Las Vegas is a popular destination for people to be married. However, St. Paul’s is not a wedding chapel but a Church in the Orthodox Church in America. Therefore it is bound to Canon Law, Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America and the regulations of the Diocese of the West. There are certain guidelines that must be followed if someone from outside the parish desires to be married at the Church. It is, of course, desirous that you contact the parish priest before setting any dates or plans.
A basic set of guidelines for weddings to be performed here are as follows:
1. Weddings will only be performed on Sunday afternoons. Any other day must be approved by the Diocesan Bishop and must have a clear reason of circumstances.
2. Weddings will not be performed during any fasting periods or other periods as determined by the rubrics of the Orthodox Church in America.
3. A letter or email must be sent to the parish priest explaining why the couple desires to be married in Las Vegas as opposed to their home parish. Due to the size and activities of the parish, the couple should contact the parish with plenty of time in order to set a date. Wedding dates are often set as much a year prior to the ceremony so it is important to contact the parish early as to reserve a date.
4. It is preferable that the couple both be Orthodox. If only one of the parties is Orthodox, the other must be baptized in a recognized manner. The same also applies to the wedding party. All Orthodox members must be in good standing with a local Orthodox Church and have confessed and communed recently prior to the wedding. Any couple of a mixed marriage must understand that all children will be raised as Orthodox.
5. If either person has been previously married, a letter or email explaining the circumstances as well as the divorce decrees must be submitted to the parish priest. This letter along with a letter from the parish priest will be submitted to the Diocesan Bishop for His approval.
6. The couple must go to a local Orthodox priest and receive appropriate counseling. This priest must then contact the parish priest and give his permission for the wedding to proceed at St. Paul’s.
7. The couple must go to the City of Las Vegas Marriage bureau and obtain a valid marriage certificate to be filled out by the parish priest at the wedding. Information about marriage licenses and requirements can be found at:
8. The couple, upon arriving in Las Vegas, must meet with the parish priest at least one day prior to the wedding to finalize details.
9. The couple is responsible for all other activities associated with the wedding. Special requests will be considered if they are allowable under Canon Law, Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America and the Diocese of the West. Only canonical Orthodox priests will be allowed to use the church with permission from both the Diocesan Bishop and the visiting priest’s bishop. No other denominations or faiths are allowed to use the church or co-celebrate a wedding.
10. St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church does not charge for any Sacraments of the Church. However, donations are accepted as decided by the couple through prayer.
As a final note, Orthodox Christians are not allowed to be married outside the Orthodox Church or participate in any Sacrament outside of the Orthodox Church. If they do, then will no longer be in good standing with the Orthodox Church. If there are any questions on this or other issues, please feel free to contact the parish priest.