Sacrament of Marriage
in United States and
Marriage is a sacrament whereby a baptized man and woman freely, legally and in faith surrender themselves to each other and to Christ. It is a permanent union, bonded by the power and grace of Jesus. The couple will begin to experience this power as they take their vows (promises) in the presence of the priest or deacon and the believing community.
Sacramental marital life begins with these promises and continues throughout the life-long relationship of the couple.
Preparations before a Church wedding
Getting Married? What you need to do for a Catholic Wedding?
The following documents are needed from each person to be married in preparation for your wedding in Ireland, the United States or wherever the wedding is to be celebrated:
• Baptismal Certificates (original)issued within six months of the intended wedding date
• Confirmation certificates (original), if the sacrament was received.
• Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form. This form given the parish priest must be completed with the priest of the parish where you have resided for the past six months. Both parties must be present to sign it.
• Self-Testimony (usually misnamed the Letter of Freedom). Form given by parish priest
• Witness Testimony Form: This form must sign by two witnesses in the presence of your parish priest to testify that they know you and that you are free to marry within the Church.
• Attendance certificate from a pre-marriage preparation course
• Any divorce and annulment documents from previous marriages
NOTE: You must disclose if you have ever been married previously, whether civilly or within another faith and regardless of whether the marriage has ended or not.
If you have been previously married, you will need to request a dispensation to remarry within the Catholic Church. Failure to request this dispensation will result in your marriage being null and void in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
IF YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN THE UNITED STATES
You will have to have your marriage license issued prior to the wedding ceremony and provide it to the priest. The requirements to obtain a marriage license in the United States are controlled by each State through the local county or city municipalities. If a civil marriage has already taken place prior to the Church ceremony, please supply that information to the parish priest.
United States wedding resources: http://www.catholicweddinghelp.com
IF YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
*not required in the North of Ireland
You will need to notify the Civil Registrar at least three months before the wedding. The receipt of civil notification should be forwarded to the Parish priest or officiating priest in advance of the wedding. This is not required in the North of Ireland. All information for the Civil Registrar in Ireland and other requirements can be found at http://www.groireland.ie/getting_married.htm
Notifications of intention to marry should not be returned to General Register Office but should be forwarded to the appropriate Registrar of Marriages for the District in which the marriage is due to take place.
For marriages according to the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church the appropriate Registrar is the Registrar of Births, Deaths and (Roman Catholic) Marriages for the District in which the marriage will be solemnised.
Registrar of Births, Deaths and (Roman Catholic) Marriages: You may download the list of Registrars of Births, Death and (Roman Catholic) Marriages
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL PARISH, YOUR LOCAL DIOCESAN OFFICE, OR ONE OF THE IRISH IMMIGRATION PASTORAL CENTERS IN THE UNITED STATES.