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Getting Married in the Catholic Church

How much notice do I need to give to get married in the Catholic Church?

In Ireland there is a Church and a State requirement to give each a minimum of three months notice.

What do we need to do ?

  1. Contact the priest in  your local parish where each of you presently live to let him know of  your intention to marry and make an appointment to meet him.   This may not be the same priest who will celebrate your wedding with you.
  2. Book the Church in which you hope to get married

What documents should we bring to the meeting?

  1. A new long form baptismal certificate issued within six months of the proposed date of marriage from the parish of Baptism
  2. Indication of Confirmation (separate certificate if not recorded on baptismal certificate)
  3. Proof of Freedom to Marry

    (This can be established through the traditional letters of freedom from each of the parishes the person has lived in for six months or more since he/she was 18 years of age.

    Alternatively they can ask a parent or somebody who has known them all their lives to write a letter stating their relationship to them and to the best of their knowledge they have never been married religiously or civilly in any jurisdiction.

    Another possibility is for the person to swear an affidavit before a Commissioner of Oaths attesting that he/she has never been married religiously or civilly in any jurisdiction.

    It is always best to check with your local priest with regards to methods of establishing freedom to marry as practices vary from place to place).
  4. Marriage Preparation Certificate

What is a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form?

As part of the pastoral care of the Church for you as an engaged person you will each complete a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry form with your local priest. The form records when you were received into the Church at Baptism and then Confirmed. It also indicates that you are free to marry and helps identify any special permission that you might need.

It also affirms that as a mature adult you understand the nature of marriage and accept the duties and responsibilities of married life. The individually completed forms of the bride and groom are sent to the parish priest of the Church where the wedding is taking place and after the wedding the forms are kept in the parish archive.

What happens if my situation is particular?

If your situation is particular such as a Catholic marrying somebody from another Christian denomination or marrying somebody who is not baptised you should immediately consult with your priest informing him of the special situation. You may wish to consult our FAQ’S for more information.

What are the Civil requirements?

The Civil requirements are separate to the Church requirements and need to be fulfilled by all couples intending to get married in Ireland.

 In the Republic of Ireland the couple must arrange to meet in person a civil registrar at least three months before the wedding to give the required three months notice of their intention to marry (in advance of meeting the registrar, know the name of the priest/deacon (solemniser) who has agreed to celebrate the Marriage).

  1. Receive the Marriage Registration Form (MRF) from the civil registrar-without this document no Marriage can take place.
  2. Show the MRF to the priest/deacon (solemniser) to check that details are correct
  3. Make the verbal declaration of no civil impediment not more than two days before Marriage.
  4. Return the signed MRF to any civil registrar no later than one month after the wedding.
     For details see   

In Northern Ireland

  1. The couple may give a maximum of one year (but not less than a minimum of fourteen days notice) of their intention to marry.
  2. They must approach the local registrar in the district in which the marriage is going to take place to obtain a Notice of Marriage Form (one for each party).
  3. Bring at least one of the Notice of Marriage Forms to the local registrar.
  4. One of the parties must collect the Marriage Schedule (the document to be signed on the day of the marriage) from the local registrar’s office. The schedule cannot be issued more than fourteen days before the marriage and the registrar will advise the couple when the marriage schedule can be collected.
  5. Bring the Marriage Schedule to the priest of the parish where the marriage is to take place in advance of the wedding. No marriage can take place without this schedule.
  6. Return the signed Marriage Schedule to the local registrar within three days after the wedding.

    For details see

This information is offered by ACCORD to help you in preparation for your marriage.   However it is always best to check with your local priest with regards to the regulations and practices in your own parishes and Dioceses with regards to planning your Marriage in the Church.