The Archival Center

Guidelines for Marriages at the Mission

1. It is the mind of the local Church that couples wishing to be married prepare themselves within the context of their proper parochial family. Couples must contact their parish priest or deacon after making their decision to marry at least SIX MONTHS prior to the anticipated date of their wedding.

2. The San Fernando Mission is not a parish, but is a public oratory. Marriages are allowed in the Mission because of an age-old custom.

3. If a couple wants their own pastor or associate pastor to witness their marriage, they are strongly advised to discuss the scheduling of their wedding with him prior to reserving a time at the Old Mission. The same applies to any other priest-acquaintance or friend. The San Fernando Mission does not supply a priest for wedding services. Should your Pastor or Associate prove to be unavailable, the Mission can refer you to local priests who may be willing to witness your marriage.

4. ALL SCHEDULING IS MADE ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT THE CANDIDATES ARE CANONICALLY FREE TO MARRY. Should the priest determine that a canonical or legal impediment is present, then the date of the marriage will need to be POSTPONED OR CANCELLED ALTOGETHER.

5. Like all parochial churches in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, San Fernando Mission follows the “Guidelines for Couples Wishing to be Married” that were issued by the Office of Family Life.

6. In keeping with these guidelines, couples are expected to develop their marriage liturgy in full consultation with their priest. The appropriateness of the various options allowed couples by the liturgical books in constructing the ceremony, including the selection of music, is subject to his approval.

7. Marriage records are of utmost importance. The entire pre-nuptial investigation for a marriage must be filed at the Mission at least one month in advance of the ceremony. There can only be one official recording of a marriage by law, and that is where the wedding takes place.

8. The priest who agrees to witness the marriage takes care of all necessary paperwork.

9. Marriages of Catholics are normally solemnized at Mass. In the case of a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, the options allowed by the liturgical books are to be observed.

10. Weddings may be scheduled on any day of the week except Sunday morning, but not later than 6:00 p.m.

11. To reserve a wedding date at the Mission, one must receive permission to do so from the Bride’s parish. With that permission in hand, a wedding date can be entered on the Old Mission’s calendar. Forms for this purpose are available at the Mission Office.

12. Weddings and rehearsals are arranged on FRIDAYS between 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with the Wedding Coordinator.

13. Rehearsal times may be reserved for any hour from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. throughout the day, except on Sundays. Reservations are required. Opportunities for evening rehearsals are also available. Please contact the Mission Office as to availability.

14. The San Fernando Mission and its furnishings are more than 200 years old. Because of this, the following policies are strictly enforced:

  1. Nothing may ever be taped or thumb-tacked to the pews. Florist “Spirit Gum” is not permitted.
  2. Aisle runners are not permitted.
  3. Camera operators, microphones and other non-decorous equipment are not permitted in the sanctuary.
       Camera operators must use battery packs for their equipment at all times, as fire regulations preclude the use of power cords.
       The church’s aisles must remain clear of camera equipment and operators at all times.
  4. The Mission audio system is not designed to be taped.
  5. The church seats a maximum 245 individuals.

15. A service fees is charged for the use of the Mission’s carillon system.

16. The Mission has available for rental a Unity Candle, roman column style flower pedestals and two reception areas.