What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?

A Catholic marriage is a vocation by which a man and a woman are called by God to enter into a Covenant relationship. Through that Covenant they will make a life-long promise before God their spouse and to God within the community of the Church to love each other exclusively for the rest of their natural life, thus benefitting themselves and society. As the Body of Christ, the Christian community pledges their support to the couple by their prayers, help and concern.

Matrimony is a sacrament; a sign of God's faithful love for us all. Church law requires that marriages be celebrated in a sacred place-usually your local parish. When you desire to have your wedding in the Catholic Church, you are saying that you want Jesus to be there to celebrate it with you. You are asking Christ to bless and recognize the covenant you are making with one another and with God. As a community, we celebrate this precious moment with you and offer our prayers and support.

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a solemn covenant for life made between a man and a woman. We want your marriage to be a joyous and blessed experience and a memory to last a lifetime.

The Sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. The Sacrament gives spouses the grace to love each other with the same unconditional love that Christ loves His Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the couple, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.

Where do we begin?

Couples should meet with the Parish Priest at least 6 months prior to their proposed wedding date (which they will have set with him previously). If the persons to be married reside outside of the Parish, the paperwork must be done by their own parish priest and then sent to this Parish. This paperwork includes: Pre-nuptial documentation and marriage preparation course certificate.

What documentation is required?

A Certificate of Baptism: A recent copy (issued within the last six months) from the parish where you were baptised for Catholics, a Baptismal certificate dated from any time for Christians from other denominations.

Birth Certificates.

Two letters regarding Freedom to Marry: One for the bride and one for the groom must be completed by close friends and family in order to establish your freedom to marry in the Church.

If previously married: If you have been previously married, evidence of civil divorce and/or church annulment is needed prior to planning.

Civil Marriage Schedule: A civil marriage schedule is required for all marriages in this parish. The license may be obtained from the local council registration office (North Ayrshire Council Registration Office, 45 Ardrossan Road, Saltcoats. KA21 5BS. Tel: (01294) 463312. Email: Appointments are necessary. It should normally be given to the Priest at the wedding rehearsal before the wedding.

The couple must arrange with the Parish Priest here if they wish a priest from outside our parish to conduct their ceremony. Please request this as soon as you possibly can.

Marriage Preparation: The couple will meet with others getting married before their wedding as part of their marriage preparation.

A Marriage Preparation course certificate. Times and dates of courses can be had from the Priest assisting you.

When can the Date and Time for the Wedding be set?

Weddings cannot be celebrated on Sundays (except at a Mass already scheduled), Christmas Day or during Holy Week. Dates and times can be arranged with Father.

How much will it cost?

All Sacraments of the Church are free. However, couples often want to express their thanks to God by making an offering to the priest assisting them and to the parish for the physical use of their buiding. If altar servers have assisted they are often included in these gifts too. These donations are always welcome but should be given only if it is affordable.

What other important matters should be considered?

When you meet with Father, you will be given the opportunity to discuss the liturgy, music, decorations, flowers, rehearsal date, photography, and any other concerns you may have.