (703) 549-3312 x17 or grant@stpaulsalexandria.com as quickly as possible after confirming your wedding date. Either he or our Minister of Music, Eric Schnobrick, will be available for one music planning session and attendance at the rehearsal as well as playing during the wedding.

The organist fee is $350 made payable directly to Grant or Eric.

Please contact Catherine and Wesley Schmidt by email at altarguild@stpaulsalexandria.com to coordinate details concerning the rehearsal, ceremony, and flowers. Altar flowers are the only major arrangements permitted in the church; a small arrangement to mark the family pews is also allowed. Personal flowers are the couple’s responsibility; any florist may be selected. There is a $350 fee for the wedding coordinator and the altar flowers which are considered a donation. The altar guild is happy to work with the couple’s selected florist to coordinate colors and flowers.

The wedding coordinator and flower fee of $350 is required to confirm your wedding date; a check may be made payable to St. Paul’s, with wedding noted in the memo line.

No photographs may be taken by guests during the wedding service, and we ask that phones be placed on airplane mode. Please encourage your guests to adhere to this policy, as the audio system is easily overwhelmed by cell phone activity. This feedback is very disruptive to the ceremony. Your photographer may take one picture with a flash as you leave the church and any silent photographs without flash during the service from the balcony or from the last pew box along the center aisle, provided no members of the congregation are seated there and that their presence is unobtrusive. Stationary video equipment may be used from the balcony, although no extra lighting may be added to the church.

We allow 30 minutes after the service for pictures to be taken in the church.

  • $150 pre-wedding conference
  • $350 organist
  • $350 wedding coordinator and flowers
  • Donations or honorariums are at the discretion of the couple.
  • The church seats about 550 people, and the chapel seats 26.
  • We respectfully ask that members of the wedding party or guests arrive no earlier than 90 minutes before the wedding.
  • The clergy do not expect to be invited to social functions in connection with the wedding. If you would like them to attend, however, please issue a written invitation, and they will attend as their schedule permits.
  • Parking in front of the church may be reserved from City Hall, room 4130. There is a fee for this service. Please call 703-746-4035 and visit alexandria.gov/parking for further information.
  • Paid parking is available at both The Alexandrian hotel and the Courthouse at the corner of South Pitt and King Streets.
  • Couples must have a license to marry in Virginia. Information may be obtained at the Circuit Court of Alexandria Clerk’s office located at 520 King St., Room 307. Please call 703-838-4044 and visit alexandria.gov/clerkofcourt for further information.
  • St. Paul’s does not permit the throwing of rice, birdseed, or flower petals inside or outside the church.