Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage in the Diocese of Limerick

Congratulations on your decision to get married.  Weddings in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish are strictly by appointment with the Parish Priest.  A minimum of six months’ notice is required for all marriages.

In Limerick Diocese, Church weddings can take place on any day other than Sundays, Holy Days and the Major Feast Days. Click here for the dates that are not available for Church weddings.

These notes should be helpful to you in planning your church wedding:

  • While you need only give six months’ notice of your intention to marry, it is common practice for a couple to book the church a long time in advance, as soon as you know your date of marriage, and it is important to contact the Parish Priest to ensure that the church is available on the day you require.  This also will give you adequate time to complete a Marriage Preparation course, such as through Accord.
  • You are welcome to have your own priest officiate at the wedding. If you would like Fr John Walsh PP. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Limerick , to officiate please check his availability before any final arrangements are made regarding the hotel and other preparations.
  • If you are still living in this parish at least three months prior to your wedding, make an appointment with the priest to complete the Pre-Nuptial Papers in accordance with Canon Law.  Bring your current Baptismal Certificate (issued no older than six months prior to wedding) and Confirmation Certificate.   If you were baptised and confirmed in either Patrickswell or Ballybrown church your certificates will be done from the office here.
  • If living outside of the parish for more than 12 months, you will also need to give your respective Parish Priest(s) at least six months’ notice and make an appointment with him  to fill in the Pre-Nuptial forms prescribed by Canon Law.   (If any difficulty here Fr. Cussen will help with the paperwork)
  • At least two months before the wedding date, the parish priest of the Bride will send to Patrickswell-Ballybrown both sets of completed Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Forms, signed and sealed, together with recent baptism certificates, confirmation certificates, letters of freedom, dispensations (where necessary), and a pre-marriage course certificate.
  • For a couple living outside of Ireland, all of the above listed papers, completed by both parties, should be sent to their Parish Priest’s Diocesan Bishop or Local Ordinary, who will forward them for their Nihil Obstat to: Limerick Diocesan Office, Social Service Centre, Henry Street, Limerick.
  • You will also need to look at participating in a marriage preparation course such as Accord. The courses are prepared and presented by married couples and are a lovely way for you as a couple to take a look at your own relationship. This is time for yourselves, and time that will be really well spent.

You may also find the following link helpful:- www.together.ie

  • To fulfil the requirements laid down  by the State, three months’ notice must be given in person by the couple to the Registrar of Marriages at a civil registration service, in order to receive your Marriage Registration Form (MRF) which is your civil marriage licence.

The couple will be required to bring the following documentation to the Registrar’s office:

  1. Photo identity (preferably a passport or driving licence)
  2. Names and dates of birth of witnesses
  3. Name of the church where they wish to be married
  4. Date of marriage
  5. Name of priest who will officiate at the marriage
  • Check that the celebrant is  a registered solemniser – See Register of Solemnisers (download)
  • Music, flowers, photography etc. required for the celebration of your marriage are the responsibility of the parties concerned.

If you have any further queries regarding your church ceremony, please contact the parish priest Fr.John Walsh on 087-4493228

Five Steps to Organise your Wedding 

The marriage ceremony is an important part of your wedding day. It requires organisation, care, attention and prayer.

Step 1 :   When you decide to get married 
First of all, book the church where you would like your wedding to take place. When booking the church and seeking a preferred date, you must furnish details of the priest who has agreed to celebrate your wedding Mass. Please note that weddings are not permitted in the Diocese of Limerick on Sundays or the Major Feast Days and Holydays of Obligation. Secondly, contact the Registrar of Marriages (see Civil Registration paragraph below) and begin the process to get permission from the State for your wedding to take place. It is important that the priest you ask to celebrate your wedding is registered as a solemniser.

Step 2 :  Year before the wedding
The Pre-Marriage Course should be booked. Details of courses locally are available on Accord.

Step 3 :  Six months before the wedding 
After you have completed the Pre-Marriage Course, start the paperwork (see details below). Ensure the Pre-Nuptial Enquiry meeting with the priest has taken place and that all the paperwork is in order. This meeting takes place in the parish where you live.

Step 4 :  Three months before the wedding 
Finalise the wedding ceremony. Choose the Readings, Mass text, vows and music. Finalise your booklet, if taking this option.

Step 5 :  Three weeks before the wedding 
By this stage, all should be complete. Carry out a final check that everything is in order – the civil registration, the Pre- Nuptial Enquiry Forms and the ceremony details.

Church Paperwork 

Church papers are completed in the parish where the bride and groom reside.
The paperwork should be completed at least three months prior to your wedding. 

You must both obtain the following certificates as soon as possible so that you can meet with the priest in the parish that you currently reside in to complete the Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form:

Baptismal Certificate
Each of you should contact the parish of your baptism seeking a new baptismal certificate. When contacting the priest or parish office, please inform them of your date of birth and parents’ names.

Confirmation Certificate 
Each of you should contact the parish from which you were confirmed seeking a confirmation certificate. You may need to indicate the primary school you attended and the year of your confirmation. In cases where the parish or place of Baptism and Confirmation are the same, these may be recorded on the one form.

Declaration of Freedom 
A letter from a family member (parent or sibling) or someone who has known you all your lives should be addressed to the priest stating that you are over 18, your religion and that you have not been married before in either a religious or civil ceremony.

Pre-Marriage Course Certificate 
When you have completed the Marriage Preparation Course, you will receive a certificate. This should be given to the priest when finalising the church paperwork.

Permissions and Dispensations (where applicable) 
If you or your fiancé has been previously married or is non-Catholic, it is essential that freedom to marry be established before any marriage arrangements can be confirmed. All of the above forms should be brought with you when filling in the Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form with the priest in the parish where you live and will be included with the papers being forwarded or filed.

Civil Registration 
You must receive permission from the Registrar of Marriages for your wedding to take place. As soon as possible, contact the Registrar’s Office and arrange a one-to-one meeting. If this is not done within the timeframe and requirements, the priest will not be allowed by the State to perform the ceremony. If the priest celebrating the wedding lives outside Ireland, he will have to be registered as a ‘temporary solemniser’. For details see the General Register Office.

The Marriage Ceremony

The church ceremony is one of the main parts of your day and we hope that it will be full of meaning and one that expresses beautifully the vows you make at the altar. 

For details on the various wedding Mass texts, including all the Scripture readings and options on the vows you can check out Catholic Ireland also Accord.

Taking Part in the Nuptial Mass
There are two readings from the Old and New Testament. Two family members usually read these. Couples usually ask family members and friends to read ‘Prayers of the faithful’. Normally there are four to six prayers included in the ceremony. The gifts of bread and wine are often brought to the altar by family members. It can be helpful, but not necessary, to have a Mass booklet for the ceremony. Sometimes couples may choose to celebrate a wedding ceremony rather than a nuptial Mass. The priest will explain this option to you.

Good music can play an important part in the ceremony. There is now a wide range of new Church music which is suitable to the wedding Mass. Only Church music and hymns are appropriate. Couples are discouraged from using CD or recorded music during the ceremony.

Photographers and Video Personnel 
Ask the photographer and video personnel to contact priest in advance.

Getting Married Abroad 

Couples intending to get married abroad should note that they need to take extra care and time with their paperwork to make sure that the state and church requirements for their marriage are met.

You may be aware that some dioceses in Italy, Croatia and elsewhere no longer allow foreign weddings.

The Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form needs to be completed in the presence of the priest of your parish at least six months before your wedding.

In addition, you must provide the priest with the following important details:
The name and address of the church abroad where you intend to get married.
The name and address of the foreign diocese where that church is located.
The name of the priest who has agreed to celebrate the wedding with you.

Written confirmation – a letter or at least an email  from the parish abroad, indicating that the priest is Catholic, in ‘good standing’ and agreeable for the wedding to take place.

Your local priest will forward these papers to the Diocesan Office in Limerick. The office will ensure that all is in order and then send the documents by registered post to the diocesan office abroad where your wedding is due to take place. The Diocesan Office applies a fee for this process.

The paperwork takes time to gather and process so please allow yourself adequate time to get all this done. 

Alongside satisfying Church requirements, you need to be certain of the civil law requirements in the country of your proposed wedding to ensure that your marriage will be properly registered. You can do this by contacting the Department of Foreign Affairs at Dublin telephone numbers 01-4082682  or 01-4082568 (10am-12noon).