While you need only give four months notice of your intention to marry it is common practice for a couple to book the church a long time in advance. So it is important to contact the Parish Office as soon as you can to make sure that the church is available on the day you require. You will also need to look at participating in a marriage preparation course which is a lovely way for you as a couple to take a look at your own relationship. The Civil Authorities also have state requirements which must be fulfilled.
For some there is a lot of preparation involved in getting married, but a carefully planned and well-celebrated wedding can be a moving and memorable experience not only for you, the couple, but also for the whole congregation, your guests. In the celebration of marriage you bring your love before God in the prayer-filled hope that God will involve himself in that love. In the presence of the Lord, you commit yourselves to each other and to a life of total fidelity and unbreakable oneness.
To book and arrange a wedding in the parish, please contact the parochial house on 074 9135196
Guidelines for Getting Married.
In preparing for your wedding you need to complete the following:
Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form
The Church has a set form that all people wishing to get married in the church need to complete. You need to get these papers filled in by the priest in the parish you are currently living in, and have been for six months.
To complete the form you will also need:
- An up to date copy of your baptismal certificate from the parish in which you were baptised, that is, issued within six months of the date you contacted the priest to book your wedding. The baptismal Certificate will be available from the parish in which you were baptised.
- A certificate of your confirmation – if this information is not included on your baptismal certificate.
- A letter of freedom from any other parishes you lived in since you reached the canonical age from marriage. This letter states that you did not marry while in that parish. In some cases, you may be asked for a sworn affidavit to prove you have never been married before.
Notice to the Civil Registrar
The civil registrar has also to be informed about your forthcoming wedding. They also require three month notice.
If you live locally, you can contact them at your local Donegal register at:
Civil registration Office, Tirconaill House, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. F92
If you normally live in other parts of Ireland, you may contact your nearest Registration Office.
There is a fee for this service and they will require that you meet them face to face and that you bring with you other documentation. They will inform you of this when you make a booking.
When you meet them, they will give you the document that will be signed on the day of your wedding. This document is your responsibility and you need to ensure that it gets to the church on the day of your wedding. It is also your responsibility to make sure it is returned to the registrar within one month from the date of your wedding. It may be prudent to give entrust one reliable person in your wedding party sole responsibility for this document.
Pre Marriage Course
Couples are required to complete a pre marriage course before their wedding. Details of such courses can be found at www.accord.ie.
Planning your Ceremony
To celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage does not require the celebration of Eucharist (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. You can discuss this with the priest officiating at your ceremony.
Readings and Prayers
- You can plan your wedding with the priest who is going to conduct your ceremony. He can furnish you with readings for your wedding and help you construct the ceremony. It is preferable that you select your own prayers, readings and formularies. You will find a link to suitable readings on here on our website, or there are books which are available from Veritas to help you with this if you so wish. Have the priest help you in pointing out the different parts of the ceremony where you can make these choices.
- Music should be selected in consultation with the celebrant and Musicians / Singers.
Photographs & Videos
- It is important that the photographer and/or video camera person acts with complete discretion, causing the least distraction, and that they would consult with the celebrant of the marriage before the ceremony
- Please note that no extra lighting is permitted in the church.
- Posing or ‘repeats’ are deemed to be inappropriate.
Flowers & Candles
- Flowers are a lovely way to enhance the chapel on your wedding day. Those who prepare the chapel for the weekend Masses love to use your flowers for our weekend services if you wish to leave them behind you although many brides take them with them for an arrangement at their reception.
- Pre-existing flower arrangements that are removed from the church for the ceremony should be left in the store room off the right hand porch of the church.
- Many couples opt for the three candles on the altar, two that they light upon entering the chapel and the third lit after their vows. This is acceptable. Some couples ask for another candle to be lit in memory of a loved one. Again this is acceptable.
- Extra decorative candles in the sanctuary area are not allowed in our church as the wax inevitably drips and makes a mess, especially on the carpet and tiles. There is also a health and safety issue with some arrangements of candles, i.e., in the aisle, on the sides of the seats, etc. However, some people have used large candle stands with electric candles throughout the chapel and these are fine.
- The Church will not accept any responsibility for flower stands, electrical candelabras, archways, artificial trees, etc., used (inside the building or outside on Church property) to decorate the Church for the marriage ceremony that are not existing Church property. Florists, or owners of these items are also required to remove them immediately after the ceremony.
- ‘Red-carpets’ or any type of runner mats are not permitted as they tend to be a trip hazard.
- On occasions where 2 or more weddings take place on the same day/weekend, it is recommended to consult with the other bridal party to see if flowers can be arranged to suit both parties. (For example use white flowers/ribbons, etc.)
- The use of confetti / rice inside or around the church grounds is not permitted.
Visit www.accord.ie for useful information on preparing your wedding day.
Can I choose any priest to conduct my ceremony?
Yes. Most priests are given the task of celebrating weddings in their particular parish and so may not be free to travel to another parish to celebrate a wedding, but if you have a priest friend or family member who is willing to conduct your ceremony, we are delighted to accommodate you. Be aware that priests living outside Ireland are not recognised solemnisers by the state and have to get a special permission from civil law to conduct a wedding in Ireland.
Can I have poems instead of the bible readings?
You can use appropriate poetry as a reflection after communion, but not as a replacement for bible readings during the ceremony.
What happens if I forget to give the three month notice to the Registration office?
In this situation you may be required go to court and get a special permission to get married within the three months of notice required.
Can I play love songs at the wedding?
As you have chosen to have your wedding in a Church you are asking God’s blessing on your wedding, and therefore the music needs to be sacred. Music is not simply an adornment of the ceremony, it is a prayer. So its words and meanings are very important in your service as they effectively make your wedding into a prayer.
Can I have as many bridesmaids and groomsmen as I like?
Although only two witnesses are required, you can have as many as can fit in the front seats.
What will I be asked in the Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form?
The form looks for background information, Sacramental information, Marriage Preparation undertaken, Freedom to marry, i.e., no previous lawful marriages, no impediment to marriage, all permissions needed in the case of a mixed marriage, your willingness to marry, i.e., that you are not under duress. It also asks if your understanding of marriage is compatible with that of the church, that it can only be ended by death, that it involves a lifelong commitment of love and support, it involves fidelity, commitment to bringing up the children in the faith, etc.
Can I use an old Baptismal Certificate I have at home?
The certificate of baptism needed for the pre- nuptial enquiry form must be a newly issued one, dating from no more than six months from the date you booked your wedding. This is to help us establish that you are free to marry, as any previous marriage would be recorded on a new baptismal certificate.
Should I pay for the use of the Church on the day of my wedding?
If you are a regular contributor to the our Church here in Falcarragh, we do not seek any compensation for the use of the building. If you are not, then we would request that you would make a contribution of €250 to cover the cost of the Church for your service.
Can I have my wedding celebration on a Sunday or Holy day in the Church?
Marriages on Sundays, Holidays and some special Church celebrations (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Feast of All Souls) are not permitted in the Diocese of Raphoe.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.