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Weddings are celebrated in this diocese everyday except Sunday and Holy days, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

Christ died for our sins.

Congratulations on your decision to get married. It’s an exciting time with lots of wedding day planning ahead but even more important is your preparation for life as a married couple.
The Church honours and treasures the married love between husband and wife. For Christians, marriage mirrors the relationship between Christ and the Church. Married love was described by St. Paul as a “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32) and came to be recognised as one of the seven sacraments.

During the marriage ceremony, a man and a woman marry each other, for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health until death. They are the ministers of the sacrament. It is they who exchange vows before God and the assembled community. I love you, only you and always you. The priest’s role is to receive their consent, to act as a witness, to lead prayer and to bestow God’s blessing.

Three months’ notice of your intention to marry is required. Once you have decided on a date for your wedding you should contact the Parish Priest to make sure that the church is available on the day you require.

You will also need to participate in a marriage preparation course which is a lovely way for you as a couple to take a serious look at your own relationship.  These courses are organised by Accord (local office in Fermoy Tel: 025 31899) and can be booked online. See for details. The Civil Authorities also have requirements which must be fulfilled.

The sacrament of Matrimony celebrates a couple’s commitment to share the whole of their life together and to show the love of God to each other, to their children and to others through their relationship. Christian marriage is the place where husband and wife, children, family and friends meet God.

Planning the ceremony

As ministers of the sacrament, the couple should be involved in planning the ceremony. The priest has a responsibility to advise the couple in their choices regarding the liturgy – readings, prayers, music and choice of wording of the vows. Couples are encouraged to look for such guidance early in the process. Family and friends are also encouraged to participate in the ceremony.

The following practical information may be helpful

Documents required:

  • A new Certificate of Baptism from the parish in which you were baptised.
  • A new Certificate of Confirmation from the parish in which you were confirmed.
  • These documents should be issued no longer than six months prior to the date of marriage.
  • A Pre - Marriage course Certificate.
  • If you have lived somewhere else, other than your present parish, since you were sixteen, then you will need to get a Letter of Freedom from each parish in which you lived for more than six months to state that you did not get married while you lived there. Any Parish Office or priest from the parish (or parishes) where you lived will supply you with this document.
  • Or Statement of Freedom to Marry.
  • Or Sworn Affidavit.
  • Freedom to marry: The rules governing freedom to marry in the Catholic Church can be complicated. The best advice when one party has been married previously (either in a civil or religious ceremony) is not to make arrangements until the diocesan office has been consulted. Depending upon circumstances, some of the following documents may be required. A copy of a previous marriage certificate. A copy of death certificate of a previous spouse. A copy of an annulment granted. A copy of a divorce certificate.
  • Mixed Marriages: Special permissions are required for church recognition of marriages between a Roman Catholic and a baptised non-RC or between a Roman Catholic and an unbaptised person. Applications are handled by the diocesan office once the priest of the catholic party has forwarded the standard paperwork.
  • The marriage ceremony should normally take place in a church in the bride’s parish. If the couple have a good reason for getting married elsewhere they should contact the parish priest of that parish and book the church.
  • It is the priest of the parish where you now reside you meet to arrange the filling in of the Pre - Nuptial enquiry form with you.
  • Normally a priest from the bride’s parish officiates at the marriage ceremony, assuming that the ceremony takes place in the bride’s parish. If you wish to have some other priest (e.g. a relative or friend) officiate, inform the priest in the parish where the ceremony is to take place and he will give the necessary authorisation (delegation).
  • Celebrants from Overseas: All diocesan priests in the Republic of Ireland are on the State’s ‘List of Solemnisers’. In order for a priest from oversees to be placed on this list in a temporary capacity, it is necessary for him to send his name, address and telephone number to Cloyne Diocesan Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork.
  • Ask the priest who is to officiate at your wedding to help you prepare your marriage ceremony. There is a variety of prayers, blessings, readings, etc. Read through these together and choose the ones you prefer. Choose the person(s) who will read at Mass, person(s) to read the Prayers of the Faithful and the people to bring up the gifts at the Offertory. Rehearse the ceremony in church with the priest before the wedding day.
  • The celebration of the sacrament of Marriage usually takes place during the celebration of Mass, but it can take place outside of Mass. While it has been generally the custom, it may not always be appropriate for example in a “mixed” marriage or when a couple are not regularly practising. Some couples today find the celebration of Marriage without the Eucharist, to be more appropriate for them.
  • There is no charge for the use of the church for a wedding for a parishioner.
  • It is customary to give an offering to the priest who assists in filling in the Pre - Nuptial Enquiry Form as well as to the Celebrant of the Mass.

Civil Requirements for Marriage


When the couple have chosen the date, church and priest for their marriage (and confirmed these matters with the relevant priest or priests), they will then need to make an appointment to meet with a civil registrar in person to give notice of their intention to marry. This notification to the registrar must take place at least three months before the wedding in order to comply with the civil requirement, (or else go to court). The couple will be required to bring several documents to the registrar’s office and a fee of €200.

When all the civil requirements have been completed satisfactorily the couple will receive, from the registrar, a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). Without this form the couple cannot get married nor may the solemniser proceed with the marriage ceremony.

If changes are necessary – for instance, changing the name of the solemniser – the couple should contact the civil registrar to arrange for the re-issue of the MRF at the earliest possible stage before the ceremony.

The law requires the solemniser (the priest who officiates at the marriage) to ask the couple to make a verbal declaration of no civil impediment in the presence of the two witnesses and the solemniser within 48 hours of the proposed marriage. It is usually done at the rehearsal.

After the wedding, the solemniser must ensure that the MRF is signed by the couple, the two witnesses and himself.

After the marriage has been celebrated, it is the responsibility of the couple (not the local priest or solemniser) to return the MRF to any Registrar’s Office. This form must be returned within one month of the marriage.

A lot of time is given to preparing for a wedding day. Even more time is required in preparing for married life. The institution of Christian Marriage has served society well for centuries and is the foundation stone of our society. The witness of myriads of married couples living out their marriage vows through whatever life brings them is to be truly admired. Could we have some documentaries on those marriages?

May God bless all those preparing for marriage, those celebrating anniversaries of their marriage, those growing in love in their marriage, all who struggle in marriage, the widowed and those whose marriages broke up.