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Planning Your Wedding - Information & Guidelines
Congratulations on your decision to marry in the Catholic Church. The information below is designed to help you with your preparation.
Meeting the Priest & Booking
It is custom that the priest of the bride's parish celebrates the wedding or a priest relative or very close priest friend. A minimum of three months notice must be given to the local parish clergy of both of you. This applies if you live outside of Ireland and if you are not Catholic but are planning to marry in the Catholic Church. If the wedding is taking place in a church other than the church of the bride or groom, it must be booked with the local priest well in advance and usually there is a fee for its use. If either has been married previously in church or civilly your local priest will advise you, as it may not be possible to proceed in all such circumstances.
It is the duty of the parish priest of the parish where the marriage is to be celebrated, to establish that both are prepared and free to marry. Therefore each of you should obtain;
A baptismal certificate issued within the previous six months from the church where you were baptised
Proof of Confirmation. (A separate certificate for this may appear on the baptismal certificate)
Certificate of proof of completion of a recognised pre-marriage course.
Pre-nuptial enquiry form should be completed with your local priest.
A letter of freedom from parishes where you lived for longer than six months since attaining the age to legally marry. (18 under the Family Law Act of 1995).
To book a marriage ceremony, please complete the form attached to the link below and return it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the following address:
Very Rev. Michael A. O'Connor P.P.
The state requires you to make an appointment to meet with any civil registrar in person, at least three months in advance, to give notice of your intention to marry. You should bring the following documents:
Photo identity (preferably your passport or driving licence)
The names and dates of birth of your witnesses
The name and address of the church where you wish to be married
The date of your proposed marriage
The name of the priest or deacon who has agreed to officiate at the wedding. He must be a registered solemniser, if not it is your duty to advise him to arrange his registration, through the local bishop, with the registrar
If either has been previously married an original divorce decree or a death certificate must be presented.
When the civil requirements have been met you will receive from the registrar a Marriage Registration Form without which you may not get married. This must be presented to the solemniser well in advance who will check that all details are correct before he proceeds. It is the duty of the couple to return this form, signed by themselves, the witnesses and the registered solemniser, to any registrar's office within one month following the marriage.
Seek the Help of the Priest
All preparations for your wedding ceremony should be made in consultation with the priest who is officiating. He will guide you in planning your Mass especially with choosing readings and appropriate church music. Please remember you are not hiring the priest or the church but seeking to celebrate a sacrament of God. The priest is there as a professional to assist you in celebrating the sacrament in a fitting, dignified and valid way. He also has a duty to ensure that the integrity of the sacrament is preserved and that all events in the church are fitting and are seen to respect our beliefs, customs and tradition.
The Pre-Marriage Course
Marriage is for life and all involved in preparing a marriage want it to succeed. You are asked to undertake a pre-marriage course, which is designed to help you. Your local priest will help you with booking one. Demand is great so book early, a fee is involved to cover expenses.
Music enhances all celebrations and wedding music should be faith based and resonate divine love. Love songs and favourite pieces are best kept for the reception. Please check what local arrangements are in place for wedding music before engaging an alternative as some churches have resident musicians under contract.
Booklets or an order of service can be useful but they are not an essential requirement. Your priest will assist you with its contents and he shouldn't be presented with a fait accompli.
A Papal Blessing
This is not a requirement but should you wish to have the Pope's blessing upon your marriage your priest will assist you. Please allow ten weeks for this process, approximately.
Videos & Photography
These record your special day and should be carried out in an unobtrusive way. The sanctuary is a holy place, the Mass is sacred and the marriage is sacramental and no action, element or decoration should detract from this reality. Church furniture or fixtures should not be moved or obscured to accommodate other additions.
Some parishes may have a set fee covering the paperwork, use of the church, cleaning after the wedding and for the altar servers, please ask. Where this is not the case an offering should be made to cover these services, in consultation with the priest in charge.
The Flower Arranger with others set the background scene for a Church Wedding and work for the couple. Flower arrangements are not the focus of the Ceremony and should be placed accordingly and in such a way as to not impede movement, block the view or pose a danger to health and safety. Spillages and falling vegetation pose a risk, as do the use of candles or top heavy arrangements placed on pedestals that are too small. A Florist’s insurance should include cover for accidents and damage caused by their involvement in a Church event. While working in the Church the flower arranger should be acquainted with the local customs and guidelines which are there to best serve the liturgy and the ceremony. Flower arrangements are not to be placed on the Altar itself. The Altar is a consecrated table of sacrifice. The changes made by the Second Vatican Council were to give the faithful greater access to the liturgy. Flowers should never block the view of the Offertory or Consecration of the body of Christ after the Consecration. Flowers should never be placed in front of or on the Tabernacle Altar. Church furniture should never be moved to accommodate flowers. Flower arrangements should never damage the fabric of the Church or its contents, paintwork, linen or furniture. As the Church is often required for several events in the one day the flower arranger should contact the sacristan before setting up flowers and should take down flower arrangements, stands and arches afterwards. Flowers should be arranged in the florist’s premises and only touched up in the Church before putting in place. All clippings must be taken away. Access to the Church is during normal opening hours. It is normal that the flowers would be left in situ after the ceremony as a form of thanks to the parish community for the use of the Church.
If you both are resident here and wish to be married outside the country your local priest will assist with the paperwork. Approach him in good time. He will need the name and address of the church where the wedding is to take place. Bring along the name of the priest who is officiating, the name of the diocese and name and address of its bishop. Ensure that if you are bringing a priest with you from Ireland or elsewhere that he is on the list of solemnisers out there, he may not need to be. You will need to contact the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. Remember that all paperwork relating to your marriage will forever be only available from the local registrar and not here in Ireland. In some instances couples marry civilly at home and celebrate the sacrament subsequently abroad.
Readings, Psalms & Prayers of the Faithful
To see all information on Readings, Psalms and Prayers of the Faithful for your wedding please click the link below:
Please enquire from the Parish Priest as to the recommended offering for the church.
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