Catholic Weddings

If you are a parishioner considering the sacrament of marriage, please call the Parish Office, who will assist you, and arrange an meetings with both parties of the couple.
We want your marriage preparation to be an enjoyable process, and even if you have issues, or problems or questions, we would like to be as helpful to you in assisting you in making the right decisions about your marriage as we can.
Before you read the paragraphs below, it is important that you call your pastor and discuss your issues with him before you jump to any conclusions about whether you can or cannot get married in the Church based on the information below.
For the first meeting with the priest, Catholics should obtain a “current” copy of your baptismal certificates; should have a record of your baptism as well as all other sacraments received after baptism, including former marriages if there were any.
The Catholic Church where you were baptized adds all of the additional information to the baptismal record they forward to us; that is why it is called a “current certificate.” You can contact the secretary of the Church where you were baptized, and give them the approximate date of the baptism, and they can forward a current baptismal form to us.
If you are a Christian of another denomination, contact the church where you were baptized, or present a copy of your baptismal certificate. If you can’t get this information, we can assist you. Call our parish office.
During that first meeting, you will fill out a form called a “pre-marital investigation,“ to get the relevant information needed for marriage, and to begin the process of discernment.
Once you are married, we will notify the Church of your baptism, and a record of the sacrament will be added to your records at the Church of your baptism, as well as at St. Andrew’s.
The rules and regulations regarding weddings in the Catholic Church are meant to assist the couple in celebrating the sacrament of Marriage as a life-long and happy relationship that promotes life, love, and fidelity, in a covenant with God.
All those who are baptized in the Roman Catholic Rite have an obligation to follow the rules of the Roman Catholic Church about marriage. If you do not, your marriage will not be considered a valid sacrament in the Catholic Church, although it may be civilly valid.
Those who wish to be married should contact their parish Church at least 1 year in advance of the wedding (there can be exceptions to this for serious reasons).
Catholics who are not registered in a parish should make sure they get registered and establish a record of Mass attendance and practice the faith in a Catholic Church wherever they reside or choose to worship. That way, your pastor can attest to the fact that you are practicing the faith.
If you wish to be married at St. Andrew’s, you should be registered at St. Andrew’s as a parishioner about 1 year prior to the marriage, or get permission from your pastor to have the wedding at St. Andrew’s.
As a couple you are required to attend a Catholic Marriage Preparation Program in Trenton diocese, or the diocese where you are living. It is recommended that you also take the FOCUS inventory which covers important relationship compatibility issues, but this is not required. Many couples resist the marriage preparation program as unnecessary and are reluctant to go through marriage prep, but most, in retrospect, realize its value in fleshing out important issues of married life that many couples are afraid to address. Most couples agree that it is an important part of the process.
You can obtain a schedule of Marriage Preparation Programs from your parish office, or call the diocesan family life office in Trenton or whatever diocese you reside in.
If your intended spouse is not Catholic, but they are a Christian of another denomination, the assisting priest will request the Bishop for permission to marry a non-Catholic. If you are marrying a non-Christian, you need to get a dispensation from the bishop for marriage. You can obtain these from your pastor who will request these permissions/dispensations from the bishop.
If you intend to have your marriage ceremony in a non-Catholic setting, you can request, through your pastor, a dispensation from canonical form. If the reason is serious, it will be considered.
If either of you have been married before civilly, or in a Church, or by common law, and your former spouse is still living, you will also need to deal with the annulment process, which your pastor will assist you, to determine if you can get married in the Church.
In the diocese of Trenton, all marriages which do not have a dispensation from canonical form, must be performed in a Church. Your wedding cannot be in a park or reception hall or other place. This is a serious sacramental moment, and the environment should reflect and make people aware that this is a religious event.
Some couples (for this reason) choose a small Church service, and then later celebrate a reception in a park or location you deem appropriate for the festivities that follow.
As a Catholic in good standing, you are entitled to a wedding with a full Mass.
However, if you are marrying a non-Catholic, I recommend you discuss with your spouse the possibility of having a “Liturgy of the Word” (all the readings, music, prayers, exchange of vows etc.) but without the Eucharist itself, especially if your spouse or their family will not be able to participate in Communion.