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Requirements for a Catholic Wedding

Actually, this will apply to all Catholic weddings, but obviously it needs a bit more coordination if you are planning on a destination wedding.  Firstly, be aware that Catholic weddings need to be held on consecrated grounds….not in someone’s backyard and not on a cruise or on the beach.

The most important step couples need to take is to begin the process with their own pastor. It all begins with your home parish where you worship. All marriage preparation, initial interviews and documents come from there. The couple needs to mention any previous marriage (please note that an annulment may be required even if one of the couple is not Catholic, and even if the first marriage was in a civil setting only.)

It is a good idea to begin the process at least one year prior to the desired wedding date. Most parishes (world-wide) require a waiting period of at least six months (sometimes more) before the intended wedding date to determine whether there may be impediments to the marriage, and whether it is appropriate for the couple to be married in a Catholic ceremony.

After the parish priest completes all the documentation, the local chancery (diocesan office) must give a Nihil Obstat in order for the wedding to take place in another location.

You also need permission from the church where you wish to be married.  Most churches require your documents at least two months in advance. However, to avoid disappointment, it is best to plan early, especially if you plan to be married in a popular place.

There may also be a deposit required.  This is to ensure that you will actually arrive for the wedding……in the past, some people have reserved a wedding at a parish and not shown up, meaning that members of that parish who wanted to be married on that date were denied the opportunity.

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