Getting Married! First Steps
You want to marry in a Catholic Church.
What do you do?
Contact your local priest he will take you through the process. In Portlaoise, an appointment can be made directly with any of the priests of the Parish or through the Parish Office.
If you wish your Marriage to take place in one of the Churches of Portlaoise Parish – St. Peter and Paul’s Parish Church, Church of the Assumption, the Heath, Holy Cross Church, Ratheniska – Please book the date, time and Church with the Parish Office.
It is a diocesan requirement that you give at least three months notice of your marriage. This is also a State requirement in the Republic of Ireland. It is also a requirement of the Diocese that every couple undertake and pre-marriage course prior to marriage.
St. Peter and Paul’s Church
You must also give notice in person to a Registrar of marriages at least three months before the marriage. The local Registrar address and telephone is HSE, Dublin Road, Portlaoise. Tel: 057 86 21135. The notification may be given to any Registrar. They will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) which you will return within one month of the marriage (signed by the Solemniser (Priest), the Bride and Groom and two Witnesses) to a Registrar in order for your marriage to be registered in the State.
Traditionally couples go to the local parish of the bride, but they can go to the parish in which either of them lives.
Make an appointment, so that the Priest can give you plenty of time. The priest will explain the whole process to you and lead you through it in a couple of meetings.
From the beginning the priest will want to ensure that you are well prepared for the step you want to take. He will probably recommend that you consider doing a Pre-Marriage Course, sooner rather than later.
What does the process consist of?
All the formalities are looked after in an official document called the Prenuptial Enquiry, which the priest must fill out with the couple.
You will need:
- Certificates of Baptism and Confirmation
- Letters of Freedom
- Civil Licence from the State
And then there’s the Rehearsal… the final preparation.
The prenuptial enquiry
Baptismal and Confirmation Certificate:
You must produce Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates. They can be obtained from the Parishes in which you were baptised. Write to the Parish Priest of that parish; he will send them on to you. If you were baptised or confirmed in Portlaoise Parish and you are filling in your ‘Pre Nuptial Enquiry’ form, with one of the priests of the Parish, you do not need to get certificates prior to having your ‘pre-nuptial’ form filled in.
If only one of you is a Catholic check out the requirements for a ‘mixed marriage’.
If either of you have been married before, you will probably need an annulment before you can be remarried in the Catholic Church. Check with a Priest.
Letters of Freedom:
Before getting married you must establish that you are free to marry. You must get a Letter of Freedom, a statement from the Parish Priest of your home parish that you have not been married already. If either you or your fiancé (e) has lived for substantial periods (more than six months) as an adult away from the home parish, you need Letters of Freedom from the parishes of the areas in which you have lived.
If someone has done a great deal of travelling, making it impractical to get all the Letters of Freedom, it is possible, with the agreement of the priest, to satisfy the requirement by attending a Commissioner of Oaths and swearing that one has not been married before.
Notification of the State:
In the Republic of Ireland, according to the Family Law Act 1995, you must notify the Registrar of Marriages, in writing, at least three months before the date of the marriage. Find out where marriages are registered in your local area and contact that office or any Registrar.
If marrying outside Ireland the demands of the State vary from one jurisdiction to another. If you contact your local priest in good time he will inform you of all the requirements, civil as well as religious. However, it is good to be informed of the requirements of the civil law in your own country or state.
In the USA it is often a requirement (dependent on area) that marriage preparation should begin six months prior to the wedding. So go to the parish office in good time.
The Pre-Marriage Course
A course gives you a chance to meet and listen to other couples in the same position as yourselves and hear first hand experience from facilitators who are married.
On a marriage preparation course you will look at ways of coping with the stresses of marriage and how to deepen your relationship.
Courses in Our Area
In Ireland pre-marriage courses are organised in every diocese by Accord, The Catholic Marriage Care Service. They have a centre in Portlaoise – their offices are in the Parish Centre and they organise a number of pre-marriage courses each year. Information on courses in the Portlaoise area can be obtained from the Parish Office.
There are also special courses, in Dublin, for interchurch couples. These are organised by Embrace, the Interchurch Marriage Preparation Group.
“Doing the pre-marriage course was not high on our agenda initially while trying to organise a wedding, but what we gained was a helpful insight into the problems couples will encounter and how to address these problems sooner rather than later”.
“The course was informative and left you enough scope to decide, develop and look at the aspects that relate to you as a person, your partner and the partnership you are about to enter.”
Useful website: www.gettingmarried.ie
This information sheet was adapted from the website. It contains much more about the process of ‘getting married’.
2020 Unavailable Dates
Major Feast Days and Holy Days of Obligation
26th February – Ash Wednesday
17th March – St. Patrick’s Day
9th – 11th April Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday
15th August – Assumption of Mary
1st November – All Saints Day
8th December – Immaculate Conception
25th December – Christmas Day