Getting Married

Congratulations on your decision to get married. The whole Christian community, through its parishes, personnel and agencies, wishes to join with you and your families in celebrating this very special moment in your lives. We also undertake to assist you in every way we can as you journey to your wedding day and during your married life.

This guide is intended to assist you with planning your journey towards the wedding day. The different issues are addressed in the context of norms in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. These may vary in other dioceses. Several of the issues will vary if you choose to celebrate your marriage abroad.


Booking the Wedding


The choice of priest or deacon who officiates at your ceremony is completely yours so long as he is a priest in verifiable good standing. It does not have to be the priest of the church where the wedding takes place. If he is not a priest of the church where the ceremony takes place, he will be authorised by the parish priest of that church to officiate at the ceremony. Before giving this authorisation, the local parish priest or priest-in-charge is required to satisfy himself of the priest’s credentials. The visiting priest will be asked to present an acceptable form of photo-ID and a current celebret (a standard statement from the priest’s bishop or superior verifying that he is in good standing). If you wish, you may invite other priests to concelebrate.

If you are planning a wedding abroad, it is your responsibility to ensure that a duly authorised Catholic priest is available to officiate.

See separate section on marriage abroad – click here


You are free to choose any Catholic church which is part of a parish or from a small number of Catholic chapels which have special permission to host weddings. Permission of the local bishop must be sought to hold a marriage ceremony for an inter-church marriage in a non-Catholic church.

All parishes keep diaries for bookings. Usually they keep them for a few years ahead! The normal procedure for booking a wedding is to make contact with the parish priest or priest in charge of the church. He will check to see if your proposed date is available at the church. Have an alternative date in mind in case you need it.

If the date is available, the priest will enter your name(s), contact details, the name of the officiating priest or deacon and, ideally, a time. That space will then be reserved for your wedding, assuming that no obstacle arises in the meantime which may prevent the ceremony going ahead. Some churches require a deposit at the time of booking.

Book the church before you place a deposit for a reception


Because Sundays and Holy Days are the days when the faith community gathers for worship, weddings are not celebrated in the Diocese of Cork and Ross on those days. A few other days (Christmas Day, Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday) are logically excluded, but you can choose from the other 300+ days of the year!

Because some churches have more than one wedding on the same day, you may be restricted to a choice of hours (e.g 12noon, 2 pm or 4 pm). Local clergy will advise.

Marriage To Do List: 20 easy steps!

  1. Book the church.
  2. Book officiating priest.Decide whether to have Mass.
  3. Make an appointment with th elocal regstrar to give the formal three-months (can be given anytime up to three months before the date).
  4. Arrange Premarriage Preparation course.
  5. Plan reception (if desired).
  6. Order Papal blessing.(if desired)
  7. Arrange to have premarriage papers completed for both parties in yoour current parish(es) by priest(s).
  8. Plan the fromat of the ceremony with the officiating priest.
  9. Arrange for music/hymns.
  10. Contact those responsible for church decoration. (if desired)
  11. Plan and proof-read booklet. (if desired)
  12. Provide all the readers with copy of texts with which to practise.
  13. Purchase candle(s) for ceremony.
  14. Arrange rehearsal in the church with priest and readers.
  15. Designate someone the responsibility for bringing rings, coin(s)/gifts, candles, booklets, etc to the church on the day.
  16. Coordinate drivers to ensure timely arrival at church.(Plan for the bride to arrive 10 minutes before the time; photos will take 15 minutes).
  17. Assign people to welcome guests at church and usher them to their places. (Distribute booklets.)
  18. Deliver candle, rings, and coins/gifts to the altar before the ceremony begins.
  19. Deliver offerings/fees for priest and church services to the sacristy after the ceremony. (Usually doen by the best man.)
  20. Ensure that the Marriage Registration Form is delivered to civil authorities within one mnth of the date of marriage.

Further Information regarding Marriage