Church marriage: all you need to know about this ancestral practice!

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Organizing a wedding is not easy! It is even sometimes complicated to fully understand how this practice works, we don’t know where to start! Choose the place well, fill out the documents step by step…
So, if you want to take the plunge, don’t worry, we tell you everything you need to know about the essential steps in preparing for a wedding to the Church.

Who has the right to marry? 

For the Catholic Church 

It should be known that according to the law of the Church , all men aged at least 16 and all women aged 14, are able to unite before the altar.  But in the eyes of French law, it is not the same, because you have to have the majority , which is 18 years.
In order to be able to marry religiously, it is necessary to know that at least one of the two spouses, must be of Catholic faith. Baptized, and confirmed, in order to be able to unite in all harmony!
But be careful, a church wedding only happens once. So if one of the two spouses is linked to an old religious marriage, it is impossible to start over. 

It is good to know that the Catholic union is based on four fundamental pillars which are: freedom, fidelity, indissolubility and fertility . Thus, this must be respected and honored on a daily basis.

In which church can you get married?

The good reasons for marrying her in church! 

Choosing the right wedding venue 

The place where you get married is a determining point, to launch its preparations!  Because, it is from this place that the whole ceremony will flow. While participating in your memories, it is the commemoration of a happy event. Usually, the bride and groom bond in the church which depends on their domicile, but if you cannot agree, the parish of the bride is preferred. The choice is yours, and in reality, nothing is impossible.
Once you’ve selected your wedding venue, the REAL planning can begin.

Steps to follow 

As a first step, you must contact the person in charge of the church, in order to constitute your marital file. But don’t panic, the priest is there to accompany you through all the stages.
The documents to provide are quite simple. You need to bring: 

  • an extract from the birth certificate of both spouses, dated at least 2 or 3 months before the marriage. It is therefore necessary to calculate the moment when you will make the request.
  • the dates and places of baptism of the two spouses. But, if one of the two is not baptized, it is up to the parish to request a dispensation from the bishop.
  • the contact details of the witnesses are necessary. That is to say:   their names, first names and places of residence.
  • the civil marriage certificate issued by the mayor during the ceremony at the town hall is compulsory. A church marriage could not be formalized without civil marriage.
  • a declaration of intent, expressing your awareness of the Catholic commitment of marriage.

But there are special cases

Life is filled with hardships, and we are never safe from divorce or death… In these particular situations, somewhat particular procedures come.
Nothing very complicated but only additional documents that will be requested:

  • If ever, one of the bride and groom is widowed, a death certificate from the deceased spouse will be required.
  • If one of the bride and groom is of a different denomination such as Orthodox or Protestant, you will need to apply for a disparity of worship permit. For this, the bride or groom will need to be baptized and you will need to commit to raising and baptizing your children in the Christian faith.
  • If you are divorced, from a first marriage in church, to remarry, you must obtain the authorization of the bishop, after recognition of the nullity of the preceding marriage.

But concretely, how do we go about it?

First, take a breath! Because planning a wedding is really stressful and there is something to panic about. But precisely, do not panic! Marriage is meant to unite you, not to yell at you. There is no reason for this to go wrong. Choosing the right day is VERY important, but know that you probably won’t be the only ones who want to get together on this day. 

First tip, remember to do it well in advance, so that you can organize everything as you had imagined. Allow around 10 months or even 1 year to secure your place.  A wedding takes place between Monday and Saturday. No union is made on Sundays, the Lord’s Day. You will be put in contact with other future bride and groom in order to know the good functioning of the marriage, and thus to think about the morals and the expectations of the marriage.

At the end of the various stages and appointments, you will have to write several documents:

First, your declaration of intent, the one that expresses your commitment to the Catholic Church (seen at the beginning).
Then, your spouses’ prayer, which you will have to read together on the wedding day, taking up with your own words, the importance of God in your Christian life.
Finally, and lastly, universal prayer, it is made up of several intentions read by your loved ones during the celebration.

As a result of all of this, you will have to make your choice regarding the texts and songs for the ceremony. For this, a small booklet will be given to you by the priest.
A final interview with the priest who celebrates your wedding will be mandatory in order to fix the texts, songs, music, but also the protocol of the ceremony.

Very small details that will allow the organization of your wedding to be perfect!  Sometimes worrying, these little last minute regulations are necessary!  But also your order of entry and exit, such as a dress rehearsal, will be settled during the last interview.

Long and sometimes trying, organizing a wedding can sometimes take your head. But now that you know everything in detail. You are ready to go to the altar with peace of mind … 

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