If you are planning on getting married in the Church, your first point of contact must be your parish priest. You parish priest is the priest of the parish in which you are resident. It is normal to be married in your own geographical parish by your Parish Priest. If one of the parties to the proposed marriage is from another Christian denomination, Fr Brian is unable to accommodate their Minister’s participation during the wedding Mass/Service, as this concession has been abused in the past when granted.
It is crucial that you understand what you are consenting to when you make your wedding vows, so the Diocese of Westminster requires a minimum of 6 months notice of intention of marriage. Please do not arrange anything for your wedding day, or the date, or share plans for a proposed wedding date, without first talking with your parish priest and all due diligence completed. Until that confirmation, all plans must be considered provisional.
The parish priest’s job is to ensure that there are no impediments to the marriage and that the couple fully understand the obligations and sacred nature of the sacrament of Marriage. This will cover topics such as, the nature of the sacrament: its obligations, the indissolubility of marriage, the unity of marriage, and free acceptance of the gift of children. Most of this will be covered at a marriage course. Practical details will be provided.
To ensure good communication, the parish priest only deals with the bridegroom and groom and will not deal with family members or wedding planners. Equally the first person to contact Fr Brian must always be the Catholic party in the event of the other party being a non-Catholic or a non-Christian.
Very important: Any previous marriages/divorces must be declared immediately at the time of initial contact with Fr Brian. All previous marriages, other than death of the spouse, are presumed valid irrespective of a civil divorce, unless proven otherwise by documentation.
In all instances speak to your parish priest – first!