Make an appointment with the parish priest at least six months before the date you wish to marry. He will ask you to schedule a few visits with him to prepare for your wedding and for your marriage. The parish priest must verify that you and your fiancé are free to marry in the Roman Catholic Church; there are documents required and obtaining them may take some time. He will also explain civil and Church responsibilities involved in marrying. Here is a general idea of what to expect.
You will need a civil marriage license, or perhaps you will be able to be married by banns instead. City Hall sells the licences and the parish Church supplies the banns. Please check with the parish priest to find out whether you need a licence or if you can be married by banns.
You will need a copy of an updated certificate of baptism, normally issued six months prior to the wedding.
If your partner is not a Roman Catholic you will need to discuss your religious differences, especially concerning the passing on of your faith to children.
A priest may officiate at a marriage in which one partner is not Roman Catholic with permission from the bishop. Permission is granted if the Roman Catholic party promises to do his/her best to see to the Catholic baptism and education of the children. The priest who prepares the couple for marriage will inform the non-Catholic person of the promises made by the Roman Catholic.
You will want to arrange the following particulars of your ceremony, according to parish policies:
- Discuss with each other and the priest the readings and the prayers you want
- Select music, make arrangements with a photographer and choose floral arrangements
- Check if the announcements of your wedding will be publicized in your Church (banns)
- Set a time for the wedding rehearsal
The Catholic Church does not permit weddings outdoors or in other secular settings, or on Sundays.
The wedding may take place, under certain circumstances, in the church of the partner who is not a Roman Catholic. Please give the parish priest early notice if you seek to marry in another church.
The Diocese of St. Catharines requires that couples planning to marry participate in one of the Marriage Preparation programs offered at some of the parishes. To benefit more fully from the Marriage Preparation program, it is best to participate as early as possible.
These programs are held in different parts of the diocese and are facilitated by the parish priest and a team of married couples. They address a life-long commitment in the context of the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church, current church issues and other topics such as communication, finances, sexual intimacy, family life, natural family planning.
The diocese also provides Engaged Encounter weekends which allow more time for personal reflection and private communication between couples. Ask a pastor for an explanatory brochure or contact firstname.lastname@example.org