Prerequisites for Marriage
Normally only parishioners known by the pastor and registered in the parish may be married at Little Flower Church. For a good reason, some exceptions are made to this rule. For example, if a person grew up in the parish or has family ties going back many years, consideration will be given to granting an exception. When an exception is made, written permission for the marriage must be obtained from one's own pastor as well as from the pastor of Little Flower Parish.
If the couple would like a specific priest/deacon of the parish to conduct their marriage, they must contact him directly. The celebrant of the marriage usually is one of the priests or deacons assigned to the parish. Exceptions can be made, for example, for a celebrant who is a relative of the bride or groom. Other priest friends are welcome to concelebrate the wedding. Please receive permission from the pastor of Little Flower Church to have an outside celebrant before contacting him.
The couple must contact the parish at least six months in advance of the wedding. Proper preparation requires of the couple sufficient time to come to terms with various aspects of the Catholic Faith and each other. In addition, this time requirement is designed to give the celebrant sufficient opportunity to become acquainted with the couple and prepare them adequately. The six months are counted from the couple's first meeting with the priest.
The marriage may not take place if either party has a previously existing marriage bond. In the case that one or both have been previously married, an annulment or declaration of nullity must be obtained before a Church wedding can take place. Such a proceeding is not automatic and may take a period of time to resolve. No plans for marriage can take place until the final decree of nullity has been received.
In a wedding between a Catholic and non-Catholic (an ecumenical marriage), the Catholic party's church must be the church of the wedding unless the couple obtains a dispensation to have the wedding in a non-Catholic setting. This dispensation must be granted by the Archbishop. Without the dispensation, the marriage of a Catholic outside the Church is invalid in the eyes of the Church.
The bride and groom should make all the arrangements for their wedding directly with the celebrant and should not ask relatives or friends to do this for them.
The couple should not arrange a reception, print their invitations, or make any other plans until they have confirmed a date and time with the parish priest. The priest must take into account parish scheduling and functions before he can confirm the date requested by the couple to be married.