Weddings – How to Arrange a Marriage

Important Web-Sites:
(Mount Argus PMC – ph 01 296 4257)
(for those wishing to marry in ROME)
Also, NAOMI (16 North Great Georges St. Dublin 1 tel. 01 8786156) offer an excellent Pre-Marriage Course.


What you need to know and do

The priests of the parish wish you every blessing and happiness on the occasion of your forthcoming marriage. The marriage of two people is a very special celebration. We hope that the following information will be helpful to you.

What Needs To Be Done?

When making preparations there seems to be so much to do. Yet when you really think about it, especially with regard to the Church, things are very straight forward and if you allow enough time all can be arranged without too much difficulty

Book The Church

It is advisable to book the Church as early as possible. Make contact with the Parish Office and with the priest in charge of your area.

Preparation and Requirements*

The Family Law Act 1995 requires couples to give a minimum of three months notice to the State of their intention to marry. Once you have booked the Church, it is no harm to send this notification even one or two years in advance of the wedding. Without the notification to the State, the marriage will be not valid in civil law. A form can be got from your local Registrar and should be sent to him or her.

* N.B. New Legislation came into law recently.  Please check with the local Registrar for changes!

For the Dublin area the address is:

Registrar of Marriages,
Room 1,
Joyce House,
8-11 Lombard Street East,
Dublin 2.
Phone: 6711863

It is worth noting that the Church has for sometime required a minimum of three months notice also.

The next step is to book yourselves on a pre-marriage course. Again do not leave this to the last minute. Courses are run throughout the year but are generally limited to ten couples so early booking is advisable. ‘Accord’ (The Catholic Dublin Diocesan Agency for Marriage) run courses in a number of centres throughout a number of centres in the diocese. In the Dublin area, phone 4784400 (email: to book a course in the nearest centre to you.

There are also other pre-marriage courses like ‘Naomi’ (16 North Great Georges Street : Phone 8786156). The courses can be a weekend (Friday night and all day Saturday) or spread out over a few weeks (One night a week). They are run by married couples and are very practical and out of which you will be enriched.

Another excellent pre marriage course is the one run by Fr Pat Rogers of Mount Argus (Tel: 01 2964257.

Within six months of the wedding, it is time to gather the required Church documents. Again do not leave this to the last minute as it can take time to get these documents, if one was baptised outside of Ireland. These papers are sent to the Church where the wedding is to take place. These include:

  • A current baptism cert (not a state birth cert and not an old baptism cert). It is evidence of your baptism and also that you were not previously married. This is why it must be dated within six months of the wedding. You can get this from the Church where you were baptised.
  • A confirmation cert available from the Church where you were confirmed.
  • A Letter of Freedom: from every place that you lived for more than six months over the age of sixteen. If you were in a lot of places, it may be necessary to get a sworn affividavit or a letter from your parents who can vouch for the fact that you were never previously married. The letter of freedom can be got from the priest in the area in question.

When you have all these documents, arrange to meet your local priest who will fill out a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form. This is a form which basically asks a number of questions to make sure that you understand the step that you are about to take. All of these documents are then sent to the Church where the wedding is to take place.

All of the above requirements will be explained to you by your local priest. The above applies to the situation of two Catholics who intend to marry. For other circumstances, there are more requirements. If the couple live outside of Ireland but are getting married in Ireland, they still must notify the State. Their Church papers are sent by their local priest to the Bishop of the diocese where the wedding is to take place and these in turn are sent by the Bishop to the Church where the wedding is to take place.

As regards planning the liturgy for the wedding, I recommend that you buy a book called ‘A Wedding of your Own’ by Padraig Mc Carthy which is published by Veritas. This book contains all the readings, wedding rites and prayers. There is even a checklist at the back to make sure that you have remembered everything from the readers to the flowers.

Flor Mc Carthy’s Book ‘Wedding Liturgies’ (Dominican Press) contains just the readings and prayer of the Faithful but it does so under various themes. Another excellent preparation booklet is ‘Your Wedding’ published by the Dublin Repemptorist Publications in January 1998. It is advisable to read and plan the day. Choose the readings that mean a lot to you and your partner and try to involve both families in the allocation of readings and prayers.

If you would like to have a ‘Papal Blessing’, you can order them through Veritas. It takes a few months to get it and before ordering you will need to have a letter from your priest stating that you are to be married on a particular date and that you are practicing Catholics.

For information on getting married in Rome see the website for the Irish College in Rome

Finally we do hope that you find this information useful and may we wish you and your partner every happiness for the future. You will find more detailed information on getting married at the Jesuit website ‘Getting Married’