Congratulations on your decision to get married. It’s an exciting time with lots of wedding planning ahead! Before you can get married in a Catholic Church there are a number of steps that need to be taken to meet the Church and Civil requirements for marriage. Details of the paperwork required for the Church and Civil registration of your marriage are outlined below:
Marriage Church Paperwork Checklist:
- Baptismal Certificates for each person dated within 6 months (It’s VERY important that the certificates are current – within 6 months)
- Confirmation Certificates for each person dated within 6 months.
- Statement of Concerning the Freedom to marry for each person – Download HERE: Statement Concerning the Freedom to Marry
- Pre Marriage Course Certificate of Completion – contact www.accord.ie or www.together.ie to book a course.
- Valid photo ID and proof of address.
Once you have all of the above paperwork, you can book an appointment to complete your Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form with the Parish Priest.
Civil Requirements – Three month notice & the Marriage Registration Form:
Ina addition to the Church requirements you are also required to register your marriage with the State. To do this you must make contact with the Registrar’s Office at least three months in advance of your wedding date to book a meeting with the Registrar. When you meet the Registrar they will give you a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) – This form is VERY important and must be brought to you wedding and when signed at the wedding, returned to the Registrar within one month of the date of your wedding.
Please contact Fr Martin Bennett OFM Cap, Parish Priest on firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have.
The following additional information may be helpful:
- Go to a priest in the parish of the bride at least THREE MONTHS before the date on which you plan to marry. The meetings of the couple with their priest are a key part of the preparation process. These meetings have taken on a new significance in recent times, because it can no longer be assumed that seeking a Church wedding is an expression of Christian faith on the part of one or both partners. These meetings are an opportunity for a couple to reflect on what Christian marriage asks of them.
- The priest will also begin the process of filling out Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Forms and advise you about the various documents that you need to collect. You will need to get a Certificate of Baptism from the parish in which you were baptised and a Certificate of Confirmation from the parish in which you were confirmed. These documents should be issued no less than six months prior to the date of marriage.
- If you have lived somewhere else, other than your present parish, since you were sixteen, then you will need to get a Letter of Freedom from each parish in which you lived for more than six months to state that you did not get married while you lived there. Any priest from the parish (or parishes) where you lived will supply you with this document.
- The bishop’s permission is required for a Church marriage involving someone under 18. Christian marriage requires the capability for a mature commitment and therefore such permissions are only granted in exceptional circumstances
- Freedom to marry: The rules governing freedom to marry in the Catholic church can be complicated. The best advice when one party has been married previously (either in a civil or religious ceremony) is not to make arrangements until the diocesan office has been consulted.
- Mixed Marriages: Special permissions are required for full church recognition of marriages between a Roman Catholic and a baptised non-RC or someone unbaptised. Applications are handled by the diocesan office once the priest of the catholic party has forwarded the standard paperwork.
- It is recommended that all couples who are getting married should attend a Pre-Marriage Course . You can get an application form from a priest in your parish. It is better to attend the Course well before the date of the Marriage. If you require further information about Accord Pre-Marriage Courses in the area, please click here.
- The marriage ceremony should normally take place in a church in the bride’s parish. If the couple have a good reason for getting married elsewhere, the bride should inform a priest in the parish where she is now living to give her the necessary Letter of Permission to get married outside the parish. Obviously, in this case, the couple will need to make arrangements for the use of the church in the parish where they intend to get married.
- Normally a priest from the bride’s parish officiates at the marriage ceremony, assuming that the ceremony takes place in the bride’s parish. If you wish to have some other priest (e.g. a relative or friend) officiate, inform the priest in the parish where the ceremony is to take place and he will give the necessary authorisation. In Civil Law, it is now a legal requirement for the solemniser (the priest who officiates at the marriage) to be on the ‘List of Solemnisers’ submitted by each local Bishop to the Registrar-General.
- Celebrants From Overseas: All diocesan priests in the Republic of Ireland are on the State’s ‘List of Solmnisers’. In order for a priest from oversees to be placed on this list in a temporary capacity, it is necessary for him to send his name, address and telephone number to the Diocesan Office. The Diocesan Office in Carlow will then contact the officiating priest to formalise matters with him.
- Ask the priest who is to officiate at your wedding to help you with the task of creating your marriage ceremony. There are a variety of prayers, blessings, readings, etc. Read through these together and choose the ones you prefer. Choose the person(s) who will read at Mass, person(s) to read the Prayers of the Faithful and the people to bring up the gifts at the Offertory. Rehearse the ceremony in church with the priest before the wedding day.
- To celebrate the sacrament of Marriage does not require the celebration of Eucharist (Mass). While it has been generally the custom, it may not always be appropriate for example in a “mixed” marriage or when a couple are not regularly practising. Some couples today find the celebration of Marriage without the Eucharist, to be more appropriate for them.
- Marriages on Sundays, Holydays and some special Church celebrations (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St.Patrick’s Day, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Feast of All Souls) are not permitted in this Diocese.