Best man, etc.


Who signs the marriage license as witnesses? Is it the best man and maid of honor? Do one or both of them need to be Catholic?


The marriage license is does not have anything sacramental about it. It is a civil document that can be signed by a non Catholic.

The first witness to the sacrament of marriage is the priest. However, I do not know why a person would choose someone (best man, bridesmaid) that is non Catholic as a witness to a sacrament. How can they witness to something they do not believe in?


My son-in-law is a convert to Catholicism. When he married my daughter, his brother, a non-Catholic was his best man.



My fiancé is Lutheran and doesn’t have any close friends that are Catholic. Her sister, for example, is the maid of honor.

And quite frankly, I’m very sick of all the “why would a you want a non-Catholic in your wedding” or “why would you marry a non-Catholic” comments that I see flying all over this board.


Do you know if the Church requires that any of the wedding party be Catholic? My best man is, but none of the wedding party on the bride’s side are.


All of my son-in-laws sisters, all 4 of them, and his two brothers were in the wedding and they are not Catholic.



The point of witnesses is just that they witness and can attest to the fact that the bride and groom made their vows in front of the priest, deacon, or (with a proper dispensation) another designated authority.

It is not necessary that the witness be Catholic, Christian, or even believe in God. But *ideally *the witnesses have reason to believe the bride and groom mean what they are saying.

It is *customary *that the best man and maid/matron of honor are the witnesses but this is not required.


Okay thanks! This wedding is serving as a great ecumenical event. Just a couple of days ago, I heard my fiancé on the phone with her friend (who is married to a Lutheran pastor) defending Purgatory of all things!


My best man isn’t Catholic… yet. :gopray2:

Suffice it to say there are plenty reasons to choose a non-Catholic best man. Like your best friend not being Catholic.


As a minister of the sacrament of marriage in Ilinois, the only person who signs the official marriage license after the marriage is performed is the official witness…the priest/deacon.
In the case of a civil ceremony, the judge or the justice of the peace signs it. In no cases, do the best man or the maid/matron of honor need to sign the document.

Once signed it is filed with the Clerk of the county in which the marriage is held. A marriage certificate is then issued, in our case by our local parish.


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