Congratulations! You are embarking on a journey of preparation for marriage and the rest of your life. This is a time of great joy for you as a couple and those who love you.
At this stage, it is helpful to make contact with your priest, to decide on the Church in which you will get married and to start to think about your ceremony.
Every couple marrying in the Catholic Church are required to give a minimum of three months notice to their priest and complete a Pre Nuptial Enquiry Form. Before going to meet with the priest you will need:
- A recently issued copy of your Baptismal Certificate
- A recently issued copy of your Confirmation Certificate
- A Letter of Freedom from each parish you have lived in since you were 18.
The Pre-nuptial enquiry is carried out in the parish where the person has lived for the past six months, and is completed in the form of a personal interview between the person and the priest. It should not be done in the presence of both parties.
It is essential that the Pre-nuptial enquiry be initiated no later than three months prior to the proposed date of marriage.
The Wedding Ceremony usually takes place in the parish church of the bride.
If one or both parties are from outside the parish, they must present a Baptismal and Confirmation Certificate and a Letter of Freedom to marry. The Baptismal and Confirmation Certificate can be obtained from the parish in which you were baptised and the Letter of Freedom from the parish in which you reside.
In the case of a mixed marriage, the forms of the baptised non-catholic or non-baptised person should be completed in the parish of the catholic party.
Couples getting married must complete both Church and State paperwork. The couple must notify the Registrar of their intention to marry by completing a Marriage Notice Form. A marriage civil partnership notice application form is available to download from: www.magherafelt.gov.uk
or copy the link below to your browser:
At some time prior to the date of the marriage the parties may be requested to attend at the Registrar’s Office to finalise the arrangements and collect the marriage schedule. After the wedding the marriage schedule has to be returned to the Registrar’s Office within 3 days.
The completed Marriage Notice Form must be returned to the Registrar for the district in which you are getting married at least fifteen days prior to the date of marriage. Parties can notify the Registrar up to one year prior to the date of marriage.
Once the Registrar has received the Marriage Notice and there is no impediment to the marriage and the person to perform the Ceremony is an approved Officiant or Celebrant (i.e. a priest of the diocese of Derry) a Marriage Schedule is prepared for collection by the parties at the registrar’s office.
It is your responsibility to produce your Marriage Schedule to the Celebrant at least three days before the wedding. A marriage cannot take place without a Marriage Schedule.
It is also your responsibility to return the signed Marriage Schedule to the Registrar’s office within three days of the wedding.
MUSIC: The use of music and singing is very important in the wedding ceremony. As we are celebrating a sacrament only church music and hymns are appropriate in the marriage ceremony. All other songs should be reserved for other locations.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Those taking photographs or video should be aware of the sacredness of the occasion and the church and should respect both of these. Again as we are celebrating a sacrament of the church there should be no intrusive use of photography to interrupt the Mass.
FLOWERS: The use of flowers enhances the church, but they should never dominate the sanctuary as to be a distraction. Flowers are not permitted on an Altar and please contact the Sacristan or Parish Office to make arrangements for outside florists.