When you are planning to get married in the Catholic Church, the arrangements involve both Church and State law, and there are papers to be completed for both. Make contact with your local priest and he will explain what is involved in the Church marriage papers. He will complete them for you. The papers (Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form) for both bride and groom will be sent to the church of the bride, or wherever the wedding is to be celebrated.
To fulfill the requirements of civil law in relation to marriage:
- The completed Notice of Marriage form should be brought to the priest who is to officiate at the marriage (the officiant), who should sign this to indicate his willingness to officiate. He must be a registered officiant. Ask the priest whether he is a registered officiant. If he is not registered, contact your local priest, who can make the arrangements.
- Once the Notice of Marriage form has been signed, return it to the local registrar, along with any documents required by the local registrar. Notice for all marriages must be given in the 12-month period before the date of the marriage. You must send your notice early enough to allow the registrar to make sure both parties are free to marry one another. Normally, notices should be with the registrar about eight weeks before the marriage. But if either of you have been married or in a civil partnership before, the notices should be with the registrar 10 weeks before. The minimum period is 28 days before the date of the proposed marriage, but if you leave things as late as this you could be faced with the need to postpone your marriage. Only in exceptional circumstances will the Registrar General allow a marriage to take place if 28 days’ notice has not been given.
- The local registrar should have the Marriage Schedule ready for collection 14 days prior to the date of the wedding.
- Bring the Marriage Schedule to the priest of the place of marriage at least 3 days prior to the wedding.
- If no Marriage Schedule is presented to the officiant on the day of the wedding, no marriage can take place.
- After the marriage ceremony, ask the officiant (the priest who officiated at the marriage) to give you the Marriage Schedule, for which you should sign a receipt.
- Return the Marriage Schedule to the local registrar within 3 days.
- You should go to the local registrar (for a wedding in Greenlough that is Magherafelt), and obtain a Notice of Marriage form as soon as possible.
For full details about the civil law, contact the local registrar or the General Register Office. http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/marriage-and-registration
Note: If your wedding is to take place in the Republic of Ireland, there are civil regulations and civil documentation to be observed there also. Make sure you check all that out in good time, as there are strict time limits.