The sacrament of matrimony is a visible sign of God’s love for the Church. When a man and a woman are married in the Church, they receive the grace needed for a lifelong bond of unity.

Marriage is a Covenant

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenantal union in the image of the covenants between God and his people with Abraham and later with Moses at Mt. Sinai. This divine covenant can never be broken. In this way, marriage is a union that bonds spouses together during their entire lifetime.

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life. (CCC 1661)

The love in a married relationship is exemplified in the total gift of one’s self to another. It’s this self-giving and self-sacrificing love that we see in our other model of marriage, the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love. (CCC 1662)

The Church takes the lifelong nature of the Sacrament of Matrimony seriously. The Church teaches that a break in this covenant teaches goes against the natural law of God:

The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith. (CCC 1665)

Marriage Reflects the Holy Trinity

We believe that God exists in eternal communion. Together, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in one being with no beginning and no end. Human beings, likewise, were created by God in God’s image for the purpose of communion with another human being.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 2205). The Sacrament of Marriage is “unitive, indissoluble and calls us to be completely open to fertility.” Christian marriage at its finest is a reflection of God’s self-giving love expressed between the love of two people.


The perfect place to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Select an historic wedding site for your traditional Catholic marriage ceremony. Founded in 1917, St. Cecilia is one of the most beautiful churches in San Francisco. Our experienced clergy and staff will help you through all the details for a joyful day.             

Archdiocese of San Francisco Wedding Policy

In the Archdiocese of San Francisco there is a uniform policy of a six-month preparation program before a couple is married in the Catholic Church. Each parish has its own guidelines for the six-month marriage preparation program. For St. Cecilia's Parish, please see the following:

St. Cecilia Parish Wedding Policies

To be married at St. Cecilia Parish, either the bride or groom must be a Roman Catholic. You qualify as an "in parish" couple if you live within the geographic boundaries of the parish or, have been registered and active in the Parish for six months or, have been Baptized or raised in the parish and your parents were active in St. Cecilia prior to their moving out of the parish.

If you do not meet one of the three qualifications above, then you are considered an "outside of parish" couple.


At least six months prior to the date you plan to marry, you should meet with a Priest in the Parish. For your first meeting with him, if either of you were not baptized at St. Cecilia's Church, that Catholic party to the marriage should bring a Baptismal Certificate which has been issued within six months of the wedding.

Each of the parties to be married must complete a Pre-Marriage Testimony (Form A). Sometime prior to the wedding, a witness for each of the parties must complete a Pre-Marriage Witness Testimony (Form B). When possible, the witness should be a parent.

Each of the parties to be married must complete an instrument for Marriage Preparation called FOCCUS. It is an aid for your marriage preparation. It can help you study, understand, and communicate openly about many things that are important to your relationship. It is not a test or a way to predict the future. It is designed to help you target topics you need and want to discuss as a couple.

Time and Date of Marraige

Generally, weddings are on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m., Noon, or 2:00 p.m. Because of other commitments for use of the church, we cannot schedule weddings later than 2:00 p.m.

The secretary can give your request for an appointment regarding a marriage to a parish priest. However, only the Priest can reserve a date for you. He will do this after he verifies that you are qualified for a Catholic marriage here at St. Cecilia. You may use the main church or Our Lady's Chapel.


A brief rehearsal is usually held a few nights prior to the wedding. You should arrange for a specific date and time for your rehearsal. On a rare occasion it may be necessary to adjust the time of a rehearsal if a vigil service or other unforeseen event is to be held in the church. If any change is required, you will be notified as soon as possible.

Please remember that no rehearsals are held on First Fridays or Fridays of Advent.

Only the Sexton, a member of our staff who also coordinates on the wedding day, conducts the rehearsal and will coordinate the bridal party on procedures to be followed.

No outside consultant may interfere with the Sexton's directives.


The beauty and sacredness of a wedding are enhanced by the use of appropriate music. When your wedding date and time have been approved, you should meet with the St. Cecilia Parish Music Director, Russell Ferreira (phone: 650-588-7493). He will guide you in selecting and arranging the music for your wedding. In accord with the policy in effect within the Archdiocese of San Francisco, it is expected that you engage the resident organist and vocalist of their delegates for your ceremony. They will inform you of their fees.

Should you wish to have vocal music, it is required that you involve the parish Music Director if an additional or substitute vocalist is engaged. In either case, the Director's fee is to be paid. He must approve the outside vocalist and musical selections. If you wish to have other musicians, e.g., harp, trumpet, string-quartet, these must be approved by the Music Director.

Marriage Preparation

In an attempt to assist couples in making a good preparation for marriage, our parish offers the couple a number of opportunities for Marriage Preparation:

San Francisco Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends. Website: or (415) 664-1985.

Saturday for Engaged Couples sponsored by Old Saint Mary's (415) 288-3866.

You may also choose any other approved parish or Archdiocesan program.

Flowers and Decorations

The flowers for your wedding are included in your donation and will be ordered and arranged by members of our Parish staff. No other floral arrangements are allowed on the altar, the sanctuary or in the church. Advent, Christmas and Easter decorations are not to be moved.

The use of runners on the main aisle, ribbons or flowers on the pews or any other similar decoration is not allowed. Experience has shown that such additions detract from the beauty of St. Cecilia Church and do not enhance the setting for the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage.


To avoid confusion or misunderstanding, please advise your photographers of the following:

Still Photography - Pictures may be taken in and around the church prior to the wedding ceremony. Pictures may also be taken while the bride and bridal party come up the aisle. Once the party is in the sanctuary, no flash photographs may be taken from the body of the church. Pictures without the use of flash or special lighting may also be taken from the choir loft, chapel, or oratory. Photographers are not allowed in or around the sanctuary during the wedding ceremony.

Video Photography - All video equipment must be confined to the choir loft. No special lighting or auxiliary microphones will be allowed. There is a speaker in the choir loft which provides excellent sound. You must provide us with the name and address of your videographer so that we can send them these guidelines.

Following the wedding, the bridal party may return to the sanctuary area for pictures if time permits. Please remember that you are given one and a half hours to use the church. This begins at the assigned time of the wedding (10:00 a.m., Noon, or 2:00 p.m.). You must exit the church at the end of this time period. There are no exceptions. Proper decorum must be observed out of respect for the Blessed Sacrament and in consideration for those who may be in the church for prayer.

No rice, please

As a matter of Christian concern for those who do not get enough to eat, throwing rice is inappropriate. rather, BIRDSEED, CONFETTI, FLOWER PETALS, BUBBLES AND THE LIKE CREATE A HAZARDOUS AND UNSIGHTLY CONDITION. PLEASE ASK YOUR WEDDING PARTY AND GUESTS TO NOT USE SUCH ITEMS.

Marriage License

The State of California requires you to obtain a Marriage License from the County in which you reside. San Francisco residents can obtain the license from the Marriage License Bureau, City Hall, Suite 168, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, SF. Phone: (415) 554-4950. Processing hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


A minimum donation of $600.00 is for an active "in parish" couple.

A minimum donation of $1,200.00 is for an "outside of parish" couple.

An anniversary, wedding or validation can be done in either our Church or Our Lady's Chapel. Your donation helps support the work of our parish, which provides you with the required marriage preparation, books, documents, flowers and the use of the church for the rehearsal and wedding ceremony.

An honorarium may be given to the Priest/Deacon who witnesses your ceremony, the Altar Servers who assisted and the Sexton who conducted both the rehearsal and the wedding ceremony.

The musicians’ fees are not included in the donation to the church and should be paid directly to them.

The marriage preparation program consists in several meetings with a priest, four weekly sessions with a married couple and several other engaged couples. If more convenient, couples may choose a weekend preparation program provided by the Archdiocesan Engaged Encounter Movement. As part of the parish preparation program you will receive information on the particulars of documentation, time and date of marriage, music, and assistance in choosing the Scriptures and prayers for the celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony.


Please call Irma LaVitoria at 415.664.8481 or email


Daniel and Kristine Guillermo
on their Wedding Day
with Monsignor Vergara

Celebrating 20 Years of Marriage
Alvin and Jean Martin renew their vows with Monsignor Arcamo