Marriage [is] the covenant of conjugal love freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate community of life and love willed by God Himself which only in this light manifests its true meaning. The institution of marriage is not an undue interference by society or authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity to the plan of God, the Creator.Pope St John Paul II
Getting married is one of the most significant steps in anyone’s life. Perhaps it is the most significant. Two people make vows to each other to remain exclusively together for the rest of their lives, “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.”
The Catholic Church’s understanding of marriage is that it is a unique, indissoluble partnership between one man and one woman, in mutual and lasting fidelity and open to the possibility of bringing children into the world. Anyone getting married in a Catholic Church must have the same understanding of marriage as the Church, even if they are not a Catholic themselves.
It is because the Church attaches such importance to marriage, both for the couple themselves and for society as a whole, that she is concerned that couples intending to marry are adequately prepared, and understand what it is that they are committing themselves to.
Getting married at Corpus Christi
These notes are intended to help couples thinking about getting married in Corpus Christi. The Parish Priest will want some time to get to know you, to make sure you understand the meaning and obligations of marriage, and to help you plan the service so as to make one of the most important days of your lives as good as it can be. He will be able to recommend further reading and courses beyond what is outlined here.
Initial enquiries regarding the possibility of a marriage taking place at Corpus Christi Catholic Church should be sent in writing with an outline of your own situation.
Your letter of enquiry should contain:
- Your names and addresses with contact details. It would be helpful to inform the Parish Priest of when you might both be able to see him for an initial meeting / general marriage preparation (ie – We both finish work at 6pm, so would be available on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm.)
- The proposed date for the wedding. Please do not make any other bookings, such as the reception, until you have cleared the date with us. No wedding will be considered as ‘in the diary’ until the date has been confirmed in writing by the Parish Priest.
- Your religious affiliations. To be married in the Catholic Church, at least one of you must be a Catholic.
- Whether either of you has been married before.
- If you do not normally worship at Corpus Christi, please state the name of the parish where you normally attend Mass and give the reasons you wish to marry here.
Please remember that it is important to approach the church first before making your plans for a reception venue. No dates will be confirmed until you both meet with the priest from Corpus Christi and he has confirmed this with you in writing.
The letter should be sent to:
The Parish Priest
Corpus Christi Presbytery
1-5 Maiden Lane
The Parish Priest will be in touch very soon after receiving your letter. You should start making enquiries no less than six months before the proposed wedding date.
This is your wedding. It is one of the most important days of your life, and you will be receiving one of the greatest Sacraments the Church can offer. It is expected, therefore, that you take the lead in the sacramental preparations and making initial contact. We do not reply to emails from hired wedding planners, and, while we look forward to meeting your parents and siblings, please don’t leave it up to them to make initial contact with the priest.
If you have a situation that you would prefer to discuss with the priest prior to writing, you may telephone and make an appointment. The parish number is 020 7836 4700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note you must not have a civil marriage (Registry Office) performed prior to the Church wedding unless by special arrangements with the church.
In accordance with the norms required by Canon Law, six months’ notice must be given, whether the marriage is here or abroad, to enable the required spiritual preparation to take place and for the paperwork to be gathered and, if necessary, be submitted to the Chancellor of the Diocese. Please make an appointment to see the Parish Priest.
- If you do not live within the bounds of this parish, you will require a letter from your own Parish Priest confirming that he has no objection to you being married at Corpus Christi.
- A Declaration of Freedom to Marry for each party, notarised by a Commissioner for Oaths (Solicitor). You can download this document here.
- A baptismal certificate from the church where you were baptised: a new certificate, dated within 6 months of the date of the marriage for a Catholic; the original certificate for other Christians.
- From your local Registry office: a Marriage Schedule which permits you to be married. This must be applied for as soon as possible and not less than 29 days before the wedding. The Schedule must be given to the priest by law before the ceremony so please deliver it as soon as possible. It is absolutely essential that the Marriage Schedule is presented, since the wedding cannot take place without it. The legal name of the church is Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden.
- A Marriage Course certificate (see below).
- A £50 cheque, payable to WRCDT, for any situation when one person is not a Catholic. This is to cover administration costs for the Diocese of Westminster in granting a Dispensation.
All of these things will be discussed when you meet with the priest.
Your wedding should be the culmination of much prayer and reflection. What you are preparing for is a Catholic Marriage, with all that requires, and not just a pretty church wedding. Your priest will guide you in this process. You may be required to attend a Couples’ Course or a Marriage Preparation course in your home parish, or online. This will be discussed with you when you meet with the Parish Priest.
Order of Service
Whether you are having a Nuptial Mass, or a Wedding Service without a Eucharistic celebration, the Shrine will help you to put together a service that fulfils both the legal and ecclesial requirements, as well as making it a memorable day for you and your guests.
There is a choice of readings and music to be made in either case.
Our organist is not based at the church during the week but you can contact our Director of Music through the Parish office. The Director of Music is at the church every Sunday morning for the 11.30am Mass, and so he will invite you to the church for a personal discussion regarding the music.
Please note that only sacred music may be used at weddings. Moreover, it is not permissible to use pre-recorded music in church. As Pope Pius XII said:
It should hardly be necessary to add the warning that, when the means and
talent available are unequal to the task, it is better to forego such attempts
than to do something which would be unworthy of divine worship and
Maria Ford is responsible for all flower arrangements in the church. Telephone: 07791 387218; e-mail: email@example.com
You can employ any photographer you wish and they will be allowed only at designated places in the church. The use of video cameras is permitted with the same conditions and without additional lighting. The Parish Priest will advise you on additional charges when video cameras are used.
Under no circumstances is the use of confetti of any kind permitted inside the church: outside the church is fine.
A stole fee is payable to the Shrine for the Marriage to take place. The fee may be reduced or waived in cases of hardship, or where one of the parties is a resident parishioner or a long time regular worshipper.
If you are a UK tax-payer, the fees should be Gift-Aided (a form will be provided).
The fees for the music vary depending on your requirements: please make these arrangements directly with our Director of Music (see above).
As mentioned above, an extra fee of £50 is payable to WRCDT to cover administration costs of the Diocese where the couple require a dispensation, i.e. one party is not a Catholic.
Should you require further assistance or clarification, please do not hesitate to ask. It is our wish to make the day of your Catholic Marriage as memorable as possible.