Wedding information

Who?

Catholic clergy (according to both Civil and Church law) can officiate at a wedding only in the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, i.e., when either the bride or groom is a Catholic and when each is free to marry under both Civil and Church law. Someone who is divorced may be able to marry in the Church, depending on circumstances. For example, if any prior marriage is considered invalid by the Church they are free to marry — it is very important that they speak with their parish priest to see what is possible. This is especially important in the case when one or both parties couples may require an annulment of a previous relationship before considering marriage.

Frequently asked questions:
Question 1. Do the bride and groom both have to be Catholic to have a Catholic ceremony? Answer. No, but one must be a Catholic.
Question 2. Does a non-Catholic bride or groom have to become a Catholic before the wedding? Answer. No.
Question 3. Can two non-Catholics have their wedding in a Catholic church? Answer. Not normally, but in hospitality we would consider favourably the request of any Christian couple whose own Church community has no church building here and who plan to marry with the assistance of their own priest or minister. For example, an Orthodox ceremony with an Orthodox priest could take place here.
Question 4. Can we marry on Good Friday or on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday)? Answer. No.

Where?

Catholic weddings take place during an act of worship, and so they are normally held in our own sacred places, that is, in our own churches where the community gathers to celebrate all the key moments of a faith life. Our parish has two churches, St Augustine’s in Mossman and St Mary’s in Port Douglas. Places for weddings must be respectful of the occasion, of the couple and of the gathered community.

These days, many couples travel to places such as Port Douglas to marry. Many resorts also have “chapels” which are not specifically places of worship, but are often considered suitable for special ceremonies.

In towns and regions without a Catholic church weddings are celebrated in another suitable place with the permission of the couple’s bishop. Such permission is also necessary in our parish if couples choose to marry in a suitable place that is not one of our churches. Please consult our Diocesan Policy [Marriage Outside a Sacred Place].

When?

Weddings can take place on any day of the week. It is preferred not to have weddings during Lent (Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday), but weddings are prohibited only on Good Friday and Holy Saturday (often mistakenly called Easter Saturday). It is possible to have a wedding on Easter Sunday, but it is advised to discuss this with the priest.

Celebrant

Catholics have a right to a Catholic wedding (provided both bride and groom are free to marry); their own parish priest is obliged to assist if reasonably possible. However, when a couple travel elsewhere to marry, the parish priest in that place is not obliged to assist but is usually happy to do so if he is available. In this parish we happily assist such weddings when possible. If the parish priest is not available, another priest or deacon in the diocese may be able to assist. A bishop, priest or deacon who is a family member or friend is most welcome to preside, but if he is not a registered minister of religion in Australia then a registered priest or deacon will need to assist for signing the Civil registers and certificate unless the Civil marriage is contracted first at a registry office or before a civil celebrant: please seek advice first.

Do not leave the celebrant until last: contact him before booking any place to avoid disappointment or stress. He will guide the couple through the correct procedures for preparing for marriage and the wedding.

Preparation

Couples must do their preparation where they live. This includes completing both the Civil and Church documents. Different places have different policies about preparation, so you must contact your own parish to arrange preparation. Your parish clergy will assist with all relevant documents.

If you live outside Australia but wish to marry here, you must see your local clergy for the preparation of the Church documents. The Civil Notice of Intended Marriage can be obtained online (download the pdf) and must be signed in the presence of, and be witnessed by, an Australian Consular Officer at a High Commission. In the UK it can be witnessed and signed by a UK Public Notary. Go to the Attorney-General’s page “Getting married” for more information.

Ceremony

At an appropriate stage we can provide a booklet or computer file (MS Word doc) with the entire ceremony, including all possible readings and prayers. This helps with choosing between the various texts.

Cost

The parish seeks a contribution from couples in line with a diocesan schedule. The contribution is to the parish, not the priest, and assists the parish to help cover administrative expenses and the maintenance of sites. Please consult our Parish Marriage Policy.



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