You have decided to get married. Congratulations. It is a happy and exciting time for you. Naturally, you want to make plans and you want everything to be perfect on your wedding day.
You wish to be married in Church and more particularly at St. Lawrence’s, which is, undoubtedly, a lovely setting for a wedding. But there is more to a Church wedding than a nice setting. Marriage is a Sacrament. Choosing to be married in a Catholic Church implies that you have a real spiritual dimension to your life; that you understand the profound nature and commitment of the vows you make before God, asking Jesus to be part of your married life together and the blessing of the Church in your marriage.
We follow the Southwark Diocesan directions and require at least six months’ notice for a wedding.
Your home parish is the best setting for your wedding. Generally speaking, we would ask, therefore, if you wish to be married at St Lawrence’s;
· You, or your partner have your home within St Lawrence’s parish;
· You are going to live in the parish after you are married;
· You or your partner are members of the worshipping community of St Lawrence’s, living outside the boundaries of the parish;
· You or your partner have strong family links with St Lawrence’s.
Marriage is an intimate partnership between a man and a woman. The foundation of marriage is a covenant (contract) which cannot be altered or cancelled, and to which both partners agree. In so doing, they form a relationship of life and love. The partners commit themselves to the creation of life which will hold a special and equal place in their relationship, and they promise to nurture and sustain that life. For their good, and the good of their children, and for the good of society in general, this sacred bond no longer depends on human decisions alone, ‘for God Himself is the author of marriage and what God has united, man must not divide’ (Gaudium et Spes #48)
The Catholic Church teaches that Christian marriage is a Sacrament, a visible sign that God’s love is truly present in their relationship. Before marriage, a Christian will have encountered Christ in Baptism and, normally, also in Confirmation and the Eucharist. Marriage is not a human institution or even a Church foundation but is of divine origin. This is why the Church does not consider itself able to change our understanding of marriage. The Christian man or woman receives both the capacity and the mission to live out their sacrament of marriage in a concrete way in their love for one another and in the service of their children and their neighbour.
In order to be married in St Lawrence’s, or anywhere else in the diocese all couples are required to take part in a marriage preparation course. It is essential that you have completed a Marriage Course, and receive a certificate of attendance (issued in line with the Diocesan guidelines). The dates of the courses can be obtained from the Parish Priest.
– engaged couples are encouraged to help with the preparation of their wedding by choosing the music, readings and the variable parts of the ceremony and of the Mass. None of this should be left to the last minute, and guidance will be given by the Parish Priest who will administer the Sacrament. Catholics must provide a copy of their baptismal certificate, this can be obtained from your church of baptism and must be issued not more than six months before the day of the wedding. Confirmation details are usually included on this certificate.