The first thing you must do is obtain permission of your local Catholic pastor to be married outside of your parish and here at the Basilica. Please have him fill out the enclosed permission form and return it to Liz Tana, our wedding coordinator, within two weeks time. The reservation fee is required to accompany your permission form. Your local pastor will complete all the necessary church paperwork for you and send it on to us. This must be here at the mission at least one month prior to your wedding day.
The time for your Wedding is always a concern and in an effort to accommodate as many couples as possible, we have set aside six wedding spaces per weekend for celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage. They are:
- In the Basilica
Fridays @ 2:00 PM
Saturdays @ 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM
- In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel
Saturdays @ 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Since we are an active parish, our schedule does not allow for weddings in the evening or on Sundays. We do, however, consider other weekday times depending on the availability of the Basilica and Chapel. For your planning, the Basilica seats 450 people and the chapel seats 70.
We schedule wedding rehearsal times on Thursday or Friday evenings. These are scheduled on a “first come; first served” basis at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM. or 6:00 PM. For your rehearsal, please enter the church through the gates in the rear parking lot. A map will be provided. Kindly arrange the rehearsal as soon as you can! If a visiting priest is officiating at your wedding, he must be here for the rehearsal, or the rehearsal is cancelled.
I, or one of our associate pastors usually officiate at all wedding ceremonies here in the Basilica. I certainly make exceptions for priests who are family members or long time friends of the family. They simply have to write me a letter saying they will perform the wedding and that they would like delegation to do so.
The Music for your wedding is very important. The Basilica of San Carlos provides a splendid musical environment for your celebration. Organ, trumpet, strings, piano as well as vocal soloists are heard to great advantage in our church. Since your wedding ceremony, be it a “Mass” or the so called “Simple Ceremony”, is a religious event, all musical selections are to be of a religious nature.
You can find contact information for the Basilica Music Director and Cantor on page 8. Please contact them and get on their schedules as soon as possible. All music must be approved by the Basilica Organist/Music Director. Coordination of additional instruments and/or outside musicians must be arranged with our Music Director prior to securing their services.
Our cantor is the only soloist allowed for the ceremony itself. Other soloists (friends of the family, etc.) are allowed to sing before the ceremony by special arrangement with the Music Director.
Please note: The responsorial psalm is “always” sung by the cantor at a wedding celebrated in the Basilica. There are no exceptions.
Only the Basilica organist may play our organ for a wedding. If he is unavailable other arrangements, with our approval, can be made.
The day of the rehearsal and the Wedding itself can be very hectic and our Wedding Day Coordinator is always here to help you. She supervises the rehearsal along with the priest, opens the bride’s room, coordinates the entrance rite, rings the Basilica bells at the end of the ceremony and is generally on hand to lend moral support to the wedding party prior to the celebration. You are welcome to bring you own consultant. Since the consultant is your representative, our Wedding Day Coordinator will defer to the consultant except in reference to the wedding ceremony, which has been arranged by you and the priest.
Some other odds and ends about the ceremony here would be:
Your Wedding Party must not exceed 8 bridal attendants and 8 groomsmen. This includes the maid of honor, best man, etc.
Any additional vendors, hired by you, must be aware and abide by our guidelines while on the Carmel Mission premises.
Photographers are requested to be respectful and not walk around during the ceremony. Still and Video photography are allowed. Flash photography is not allowed during the ceremony. Photographers must take all shots of the entrance procession from the midsection of the Basilica, NOT from the front of the main aisle!
Flowers for your ceremony are your responsibility and should be arranged with any of our local florists. We generally recommend two arrangements on either side of the altar. More than this needs approval from me. Due to the danger to yourselves and your guests we cannot allow aisle runners; the throwing of rice or birdseed; or lighted candles in the congregation. We would also ask that decorations not be taped or nailed to the pews. Some florists have clips that work nicely and others simply tie them on with beautiful ribbons. Your cooperation in this is most appreciated.
We can provide a Bride’s Room (Basilica weddings only) Please make arrangements for the use of this room with the wedding day coordinator. On the day of the wedding, the Bride’s room is available approximately 45 minutes before each wedding (10:15 -11 AM for the 11:00 AM wedding, 12:15 -1 PM. for the 1:00 PM wedding and 2:15 -3 PM. for the 3:00 PM wedding). Do not leave anything in this room as we can not be responsible for missing articles. Plan on having a friend who is not in the bridal party, take all your personal items to the car as you leave this room.
Please, a gentle reminder here that no food or alcoholic beverages are allowed on the Mission property. Also remember that your transportation to your reception cannot come into the courtyards of the mission. This is again due to danger to your guests and the many pilgrims and tourists who visit the Mission each day. Parking is allowed for your wedding guests during the time of your ceremony. Cars may not be left while they are attending the reception. If your guests will be arriving by bus/ limousine, please check with Wedding Day Coordinator regarding parking.
There are required Stipends and Fees for having your wedding here at Carmel Mission. The reservation fee is required to accompany the permission slip within two weeks. This fee secures your wedding date and time. Please contact us for current information.
So to close, the community of Carmel Mission and I look forward to this great day of rejoicing and celebration for you and your family. We will work hard to make this the first of many happy days that you will share together. God Bless!