Marriage & Family Life 

Providing the support and skills needed to help them live out this plan in their daily lives.

Marriage Timeline

SEVEN STEPS have been carefully selected to help establish a strong foundation for your marriage. You can expect the entire process to last approximately nine months, which is to your benefit! Investing in your marriage before your vows will help equip you for the lifetime ahead.

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    Step 1: Meet with your Parish Priest/Deacon at least 6 months in advance

    When: Before setting your wedding date.

    After you become engaged, contact your Parish Priest/Deacon right away to set up a meeting. During this initial meeting, he will talk you through the marriage preparation process. He will also provide you with the information you need to complete Steps 2-6.

    Taking the time now to set a schedule to complete each step, will help you stay organized as you plan your wedding and prepare for your marriage.

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    Step 2: If you plan to marry abroad.

    When: Nine months before your wedding day.

    If you plan to marry abroad, there are several necessary steps and documentation to arrange in order to have a Catholic ceremony abroad. Ideally, you should allow at least nine months to plan a Catholic ceremony to ensure you have enough time to arrange all your religious documentation – and additional civil paperwork if you’re planning to be legally married during the ceremony.

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    Step 3: Register for the Diocesan Married Preparation Course

    When: Six months before the wedding.

    Because Christian marriage is a sacrament, the Catholic Church wants you to be well-prepared. Every engaged couple must participate in a Marriage Preparation Course before celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Diocese of Motherwell Family Life Ministry offer Marriage Preparation Courses to help couples develop a better understanding of the sacrament; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple. The important thing for engaged couples to keep in mind is the well-known adage, “Your wedding lasts a day, but your marriage lasts a lifetime.” This is why the Church encourages couples to invest time and energy into the all-important work of preparing for their married life together.

    Don’t be apprehensive if one of you is not a Catholic. The aim of the course is to inform and help you to be a supportive and loving husband and wife, with God’s grace. Expect to have a better time than you think you will.

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    Step 4: Attend Diocesan Married Preparation Course

    When:  Three to six months before your wedding.

    ‘God’s Plan For Your Happiness – Love For A Lifetime’ is a program based on Scripture and St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” It will teach you what the Church teaches about marriage and sexuality, its sacramental nature, the Marriage Ceremony and the solemn vows you will be making before God.

    Don’t be apprehensive if one of you is not a Catholic. The aim of the course is to inform and help you to be a supportive and loving husband and wife, with God’s grace.

    To ensure you have the tools to plan your family effectively and in accord with God’s plan for marriage, you will have the opportunity to learn about Natural Family Planning.

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    Step 5: Take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

    When: Before the wedding as needed

    The Church invites all Catholics to prepare spiritually before marriage or receiving any sacrament by making frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You should plan to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to the wedding to fully prepare you for the graces of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

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    Step 6: Final meeting with your Parish Priest/Deacon.

    When: Six to eight weeks before the wedding.

    Once the Pre-Nuptial  forms are completed and worked through any preparation issues, you should begin planning your wedding Liturgy,. Your goal is a ceremony that reflects the sacredness of your marriage and the uniqueness of your relationship.        

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    Step 7: Convalidate your civil marriage Into The Church

    If you were married outside the Catholic Church and are seeking to convalidate your civil marriage (meaning make it a valid Catholic marriage), meet with your Parish Priest at least 6 months in advance.  If you were married outside the Catholic Church and are seeking to convalidate your civil marriage (meaning make it a valid Catholic marriage), meet with your Parish Priest at least 6 months in advance.  

    You need to complete Steps 2-6
    When: Before setting your wedding date,
    Please visit this page  Convalidation: Bringing Your Marriage into The Church

Contact Us

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Diocesan Centre, Coursington Road, Motherwell, ML1 1PP

familylife@rcdom.org.uk