If you are thinking about marriage in the Catholic Church first of all receive our congratulations and assurance of prayer for your loving relationship. Opening to the Sacrament of Marriage you are being witnesses to Christ’s love for His Church and give good example to others that it is needed to let your love to be strengthened by God.
The Diocesan Policy on Marriage states that “at least six months notice of marriage is normally required”, this is to allow preparation to be undertaken by the couple and the required paperwork to be completed. It is the responsibility of the Parish Priest or Deacon to ensure that all the necessary documentation is at hand, and to see that the documents are sent to the place of marriage.
To avoid possible complications, no wedding date should be fixed until after the first meeting with the Priest or Deacon. This is to ensure that you have a full understanding of all of the requirements necessary for celebrating your wedding in the Catholic Church, and to prevent you from losing non-refundable costs if the wedding date needs to be changed. This initial visit will determine if both of you are free to marry in the Church and allow the Priest or Deacon time to guide you through the marriage preparation process.
If your wedding is to take place outside the United Kingdom it is essential that you contact your own Parish Priest or Deacon before any arrangements are made with a Priest in the other country. This is to allow time for 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 at Archbishops House, to the Office of the overseas Bishop, before finally being sent to the place of Marriage.
Therefore couples who request the Sacrament of Marriage in our Parish are required to inform the Parish Priest at least 6 months prior to the date in which they wish to be married and they must attend a marriage course conducted by Rev Fr Liam Gallagher and Carol Batty who are the Kent Area Co-ordinators for Marriage and Family Life.
To find out when the courses are running, please contact them direct by clicking here. The web page will open in a new tab.
The check list of the documents needed to complete the Pre-nuptial Enquiry Form for Bride and groom:
- ‘Blue’ or ‘purple’ certificate from the Registry Office (not required for those who marry abroad)
- Valid Passport (not required for those who marry in UK)
- Certificate of Baptism not older than 6 months (not required for non-Christians)
- Certificate of Confirmation (not required for non-Catholics)
- Certificate of Pre-marriage preparation attendance
- Statutory Declaration of Freedom (signed by the solicitor)
If any of you have been through any form of marriage before (civil, religious, traditional) you have to declare it to the Priest or Deacon before you start preparation for marriage as receiving the Sacrament of Marriage requires your freedom to marry.