Question: I am a Catholic born and raised in Virginia. I recently moved to another state and am now engaged to be married. My family is all in Virginia and I’m interested in hosting my wedding ceremony in a Catholic church nearby. My fiancé and I are both out of state and are hoping to be married in the fall 2010. What steps do I need to take to have our ceremony at a Catholic Church in VA?
Response By: Thérèse Bermpohl
For those engaged to be married, the first step is always to let your local parish know that you are engaged, so that you can begin the marriage preparation process. Although parishes may prepare couples for marriage differently all of them are there to help you navigate this joyful time by answering all your questions and helping you to make the best decisions possible regarding your marriage plans.
If both you and your fiancé are Catholic, but belong to different parishes, you can approach either parish for marriage preparation (although tradition favors the bride’s parish). If only one of the betrothed is Catholic, you should approach that person’s parish after your engagement.
If you hope to get married somewhere other than your home parish, you will first need to get permission from your pastor and the pastor of the parish where you plan to get married. A word to the wise – be sure to get these permissions before you make any binding arrangements, i.e. It’s always advisable to make sure the church is available before you book the reception hall.
Once you have secured these permissions, you can proceed with your marriage preparation according to the guidelines of the diocese in which you are getting married.
Don’t forget that the Office for Family Life offers great resources to help you prepare for your upcoming marriage with Pre-Cana classes– including Natural Family Planning (NFP), engagement conferences and more! Pre-Cana classes are also offered in Spanish. Contact the Spanish Apostolate Office for further information.