Marriage Preparation

The priests and deacons of our parish are happy to assist you in any way possible in preparing for your marriage.  You may ask any priest (if Mass is to be celebrated) or any deacon (if the marriage will be celebrated without a Mass) of this parish.   Delegation of jurisdiction to a priest or deacon who is not a member of the Parish Staff is to be granted by the Pastor of St. James.

The Diocesan Policy requires that you start your preparation at least nine months prior to your marriage date,  so that the necessary religious preparations to assist you in your marriage may be completed well before the wedding itself.  We will also assign a couple from our Marriage Ministry Team to assist you through the preparation.  We trust that a friendly relationship between you, the priest, deacon and Marriage Ministry team will develop.    Please call the Parish Office to begin your marriage preparation (858) 755-2545.

Key Information

The following information is important in preparing for your marriage:

  1. All couples attend either the Diocesan Marriage Preparation Program or the Marriage Mentors Program  and also the Engaged Encounter Weekend, which are offered in different parts of the county at specific locations and dates.  The priest or deacon will be able to provide you with a brochure containing this information.
  2. Catholics must obtain a recent copy (issued within 6 months) of their baptismal certificate.  Phoning or writing the parish of baptism and requesting the document, which will be kept in your marriage file, can do this.  (The original baptismal certificate is not acceptable.)Baptized Christians of other denominations are asked to provide the name of the church and date of baptism for the marriage file records.
  3. Marriage licenses cost $50.00 (cash and checks are accepted) and are good for 90 days and can be obtained either at:Kearny Mesa County Courthouse:  9225 Claremont Mesa Blvd, Kearny Mesa, CA, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9-3 Saturday.  Telephone:  (858) 505-6226. San Marcos County Courthouse:  141 E. Carmel St, San Marcos, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Telephone:  (760) 237-0502. You can download your Marriage License Application from the County Recorders Website located at:  Having completed the Marriage Application prior to visiting the Courthouse will expedite the processNote:  The marriage license should be given to the Wedding coordinator at the rehearsal, which takes place the night prior to the wedding. Please include the mailing envelope with the license.
  4. Once your wedding date has been scheduled with the Parish Office, please contact our Director of Music Ministries, Pauline Wright, at (858) 755-2545 ext. *300, as soon as your date is confirmed.  Pauline will arrange an appointment when you can attend one wedding at St. James (optional), and also have one meeting with her (approximately 45 minutes) in which Pauline will play and sing various musical selections, help you plan a program or worship aide for your wedding guests, and arrange for any other instrumentalists should you desire that option as well.  (Example: trumpet, violin, etc.)All music fees for Pauline Wright are handled directly with her and are separate from other church expenses.  The following is a schedule of music fees, which are due one month prior to the wedding date.$250 – Pauline plays and sings for your wedding
    $225 – Pauline accompanies your singer.
    $100 – Right of refusal fee.  You choose outside pianist/organist instead of Pauline; she will still meet with you to plan the wedding music and to approve whatever musical selections which will occur on your wedding day.****Exception:    If you have no singing, and wish to hire a string trio or quartet, or harpist, or bass ensemble, or classical guitarist(s), there will be no Right of Refusal fee since Pauline could not provide you with this service; however, she would be happy to offer you these types of referrals if you are interested in this type of music for your wedding.

Church Fees (Effective April 15, 2009)

The fee to cover parish expenses related to your marriage preparation and the wedding itself is $400.00 for regularly contributing parishioners and $700.00 for others. (This includes the stipend for the priest or deacon affiliated with our parish; however, it does not include the stipend for a visiting priest officiating.) A fee of $250 will be required from couples seeking Marriage Preparation Assistance at St. James, but plan to marry elsewhere.

Payment is due as follows:  $100.00 non-refundable deposit upon confirmation of wedding date and balance to be paid one month prior to wedding.

This fee does not include any fee for musicians or altar servers.  The deposit fee should be taken care of when you first meet with the priest or deacon to begin your preparations with him.  In the event that this causes financial hardship, an adjustment will be made following dialogue with the priest or deacon performing the ceremony.

General Information

  • Rehearsals are scheduled for either 5pm or 6pm on the Friday evening before the wedding.  Please schedule your rehearsal when you schedule your wedding date.
  • Morning weddings are scheduled at 11:00 AM.  The church is available to you from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM.
  • Afternoon weddings are scheduled at 2:00 PM. The church is available to you from 12:30 PM to 3:20 PM.  The church must be vacated by 3:20 PM to allow for confessions, which begin at 3:30 PM.
  • If more time is needed, call the Ministry Center Office – (858) 755-2545 ext. *100 on the Thursday before the wedding to ask if extra time is possible.
  • If mailing address or phone number changes please notify the office.
  • Please provide the office with cell phone numbers and email address.
  • A wedding coordinator will handle your wedding rehearsal.  She will call you approximately three weeks before your wedding.  Your wedding coordinator requires no fee since this service is provided on a voluntary basis, as a ministry to St. James.
  • Children participating in the wedding ceremony should be four (4) yeas old or older.


  • Streamers may not be used between pews.
  • Runners are not allowed.
  • Nothing (rice, birdseed, etc.) is permitted to be thrown inside or outside of the church.  Bubbles are allowed outside.
  • Florists MAY NOT USE tape, wire or glue on pews.  A drop cloth must be used to protect carpet, if needed.  Flowers should be taken with you following the wedding.
  • No alcohol is permitted on church premises.  No food or soft drinks please. Only bottled water is permitted.
  • Assign some one to clean up after the ceremony.  If desired, church-clean-up service is available.  Please make arrangements through the Parish Secretary in advance to make arrangements for this service.  There is an additional  $50.00 fee assessed for this service.
  • No children under the age of 4 years old should participate in the wedding ceremony.