Congratulations on your engagement and thank you for taking the first step in considering a Catholic marriage ceremony as you commit to love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives in a permanent, exclusive and mutual love relationship. In marriage couples devote themselves to God through commitment to each other and then in turn to their family life.
A Catholic marriage ceremony may either be a 'Nuptial Mass' or a 'Wedding Ceremony', and must be witnessed by a Priest or a Deacon. The sacrament of Marriage is important for the wider community because it reminds us of the faithful, never-ending love that God has for humanity and highlights the giving-unto-death love that was so much a part of Jesus' living and dying.
Marriages are conducted at almost all of the churches in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and every effort will be made to try and accommodate requests for times, locations and a particular celebrant. However it is advisable to start enquiring sooner rather than later.
The first step
The first step towards making a booking for a marriage at one of the churches in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is for one or both of the persons to be married, to contact the parish office of the church the couple would like to be married in. A Catholic wedding normally takes place in your own parish church. If for some reason you would like to celebrate the wedding in another church, it is wise to discuss it openly with your parish priest first.
When you phone the parish office, simply explain your wish to be married in a Catholic Church, your preference for a date, venue and time and whether or not you have a particular celebrant you would like to request.
Once the time and venue have been agreed, correspondence with details of requirements, costs, and more will be dispatched to you so that planning can proceed.
If you’re a bit nervous about how it all works, there’s no need to be. The priest or deacon who celebrates your wedding with you will help you prepare for your marriage, complete the necessary documentation, advise and encourage you and your partner to take part in a pre-marriage course and prepare the wedding ceremony. A day or two prior to the wedding ceremony, it is also possible to arrange with the celebrant to have a wedding practice in the church.
If you would like to request permission for a Catholic marriage outside a church
an 'Application for Permission for Marriage Outside a Sacred Place' must be completed. The priest or deacon who celebrates your wedding will have the appropriate form to complete with you. However if the priest or deacon who celebrates your wedding will be visiting from outside the diocese please ask him to contact the Marriage Tribunal office for an application.
You've booked the church - where to from here?
Your wedding celebrant has the responsibility to not only assist you in preparing for the sacrament of marriage, but also for the life-long commitment which you are entering into through marriage.
After you contact the parish office to book the church, you will then probably be asked to provide some relevant documentation to enable you to get married in the Catholic Church. These may include:
- Birth Certificate
- Baptismal Certificate (The certificate must be less than six months old and can be requested from the parish where you were baptised)
- Evidence of Death or Annulment if applicable
*Some parishes may also require additional documentation but if so, this will be discussed with you at the time of planning.
Before getting married in a Catholic church, all couples will be asked to reflect on their commitment to each other and are urged to undertake marriage education to prepare for married life.