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The Celebration of Marriage

In the Catholic Church the normal place for the Celebration of Marriage is the Parish Church of the bride so the priest of the parish in which the bride lives takes responsibility for the paper work associated with the Marriage, no matter in which church the Marriage is to take place. The priest of the bride’s parish must have three month’s notice to allow time for the Marriage Papers to be completed. Marriage Papers for the groom are filled in by the priest of the parish where he is currently living and again the priest should be given three months notice of the marriage. Documents required : a recent copy of Baptism Certificate from the Parish of Baptism, Certificate of Confirmation (usually included in Baptism Certificate), a letter of freedom from parishes lived in for more than six months since sixteenth birthday, a pre-nuptial enquiry form filled in by the priest of the parish. These are brought together and lodged in the church where the marriage is to take place.

Notifying the Civil Authorities

Couples must also give notice to the local Civil Registrar of Marriages and fill out the necessary papers which must be signed by the priest celebrating the Marriage Ceremony.

1. From 1 January 2004, new legislation on marriage has been in force. The Church has no involvement in this process; it is strictly between the persons getting married and the registrar for the District.

2. The couple must notify the Registrar of their intention to marry by completing a Marriage Notice Form (available from the Registrar's Office, The Guildhall) or download a form at :


At some time prior to the date of the marriage the parties may be requested to attend at the Registrar's Office to finalise the arrangements and collect the marriage schedule. After the wedding the marriage schedule has to be returned to the Registrar's Office within 3 days.

3 The completed Marriage Notice Form must be returned to the Registrar for the district in which you are getting married at least fifteen days prior to the date of marriage. Parties can notify the Registrar up to one year prior to the date of marriage.

4 Once the Registrar has received the Marriage Notice and there is no impediment to the marriage and the person to perform the Ceremony is an approved Officiant or Celebrant (i.e. a priest of the diocese of Derry) a Marriage Schedule is prepared for collection by the parties at the registrar's office.

5. Just to emphasise, it is your responsibility to produce your Marriage Schedule to the Celebrant at least three days before the wedding.

6. A marriage cannot take place without a Marriage Schedule

7. It is your responsibility to return the signed Marriage Schedule to the Registrar’s office within three days of the wedding.

If you are visiting Northern Ireland to be married and you are a citizen of a country that is not a member of the European Economic Area, you will need to apply for a visa before you travel. If you do not get a visa the registrar will not be able to take your notice of marriage and you will NOT be able to marry in Northern Ireland.

If you are already in the UK, and you are a citizen of a country that is not a member of the European Economic Area, you will need the approval of the Home Secretary to be married here. For further information visit the Home Office website at :



Other Contacts
  Steelstown Parish (Our Lady of Lourdes), Derry City - Telephone : 028 7135 1718