Congratulations! If you are reading this, is because you are engaged and would like to know what to expect as you plan your Catholic Wedding. Preparing for the sacrament of marriage is not an easy task, but it can be tackled down with patience, love, openness, and a clear understanding of the meaning of the sacrament. We have prepared a list to give you visibility on the requirements.
The Catholic Wedding TO DO List:
1. Select the Parish where you plan to be married
Some parishes might even require 6 months before the wedding. Contact the parish wedding coordinator and get information on fees and availability for your desired date.
2. Schedule an interview with the parish priest
Before locking your wedding date, you will be asked to meet with a priest or deacon who will witness your marriage. The interview consists of getting to know each other, he will ask general questions about the relationship and discern if there are impediments to your marriage. After this interview, the date might be set unless it has been decided that the couple is not ready and needs preparation.
3. Pre – Marriage Questionnaire
This is a questionnaire that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship.
It will be reviewed with the pastor or deacon that is preparing the couple.
4. Gather forms and paperwork
- Certificate of baptism or other proof of baptism is required even if you or your fiancé received Christian baptism outside of the Catholic Church. This will determine the Order of Celebrating Matrimony.
- Certificate of Holy Communion and Confirmation if you have not received any of these sacraments, you will be asked to do so before getting married.
- Affidavit of Freedom to Marry. This affidavit is the written testimony of someone who knows you very well stating that you are free to marry.
- Civil Marriage License. This could be obtained at the marriage court and is to be presented to the priest on the day of the wedding.
5. Marriage Preparation Course Completion Certificate
This course can be taken online or as an in-person weekend retreat.
6. A course in Natural Family Planning
Most dioceses and parishes require couples to complete a course in natural family planning (NFP) as part of their marriage preparation.
7. Prepare the Liturgy
The couple is in charge of selecting the readings for the ceremony; lectors, music, and any special moments during the mass (bouquet to the statue of Mary, arras, mantilla, rosary unity candle, or washing of the feet). The celebrant and the parish wedding coordinator should approve of it beforehand.
Enjoy the process and get to know each other deeply through the preparation for the sacrament. Remember, God will prepare your hearts during this process of surrender to one another and help you to fully, freely, fruitfully, and faithfully become one.
Note: This list serves as a general guide for the established requirements by the Catholic church. In other countries, the requirements may change.