Wedding ceremony question


Hello! I am new to the Catholic community but I was baptized Catholic as an infant. My family however, did not attend church while I was growing up and my fiance grew up in a similar situation. How do we go about getting married in a Catholic church since we were both baptized Catholic? I know we should look in to churches to get more information but I was just interested in getting a general idea before I start talking to churches without having a clue of what I should know and what to ask about. So far I do know there are numerous meetings with the priest or minister who is marrying us as well as meetings with a mentoring couple. We are getting married next December 14th so we have over a year before our wedding but it is never too early to start planning. Thanks for the help in advance!


talk to the priest about receiving the remaining sacraments of initiation if you have not received them: Confirmation and Eucharist. And Reconciliation.

Typically, a Catholic should be confirmed prior to marriage, although there are allowances in canon law for when that is not possible.

I really recommend you simply make the appointment with the priest.


Your best bet is to make an appointment with a Priest and discuss your situation. If neither of you have been confirmed you may have to go to RCIA classes and be confirmed into the Church first. I’m not sure about this. A Priest will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do. If neither of you plan on being confirmed into the Church and just want to get married in a Catholic church b/c they are beautiful I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. But I could be wrong.


We aren’t sure what church we will want to be married in yet, should we simply just make appointments in a few and pick a favorite or is this uncommon? I would like to also become a member of the church we get married, especially because I think it would be a great addition in my life and for my future children’s sake. Sorry for all of the dumb questions but this is all new information. Thanks again everyone!


Since you and your fiancé are both baptized Catholics and therefore bound to canon law, you are required to be married according to the rite of the Church. Ordinarily, you should be confirmed to receive the sacrament of matrimony. Definitely do not delay in speaking to your priest about this. This is around the time when confirmation classes start, so you’ll likely be able to receive the sacrament.

Good luck!


You are a member of the parish in whose territory you live. If there are several Catholic churches nearby, yes, you can become a member at one of your choosing.


As others have said even though you are baptised Catholics you must be confirmed as well before you can be married and should go to Confession and then receive the Eucharist.

Can. 1065 §1 Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before being admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave inconvenience.

§2 So that the sacrament of marriage may be fruitfully received, spouses are earnestly recommended that they approach the sacraments of penance and the blessed Eucharist.

Also you cannot simply shop around for a Church. The only Church you have a right to be married in (assuming you have complied with canon law) is your geographic parish church.
While permission might be granted to get married in a Catholic Church in a different parish the priest can refuse this.


Here are the full pre-requisites for a Catholic marriage according to Canon Law which binds all Catholics:


Can. 1063 Pastors of souls are obliged to ensure that their own church community provides for Christ’s faithful the assistance by which the married state is preserved in its christian character and develops in perfection. This assistance is to be given principally:

1° by preaching, by catechetical instruction adapted to children, young people and adults, indeed by the use of the means of social communication, so that Christ’s faithful are instructed in the meaning of christian marriage and in the role of christian spouses and parents;

2° by personal preparation for entering marriage, so that the spouses are disposed to the holiness and the obligations of their new state;

3° by the fruitful celebration of the marriage liturgy, so that it clearly emerges that the spouses manifest, and participate in, the mystery of the unity and fruitful love between Christ and the Church;

4° by the help given to those who have entered marriage, so that by faithfully observing and protecting their conjugal covenant, they may day by day achieve a holier and a fuller family life.

Can. 1064 It is the responsibility of the local Ordinary to ensure that this assistance is duly organised. If it is considered opportune, he should consult with men and women of proven experience and expertise.

Can. 1065 §1 Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before being admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave inconvenience.

§2 So that the sacrament of marriage may be fruitfully received, spouses are earnestly recommended that they approach the sacraments of penance and the blessed Eucharist.

Can. 1066 Before a marriage takes place, it must be established that nothing stands in the way of its valid and lawful celebration.

Can. 1067 The Episcopal Conference is to lay down norms concerning the questions to be asked of the parties, the publication of marriage banns, and the other appropriate means of enquiry to be carried out before marriage. Only when he has carefully observed these norms may the parish priest assist at a marriage.

Can. 1068 In danger of death, if other proofs are not available, it suffices, unless there are contrary indications, to have the assertion of the parties, sworn if need be, that they are baptised and free of any impediment.

Can. 1069 Before the celebration of a marriage, all the faithful are bound to reveal to the parish priest or the local Ordinary such impediments as they may know about.

Can. 1070 If someone other than the parish priest whose function it is to assist at the marriage has made the investigations, he is by an authentic document to inform that parish priest of the outcome of these enquiries as soon as possible.

Can. 1071 §1 Except in a case of necessity, no one is to assist without the permission of the local Ordinary at:

1° a marriage of vagi;

2° a marriage which cannot be recognised by the civil law or celebrated in accordance with it;

3° a marriage of a person for whom a previous union has created natural obligations towards a third party or towards children;

4° a marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the catholic faith;

5° a marriage of a person who is under censure;

6° a marriage of a minor whose parents are either unaware of it or are reasonably opposed to it;

7° a marriage to be entered by proxy, as mentioned in can. 1105.

§2 The local Ordinary is not to give permission to assist at the marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith unless, with the appropriate adjustments, the norms of can. 1125 have been observed.

Can. 1072 Pastors of souls are to see to it that they dissuade young people from entering marriage before the age customarily accepted in the region.


Usually this is a good idea. I did not care for the parish in my area. I drive 45 minutes to the parish I attend because they are friendly, warm, caring, and really want to involve everyone in the life of the parish. I felt at home immediately when I walked in and the priest was very intelligent and has 36 years in the priesthood. I felt it was a great choice.

If you don’t feel welcome or that it isn’t a good fit find one that it is. You were both baptized Catholic and I hope you will come into the Catholic faith/sacraments but you do not have to become Catholic…I would rather see someone happily serving God in another faith than becoming Catholic ONLY because they want to get married in the Church.

Not all priests are alike either. Sadly the first parish I went to had a priest who was just not friendly and had his favorites. The parish I’m in now has a really neat priest that really cares about people and is a good counselor.

Find the parish that fits you and then talk to that priest. Also, you can get married in chapels, shrines, etc. I find those nicer for weddings since most of the churches in my diocese look like gymnasiums with statues tossed in for good measure.

God bless you in your search and upcoming marriage,



I am glad that you have started early! Though you have only received baptism, you are indeed a Catholic, and so is your fiance’. So you will need to go and speak to a priest as soon as possible, because there are things you will both need to do before you get married. I do not know if your chosen date will be possible, it depends on what you will need to do in the meantime. I would try to be flexible with that. You both may need to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, receive the Eucharist, and be confirmed, before you marry. But the priest can go over all of this with you. Find the church nearest to where you live, or near the home where you grew up, and start there. You don’t just pick a Catholic church and get married there, you will be married in the parish closest to where you live now, or possibly where you grew up. Start with the closest church to your permanent home. Make an appointment and if you have your baptism certificate, bring it along. If not, find out where you were baptized and the church can help you get it.

Good luck and welcome home!!!


Maybe each Diocese is different but this is NOT true. You are not obligated to join the nearest parish. If you like it and feel welcome then that would be the easiest as it’s close but if you feel a church further away better suits you, then join that. Whatever church that you hold your membership in becomes the church that would consent if you decide to marry in a shrine, chapel, etc, which you can do. Your home parish priest is sometimes asked to give permission to be married in a location other than the local parish but wherever you are a member is the priest who does that. In my former church no one gets married at that parish. It’s just not a nice church for weddings, I think they might have had 3 in 10 years…so most opt to marry elsewhere. The church I’m in now is too big so I would find a small chapel.

Don’t get bullied on all this, look around for a parish where people are friendly and you are being spiritually fed. This is where your children will grow up and learn about their faith. It should be a really solid church where the people care and reach out.


You have to write a letter to the Priest and I believe Archbishop of the Diocese to marry in a church other than your own Parish church. You will have to wait several weeks for a response. Our directory has a list of fees for weddings in the church for both registered parishioners and for those outside of the Parish. I admire you for wanting to live your life in the Catholic Church and for children to be raised in the faith as well. The church requires that you are a practicing Catholic, and have received Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. Some priests expect you to join a ministry for a commitment of a year or two, and that you attend Marriage Preparation classes. Make an appointment with your Pastor as I am only speculating. Wishing
you many happy memories as you plan your big day and blessings from our Lord.


I guess each diocese is different…we don’t have all that…so check with the priest at the church you decide to attend and you can get the correct information for your situation. I live an hour away from my parish so that is my home parish. The priest at the parish you decide to attend will give you all the information you need to know.


You misunderstand. I’m not talking about a persons’ choice of parish in which they wish to attend Mass. We are all free to attend Mass regularly in any parish and even never in your own parish but none of that is relevant to the point.
When it comes to marriage (and assuming all pre-requisites are in order) only the geographic parish churches of the to-be husband and wife are required to allow you to be married there.
All parishes outside your geographic parish can refuse to allow you to get married there and normally they do unless there is some exceptional reason for them to permit it.
Marriage is not about a nice looking church in a lovely setting.


Most dioceses allow you to join any parish, it doesn’t have to be their geographic parish. If you belong to a parish that is not your geographic parish, the priest will probably not turn you down. I’m not even sure he could. My priest (and remember, this is not my geographic parish, but the one I am a member of) has said that one advantage of belonging to a parish is that the priest is then obligated to do things like marry you and bury you.

I didn’t get married in my geographic parish. I got married in the parish I grew up in (which was in a different city altogether, but the same diocese.) It was no problem at all. We didn’t have to write any letters for approval.

My daughter wants to someday marry at the parish my parents were married at. In fact, she wants the same date if she can get it. It is neither our geographic parish nor the parish we belong to, though we used to be members there. They have indicated it will not be a problem. In fact, they tell me a lot of people request to get married there, and they allow it.


It does not matter if you register at another parish (which you are allowed to do) that does not mean you “join” that parish.
Your parish is always the one you are geographically located in and in which you have the right to be married (assuming no impediments and also that pre-requisites are in order).
I am not saying another priest will not marry you but I am saying that they can and often do refuse and you can have no complaint if they refuse because you have no rights at another parish.

Canon Law:

Can. 1115 Marriages are to be celebrated in the parish in which either of the contracting parties has a domicile or a quasi-domicile or a month’s residence or, if there is question of vagi, in the parish in which they are actually residing. With the permission of the proper Ordinary or the proper parish priest, marriages may be celebrated elsewhere.


We aren’t sure what church we will want to be married in yet, should we simply just make appointments in a few and pick a favorite or is this uncommon? I would like to also become a member of the church we get married, especially because I think it would be a great addition in my life and for my future children’s sake. Sorry for all of the dumb questions but this is all new information. Thanks again everyone

Your profile does not state where you live and I can only offer marriage preparation guidelines for baptised Catholics in England and Wales. I reckon, it will not be too dissimilar to the rest of the world. However, the crucial note to our guidelines in England is that of getting married outside of one’s Parish is quasi new here.

As stated by previous posters, you approach the Priest of the Parish where you live and make enquiries as to Church requirements in respect of documents and Sacraments. In England and Wales, the former will include:

  • a copy of your Baptismal certificate valid for six months (up to the date of the wedding) stating that it is being issued for marriage purposes and which will also include other notations e.g. Sacrament of Confirmation;

  • a certificate showing that you and your fiancee have attended a marriage preparation course;

  • a duly completed Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form which you will complete with the Parish Priest

  • a Letter of Freedom to Marry (which will state that after careful investigation that there is no evidence of canonical impediment preventing either of you from contracting marriage) if you wish to be married in another Parish.

  • marriage license

If you wish to be married outside of the Parish, all your documents will be forwarded to the Diocesan Chancery who will then forward that to the Parish of your choice, who in turn will forward information when marriage has taken place to the Parish where you were baptised.

As to Sacraments and being that First Holy Communion is not often recorded on the Parish Register of Baptisms, my Parish Priest will want to know whether you and your fiancee have received First Holy Communion. Therefrom, my Parish Priest will proceed accordingly.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:


Congratulations on your engagement and welcome home!


You really have two separate issues, i.e., joining the Church and where to get married.

It is wise to want to marry and raise your children in the Church as this will greatly enrich your long term family life. The Marriage ceremony is a Big Thing in our culture but is only one day in eternity.

If you were baptized but never confirmed and received the other sacraments, you may need to attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes. Most parishes are beginning their classes now and will conclude with people receiving the sacraments at the Easter vigil mass. Find a good orthodox parish near you and make an appointment to talk to the pastor.

Best wishes!


You didn’t have to write letters but the Pastor of the parish you belong to had to give his permission and forward documents to that effect to the priest who did celebrate your marriage.

There are a lot of things that happen between the time the couple meets with the priest to request marriage and the time they sign on the dotted line, much of which the couple is unaware of. A lot of paperwork goes into a marriage celebrated outside one’s parish (whether it’s in the same diocese or not), a lot of paperwork goes into a mixed marriage or a disparity of cult marriage. None of which the couple ever sees or is aware of unless the priest specifically tells them.


Somebody earlier said the OP would have to write a letter to the parish priest and possibly to the Archdiocese as well. That is what I was responding to.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit