The following information is provided as a general guide in the preparation for Christian marriage.
Marriage Booking Form
Please read the Shrule & Glencorrib Parish Wedding Policy and complete the attached form as a first step towards booking your wedding in the parish.
Church Requirements for Christian Marriage
- A minimum of three months’ notice to the church
- A recent certificate of baptism
- A recent certificate of confirmation
- Letter of freedom (where applicable)
- Attendance at a Catholic pre-marriage course
- Completed pre-nuptial enquiry form
- Relevant dispensations (where applicable)
- All civil requirements satisfied
Certificate of Baptism Explained
This document records the fact of your baptism into the Christian faith, and indicates the venue and date of the celebration of the sacrament. Evidence of Christian baptism is required before the celebration of most sacraments, since baptism marks the beginning of the process of initiation into the church. For the purpose of preparing for Christian marriage, your baptism certificate should be obtained from the church where you were baptised within the six month period prior to your wedding. Persons who are not of the Christian faith are not required to provide a baptism certificate.
Certificate of Confirmation Explained
When you are confirmed in the Christian faith some time after your baptism, you receive a confirmation certificate. Like your baptism certificate it too provides the specific details of your confirmation and serves as evidence of your full membership of the Christian church. Persons who for whatever reason were baptised but not confirmed are strongly encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation before their marriage. This can be arranged this if given sufficient notice.
Letter of Freedom explained
A letter of freedom is a statement from the parish priest of the parishes where you may have lived for six months or more since the age of 16 stating that you did not get married while living in that parish and that you are, therefore, free to marry now. They are necessary for both the bride and the groom.
Pre-Marriage Course Explained
The Catholic Church desires that all who wish to marry prepare adequately for the celebration of the Rite of Marriage. The pre-marriage course is part of the outreach of the church to those preparing for their wedding. These courses are run by ACCORD and by other approved catholic centres around the country. Attendance at an approved pre-marriage course is obligatory for all persons. Courses are eight hours in length and are held over weekends or during the week.
ACCORD, Galway Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Árus de Brún, Nowtownsmith, Galway
Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form Explained
Anyone deciding to get married in the Church should contact their local parish. This may not necessarily be the same parish where you are planning on getting married or the priest who celebrates your wedding with you. The local priest will make an appointment with you and discuss all relevant necessities appropriate to your own personal circumstances. Part of the documentation required for Christian marriage is a pre-nuptial enquiry form (not to be confused with a pre-nuptial civil agreement) which details the specifics of your wedding. The local priest who fills out this form with you.
A dispensation is a permit granted by the local bishop which removes an otherwise obligatory condition for the celebration of Christian Marriage. A typical example of where a dispensation would be required is when a Catholic person wishes to marry a person who is not Christian. In this example the dispensation removes the obligation for baptism and confirmation of the non-Christian person. In all cases where a dispensation is required, it is the priest assisting in your preparation, who will obtain it for you by petitioning the bishop.
Bringing Your Own Priest
It may so happen that you know a particular priest well or that a priest is a family friend or relative and you would like him to celebrate your wedding with you. Galway Diocese welcomes visiting priests to celebrate weddings and makes every effort to accommodate them. Priests who do not normally minister in Galway Diocese require special permission from both the Church and the State. The resident priest of the parish where you are getting married will assist you with that but you must let him know well in advance so that the necessary permissions can be obtained.
Music at Christian Weddings
Getting married is a hugely significant step in life and a profoundly sacred moment. The rite of Christian marriage should be celebrated with dignity and honour. As a sacrament of the Church marriage is a personal commitment lived out in a faith community. The purpose of music at any act of worship is to direct our minds and hearts towards God and assist in creating a sacred atmosphere. It is not merely to entertain the congregation. Mindful that couples sometimes seek to personalise their wedding ceremony with the use of music the Church encourages couples to reflect carefully on their choice of music and to be conscious of the liturgical guidelines in existence. As a matter of policy in our diocese music of a religious nature only – in text and style – is to be used at weddings.
Civil Requirements Explained
Marriage is a solemn legal contract and it is vital that all the necessary preliminaries for a marriage be completed in order that the marriage is legally valid. The marriage provisions of the Civil Registration Act, 2004 became law on 5th November 2007. The General Register Office is the statutory body which administers the relevant legislation.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is the local point of contact where a minimum three months notice of intention to marry is required. The list of Registrars will help you locate your local office.
Getting married abroad
A fee of €50 is applicable when you are getting married abroad. It is advisable that you organise all paperwork both with clergy and with the state well in advance.
State Requirements for Marriage
Requirements for Civil Registration
When the couple have chosen the date, church and priest for their marriage (and confirmed these matters with the relevant priest or priests), they will then need to make an appointment to meet with any civil registrar in person to give notice of their intention to marry. This meeting with the registrar must take place at least three months before the wedding in order to comply with the civil requirement. The couple will be required to bring the following documentation to the registrar’s office:
- photo identity (preferably a passport or driving licence)
- names and dates of birth of witnesses
- name of the church where they wish to be married
- name of the priest who will officiate at the marriage; this presumes that the celebrant is a registered solemniser and that he has agreed to officiate at the marriage
- if either party has been previously married, they must provide the civil registrar with an original divorce decree or a death certificate if widowed
When all the civil requirements have been completed satisfactorily the couple will receive, from the registrar, a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). Without this form the couple cannot get married nor may the solemniser proceed with the marriage ceremony.
Both the solemniser and the parish priest of the place of marriage will receive notification from the civil registrar’s office concerning the marriage due to take place.
The couple must present the MRF to the solemniser before the wedding so that he can check that the details are correct before marriage takes place. This should be done as early as is convenient.
If changes are necessary – for instance, changing the name of the solemniser – the couple should contact the civil registrar to arrange for the re-issue of the MRF at the earliest possible stage before the ceremony.
After the wedding, the solemniser must ensure that the MRF is signed by the couple, the two witnesses and himself.