When two become one, united by God

“Marriage is a daily job. We could even say it’s like craftmanship. In a way it’s like being a goldsmith, because a husband makes his wife more of a woman, and she in turn should make her husband a better man. Growing together in their humanity, as man and woman”

~ Pope Francis

Whether you are hoping to marry here in Gosport or in another church, we would like to offer you our best wishes for this time of preparation and much happiness in the years ahead.

No doubt you are already finding that there are a number of detailed arrangements to be made for your wedding day. We hope that the information given here will indicate clearly all the essential preparations for your marriage and the wedding service itself. There will be a great deal of paperwork that has to be completed before permission is granted for you to marry ( some of which is time critical) so please contact us as soon as possible so that we may advise and assist you with planning your happy day.

If anything seems confusing or there are any other matters not mentioned here that you would like to discuss, then we will be happy to help you!

You and your partner will need to attend a marriage preparation course. The Bishop requires that all couples attend a course, and such a course is a requirement for all couples wishing to marry in the Catholic Church. We are not currently running a marriage preparation course in the parish but various courses are available around the Diocese. To gain the maximum benefit from this course you should register for one as soon as possible after arranging the date of your marriage.

Marriage preparation courses are provided within the parish and within the diocese.

Marriage and Civil and Church Law

Marriage and Civil Law

This may appear complicated. Please ask if in doubt.

The marriage ceremony of the Church must include the civil marriage declarations for this country. The Civil and Church authorities have carefully agreed the words of the Marriage Rite and they may not be varied. Any differences in the Civil and Church laws are the result of the Church placing great emphasis on the sacrament of the marriage.

Freedom to Marry

The civil law lays down a minimum age of 16 years in order to marry. Parental consent (or, if the parents are divorced, the consent of the parent who has custody) is needed between the ages of 16 and 18 years.

No marriage can take place without two Certificate For Marriage forms, one for each person. These must be applied for in person, collected by you after 15 days and given to your priest before the wedding can take place (these are more commonly known as ‘blue forms’)

  • Seven days residence within the registration district is necessary prior to giving notice of marriage to the Registrar.
  • If the couple live in two different registration districts, notice must be given to the Registrar of each district.
  • The Registrar will issue the certificate after 28 clear days, cost about £30.

N.B. You are advised to take copies of your birth certificates when giving notice of your intention to marry. If you are under 23, your birth certificate must be produced. Most offices operate an appointment system so you are advised to telephone beforehand.

Marriage and Church Law

Civil law directs that marriage must take place before an authorised person, in the presence of two witnesses, and in a registered building. Church law follows this legislation. The Church at which you are marrying may employ or supply an authorised person (often the priest himself) and most Catholic churches are registered for weddings. Please check with the priest or deacon who is marrying you.

In addition, Church law requires that a Catholic marry before a Catholic priest or deacon. This usually means that the marriage takes place in the parish of the bride or, if she is not a Catholic, in the parish of the bridegroom.

Marriage in a Catholic church that is neither the parish of the bride nor the groom requires the permission of the parish priests involved.

If you wish to marry at St Josephs, Holy Cross or Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, you must have a current family link with the respective church. At the current time regrettably if you do not live in the parish, permission will not be considered.

No Marriages are celebrated on a Sunday, during Lent or Advent anywhere in the parish.

Your wedding will be recorded in the marriage register of the parish in which you are married and also in the register of the parish in which you were baptised.

In exceptional circumstances and where there might otherwise be great difficulties, the Bishops in England and Wales are willing to dispense a Catholic from the obligation of marrying before a Catholic priest or deacon and will consider giving permission for a marriage in another Christian Church.


There must be no impediment to the marriage: for example, no previous marriage (civil or religious), or close family or blood relationship. If in doubt, please discuss this with us at an early stage.

If one of the partners is baptised, but not a Catholic, you need to acquire Permission for a Mixed Marriage before the wedding can take place. If one of the partners is not a Christian (e.g. Muslim, Sikh, Hindu), you will need a Dispensation for Disparity of Cult. We will help you with these documents.

Catholics who marry someone who is not a Catholic are asked to sign a promise to continue living their own faith and to do all in their power to have children of the marriage baptised and brought up in the Catholic faith.

Marrying Non-British Subjects

If you wish to marry a non-British subject and want advice about this, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or write to UK Immigrants’ Advisory Service, Brettenham House, Lancaster Place, Strand, LONDON WC2E 7LR.

If you wish to marry someone belonging to a non-Christian religion from another country, and you have any difficulties, please write (enclosing a stamped addressed envelope) to: Foreign Marriage Service, International Social Service of Great Britain, Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, LONDON SW9 6DD or call 020.7735 8941.

Marriage Documents Required For A Catholic Wedding When both parties are Catholic

  • A new copy of the Baptismal Certificate for each person, issued within six months of the date of the wedding, not before.
  • A Confirmation Certificate for the Catholic parties – this is an absolute requirement for marriages in some countries such as Poland, Malta, Ireland or Italy.
  • A Statutory Declaration of Freedom, for each party, to be sworn before a solicitor, and stamped and witnessed by that solicitor, (Commissioner for Oaths), testifying to your freedom to marry. This declaration must be dated within 6 months of the date of the wedding, not before.

When One Party Is Not A Catholic

When the non-Catholic has been baptised, a copy of the baptismal certificate, or a letter from the parent stating that you have been baptised. There is no six-month rule here.

The papers for marriages have to be sent to the Diocesan Chancery for processing and granting of permissions. The Chancery asks for a £100 donation for this.

Marriages Abroad

If you are marrying abroad, you will still need to supply us with the following information:

  • Full name and postal address of the Church where you are to be married.
  • Full name and postal address of the parish priest of that church.
  • Full name and postal address of the priest who is marrying you if it is not a priest of that parish.
  • Name of the Roman Catholic Diocese where the church is.

Some French parishes will only provide up to date baptismal evidence at the request of a parish priest and then only on the French form. Please advise us if this is so in your case.

To be married in France you also have to produce a copy of your Birth Certificate.

It is also a requirement in France for couples to produce a Declaration of Intention, in French. The couple should speak to their French priest to confirm the wording of the Declaration of

Intention, which should then be sent to us, or we can obtain a sample of it for you from our Diocesan Chancery

  • A copy of your birth certificate and your passport is also required if you are to be married in Spain.
Hong Kong
  • Copies of birth certificates

Contact the parish office at least six months before the wedding and we will do our best to assist you.