Marriage

For a marriage to take place in a Catholic church, either the bride or the groom must be a baptised Catholic, and both must, in the eyes of the church be free to marry, that is, neither must have been through any form of marriage or civil partnership with anyone else. ¬†However, there are some circumstances where the church does not recognise a previous marriage as binding, and there is a process for investigating¬† such situations, and if appropriate, declaring¬† a person free to marry in the church. The process can be time-consuming, and no wedding date should be fixed until the formal declaration of freedom has been obtained. For a baptised member of the Roman Catholic Church, the proper place of marriage is the Catholic’s parish church. For a good reason, and with the permission of the Catholic’s parish priest it may be possible for the marriage to be in a different Catholic church, or in exceptional cases, in a non-catholic Christian church. In the Diocese of Westminster, 6 months notice of intention to marry is normally required, and the first step is to arrange a meeting with the priest, who will advise on all the requirements and agree the date and time of the wedding. In addition to completing the necessary documentation, attendance at an appropriate course of marriage instruction is mandatory.