For a Catholic wedding to take place, the civil preliminaries must be completed. The couple must register their intention to marry and obtain the marriage licence from the superintendent registrar; it is usual for them to marry at their local church.
If the church is in a different registration district from where the couple live, they must prove to the superintendent registrar that it is their normal place of worship, or they must give notice in the church's registration district after having met the civil residence requirement.
The priest or minister in the parish(es) where the bride and groom reside must be consulted. This is required by the Church and the State in adherence with the need to ascertain 'freedom to marry'.
If the bride and groom are Catholic, there are forms to complete to declare that both are legally and spiritually able to marry, that they freely intend to marry and that they agree with the Church's view of marriage - namely that it is one of the seven Sacraments and represents a lifelong commitment to God.
The publication of banns will then proceed, but they are not a legal requirement. If one party is not Catholic, a dispensation must be obtained from the priest or bishop to permit the marriage.
It is advisable to give the priest six months' notice. Several meetings will be held to discuss the arrangements for the wedding. The priest will advise on the service, including selecting the hymns, readings and psalms for the Catholic wedding.
Usually, there is also a wedding rehearsal the day before the wedding.