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
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
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 :