Before making any other arrangements, go and see your local Catholic priest. He will explain what you have to do, the paperwork that needs to be completed and the marriage preparation that is necessary before you can be married in the Catholic Church.
There are currently four main ways of obtaining marriage preparation, which is required for anyone wishing to get married in the Catholic Church.
This is an interactive and skills-oriented group course facilitated live through Zoom. The course is delivered over weekly sessions of 90 minutes over a period of three consecutive weeks and is suitable for couples planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Preparing Together Anywhere has been awarded an imprimatur from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and upon completion of the course the couples receive a certificate as verification of attendance.
This is a bespoke, questionnaire-based exploration of relationship expectations. It is done individually with each couple over 2-6 one-hour sessions by a skilled facilitator using Zoom. This resource was developed by FOCCUS Inc., an apostolate of the Archdiocese of Omaha, and is suitable for couples planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Upon completion, the couple receives a certificate as verification of attendance.
The Engaged Encounter marriage preparation courses are held over a weekend or over a series of online sessions. Couples receive a certificate of attendance which is normally required by the priest who is officiating at their wedding.
Please enquire with your parish priest or deacon.
You will need to give your priest a copy of your baptismal certificate (with a baptismal date not more than six months old). You can request copies of this from the church where you were baptised. If your partner is a baptised Christian then they will also need to provide a copy of their baptismal certificate.
You will have to sign a Declaration of Oath of Freedom to Marry which can be obtained from your priest. If either party have been married previously, there are further declarations that will be needed and your priest can advise you on this.
Next, you and your partner need to go to the register office to get a legal certificate which will allow you to get married. You will also need to complete the marriage schedule. It is your responsibility to obtain the form from the local register office and give it to the authorised person (your priest), enabling the marriage to be legally recognised. The priest will complete and return it to the register office, post-marriage, for the register office to provide your marriage certificate.
If the wedding is to take place abroad, contact your local UK parish priest in the first instance to allow time for Church documentation to be completed and sent in advance of the wedding.
Marriage papers for weddings taking place abroad are processed by the chancery office, then by the office of the overseas bishop, before being sent to the place of marriage. Allow an additional minimum of three months for this, from the completion of marriage preparation and all documentation.