18 Months – Contact the Priest, book the Church
Before you make any other wedding plans, contact the parish where you plan to be married. Most parishes require at least six months notice prior to the wedding. It’s essential to meet with the priest of the parish as soon as possible to discuss your plans and book the church.
If you wish a Priest whom you know to perform your ceremony, this will also need to be discussed by the priest of the parish to grant permission for use of the church.
Inter Church and Inter Faith marriages will require further permissions and couples should meet with their priest as early as possible to discuss their requirements
12 Months - Music, Marriage Preparation Course
Now that you have agreed the date with your Priest and arranged the Church it might be a good time to discuss with him the music for your Ceremony and booking the Musicians.
It is also a good time to discuss with the priest your plans for attending a marriage preparation course. Your priest will advise you on the type of marriage preparation he wishes you to undertake. A lot of couples live together before they get married and presume that they have nothing to learn from attending a course. They can get caught up in the build-up to the big day and lose sight of why they are getting married. A marriage preparation course gives couples time to focus on their relationship and to become aware of some potential problem areas which may benefit from discussion. Attending a marriage preparation course should be a really positive experience for you and your spouse.
9 Months - Attend the Marriage Preparation Course, Paperwork
Attend the marriage preparation course.
The Catholic Church out of a duty of care for those choosing to get married int he Catholic Church offer marriage preparation courses throughout all Dioceses. Upwards of 7000 couples attend these ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care Service courses on an annual basis. ACCORD has been involved in the provision of this service for over 50 years.
Meet with your priest to prepare the paperwork. The Pre Nuptial inquiry form has to be completed by both parties in the presence of their priest.
6 Months - State Notification, Mass Booklet, Music
Notify the state of your intention to marry 3 months notice is required
Meet with the priest to discuss the readings and the Mass Booklet
Meet with the Musicians to discuss the choice of music for the Ceremony
3 Months - Mass Booklet
Finalise the Mass Booklet.
On the Day
For most people the arrival of their wedding day will set off a mixture of emotions and feelings. There will be a certain level of excitement that the day has finally arrived and there may also be a certain degree of nervousness. The first thing to acknowledge is that this is normal. We all wish that everything will turn out right and that the day will be memorable for all the right reasons. Given the amount of time, energy and planning that couples put into the wedding day it is not surprising that the vast majority of them will turn out just fine.
Put your trust in those around you, you are not alone. Don’t forget your future spouse who is also experiencing the excitement and the nervousness. You have chosen a best man and bridesmaid/s to support you on the day. They are there to make sure that the small details are taken care of and don’t be afraid to remind them of their role and what it is you expect from them.
The planning is done, preparations made it is now time to enjoy all that the day has to offer. You should begin the day with a positive attitude and this will spread to those around you. Try to remain calm and don’t let little insignificant things become major issues. Despite all of the efforts certain things may not be perfect. This is not your fault. You did not make it rain. You will still be married whether it rains or not.
Enjoy the calm and solemnity that surrounds your Church ceremony. Pay attention to what is happening, the richness of the liturgy (chosen by you), the words of the readings, the prayers offered by friends and family and the music. This happens for most people only once in their lives. Don’t let it pass you by. Focus on the words spoken by you and your new husband/wife in agreeing to spend the rest of your lives together. These memories should last a lifetime and will be visited by you again and again particularly when your anniversary comes around.
The Marriage Registration Form (Civil Registration) must also be signed by the couple, the Priest and the two witnesses on the day of the Wedding. This form must be returned to the registrar within 1 month of the ceremony, so make sure someone takes responsibility for this on the day.
The wedding reception is a time for you and all those close to you to enjoy good food and drink and each other’s company. Enter into the spirit of what is happening and enjoy it. Guests love to see the bride and groom having fun and it encourages them to get involved also. Don’t forget to take a few minutes in the middle of all that’s happening to ask your husband/wife how they are. Greet as many people as you can and thank them for what they have added to your special day.
Above all don’t worry. The day is to be enjoyed and your planning and attention to detail will pay off. If something does go wrong most people won’t even notice and those who do will most likely not comment. Have a great day and when you visit this day again as a memory let there be a smile on your face.