Here’s a brief guide to getting married in the Catholic Church. Please consult with one of the priests in our parish for further details.
So where do we start?
At least three months before the planned date of marriage, contact the priest in your local parish where each of you presently live to let him know of your intention to marry and make an appointment to meet him. This may not be the same priest who will celebrate your wedding with you. Book the church in which you hope to get married.
What Paperwork Do I Need to Start Gathering?
1. A new baptismal certificate issued within six months of the proposed date of marriage from the parish of Baptism
2. Indication of Confirmation (separate certificate if not recorded on baptismal certificate)
3. Proof of Freedom to Marry
(This can be established through the traditional letters of freedom from each of the parishes the person has lived in for six months or more since he/she was 18 years of age. Alternatively you can ask a parent or somebody who has known you all their lives to write a letter stating their relationship to you and to the best of their knowledge you have never been married religiously or civilly in any jurisdiction. Another possibility is for you to swear an affidavit before a Commissioner of Oaths attesting that you have never been married religiously or civilly in any jurisdiction. You will need to discuss with your priest which of these options is the most appropriate for you).
4. Marriage Preparation Certificate – if you complete a pre-marriage course with a recognised agency, you will receive the certificate on completion of the course.
Once you have all these documents, you will then complete a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form with your priest.
What is a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form?
As part of the pastoral care of the Church for you as an engaged person you will each complete a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry form with your local priest. The form records when you were received into the Church at Baptism and then Confirmed. It also indicates that you are free to marry and helps identify any special permission that you might need. It also affirms that as a mature adult you understand the nature of marriage and accept the duties and responsibilities of married life. The individually completed forms of the bride and groom are sent to the parish priest of the Church where the wedding is taking place and after the wedding the forms are kept in the parish archive there.
What happens if my situation is particular?
If your situation is particular such as a Catholic marrying somebody from another Christian religious tradition or marrying somebody who is not baptised you should immediately consult with your priest informing him of the special situation.
Age of Couples Getting Married
The Irish Episcopal Conference has decreed that the minimum age for the lawful celebration of marriage in the Catholic Church in Ireland shall be 18 years for both parties. Hence, the practice in the Archdiocese of Armagh is not to allow a marriage to proceed where one or both parties is under the age of 18.
Civil Requirements – For Marriages in Northern Ireland
The Civil requirements are separate to the Church requirements and need to be fulfilled by all couples intending to get married in Northern Ireland.
1. At least three months before the planned date of marriage, you must approach the local registrar in the district in which the marriage is going to take place to obtain a Notice of Marriage Form (one for each party)
2. Bring at least one of the Notice of Marriage Forms to the local registrar.
3. One of the parties must collect the Marriage Schedule (the document to be signed on the day of the marriage) from the local registrar’s office. The schedule cannot be issued more than fourteen days before the marriage and the registrar will advise the couple when the marriage schedule can be collected.
4. Bring the Marriage Schedule to the priest of the parish where the marriage is to take place in advance of the wedding. No marriage can take place without this schedule.
5. Return the signed Marriage Schedule to the local registrar within three days after the wedding.
(Adapted from www.accord.ie.)