Planning a Catholic Wedding

“Love is patient, love is kind…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  • If you have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, please bring along a copy of your Confirmation Certificate.
  • In the event that you have been married before and you are a divorcee, you are furthermore required to present a copy of your marriage certificate as well as a copy of your final divorce decree.

If this is the case, it will be required that the divorced individual also seek an annulment with the Church’s Tribunal before a marriage can take place in the Catholic Church.  Annulments can take anything from six months up to two years, depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce.

  • If you are widowed, you will need to present the priest or deacon with a copy of the death certificate.

What about Stipends?

When planning a wedding, one makes provision for many things, such as flowers, rings, suites, dresses, receptions, cars and the like.

Provision should also be made by way of stipends for the officiating minister and the musicians.  These must be discussed with the priest, deacon and musicians beforehand.  On the wedding day it is the responsibility of the Best Man to see that the stipends are handed out to the relevant people.

Should you have any further concerns or questions regarding the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage, it is important that you ask people who are in the know.  Ignorance should not and cannot be an excuse.

Please feel free to consult either the priest or the deacon so that any questions or concerns may be adequately addressed.

Norms and Regulations

When one makes the decision to get married, one often does this by announcing one’s intention through the formal practice of getting engaged.  The next stage of the engagement is to decide how long the engagement will last before formally sealing the promise of marriage with the marriage ceremony.

Couples generally plan invitations, reception venues, dresses, flowers and rings with very little concern for the wedding ceremony and receiving one of the Church’s sacraments, the Sacrament of Marriage.

This guideline is intended for couples who are in the process of discerning the celebration and reception of the Sacrament of Marriage, making them aware of all the necessities that are required of them before the actual wedding ceremony and celebration of the Sacrament is to take place.

Arrange an appointment with the priest or deacon.

This is important for a number of reasons.  Firstly one has to ascertain whether the church is available on the proposed date.  Secondly to make sure that church is available at the time you requested.  This might have to change subject to the availability of the church.  Furthermore, it is important that you ascertain whether the priest or deacon is available to officiate at your wedding ceremony.  You will also need to facilitate with the priest or deacon a time for the wedding rehearsal so that the wedding ceremony may flow with relative ease.

Your meeting with the priest or deacon will give you both an opportunity to discuss your liturgy for your ceremony, viz. the readings, the music and the flower arrangements.  Discussion about photography should also be discussed, especially about what is allowed and what is not allowed.

In addition, it is the requirement of the Catholic Church that before the reception and celebration of the sacraments, persons receive adequate instructions.  This applies considerably to those who intend to get married.  No marriage will take place without adequate marriage instruction.

To this end, either the priest or deacon will avail to you the choices you have by way of marriage preparation.  Currently in the Archdiocese there are two programmes viz. Evenings for the Engaged and Catholic Engaged Encounter.

Canon 1066 of the Code of Canon Law states ‘Before a marriage takes place, it must be established that nothing stands in the way of its valid and lawful celebration.’  Therefore, it is out of respect and common courtesy that you give the church at least six months notice of your intention to get married. What’s more, substantial paper work needs to be facilitated so that the requirements both of the Church and the State can be fulfilled in terms of the legality and validity of marriage.

What is required before arranging an appointment?

The couples need to be in possession of the following before they make an appointment so that it prevents couples running to and fro when the prenuptial enquiry is performed or the wedding is celebrated.

  • Three colour photographs (ID sized) of the Bridegroom and the Bride
  • Certified copies of the Identity Documents of the Bridegroom, the Bride and the two witnesses of the wedding ceremony.
  • Recent copies of your Baptismal Certificate that is issued by the parish of your baptism within the last six months.