On one, practical level there are certain documents you must have. The first one of these is the Marriage License, sometimes referred to as ‘the banns’, which you get from the District Revenue Office (you must walk with your electronic birth certificates to obtain it). This license is only good for six months so do not apply for it until the wedding is six or fewer months away.
Other documents you will need to present to the Parish Office are copies of your birth certificates, copies of an ID and baptismal certificates which can be obtained from the church of your baptism (these also are only valid for six months).
Copies of IDs of your two witnesses will also be needed.
You will also meet with the parish priest or his representative to fill out a Marriage Enquiry form.
That is one aspect of preparation but there is another, shall we say, spiritual level. Marriage is more than a civil contract but something spiritual, a Sacrament. God, after all, instituted it (Gen 2) – it is not a purely human institution. This is why we go to a church to get married.
For this preparation, couples are asked to do a marriage preparation programme – your parish church will tell you where and when these are available. Remember, you should be in touch with your parish six months before the proposed wedding date. And remember too to pray during the time of preparation that God will guide you in all decisions, that the Holy Spirit may continue to prepare you for the life ahead, teaching you more and more how to live out the vocation to which you will be saying ‘yes’.
For vocation it is – you will be saying ‘yes’ to your partner but also saying ‘yes’ to God, to follow Christ as a disciple as a wife or husband and, God willing, a parent.
So you come to your wedding day peaceful and happy, and, yes, there may be a lot of attention and excitement over the dress and the eyelashes, particularly for the women, but do not lose sight of God in the whole thing.
Respect your guests by being on time, dress appropriately for church and enjoy the wedding ceremony, the reception, and your life together.
There are also other small but important details to consider.
Photo by Marta Branco