Marriages take place here at Mission San Luis Obispo. There is a minimum 6 month preparation period. Please review our current Marriage Preparation Guidelines.

Guidelines for the Sacrament of Marriage

Dear Engaged Couple,

Congratulations and God’s blessing on your commitment to marriage. Holy matrimony is one of the sacraments of the Church; in fact it is seen as the first, dating to antiquity, intended by God the Father. Christian marriage is, first and foremost, a way of living out God’s will in our lives in a manner that is giving, loving and filled with reward. It is our wish that all marriages celebrated in the Old Mission of San Luis Obispo achieve this fullness of purpose that God intended.

These Guidelines are designed not only to help you plan for your wedding, but to prepare for the lifelong commitment of marriage. The key is to understand that this time, leading up to your wedding, is a time of sacramental preparation, much more than event planning. We can help you plan a memorable wedding, but you, together with those preparing you for marriage, must take responsibility to fulfill the personal and sacramental formation that will guide you the rest of your lives.

We have tried to anticipate and answer many of your questions in the brochure. Once you have completed the initial wedding agreements and secured a wedding date, you will be assigned a Wedding Coordinator who will help you plan and organize your wedding rehearsal and liturgy. In the meantime, feel free to contact us if we can be of more general assistance. Again, congratulations! May God continue to strengthen your love and commitment.


Fr. Russell Brown and the Old Mission Parish Staff

Who Can Schedule a Wedding at Old Mission?

Unfortunately, Old Mission San Luis Obispo cannot accommodate everyone who would like to have their wedding in our church. We do not have the support facilities or staff to serve as a true “destination wedding site” as other venues do. On weekends especially the church is in demand for parish activities, Masses, and remains open to visitors and tourists.

To schedule a wedding at Old Mission Church you must be a registered parish member residing within the Diocese of Monterey, or a previous member with a demonstrated affiliation to the parish.

Before the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony can be scheduled at Old Mission San Luis Obispo, you must do ALL of the following:

For Registered Mission Parish Members residing within San Luis Obispo County

  1. Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our clergy for an initial pre-marital interview at least 6 months prior to the desired wedding date. At this initial meeting, you may tentatively schedule your date, pending receipt of deposit and wedding agreement.
  2. Contact The Old Mission O ffi ce Manager to confi rm your desired wedding date. Pay the non-refundable $250 reservation deposit. This amount will be applied toward your total wedding off ering.
  3. Read all pages of these Wedding Guidelines carefully.
  4. Complete the Mission San Luis Obispo Parish Wedding Agreement. Both parties must sign the agreement.

For Catholics with demonstrated affiliation to Old Mission

For example: are you a family member of a registered parishioner who is living within San Luis Obispo County? Did you graduate from high school or college in San Luis Obispo and attend Old Mission during your education? NOTE: Marriage Preparation must be conducted at the parish where you currently reside.

  1. Schedule an appointment or conference call to speak with one of our clergy for an initial pre-marital interview at least 8 months prior to the desired wedding date. After this initial meeting, you may tentatively schedule your date, pending receipt of the documents listed on the Wedding Preparation Agreement Form and non-refundable $250 reservation deposit. This amount will be applied toward your total wedding fee. Contact The Old Mission Office Manager to confirm your desired wedding date by the receipt of these documents and deposit.
  2. Complete the Permission to Marry Form with your local parish priest granting permission for you and your fiancée/fiancé to marry outside of your local parish.
  3. Have your local parish clergy complete the Marriage Preparation Agreement Form committing to prepare you and your fiancée/fiancé for the Sacrament of Marriage, as well as agreeing to travel to Old Mission San Luis Obispo to celebrate the ceremony if possible.
  4. Please be aware, the clergy of Old Mission may not be available to celebrate weddings for non-parish members. Unless you have met with one of Old Mission’s clergy and he has agreed to preside at your ceremony you must arrange for a priest or deacon to celebrate your wedding.
  5. All documents required for Marriage in the Catholic Church, including
    verification of Marriage Preparation and Engaged Encounter must be on file at Old Mission Church at least 30 days prior to your wedding date.
  6. Read all pages of these Wedding Guidelines carefully,
    complete the Mission San Luis Obispo Parish Wedding Agreement.
    Both parties must sign the agreement.

Old Mission Wedding Fee

For Old Mission Parish Members: $950

This amount includes the use of the Mission, the ceremony and Mass, the stipend to the Priest or Deacon and the services of a Wedding Coordinator to help prepare your service. The Wedding Fee does not include musicians’ stipends. These must be arranged separately through the Old Mission Music Director.

Catholics with Affiliation to Old Mission: $1,250

This amount includes the use of the Mission, the ceremony and Mass, and the services of a Wedding Coordinator to help prepare your service. The Wedding Fee does not include musicians’ stipends. These must be arranged separately through the Old Mission Music Director. You may also need to arrange individually for a clergy member to celebrate your service.

Marriage Preparation Only: $250

This service is for local Catholics seeking marriage preparation for a wedding to be performed at a church other than Old Mission.

Personal Gift to Clergy:

Such a gift is at the discretion of the wedding party. You may wish to give a personal gift to the Deacon or Priest who officiates at your Marriage. If the person who celebrates your wedding is not Old Mission Clergy, your gift is not included in your church offering. You should discuss this personally with your celebrant.

Deposit/Cancellation Fee: $250

Please note that the deposit of $250 is non-refundable should you choose to cancel your wedding. Please provide in writing your request for cancellation, the name of the individual to whom the balance is to be made payable and a current address. If you reschedule, the deposit may be applied to a new date. If for any reason Old Mission determines that your wedding cannot take place on the date you requested, a full refund of your deposit will be made.

It is the responsibility of the engaged couple to confirm their wedding date with the Old Mission Office Manager prior to making commitments with caterers or venue locations.

Required Documents for the Sacrament of Marriage

1. Baptismal Certificates: An updated certificate with notations (sacraments received) for the Catholic and other Christian Parties. This new certificate must be dated within six months of the proposed wedding date. Contact your church of baptism for this certificate.

2. First Communion and Confirmation Certificates (for the Catholic parties): Photocopies are acceptable if not noted on your recently updated baptismal certificate.

3. Freedom to Marry Forms: Two witnesses will be asked to testify. Forms for both the bride and the groom will be provided by the priest/deacon responsible for the marriage preparation.

4. Pre-Nuptial Investigation: Documentation for both the bride and the groom will be completed by the priest/deacon responsible for the marriage preparation.

5. Certificate of completed pre-marital counseling: Provided by priest, deacon or designated marriage counselor.

6. Dispensations: Special permission is required from the Bishop of Monterey for the wedding to take place if either the bride or groom is not Catholic. The priest assisting with preparation will help with the required forms.

7. Dispensations: The Diocese of Monterey requires that all engaged couples attend an Engaged Couples Encounter Retreat Weekend prior to marriage. Schedule your weekend as early as possible, as Engaged Encounter Retreat dates are limited. Visit or for further information.

8. California State Marriage License: Required by law for marriages taking place within the State of California. A marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of application. A Catholic priest cannot marry any couple without possession of a marriage license.

9.    Remaining Balance of Church Wedding Fee

10.    Floral/Decoration Guidelines: Signed agreement.

11.    Photography and Videography Guidelines: Signed agreement.

12.    Music Guidelines: Signed agreement.

If you feel you meet the requirements for scheduling your wedding here at Old Mission San Luis Obispo, please contact Corina Onato in the Parish Office, 781-8220 x 13 or email: to start the process.

Music Guidelines

It is the responsibility of the Mission Music Director to arrange music for all the weddings celebrated at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Pro-Cathedral.

Please make an appointment four to six months prior to your wedding date to discuss guidelines and plan music for your wedding.

Please note that only sacred music from the Church Canon is appropriate for a religious ceremony at the Mission and all music must be approved by the Mission Music Director. Pre-recorded music is not allowed.

It is our practice that only Mission Music Ministers provide music at the weddings in the Mission. We have an outstanding music department and bring professional excellence and liturgical sensitivity to every celebration.

The fee for musicians is not included in the church reservation wedding fee. The wedding party is responsible for the musicians’ fees and we ask that the checks are mailed to the musicians at the Mission no later than two weeks before the wedding day.

  • Musicians

    • Pianist/Organist $200
    • Cantor $150
    • Trumpet $200
    • Flute $200
    • Harp $200

Musicians are not present at the wedding rehearsal which is held on Friday afternoon before the wedding day.
Please call Iva Svitek, Mission Music Director at (805) 781-8220, Ext. 22 with any questions and to make arrangements. Thank you.

Photography and Videography Guidelines

It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to make all necessary arrangements for photographing their wedding. Photographers are welcome to take pictures before, during and after weddings.

Prior to the wedding, you may use the church grounds for photographs. The Wedding Coordinator will be arriving one hour before the wedding to prepare the church. Special arrangements must be made for any weddings not scheduled on Saturdays.


  1. Other than the church grounds, pictures may be taken in the church. Photographing and videotaping during the wedding must be discreet and respectful of the fact that this is a religious service. Posed pictures will end 10 minutes before the scheduled time of the wedding. Choir loft cannot be entered.
  2. The sanctuary (tiled area) may not be entered at any time during the wedding by any photographers or photography equipment. The wedding party has 15 minutes immediately following their wedding to take pictures in the church. Afterwards, they are welcome to use the church grounds for more pictures.
  3. Artificial lights on stands may not be used during the wedding.
    It may be used for posed pictures before or after.
    Flash is not permitted during the ceremony.
  4. Some clergy will wear microphones for the purpose of videotaping. Please check with your priest.
  5. Photographers must bring their own props and ladders.
    Standing on any church furniture is not allowed.
  6. Photographer’s dress must be appropriate to the church and wedding.
  7. Refuse must be properly disposed of in the containers provided outside each door of the church.
  8. Church property (animate and inanimate objects) may not be destroyed or defaced under any circumstances.
  9. Photographers must respect the decision of the Wedding Coordinator when it is time to line up the wedding procession. Any poses not completed before the wedding may be done so afterwards.
  10. There are electrical outlets available on the fl oor in the front of the sanctuary.
    All electrical cords must be securely taped down. (The church does not provide electrical cords).

Floral/Decoration Guidelines

If you are planning to have floral arrangements on the altar for your wedding, you need to contact Nancy Kelso Doody, the Environmental Coordinator at least one month prior to your wedding day to discuss appropriate liturgical color and floral design.  (805)748-0775.


  1. The flowers with which you decorate are not simply decorations. They are an offering made to God and to the church. Therefore, these flowers are to remain in the church after the wedding.
  2. Floral arrangements which are allowed in the Church:
    •    One large arrangement for the credence table (table behind the altar)
    •    Two arrangements for the side of the altar (by candlesticks)
    •    One arrangement by the ambo (podium)Optional arrangements may be placed near the tabernacle, and by the statues of St. Isabel, St. Rita and after communion a bride may wish to place a small bouquet at the foot of Mother Mary (located in the candle room)
  3. Aisle runners are not allowed in the Mission.
  4. There is to be no throwing rice, birdseed, flower petals, blowing bubbles, etc. in or outside the church.
  5. Pews may have bows or simple flower arrangements on them. Use only clips, pipe cleaners or ribbon to attach.
  6. If your wedding takes place during Advent or other special liturgical seasons, the church will be decorated for them and you need to know that they may not be moved or changed
  7. Floral arrangements may be shared. Call the Wedding Coordinator to fi nd out if there are any other weddings on the same day as yours.

Please provide a copy of the floral agreement to your florist.