It is commonly agreed upon amongst dioceses that a couple seeking marriage in the Catholic Church will follow the requirements of the diocese where THEY LIVE (or choose one of their home dioceses if they live in two different dioceses). It is the couple's responsibility to verify that those requirements will be acceptable in the diocese in which they are marrying, if different from the diocese where they live.
The parish they attend where they live will prepare their file to be sent to the parish where they will get married.
In case of doubt about the diocese you live in, find it with your zip code by clicking here.


Between 6 to 12 months prior to your proposed wedding date.
Meet with your parish priest or deacon, even if they will not be the ones celebrating your wedding.
All paperwork will be done at your home parish, and then your file will be sent to your wedding parish, if applicable.

Assessment Process:
An assessment is made at this time of your readiness for sacramental marriage, and necessary documents are gathered.
Pre-marital inventory, usually the Fully Engaged, done at the parish with follow-up sessions, or the Prepare and Enrich Program which can also be done at the parish level.
Baptismal Certificate
You need a copy less than six months old, obtainable from the parish where you were baptized. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the parish where you were baptized with your full name, date of birth and parents’ names.
(By "baptized" the Church means baptized inany Christian tradition that baptizes in the Trinitarian formula: in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and with water.)
If you were married before, you need to have Evidence of Death of the previous spouse, or a Declaration of Nullity.
(Why you need an Annulment or Declaration of Nullity)
Click here for an example of the forms you will need.
Freedom to Marry form, provided by the parish. (sample)
In case of special circumstances, special forms will have to be filled out and permission required:

  • In case a Catholic person is getting married to a baptized, non-Catholic person, you will need to fill out a Dispensation Form 
  • In case a Catholic person is getting married to a non-Catholic, non-baptized person (Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Mormon, etc..) a Dispensation from Disparity of Cult Form is required.
  • In case a Catholic person is getting married outside a Catholic church (Synagogue, Temple, Christian Church, etc..) it will require a Dispensation from the Canonical Form of Marriage.

If you are not sure what pertains to you, please check this link.
Any of these forms will take time to get approved, so please make sure that you address the issues with your pastor during your first meeting.
In brief:

  • Baptismal Certificates dated within six months of the wedding date
  • Initial interview with officiating clergy at least six months prior to the planned marriage date
  • Completion of Pre-Marital Inventory
  • Certificate of Attendance from a formal qualified Marriage Preparation Program
  • Pre-Marital Affidavits (in some cases)
  • Certified copies of Birth Certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the City and State of your birth.
  • Marriage License
Presuming you are deemed ready to go forward, you may begin the liturgical wedding plans. You will also be informed of the parish guidelines and of any costs or offerings involved.
In the event that the priest or the deacon believes that you are not ready to go forward, he will give you reasons for his recommendation that you delay your marriage. If you disagree with his decision, he may refer you to another priest or deacon; or you may appeal this decision. The priest or deacon will explain the appeals process at this time.
If the marriage is temporarily delayed, you may appeal to the Bishop through his representative, the Episcopal Vicar, in any given region.

  • A Marriage Preparation Class (you are at the right place for this!), approved by the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)
  • For more options check your home diocese website.
  • A Natural Family Planning (NFP) Introduction class or Training, depending on your home diocese requirements (check your home diocese website).
  • A weekend retreat might also be required.
  • Reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation 



First readings from the Old Testament::
The Creation of Man and Woman, Genesis 1:26-28, 31a
Prayer of Tobias and Sarah, Tobit 8:4-9
Love is strong as death, Song of songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a

Bless the Lord, Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
The Lord is kind, Psalm 103:1-2, 8 and 13, 17-18a
Happy the man, Psalm 112:12, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8, 9
Praise the Lord, Psalm 148:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12ab, 12c-14a

Second readings, from the New Testament:
The love of Christ, Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39
The life of a Christian Short version: Romans 12:1-2, 9-13 or long version Romans 12:1-2, 9-18.
Temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6-13c-15a, 17-20
The greatest of these is love, 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a
Ephesians 5:2a, 25-33
Live in Love and Thanksgiving, Colossians 3:12-17
Real and active love, 1 John 3:18-24
God is love, 1 John 4:7-12
Marriage of the Lamb, Revelation 19:1, 5-9a

The house built on the rock:
- Short version: Matthew 7:21, 24-25
- Long version: Matthew 7:21, 24-29
The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12a
Salt of the earth and Light of the world, Matthew 5:13-16
What God has united, man must not separate, Matthew 19:3-6
Love, the greatest commandment, Matthew 22:35-40
Marriage Feast of Cana, John 2:1-11
Remain in my love, John 15:9-12
Love one another as I have loved you, John 15:12-16
That they may be one as we are one, John 17:20-23 or 20-26

Together for Life:
You can also buy a paperback book called Together for Life: Revised with The Order of Celebrating Matrimony by Joseph M. Champlin and Peter A. Jarret C.S.C., it costs $5.25. Together for Life has been the most trusted source for wedding planning in the Catholic Church for more than forty-five years. This new edition of Together for Life contains the new texts of the most recent translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony. It includes all the tools engaged couples use when meeting with a priest, deacon, or lay parish minister to plan their weddings and prepare for living the sacrament of Marriage.