marriage preparation, catholic church wedding, marriage care

Getting married within the Catholic Church

If you plan to get married within a Catholic Church, we can provide the certificate of attendance that you will need in order to show that you have taken the time and effort to attend marriage preparation. Our Preparing Together  and Preparing Together Anywhere course is designed to complement the preparation and accompaniment you will receive within your local parish. In addition to the material we share with you about building and sustaining relationships, we’ll also explore with you the importance and significance of the vows you make in Church, before God, your family and friends, in terms of your religious and public commitment to each other. You may find A Guide to Getting Married within the Catholic Church helpful (produced in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cardiff)  and the version produce in collaboration with Wrexham Diocese A Guide to Getting Married within the Catholic Church as well as these resources from the Liturgy Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Guidance for couples marrying within the Catholic Church

It is worth bearing in mind that Canon Law normally requires a minimum of six months notification for marriage, though some diocese will require longer.  This guidance is designed to provide a brief overview of the process and to avoid problems further down the line.

Firstly, go and see the priest where you live before you make any arrangements for the wedding reception. He will explain what you have to do, the paperwork that needs to be completed and agree the marriage preparation resource (i.e. Marriage Care).

Secondly, your priest will ask you to obtain a copy of your baptismal certificate that is not more than 6 months old and a copy of your confirmation certificate.  He will want the same from your other half if he / she is a baptised Christian. In addition, many dioceses now require evidence of freedom to marry in the form of a Statutory Declaration of Freedom (the form is usually supplied by the priest).

You and your partner will also have to go to the register office to get a certificate to allow you to get married.  You cannot get married without this ‘blue form’, as this constitutes the legal side of the wedding.

Marrying overseas: If the wedding is to take place outside the United Kingdom it is best to contact your local parish priest here in the UK before any arrangements are made with a priest in the other country.  This is to allow time for the Church documentation to be completed and sent in advance of the wedding. Marriage papers for weddings taking place in another country travel via the chancery office in each diocese, then on to the office of the overseas bishop, before finally being sent to the place of marriage.  You should allow at least three months for this, from completion of marriage preparation and all documentation, but the Church in some countries will require longer.

We are very pleased to have received an Imprimatur from Cardinal Vincent Nichols for our Preparing Together/ Preparing Together Anywhere for couples marrying in the Catholic Church course.

What is Preparing Together?

Our marriage preparation day, Preparing Together, is a one-day workshop for groups of up to 12 couples. It is normally held on Saturdays (or over a series of evenings), organised by our local centres across England and Wales.

Enjoyable, revealing and rewarding, you’ll be encouraged to consider things you may not even be aware you need to think about. All in a safe, supportive environment, where no one is forced to share anything they are uncomfortable with.

During the day, you will learn how your relationship grows when you deal with important issues in a constructive and loving way. We cover a lot of ground, including:

  • the importance of talking and listening
  • how to negotiate and solve problems
  • what you expect from your relationship
  • the way your family and childhood influence how you interact with each other.

All to help you cultivate a fulfilling life-long relationship.

Who runs the day?

The day is led by facilitators selected and trained by Marriage Care to the highest standards. They have a wealth of experience in working with couples and receive regular ongoing training and support. Find out more here

Who can attend?

Any couple marrying in the Catholic Church can attend. Search for courses and book your place online here.

What do couples say about the day?

  • “You don’t know you need it until you have attended!”
  • “Incredibly useful. I will take a lot from this day into our future life together.”
  • “Everybody participated but there was never any pressure.”
  • “It was relaxed, informal and fun.”
  • Made me think more deeply about our relationship, the commitment we are making, how we can cope with issues that might test our relationship and how getting married in a Catholic church will make our special day even more special.”
  • “I am more aware now of what marriage actually is and how important good communication is. Also helped me see where God is placed in my relationship.”
  • “It gave me an insight into how I deal with conflict and I learned that I can change how I react.”
  • “Every couple should attend one of these courses – it was surprisingly helpful.”

Is there a fee?

Marriage Care is a registered charity and all our services are delivered by trained volunteers. We charge a fixed fee for our Preparing Together course that contributes to the costs of the day, the resources you are given and the behind the scenes facilitator training and preparation. The price you will need to pay is indicated as part of the online booking process.

My partner isn’t keen on doing the day.

What can I say to persuade him/her to come along? Find the answer to this and other frequently asked questions on our Marriage preparation FAQs page.

Alternatively, read about our other marriage preparation course: FOCCUS