| Couples request marriage
after they become sure they love each another and have
a desire to begin a family of their own.
Marriage is one of The Seven
Sacraments and through the free exchange of vows spouses
create an unbreakable bond with each other for the rest
of their lives.
Normally to marry in St.Patrick's at least one of the
parties should live within the parish. We ask for at least
6 months notice of your intention to marry so that we
can make the necessary arrangements and spiritual preparations
and to ensure you can have the date of your choice.
Please speak to the priest
to arrange an appointment and discuss your plans.
in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh –
some information and practical points for couples.
I am a Catholic and I wish to marry
To help Catholics who are resident in this Archdiocese
we provide the following information and instructions
which will prove useful for planning their marriage in
the Catholic Church.
What is marriage?
The Church understands that marriage is the establishment
of a covenant between a man and a woman for the whole
of their lives and is ordered to the well-being of the
spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children.
Marriage is clearly a natural human reality although,
when a marriage is between two baptized persons, the Church
also understands that Christ has raised it to the level
of a Sacrament1. So marriage is an intimate partnership
of life and love in which the spouses, by their irrevocable
personal consent, bring about a covenant which echoes
God’s relationship with His people and Christ’s
relationship with His Church.
Marriage: part of the natural order
We can understand the natural order as God’s plan
for creation. Marriage is a part of the natural order
and as such is not defined by the Church or by civil authorities.
As a part of the natural order, marriage has been established
by God. Consequently, the consent of a couple who marry
is irrevocable since, from that moment, their union depends
on God’s will and not on human will. This being
the case we understand unity and indissolubility as essential
properties of any marriage as God has designed it. Moreover,
when a marriage is sacramental, these properties have
a special seal and firmness.
A second consequence of marriage being a part of the natural
order is that every person enjoys the natural right to
marry. This right is something which must be respected
in the Church and states. However, since marriage is a
societal institution which contributes to the common good,
it is never a merely private matter that concerns only
the spouses themselves. This is why the Church and civil
authorities, whilst not defining what marriage is, have
the right to regulate the way that it is contracted as
well as its civil and ecclesial effects in the interest
of the common good.
Marriage in the Catholic Church
Whilst the Church defers to the state for the merely civil
effects of marriage, all marriages, whether they involve
a Catholic or not, are subject to Divine Law. These are
the properties and ends of marriage which God has written
into nature: that marriage made by the mutual and free
exchange of consent between a man and a woman, lasts until
death, is for the good of the spouses and the procreation
and education of children.
Catholics, however, are subject not only to Divine Law
but also to the Law of the Church or Canon Law if they
wish to contract a valid marriage. These stipulations
are included in some of the practical considerations below:
Marriage in the Archdiocese of St Andrews
Useful information to help you plan your wedding correctly
1. You must give at least 6 months notice of your intention
to marry to your parish priest. The obligations of marriage
are serious and the Church wishes to help you to prepare
properly. At your initial meeting with the parish priest,
he will determine firstly whether you are free or not
2. Your parish priest is responsible for preparing you
for marriage5. This is also the case if you intend to
marry outside your parish. If one party is not a Catholic,
it is the parish priest in the place where the Catholic
party lives who is responsible. Your parish priest, at
his discretion, may make a special arrangement for another
priest to do your marriage preparation.
3. It is the sole responsibility of the couple to organize
the civil requirements for their wedding in accordance
with Scots’ Law. To be married, you must have a
valid ‘schedule’ from the local registry office.
The priest will be unable to marry you without this schedule
since this would be a criminal offence. It is also the
couple’s responsibility to make sure that the marriage
is registered within three days of the wedding.
4. If you intend to have a wedding reception, do not book
or pay deposits for venues until you have spoken to your
parish priest and (if the intended venue of your wedding
is not your parish church) the parish priest of the church
in which you wish to be married. You should confirm permissions,
availability of clergy and the church building before
proceeding to make any other arrangements.
5. The normal place for a wedding is the parish church
of the bride or groom.
6. If you wish to be married outside of your parish, your
parish priest must give permission for this. You should
not make any arrangements until he has given permission.
7. In this Archdiocese permission is not granted for marriages
to take place in, for example, hotels, castles, convents,
school chapels or similar places. There are no exceptions
to this rule. This is also the agreement between all the
bishops of Scotland.
8. A Catholic who intends to marry someone who is not
a Catholic must ask the Archbishop for a dispensation.
The priest who is helping you to prepare for marriage
will explain to you the conditions under which this is
granted and help you to submit the request.
9. A Catholic who wishes to marry in the ceremonies of
another Christian communion or another religion must ask
the Archbishop for a dispensation. The priest who is helping
you to prepare for marriage will help you to submit this
request. Couples should be aware that this is only given
for serious reasons and should not make any arrangements
until the dispensation has been granted.
10. If you wish to have music at your wedding, consult
with the parish priest to find out if there is a parish
organist or musicians who are used regularly at the church.
You should not arrange for musicians to come from outside
of the parish until you have the permission of the parish
11. The priest will help you to prepare for the celebration
of your wedding. He will help you to choose hymns and
readings. If you wish to produce an order of service,
this should be approved by the priest before the final
12. There are different types of nuptial celebration which
have been approved by the bishops of Scotland. The priest
who is preparing you will help you to decide which is
the most suitable.
13. Please be aware that, if one of the spouses is not
baptised, the wedding is not celebrated within the context
of a Nuptial Mass.
14. It is the responsibility of the couple to obtain and
supply certain documents during the time of preparation:
a. If you are a Catholic you should provide an extract
from the baptismal register of the parish where you were
baptised that is not older than six months. You should
also have a signed declaration from your next of kin that
states that you have not at any point attempted marriage
in any type of civil or religious ceremony and that you
are free to marry.
b. If you are baptised but not a Catholic you should provide
a baptismal certificate from the church of your baptism.
You should also have a signed declaration from your next
of kin that states that you have not at any point attempted
marriage in any type of civil or religious ceremony and
that you are free to marry.
c. If you are not baptised you should have a signed declaration
from your next of kin that states that you have not at
any point attempted marriage in any type of civil or religious
ceremony and that you are free to marry.
15. Often couples ask about fees: there is no charge to
be married in the Church. However, couples should give
consideration to the following:
a. an offering to the priest: this is part of the priest’s
upkeep from the parish. When deciding how much this should
be, perhaps consider how much you are spending on your
celebrations in total. The priest’s offering could
be relative to this.
b. an offering for the parish: this is particularly appropriate
if you do not live, practice your faith or give to the
weekly collection in the parish where you are being married.
This helps to offset the cost of heating, lighting and
maintenance of the church building.
c. an offering for altar servers
d. an offering for the organist/cantors/musicians: you
should enquire how much this is as there is often a set
fee. Normally it is around £60 but this can vary.
16. If you have any questions or concerns, the priest
who is preparing you for marriage should be able to help
The Church rejoices in the fruitful love of men and women.
Please be assured of the hard work and prayers of the
clergy of the Archdiocese to support you as you journey
towards your wedding day.
Jesus performed his first miracle
at a wedding.
Wedding Feast at Canna.
John 2:1, On the third day there was
a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus
was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited
to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother
of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." Jesus
said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have
to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." His mother
said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do
it." Now there were set there six waterpots of stone,
according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing
twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill
the waterpots with water." And they filled them up
to the brim. And He said to them, "Draw some out
now, and take it to the master of the feast." And
they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted
the water that was made wine, and did not know where it
came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew),
the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he
said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out
the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then
the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee,
and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in
For more information
on the Sacrament of Marriage click here.
The Art of Marriage
A good marriage must be created.
In the marriage, the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold bands.
It Is remembering to say '1 love You' at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that
gathers in the whole family,
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude
in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person, it is being the right