Marriage Preparation

Guidelines on getting married in a Catholic Church

The primary purpose in our seeking information is to establish that in the eyes of the Catholic Church you are both free to marry.

In cases where either or both parties have been in a previous marriage NO DATE can be arranged until appropriate searches have been made regarding the former marriage(s).

For a marriage to be valid/recognised by the Catholic Church it must take place in a Catholic church and in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses unless appropriate dispensations have been sought and granted by the Bishop

For those who are marrying for the first time

For Catholics we require a recent copy of their Baptism entry (this means one that is less than six months old and one that is dated not earlier than six months before the proposed wedding). We also need information regarding their Confirmation. Sometimes this is included in the baptism entry. If not, a certificate or some other evidence needs to be obtained. Confirmation is obligatory in a number of countries.

For Christians who have been baptised / christened, we require evidence of the date and place of baptism. If there is no card / certificate then a letter from a parent (with date & place of baptism) will suffice.

When one party is not Roman Catholic permission from the Roman Catholic Bishop needs to be obtained. The Roman Catholic is asked to undertake to do his/her best to see that any children born in your marriage are baptised and brought up in the Catholic Faith.

Both parties will each need to sign a Statutory Declaration of Freedom before a Solicitor or A Commissioner of Oaths.

Both parties will need to attend a Marriage Preparation Course (see below for information regarding our marriage course)

If your wedding is taking place in a Catholic Church elsewhere you will need to let us know the name of the church, the name of the priest conducting the wedding and the diocese in which the church is situated.

If your wedding is taking place in another Christian Church a special permission (dispensation) must be obtained from the Roman Catholic Bishop. For this to be given there need to be serious reasons (e.g. the father/mother of one party is a priest/minister, or the family of the non-Catholic party has a real and long-standing connection with the church in which they wish to marry)

The civil requirements of the country of marriage must be attended to by both parties If you are getting married in England or Wales each party is required to obtain from your local Registrar of Marriages a Certificate for Marriage without which no marriage can proceed.


The Diocese of Westminster requires an administration fee of £50 for marriages taking place outside of the diocese and for marriages needing permission/dispensation from the Bishop.

The parish of St. John Fisher asks additionally for a donation of £40 for those marrying outside of the parish

For those getting married at St. John Fisher we ask for a donation of £300

The Marriage Service

Please contact me for details and information regarding the Catholic Rite of Marriage.

There are alternatives for the prayers and the readings from the Bible

You will need to discuss your plans for the service above all with the priest who will be officiating at your wedding.

If you are planning a booklet or an Order of Service it is essential that the priest /minister who is officiating sees it before it goes to print

We require at least SIX MONTHS NOTICE; late applications may not be processed in time.

In the first instance please telephone for an appointment (020 8997 3164)

or email


Marriage Preparation Course at St. John Fisher, Perivale

Below is information related to the marriage course that has previously been delivered here at St John Fisher. Due to the current restrictions, there will not be a marriage course this year at the parish, but we can recommend another course which can be completed online. 


Joy – Filled Marriage


It is recommended that couples attend the course about six months prior to marriage, although there is no restriction as to who can participate and sometimes couples complete the course just before their wedding. This course is intended for both to attend together and would not be suitable otherwise as it is designed to facilitate communication between the two during the session itself.

 How this course will help you

 1) The Catechists

  • Over the six weeks of the course we don’t want to just touch upon six topics but actually give you an insight into five different marriages as each session will be given by a different couple.  By the end you will take away some useful tools, some sound advice but more than this – an experience of married life as given to you through the couples who will share with you their married life – sometimes quite intimately.
  • They are not all great speakers, they are not all experts but they have all had an experience of Christian marriage and can give a witness that even the most difficult problems can be avoided or overcome if you stay close to the Church and to Christ.
  • It is not designed to prepare you for the good/easy times… don’t need our help to choose your honeymoon. Its designed to set the foundation of a marriage that will last. None of us enter marriage wanting it to end but many marriages fail so we need to address why things go wrong, how to avoid them but more importantly how we use these times as a mechanism to re-build and start again.

2) The Content.

 Joy – Filled Marriage programme,

  • Helping prepare engaged couples to embrace God’s plan for the sacrament of matrimony is an honour and a privilege. In today’s climate, it is also a challenge. Joy-Filled Marriage is a marriage preparation program designed to meet that challenge.
  • The two components of the program—Life Skills for Couples and God’s Plan for Love—incorporate rich Catholic theology with sound psychology.
  • This program offers a comprehensive approach to marriage preparation that covers not only the sacramentality and theology of marriage but also the practical life skills necessary to live out the rich Catholic vision of marriage.

  7 Sessions from 8.00-10.00pm:

February                               tbc

March:                                   tbc

April:                                      tbc


The 7 Sessions are…


Session One: God’s Plan for Marriage “in the Beginning”

Session Two: Christ Restores God’s Plan for Marriage

Session Three: To What Are You Saying, “I Do”?

Session Four: Where the Words of Your Vows Become Flesh

Session Five: The Beauty of Openness to Life

Session Six: Living God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage

Session Seven (Saturday Session): Love gives Life


The Saturday session includes possibility for confession, attendance at the 6.30pm Vigil Mass and an evening reception from 8.00 to 10.00pm to celebrate the end of the course and the forthcoming weddings. Attendance at all six sessions is compulsory to receive a certificate.

The cost of the course is £80 per couple but bursaries may be arranged if a couple is unable to meet this cost in full. Please contact the parish office for further details and application form.