How do I get married in the Church?
The process is very easy. What a couple would do initially is to contact their parish pastor (priest) at least six months prior to the marriage date. At this time, the priest would set up an appointment to complete the necessary paperwork (which consists of the Initial Questionnaire, Dispensation/Permission form [for marriages involving a non-Catholic, etc.] and also to arrange pre-marital assessment. It is not a “pass/fail” test. With this tool, the pastor is able to assess a couple's compaibility as well as areas that need discussion in their relationship. Usually, it’s used as a basis for further discussion in subsequent meetings prior to the wedding.
After this is completed, the couple may be encouraged and invited to attend a pre-marriage program, which is similar to a retreat. Typically, these programs are called “Pre-Cana.” Depending on where they are held in the diocese, they can be one-two day events that feature presenters who offer a seminar on marriage.
When these things have been completed (and usually about 3-4 months prior to the wedding—it usually depends on the presiding minister [priest or deacon]), the couple again meets with the pastor or minister who will preside at the wedding to prepare the ceremony. Many things are discussed during this time: time of the ceremony, music for the Mass/Service of the Word, etc…
For more information about dating and engagements, mariages, parenting and families, visit www.foryourmarriage.org.