Christian Marriage, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, is entered upon as a commitment by a man and a woman to a state of life which is indissoluble. It takes the good of that natural attraction and delight in friendship which can exist between the sexes to a still higher level of selfless and sacrificial love (agape) which is not for the immature. The Scriptures even go so far as to compare the relationship between the bridegroom and the bride to the love of Christ for the Church.

Weddings are celebrated in the context of the Eucharist (a Nuptial Mass) or as a simple Wedding Service, whichever is more appropriate. During preparation for marriage a couple plan details of the liturgy on the day of their wedding. Even more importantly they prepare themselves for a life together of vowed faithfulness. They come to know themselves better as individuals and as partners in the process. They think in some depth about the nature of the commitment they are undertaking in light of the fullness of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

It is important that a couple meets the priest to discuss their plans for marriage in good time and before any other arrangements (e.g. booking a reception venue) have been made. A minimum of six months is needed for the process of preparation. Preparation by the priest is complemented by attendance at one of the highly-regarded Marriage Care day courses in the Diocese (this is a requirement). These courses look at issues surrounding relationships that all can learn from, however long a couple may have known each other. In addition Engaged Encounter courses are recommended. Natural Family Planning courses are also available in the Diocese for those who wish to take them. A plan for preparation will be agreed at the first meeting with the priest, and an indication will be given of the fees which will be eventually be due. These should be paid at the wedding rehearsal or before.

Those wishing to be married will need in due course to contact the registrar of Amber Valley plus, in the case of a partner residing outside the local area, the registrar of the local authority where they live. A variety of documents is needed when a marriage is booked. The first port of call ought to be the priest, who will advise on the information required for the first meeting and what further steps need to be undertaken.

Further information

A statement on marriage issued by the bishop of Nottingham is being read at masses twice a year.

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