Jarrow Cluster of Catholic Churches

Getting Married

How do I arrange to get Married in Church?


It is wonderful that you are thinking about celebrating your marriage in Church. Asking God for his blessing and guidance for you both is the best of ways to begin married life.

To begin arranging your marriage you need to meet with either Fr. Adrian Dixon, Fr. Saji Thottathil or Deacon Kevin Atkinson

We run a special programme to help couples prepare for their Marriage
The minister will look at the ceremony with you to help you make choices for your Wedding Day.

There are probably many questions you have. Don’t worry that is what the time of preparation is all about. We hope to make this a wonderful day which you will never forget and the beginning of the greatest days of your life.

Once again, congratulations and welcome!

What kind of preparation is there?

The priest or deacon will ask you to meet him on several occasions to complete the paperwork. Some of this takes time so it is important not to leave it until the last minute.

There will also be an opportunity to meet for a day with other couples who are preparing to be married. During this you will have a chance to look at what being married is all about and how this Sacrament can make a difference to your lives.

The priest or deacon will also arrange meetings with you to prepare the ceremony and on a date near to the wedding to take part in a rehearsal.

How much does it cost?

It is customary to make a donation to the Parish to help cover running costs as it seems unfair to ask Sunday Mass goers to provide not only the church building but the heating, lighting and maintenance as well. BUT we would never want money to be an obstacle that made a couple decide not to marry in Church. If you have nothing then nothing is what we ask – in terms of money - more importantly we would like to see you give of yourselves both in your commitment to Marriage and to the life of our Parish Family.

If you wish to have an organist play at your wedding we can arrange for someone to come along on the day – it is only right that you pay them for their time. It may be that you wish to play some appropriate recorded music, for this there is no charge. Any special flowers or decorations that you want would need to be paid for by you. If you wish simply to use whatever flowers are normally in Church (please note, there are none in Lent or Advent) then we would not make a charge.

As in the case of getting married anywhere in this country you will have to give in your names at the Register Office (the priest will explain about this when you meet him). They will charge a small fee to cover the civil costs of the registration.

How much notice do I need to give?

The usual time scale is about six months as a minimum. It is important to check that both the priest and church are available before booking a venue for the Reception etc.

Is it all right that my partner is not a Catholic?

The rules of the Church allow for a Catholic to marry a person who is not of our faith. Your partner will be made very welcome and encouraged to take part in the preparation and in the ceremony as much as possible.  We would never put a person who is not a Catholic under pressure to convert. The important thing is that you are coming together to commit yourselves to each other as husband and wife.

The Catholic partner is asked to make a promise that they will try to remain true to their own faith. If the marriage ceremony you choose includes Mass, the person who is not a Catholic would normally receive a Blessing rather than be given Holy Communion.

If, at some stage, people decide, of their own free will, that they wish to become members of the Church then we offer them a special programme.  

Do we have to promise to bring our children up as Catholics?

If two Catholics marry the Church expects that any children they have will be brought up as Catholics.

Catholics who marry members of another Christian Denomination or Faith are asked to make a promise. The Church asks them to promise to try, as far as they are able, to bring up any children of the marriage as Catholics.  We do not ask the person who is not a Catholic to make this undertaking but it is important that they know what is being promised.

I already have children, will that make a difference?

We hope that if you have children who are old enough to take part in the ceremony they will be encouraged to witness this special day.  

I haven’t been to Church for a long time will that make any difference?

Don’t worry you are not going to be told off but you will be encouraged to come back Mass. Getting married is an important step in your life and it gives you an opportunity to think about how you want to live as a family. To discover or rediscover that coming to Mass helps a person be happy and fulfilled is one of the great experiences of being a Catholic. Often people give up going to Mass in their teenage years and then as they become mature adults they find that it’s time to think again about what really matters.

Can we marry if one or both of us has been married before?

We have to be honest. The rules of the Church are very clear that those who have validly entered into a previous marriage may not remarry in a Catholic Church unless they have been widowed.  In certain circumstances it may be possible to show that a previous marriage did not fulfil all that was necessary in the eyes of the Catholic Church to make it fully valid. The only way to find out would be to speak to the priest and give him some details. He will be gentle and understanding but it is important to know that there are some things he cannot do.