In the Diocese of Richmond, the couple must contact the parish priest to begin their marriage formation at least six months prior to the date of the wedding. Couples interested in marrying at Our Lady of Mount Carmel should contact the pastor for an initial appointment. Couples are urged not to schedule the date of the wedding without first meeting with the priest. Both the bride and groom should be free to marry in the Church. If either party has been married before, no wedding date can be set until the prior bonds have been delcared invalid. Either the bride or groom should contact the priest directly. Please be advised that the parents of the bride or groom should not contact the priest. The priest will deal only with the couple directly.
Catholics are always married in their parish Church or Chapel. If you are not a registered parishioner because you live out of town, but desire to be married in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we will do our best to accommodate your request. We are happy to welcome priests from other dioceses, so long as they request faculties from the Bishop of Richmond.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel does not charge any fee for members of our parish to be married in their parish Church, so long as they are practicing and active members of the parish. Couples who are members are invited to make a donation to the parish as an act of thanksgiving for the celebration in the parish. Moderate honoraria for the organist and cantor or other musicians is expected.
Ritual of Marriage
OLMC follows the Rite of Matrimony according to the Roman Rite. When both the bride and groom are Roman Catholic, the Mass is always celebrated. If either the bride or groom is a non-Catholic Christian, the marriage is celebrated outside of Mass. If either party is unbaptized, please contact the priest immediately, as this requires a dispensation from the Bishop of the Diocese. Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary (including the lasso or cord and veil, the consecration to Saint Mary, etc.) may be included. The unity candle is not a part of the Catholic Rite of Marriage and is not used.
The parish Coordinator of Music will work with couples to choose their wedding music, and to find a cantor and other instrumentalists (if desired). After your initial meeting with the priest, you may contact the parish musician. If you are interested in having a guest musician, please discuss this with the Coordinator of Music before making any booking or commitments; there are specific guidelines about guest musicians playing in a Roman Catholic liturgy. We are happy to provide referrals for brass, strings, and soloists to provide great worship for your special day.
Flowers and other Decorations
Couples celebrating Matrimony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel may decorate the Church with the addition of flowers. Nothing may be placed on the altar directly, but may be placed in the sanctuary. If flowers are scattered, a member of the bridal party must be responsible to pick them up after the Mass. Aisle runners may be used if desired.
We do our best to provide for the needs of our military parishioners and families. Couples separated during their engagement due to deployment can typically work with the priest long-distance to be prepared.
The colors (flag of the United States and the Vatican) may be posted during the wedding and groom and groomsmen may wear service swords (sabers) during the ceremony. We are especially willing to work with couples making PCS to Newport News prior to their marriage.
Preparation for Matrimony
The priest will walk through the preparation for matrimony with the couple in their initial meeting. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has a strong program for marriage preparation.
Please contact the priest for your first appointment. You may email him directly through the Contact Us page.