What you need to know and do
The priests of the parish wish you every blessing and happiness on the occasion of your forthcoming marriage. We hope that the following information will be helpful to you as you prepare for your happy day.
What Needs To Be Done?
There are many things that need to be done in preparation for your happy day. First of all make contact with your local priest and inform him of your intention to marry.
Book The Church - We advise that you book the church as soon as possible. This is important to make sure that the date is available also please state which church you intend to get married in as there are three churches in the parish.
Preparation and Requirements - The Family Law Act 1995 requires couples to give a minimum of three months notice to the State of their intention to marry. Once you have booked the Church, it is no harm to send in this notification, even one or two years in advance of the wedding. Without the notification to the State, the marriage will be not valid in civil law. A form may be obtained from your local Registrar and should be sent to him or her. It is advisable that you check with the local registrar as soon as possible to notify them of you wedding.
* N.B. New Legislation came into law recently. Please check with the local Registrar for changes.
For the Dublin area the address is:
Registrar of Marriages,
8-11 Lombard Street East,
Pre Marriage Course
The next step is to complete a pre-marriage course. Courses are run throughout the year but are generally limited to ten couples so early booking is advisable. 'Accord' (The Catholic Dublin Diocesan Agency for Marriage) run courses in a number of centres in the diocese. In the Dublin area, phone 4784400 (email: email@example.com) to book a course in the nearest centre to you.
There are also other pre-marriage courses like 'Naomi' (16 North Great Georges Street : Phone 8786156). The courses are conducted over a weekend (Friday night and all day Saturday) or spread out over a few weeks (One night a week). They are run by married couples and are very practical in their approach.
Another excellent pre marriage course is the one run by Fr Pat Rogers of Mount Argus (Tel: 01 2964257. www.together.ie).
Six Months Prior to the Wedding
It is important that you meet with the local priest of your parish to complete the pre-nuptial enquiry forms. There are important documents that you need to bring with you.
- A current baptism cert (not a state birth cert and not an old baptism cert). It is evidence of your baptism and and of your freedom to marry. This is why it must be dated within six months of the wedding. You can get this from the Church where you were baptised.
- A confirmation cert available from the Church where you were confirmed.
- A Letter of Freedom: from every place that you lived for more than six months over the age of sixteen. If you were in a lot of places, it may be necessary to get a sworn affividavit or a letter from your parents who can vouch for the fact that you were never previously married. The letter of freedom may be obtained from your priest in the area in question.
When you have all these documents, arrange to meet your local priest who will fill out a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form. This is a form which basically asks a number of questions to make sure that you understand the step that you are about to take. All of these documents are then sent to the Church where the wedding is to take place.
All of the above requirements will be explained to you by your local priest. The above applies to the situation of two Catholics who intend to marry. For other circumstances, there are more requirements. If the couple live outside of Ireland but are getting married in Ireland, they still must notify the State. Their Church papers are sent by their local priest to the Bishop of the diocese where the wedding is to take place and these in turn are sent by the Bishop to the Church where the wedding is to take place. If you plan to get married abroad you need to contact the department of foreign affairs the marriage abroad section.
As regards planning the liturgy for the wedding, I recommend that you buy a book called 'A Wedding of your Own' by Padraig Mc Carthy which is published by Veritas. This book contains all the readings, wedding rites and prayers. There is even a checklist at the back to make sure that you have remembered everything from the readers to the flowers. Please check with the church regarding candles flowers etc.
If you would like to have a 'Papal Blessing', you can request them through Veritas. For information on getting married in Rome see the website for the Irish College in Rome www.irishcollege.org.
You will find more detailed information on getting married at the Jesuit website 'Getting Married' www.gettingmarried.ie.