University Weddings

University Weddings 2014-10-21T16:46:13+00:00

Catholic Marriages in Oxford Colleges and at the Catholic Chaplaincy

Many Catholic current and former members of the University like to get married in Oxford, occasionally at the Chaplaincy or (much more usually) at their College. In each case, the team at the Chaplaincy is available to help with advice about the steps you need to take, and to help make sure that, if you need a Catholic priest for the service, one is available.    This can at times seem a little bit of a game of snakes and ladders, but fear not!  You will get to the finish.   Here are some of the key questions to be asking yourselves, with answers below…

If you have further questions, please contact Fr Keith McMillan: k.p.mcmillan.sj@gmail.com.

1] Where to I do the marriage preparation and documentation?
2] Who do I need to get in touch with if I want a Catholic marriage in one of the College Chapels?
3] Do I need to have a civil wedding before the Church wedding?
4] Where can I get information about the marriage licence and civil weddings?
5] Do I need to ask special permission from the RC Church to be married in a College Chapel?
6] There is a priest that we know really well, who we’d like to do the wedding, is that possible?
7] What if my partner is not Catholic?
8] Supposing there are important pastoral reasons why we should be married according to the Anglican Rite?
9] We got married in Oxford without going through any of the Church formalities, but now want our marriage to be recognised in the eyes of the Church, is this possible?
10] What documentation do I need for the meeting with my parish priest?
11] What happens to all the documentation?

1] Where do I do the marriage preparation and documentation?

If you are resident in Oxford:  here at the Chaplaincy
If you are not resident in Oxford: at your home parish

2] Who do I need to get in touch with if I want a Catholic marriage in one of the College chapels?

1. Your local parish priest (for the preparation programme and the documentation)
2. The Chaplain of the College you want your wedding to be in
3. The Catholic Chaplaincy
4. Your local registry office for a marriage licence at least two weeks before the wedding (in every case).
5. The registry office (usually in Oxford) to arrange a civil wedding before the Catholic service in the College.

3] Do I need to have a civil wedding before the Church wedding?

If you are being married according to the Roman Catholic Rite in a College chapel, then you must have a civil wedding beforehand at a registry office.

NB You do not need to go through a civil wedding ceremony
a) If you are being married according to the Anglican Rite by the authorised person (usually the chaplain) in your College
b) If you are being married at the Catholic Chaplaincy itself or another Catholic parish Church

4] Where can I get information about the marriage licence and civil weddings?

See website www.oxfordshire.gov.uk

5] Do I need to ask special permission from the RC Church to be married in a College Chapel?

Yes, but it’s easy. When you fill out the marriage form with your priest and talk about the place of the marriage, your priest will include a request for permission for the marriage to take place outside an RC Church, this permission will then be granted by our home diocese of Birmingham.

6] There is a priest that we know really well, who we’d like to do the wedding, is that possible?

Most certainly. But when you get in touch with the Chaplaincy, please let us know who he is and we can officially ‘delegate’ him.

7] What if my partner is not Catholic?

Not a problem. When you fill out the marriage form with your Parish Priest, he will make any necessary requests for permissions, which will then be approved through the chancellor of your home diocese and the marriage will be valid in the eyes of the Church.

If your partner is a baptised Christian, but not a Catholic you need a permission for a ‘mixed marriage’.
If your partner is not baptised (even if (s)he is a practising Christian) then you need a permission for ‘disparity of worship’.

Your priest will be able to explain the detail.

8] Supposing there are important pastoral reasons why we should be married according to the Anglican Rite?

Again, you will have a chance to talk all these things through with your parish priest and he will then ask your Diocese for a ‘Dispensation from the Canonical Form of Marriage’. When this is given, the marriage will count as a valid Catholic marriage, even though it is carried out according to a non-Catholic Rite. You do not need to have a Catholic Priest present.

9] We got married in Oxford without going through any of the Church formalities, but now want our marriage to be recognised in the eyes of the Church, is this possible?

Absolutely. You need to go to your local parish priest and begin the process to request a ‘convalidation’ from your local Diocese. You will do all the regular documentation, just retrospectively, to request that your marriage is made valid.

10] What documentation do I need for the meeting with my parish priest?

A recent baptism certificate and a ‘letter of freedom’ from your parish priest that you have not married.  The priest who is doing the preparation will complete the information for marriage form and will include these and any other relevant documents. There are some variations from diocese to diocese regarding the ‘freedom to marry’ document, so ask your priest. Some dioceses also request a confirmation certificate if you have one. If your partner is not baptised, then he or she simply needs a ‘freedom to marry’ document in some appropriate form.

11] What happens to all the documentation?
Your priest will send the forms off to your diocese, who will give the main permissions necessary. They will then send the forms on to the archdiocese of Birmingham, where the permissions to do with location and minister will be granted. The forms eventually end up where the marriage is recorded.  A note will then be sent to your parish of Baptism and your marriage will be recorded in the Baptism register there.