Something old is getting something new.
This summer the process of reserving the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for a wedding ceremony will be updated.
Beginning July 1, instead of calling the Campus Ministry office to reserve a date and time, wedding planners can do so online. The bride or groom can go to campusministry.nd.edu/weddings, review openings through July 1, 2020, and request up to three possible dates. The next business day, Campus Ministry sorts through requests in the order received, identifies the best available date and time, and emails confirmation of the reservation.
While the process is not completely automated — something as important as a wedding needs a human touch — it is a big improvement, says Kate Barrett, associate director of liturgy.
“As far back as any of us can remember, on the first Monday of March Basilica reservations would open for the following year. So, for example, Monday, March 5, 2018, was when all of 2019 opened,” Barrett says.
“The pressure was it was all done by phone. On the first Monday of March, people would literally line up all their family members to start calling, calling, calling to try to get the most popular dates and times, which are always the 1 and 3 o’clock times in June and July.”
The new process allows wedding planners to look at possible dates a full two years out, while the old process only projected out up to 21 months.
“The exciting part is we’re going to have a rolling two-year calendar,” Barrett explains, “so on July 1, 2018, when it starts, you’ll be able to reserve any dates through July 1, 2020, and the next day, July 2, you can request dates through July 2, 2020.”
While technology has improved the Basilica wedding reservation process, Notre Dame Football was a big help too.
You read that right.
“It really helps us out that Football has committed to releasing their schedules further in advance,” Barrett says, explaining that there are no weddings on campus on home game weekends.
“Having those football dates two years ahead of time is what’s enabled us to offer the two-year window. We actually know what dates to block out on the calendar.”
Wedding ceremonies in the Basilica take place at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. on Saturdays. In the winter months, which are less popular for weddings, morning weddings are rarely booked. In June and July, when demand is high, weddings may also take place on Fridays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The Log Chapel, which seats about 35, is also an option for those who would like a more intimate ceremony.
Starting in 2019, couples may also get married in Mary, Queen of Angels chapel in Flaherty Hall, the new women’s residence hall, on Saturdays in June and July at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. This option will be on the website calendar when it goes live on July 1. The chapel can hold up to 125 guests.
There are criteria as to who can reserve the Basilica for a wedding ceremony, including that the bride and/or groom are Notre Dame students, alumni, members of Sacred Heart Parish and/or current, full-time faculty or staff members who have been employed at Notre Dame for at least five years.
More information can be found at campusministry.nd.edu/weddings.