Religious Ceremonies

Religious ceremonies differ according to faith and can be conducted in your place of worship or your chosen ceremony venue. For details on your religious ceremony, contact your local minister as the procedures differ. Different faiths have different requirements that you should meet before you are eligible to have your ceremony at a particular religious venue.

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In the Christian faith, regular church attendance isn’t always essential but some churches insist on it. Be sure to work closely with your minister or registrar by getting their approval for anything you want to add to the service at each stage of the process. In most cases the officiate will outline the service procedure and you can decide on how to personalize your marriage ceremony for example if you want something more individual like a special reading. The length or content depends entirely on you, depending on the kind of ceremony you will have.

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Roman Catholic

The Catholic Church requires hefty marriage preparation. First, it requires both of you to be baptized and if possible one of you confirmed. When you go see the priest for the first time, he will ask to see your baptism certificates and fill a form giving details of your birth and occupation. If you are not a member, he will require a letter from your parish priest and for three consecutive Sundays, the banns, or public announcement of your intention to marry be read out in church. The marriage must then take place within three months. If you’ve been married before, your challenge is pretty daunting. Technically, it is impossible to marry in the Roman Catholic Church if your spouse is still alive. Even a civil divorce will not do the trick. You must receive an annulment of your previous marriage. The annulment procedure is complicated and intimidating, requiring a great deal of paperwork on the part of the person applying. It can cost quite a lot, too. (Note though, that a previous marriage that did not take place within the church does not require an annulment. From the church’s point of view, a civil- ceremony marriage that ends in divorce was never a marriage in the first place.) The Catholic Church will sanction a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic providing all of the Church’s concerns are met and one of you is a confirmed catholic. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary, for say, a protestant person to convert to Catholicism in order to wed in a Catholic ceremony.

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If you don’t have to worry about any of this congratulations. You may move to the next step; pre-marital counseling also known as Pre-Canal. This required counseling is some of the most extensive marriage preparation work that you can undertake. What can you expect from a Pre-Canal? A lot of talking between you, your groom, and your priest about your religious convictions and important marriage issues, workshops with other engaged couples and even some compatibility quizzes. If you need to go through pre-marital counseling, contact the church soon for their scheduled meetings. Group counseling programs (where many couples meet for a series of evenings or a weekend retreat) are scheduled throughout the year.

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