Congratulations on your decision to get married. It’s an exciting time with lots of wedding planning ahead!
Planning Your Marriage
Reserving the Church
As soon as you have chosen a date for your marriage, please consult with your local parish to ensure that the date is available in the Church. Please note: The reservation of the Church is made on the understanding that you are free to marry both in civil law and in the law of the Church. If either of you has ever been married previously, (whether in a Church or in a civil ceremony), or if you are in any doubt about your freedom to marry, please mention this at the time of making your request. This will help to avoid any unforeseen complications.
Three Months Notice to the Parish
A mature decision to marry is not something you arrive at on the spur of the moment. The experience of the Church would suggest that marriages which take place at short notice, or at a very young age, may not be based on a mature decision, and may therefore be more at risk. For this reason, it is required that each person being married should notify his / her local priest (i.e., in the parish where you are currently resident) at least three months before the marriage. If either person is under eighteen years of age, the period of notice is six months. Ideally, you should make initial contact as early as possible, so that we can help you with your preparation.
Church Marriage and Civil Law
In accordance with the provisions of the Civil Registration Act 2004 (Section 51.3c) your marriage may be solemnized by a priest or deacon who is registered within the state as a solemniser. For the avoidance of doubt, in the Diocese of Raphoe, a priest or deacon, whether of the diocese or otherwise, is authorized to celebrate or solemnise a marriage only:
in a Church designated for that purpose by the bishop
with the delegation of the parish priest or administrator (unless he has general delegation in writing)
for a man and a woman who are free to marry in accordance with the law of the Church
It is the responsibility of the couple to produce the Marriage Registration Form at the Church, to sign it immediately after the ceremony, and to bring it for registration to the office of the civil registrar within one month.
We generally prepare carefully for anything which is important. Preparation for marriage could be looked at under two headings.
preparation is about gathering information about married life which will help you to make the big decision, and all the other decisions which follow from that. preparation is also about assessing your own personal readiness for marriage, and the maturity of your relationship. Nobody else can prepare you, but various people can help, including family members, friends, and the priest of your parish.
Some formal preparation for marriage must be undertaken. It is strongly recommended that you participate in a pre-marriage course. Most courses provide a certain amount of input on questions such as finance, home-making, fertility, parenthood, and preparing the marriage celebration. The real value of the courses is probably in that they help to focus your own discussion, and provide the opportunity of talking with other couples in a “safe environment.”
It is the responsibility of the Church to assist people in preparing for the Sacraments. We do not normally contract this responsibility out to commercial agencies. Where the Sacrament of Marriage is concerned, Accord is our own diocesan agency and is entrusted with the mission of assisting couples who are preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. They do this in partnership with the priests and deacons who will also meet each couple individually to support them in deepening their understanding of the Sacrament and preparing the liturgical celebration. Needless to say, if couples wish to do another course in addition to the above, they are free to do so. There is so much preparation for the day itself, that a little more preparation for a lifetime of commitment would not go astray. For further information see http://www.accord.ie/services/marriage-preparation and select by region.
There are further forms to complete, enquiries to be undertaken, documentation required and certificates to be furnished. Please contact the parish office or Parish Priest for information on all documentation and undertakings necessary to ensure the proper conduct of your marriage.