Getting Married in Church

If you are reading this you have probably decided that it is time to get married. Congratulations! In marriage we commit ourselves exclusively to another person whom we love for the rest of our lives. Marriage is part of the natural law but it is also part of God’s plan for us which is why marriage between two baptised Christians is called the Sacrament of marriage and is blessed by God.

Requirements for getting married in the Catholic Church

At least one of you must be a baptised Catholic – In the UK it is desirable that you have been Confirmed and have made your First Communion. Elsewhere it is compulsory that you be confirmed.

  •  You must both be free to marry.
  •  You must not be under pressure to marry.
  •  At least one of you should reside within the parish boundary.

Essential paperwork to be collated

  • The pre-nuptial form.
  •   A recent copy of your baptism certificate (within 6 months).
  •   Proof of your confirmation.
  •   A signed Statutory Declaration of Freedom. A small fee will be charged by the Commissioner for      Oaths.
  •  A notice to marry from your local Register Office at the Town Hall. There is a statutory fee for this    notice.
  • Marriage Preparation Course

All couples must attend a marriage preparation course, approved by the Catholic Church. A number of parishes run these courses and you will need to contact them directly to register. There is normally a fee for these courses to cover materials.

Do not set any date for your Wedding or Reception until you have spoken to your parish priest

Previous Marriages

If either of you have previously been through any form of marriage, whether in a church, register office or other registered place or by local custom, no further marriage can take place until the circumstances have been investigated by the church. Until the issue is cleared up, the forthcoming marriage arrangements can only be seen as provisional and no firm bookings should be made. The same situation applies for anyone who may have contracted a civil partnership.

Marriage between a Catholic and a non Catholic

Roman Catholics have to obtain permission from the Archbishop if they wish to marry someone who is not a Catholic. In these cases it is a requirement that both parties agree that any children they have will be baptised and brought up in the Catholic Faith. There is a £50 fee to gain this permission through the Archbishop’s office.

Getting Married in a Church Abroad

If you want to marry in a Catholic Church outside England and Wales, the same procedures apply but it will take longer and certain countries require more documents. There is a £50 fee to process papers for marriages abroad.

Planning your Wedding Ceremony

Once all the paperwork has been processed and the marriage course completed you will plan the wedding service with your priest. There are 2 options to think about:

  •  A Nuptial Mass – a special Mass during which you will exchange marriage vows.
  •  A Wedding Service – a service of prayer and readings during which you will exchange marriage vows.

You will need to plan for music, flowers, photography and people who will read the scriptures and prayers.

Do not set any date for your Wedding or Reception until you have spoken to your parish priest

How much will it cost to get married in Church?


  • Permissions from the Chancery £50
  • Marriage course £variable
  • Statutory Declaration of Freedom £variable
  • Licence from your registry office £variable

All parishes will expect some sort of donation from you to get married in their church.

At St Agnes most couples give the following donations:

  • Use of the church £150
  • Gift to the priest £100
  • Registering the marriage £50
  • Flowers – as advised by your florist

Please note that it is customary to leave your flowers in the church after the wedding

  •  Music – as advised by your musicians
  •  Photographer – as advised by your photographer

What next?

We hope you have found this leaflet helpful. If you have any questions or you want to begin the process of marriage preparation please contact Fr John after Mass on Sunday or by calling the parish office – 0208 452 2475 or email us

Good luck and God bless!

Do not set any date for your Wedding or Reception until you have spoken to your parish priest