Marriage Preparation

Some Guidelines on getting married in a Catholic Church 

The primary purpose in our seeking information is to establish that in the eyes of the Catholic Church you are both free to marry.

In cases where either or both parties have been in a previous marriage NO DATE can be arranged until appropriate searches have been made regarding the former marriage(s).

For a marriage to be valid/recognised by the Catholic Church it must take place in a Catholic church and in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses unless appropriate dispensations have been sought and granted by the Bishop

For those who are marrying for the first time

For Catholics we require a recent copy of their Baptism entry (this means one that is less than six months old and one that is dated not earlier than six months before the proposed wedding). We also need information regarding their Confirmation. Sometimes this is included in the baptism entry. If not, a certificate or some other evidence needs to be obtained. Confirmation is obligatory in a number of countries.

For Christians who have been baptised / christened, we require evidence of the date and place of baptism. If there is no card / certificate then a letter from a parent (with date & place of baptism) will suffice.

When one party is not Roman Catholic permission from the Roman Catholic Bishop needs to be obtained. The Roman Catholic is asked to undertake to do his/her best to see that any children born in your marriage are baptised and brought up in the Catholic Faith.

Both parties will each need to sign a Statutory Declaration of Freedom before a Solicitor or A Commissioner of Oaths. We have a parishioner who can undertake this for you. (Contact ).

Both parties will need to attend a Marriage Preparation Course  Contact for information There may also be courses in local parishes.

If your wedding is taking place in a Catholic Church elsewhere you will need to let us know the name of the church, the name of the priest conducting the wedding and the diocese in which the church is situated.

If your wedding is taking place in another Christian Church a special permission (dispensation) must be obtained from the Roman Catholic Bishop. For this to be given there need to be serious reasons (e.g. the father/mother of one party is a priest/minister, or the family of the non-Catholic party has a real and long-standing connection with the church in which they wish to marry)

The civil requirements of the country of marriage must be attended to by both parties  If you are getting married in England or Wales each party is required to obtain from your local Registrar of Marriages a Certificate for Marriage without which no marriage can proceed.


The Diocese of Westminster requires an administration fee of £30 for marriages taking place outside of the diocese and for marriages needing permission/dispensation from the Bishop.

The parish of St. Thomas of Canterbury asks additionally for a donation of £70 for those marrying outside of the parish

For those getting married at St. Thomas’ we ask for a donation from £250 upwards and £50 for the registrar.

The Marriage Service

I have details and information for all the possibilities for the Catholic Rite of Marriage.

There are alternatives for the prayers and the readings from the Bible

I have also suggestions for hymns and music.

You will need to discuss your plans for the service above all with the priest who will be officiating at your wedding.

If you are planning a booklet or an Order of Service it is essential that the priest /minister who is officiating sees it before it goes to print

I hope you find these guidelines helpful.

You will see from them that arranging a marriage takes time.

For this reason we require at least SIX MONTHS NOTICE; and would remind you that late applications may not be processed in time.

In the first instance please telephone for an appointment (020 7385 4040)

or email