Marriage Preparation

Please read the information below and then speak with the Parish Secretary on 8522 0300  before booking a church or reception venue for your wedding. Couples must provide necessary documentation before a booking for marriage can be confirmed by the Church. Once documentation is provided and it is confirmed that the marriage is able to be celebrated in the Catholic Church, couples will generally meet with one of our clergy (Priest or deacon) three times in the lead up to their wedding, in addition to undertaking a marriage education and preparation course.

The celebrant (priest/deacon) for  the wedding will assist you with preparing the church celebration for the day, helping to coordinate readings, church decorations, music, booklets and other appropriate items in the church.

Preparing For A Catholic Wedding

Give at least six months’ notice to the officiating priest. One month’s notice is obligatory by law, but the longer notice requested allows for a calm and serious preparation for marriage. Couples are required to attend a Marriage Preparation Program. Sometimes people who have not been to Church for a while can be apprehensive about approaching the Church for a wedding. Since marriage can be a time of rediscovering one’s faith and making a new start, please do not hesitate to discuss your situation with the priest.

Documents Required For Marriage in the Catholic Church

The Notification of Intention to Marry Form must be signed no less than one month prior to the wedding day. Each person must obtain the following documents and provide these to the Church.

1. Birth Certificate – Available from Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages
2. Government Photo ID – A passport, drivers licence, etc.
3. Updated Baptism Certificate for the Catholic parties – A new baptismal certificate issued within the previous six months, which is available by contacting the place where you were baptised. Send or ring your Parish of baptism and request a full baptismal certificate in preparation for marriage – they will require your full name and estimated date of baptism.
4.  Baptism Certificate for Christians who are not Catholics. 

5. If either party has been married before:
5.1 Death certificate of former spouse
5.2 Decree of Nullity (from the Catholic Marriage tribunal) AND a Civil Divorce Decree.

Marrying A Non-Catholic

Permission can be given for a Catholic to marry someone who is not a Catholic, provided that the Catholic promises to safeguard his/her own Catholic faith and to do all in his/her power to have the children of the marriage baptised and brought up as Catholic. The partner who is not a Catholic is not required to make any promises but is informed of the expectations the Church has of the Catholic partner.

Prayer Of The Couple

Father of life and love, you created us in your image – woman and man. We rejoice and thank you for the gift of each other. Sustain us in our love and lead us to a deeper understanding of your love. Jesus, we come before you, seeking your guidance and direction in our relationship. In marriage you call and challenge us to a permanent, exclusive and sacred friendship. Be our strength and support, therefore, as we continue this journey together. Holy Spirit, help us to strive towards a lasting, honest commitment united in love. Give us your strength to carry each other in times of darkness, your joy in times of happiness, and your gift of awe in the uniqueness and sacredness of each other. May our love be a reflection and a sign of your love in the world. Amen.

Marriage Counselling and Preparation Courses (A requirement prior to a Catholic wedding) 

The Catholic Church has a network of official marriage counselling agencies throughout greater Sydney. The official Catholic welfare agency of the Church, CatholicCare is accredited by the Australian Attorney-General under the provision of the Family Law Act. CatholicCare employs staff who are well skilled in the counselling process and who are familiar with the Catholic teachings and traditions about marriage and divorce. Hence they are able to be of significant help in times of marital disharmony and imminent separation. CatholicCare marriage counselling programs are available to couples or individuals, Catholics and non-Catholics

Option 1: CatholicCare Marriage and Family Counselling Services
Tel: (02) 9283 4899 Website:

Option 2: Smart Loving Engaged Online Marriage Preparation Courses. 

Preparing for the Wedding Day

Once the legal preparations, bookings and marriage counselling courses are scheduled and approaching completion, it will then be time for the couple to start to consider what the wedding service will look like. The guiding principles to consider when preparing for a Catholic wedding service is whether the service and selections are prayerful, are beautiful and accessible for the attendees to participate in the worship of God. Marriage in the context of faith is a demonstration of the deep trust, relationship and love between the couple and their relationship with God, and the wedding service should clearly reflect the religious nature of the service.

A. Selecting Readings, Prayers and Texts for the Wedding Service

There are many options to choose from for the wedding day, and prayerful consideration of the options for the wedding service needs to occur before making any decisions.

A Catholic Wedding Liturgy will always have a Welcoming/Introductory Rites, a Liturgy of the Word and the Marriage Rites. Wedding Mass (Nuptials) will also include the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Holy Communion as part of the Celebration, in addition to the other essential elements of the Wedding Liturgy.

The Wedding Mass is strongly recommended to occur when both parties are Catholics. Catholic Wedding Service (Outside of Mass) is generally recommended to occur when only one party is Catholic. A Wedding Mass normally takes between 40 to 50 minutes, while a Wedding Service (outside of Mass) normally takes between 25 to 35 minutes.

A Wedding Booklet (during Mass) is essential to aid the participation of the congregation during the Wedding Mass. A Wedding Booklet (outside of Mass) is recommended to help with preparing the run-sheet of the wedding service for the day, but is not generally recommended to be printed for all attendees, as the congregational responses are more minimal.

1. Welcoming/Introductory Rites:

Careful Consideration should be given to how the procession will enter the church on the day of the wedding, as some historic and sometimes popular rituals existed for times when marriages were arranged by 3rd parties and in situations where women were not able to legally make decisions for themselves.  The Church recognises that the Bride and Groom are equally the ministers of the sacrament of marriage, and together they freely choose to come together  to celebrate and to make the marriage occur. As such, the Catholic Church recommends and encourages couples to choose to enter and leave the Church together on the day of their wedding as a sign of their freedom, independence and status as the ministers of the sacrament of marriage. Couples are normally accompanied or preceded by their witnesses (bridal party) and parents.

Some families (optionally) choose to light family candles as part of the introductory rites, as a recognition of the families that have prepared the couples for the wedding day. A third family (unity) candle is then typically light following the exchange of rings by the newly married couple.

2. Liturgy of the Word

The couple select a Catholic friend/attendee at the wedding to read the First Reading, Psalm, Second Reading and Gospel Acclamation (if the Gospel Acclamation is not sung). The Gospel is always read by the Priest/Deacon. The Prayers of the Faithful are said by an attendee or multiple attendees at the wedding

A Second Reading is not mandatory at a wedding, and if the couple decide to have only the first reading and psalm, then the selection for the first reading can be from the Old Testament or New Testament options. If there are two readings, then the first reading always comes from the first reading (old testament options) and the second reading always comes from the New Testament options.

Poetry, Writings about love and writings from other faith traditions are best included as part of the reception. Catholic Liturgies of the Word at weddings and at other service are moments to worship God and to reflect on the Word of God revealed in the Sacred Scriptures.

3. Marriage Rite

The marriage rite includes vows (declaration of consent – with 2 main options), blessing and exchange of rings and the Nuptial Blessing. Couples do not write their own marriage vows for the wedding service, although the church does encourage both the bride and groom to speak their own words of love and thanksgiving during the wedding reception.

4. Liturgy of the Eucharist (if Wedding Mass is occurring)

  • Offertory – Gifts of Bread and Wine are typically brought forward by attendees at the wedding.
  • Eucharistic Prayer
  • Kiss of Peace and Communal Sharing of Peace
  • Holy Communion

5. Concluding Rites

  • Final Blessing
  • Signing of the Register
  • Presentation and Dismissal

B. Guidelines for flowers in the Church

Couples are very welcome to provide flowers in the church for the day of the wedding.

Flower Options may include the following: 

a. flowers/bows/ribbons on the sides of the pews – when these are used, normally every second or third pew in the central aisle are decorated. The central aisle in St Aloysius Church in Cronulla should be checked prior to ordering anything for the pews. All ribbons and bows are to be removed immediately following a wedding (as services often occur shortly after a wedding), and no blue-tak, nails or pins should be used to attach the bows to the pews.

b. large sanctuary arrangements – normally two larger arrangements are appropriate, and these are placed on the church supplied brass flower stands, and are situated adjacent to the large candles at the rear of the sanctuary space. Florists are not to bring columns/stands for the flowers, and flowers are not to obstruct the space in front of the altar or either side of the altar.

c. Small arrangement placed in front of the ambo/lectern – this arrangement can be placed on a small stand (provided by the church) or can sit directly on the ground in front of the place where the Scripture readings occur from.

d. Arrangement in the foyer of the Church – an arrangement or a welcome sign with a flower arrangement is possible to be placed inside the foyer, near the rear doors of the church.

e. Individual bouquet for bride and bridesmaids: These are possible and encouraged to be used.

f. Bouquet of Flowers for a Dedication to Mary at the Conclusion of the Wedding Ceremony: Some couples choose to leave an offering of a bouquet of flowers at the Statue of Mary as part of a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which can occur after the Signing of the Register. It is a beautiful and ancient tradition and is encouraged by all couples.

Notes about flowers that are not permissible: 

a. Flowers during the Season of Lent – Flowers are not permitted to be used in the Church for weddings or for other purposes during the Lenten season, as Lent is a time to focus on Christ’s passion and death in preparation for Easter. Lent generally occurs during February to March (beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding with the celebration of Easter). Check with the Parish Office (or google online) for the dates of Lent each year (as they change every year).  Flowers are permissible (as above) only on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the Pink/Rose Sunday) and on the Solemnity of St Patrick (March 17), Solemnity of St Joseph (March 19) and Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25). Please further note that depending on the date of Easter and the proximity of these celebrations to Palm Sunday, these Solemnities may be transferred to a date during the Easter Season, and thus the rules of Lent with no flowers would once again apply.

During Lent, no flower arrangements are permitted in the church except for a single bouquet of the bride.

b. Flowers placed on the altar, any table or plinth: St Aloysius Church does not permit flower arrangements to be placed on the church altar, in front of the church altar, or on tables or plinths, and flower arrangements should not obstruct the safe movement around the sanctuary space nor should the flowers obstruct the view of anyone attending the service. Kneelers are normally placed in front of the altar for the couple to kneel for the Nuptial Marriage Blessing, and thus there is limited spaced for floral decorations.

c. Rose petals and other confetti: The Parish does not permit petals or any other confetti to be spread or thrown anywhere in the church or on the church premises (including the exterior grounds).

C. Guidelines for choosing music for the wedding service

Good live music enhances a celebration and adds to the dignity and solemnity of the occasion. Pre-recorded music can sometimes be difficult to effectively fade out and technical problems do sometimes occur. Furthermore, for many people today, an experience of live music can be rare, especially with the abundance of recorded music in some many other contexts. .

If there is a real desire to have recorded music, the selection of the music is vital and will need to be discussed with the celebrant before any decisions are made. The lyrics of songs also need careful consideration. Publicly playing copyrighted recorded music brings with it some challenges, and these challenges should be considered as part of the decision-making process.  In general, instrumental music is the preferred option if using pre-recorded music.

  • In St Aloysius Catholic Church Cronulla, we have a wonderful high quality digital pipe organ in the gallery of our church and an electronic keyboard. Musicians play from the gallery of the church, as microphones and speakers are already arranged in that space to aid the ministry of musicians.
  • In St John Fisher Church at Kurnell, there is a small electronic keyboard, which is not very suitable for wedding services, and there is no PA System in the Church.

You may like to have a singer or even a string quartet for the wedding day. For a list of musicians and their contacts, please contact the Parish Office.

Our Parish is blessed with talented and highly accomplished musicians: instrumentalists and singers. You are welcome to bring in organists/musicians from outside our Parish, however arrangements must be made with the parish musicians who take care of the instruments. Individual speakers and tripods are not to be used in the Church by external musicians as they create potential WHS issues, can clutter the liturgical space and can interfere with the existing church PA System.

A music minister from our parish can help you choose good music for your wedding. As you work with that person, here are three questions to guide your music selections:

1. Are the music selections prayerful?

The purpose of any Catholic liturgy, including a wedding liturgy, is to give glory to God and to sanctify (make holy) the worshipers. Your wedding music should reflect that purpose; in other words, it should help those gathered to pray and to give thanks to God for your love.

Pop or rock songs, even those with a love theme, are usually considered inappropriate for use in a Catholic wedding ceremony because they were never intended or designed to be used in the context of prayer, and most people are not drawn to pray with such music. Even some “classic” wedding music, such as the wedding marches, are often not permitted for this reason.

2. Is the music accessible for the congregation to participate?

Put another way, will it encourage the people to sing? In Catholic worship, the congregation – all those who have come to your wedding are meant to be involved in the singing and the worship. It is not an audience, passively watching events unfold at the altar. Catholic liturgy (especially in the context of Mass) calls on the congregation to actively participate in the prayer of the Church, including its sung prayer. Doing so is one of the most powerful ways your friends and family can express their love and support for you and your spouse.

As you plan your wedding music, consider whether your friends and family will be able to sing what you have selected, and if you have provided an opportunity for them to sing. What is accessible will depend on your situation. If your family and friends are all talented musicians who speak or are capable with multiple languages, then the sky’s the limit. If they couldn’t carry a note in the shower, then better to stick with familiar hymns. If many of the guests will be from other Christian faiths, you might consider choosing classic hymns widely used by many denominations.

One way to encourage the congregation to sing is by providing the music in the wedding booklet and even informing you guests in communications in the days prior to the wedding that you will be inviting them to sing as part of the day.

3. Are the musical selections beautiful?

Beauty is a window onto the divine (Catechism of the Catholic Church #32), so it is not surprising that the Church calls for the music used in its worship to be beautiful. You and our parish music ministers will know what wedding music will seem beautiful, given your tastes and culture.

One thing to keep in mind is that the beauty of any musical piece depends a lot on who is singing and playing it. St Augustine famously said: “Those who sing well, pray twice.”

Songs that might have seemed boring or ordinary when just accompanied by a piano or organ during the Sunday liturgy might completely come alive when accompanied by a wider variety of voices and musical instruments. One way to get an idea of what really beautiful liturgical music sounds like is to listen to professional versions of the songs.

Costs associated with the booking and preparation for the wedding

St Aloysius Parish does not charge any fees for the use of the church, for the preparation of church/civil documents or for the celebrant. However, a donation to help the priests of the Archdiocese of Sydney is very much appreciated, and in anticipation, we thank you for your generosity. A donation confirms the booking. A booking form can be obtained from the Parish Office via email, once you have decided on the appropriate date.

If the marriage is to be celebrated by a priest or deacon who is on the staff at St Aloysius Parish, then the Parish Office and the celebrant (priest/deacon) will take on the responsibility for preparing the church and legal papers for the wedding. There is no charge for the services of our clergy, but you are more than welcome to give a donation to the celebrant on the day of the wedding. A donation for the use of church of facilities is also appropriate and can be made on the day of the wedding.

If the marriage is to be celebrated by a priest or deacon who is not on the staff at St Aloysius Parish, then the visiting priest must take on all the legal preparations and responsibilities for the wedding, unless some other arrangement is made with the parish.

To assist a visiting outside priest, a Parish Wedding Co-ordinator may be required. The Coordinator will provide the following services: open and close the church for rehearsal and on the day of the wedding; orientate the visiting priest with the sacristy and church; assist the priest (when requested) with rehearsal; liaise with florists concerning entry to the church; liaise with musicians when necessary; ensure flowers and pew ribbons are removed from the church after the wedding; answer any queries. The Wedding Coordinator costs $200 per wedding and a booking form can be obtained from the Parish Secretary.

Couples are very welcome to provide flowers and pew ribbons for the church at your own cost. Generally 2 large arrangements are suitable for the St Aloysius Church.  Arrangements for delivery need to be made ahead of time with the Parish Receptionist.

You are also welcome to provide musicians, photographers and videographers for the wedding. These services are not provided for by the Parish. The placement and involvement of each should be discussed carefully with the celebrant, and videographers and photographers are not permitted to use tripods, LED lights, drones or other obtrusive aids, and musicians are not permitted to bring their own sound system or microphones.

St Aloysius Church is equipped with many high quality video production cameras, and livestreaming of the wedding is possible using the parish livestreaming facilities. The parish has several trained video operators who know and understand our system, and are willing to assist for the wedding day. A donation is appropriate for their time and expertise on the day. The video footage can also be downloaded following the service.

Marriage Annulment

Contact: Tribunal of the Catholic Church
Tel: (02) 9390 5120 / Fax: (02) 9267 2498

Mission: To minister to those in need of canonical assistance in all areas of Church life, especially marriage and the sacramental life of the Church, by providing information, personnel, and canonical expertise in keeping the letter and spirit of Canon Law.
Because of the clear teaching of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church does not recognise the remarriage of a divorced person while the first partner is still living. In the same way it cannot recognise the marriage of a single person to someone who has been divorced. Sometimes cases arise where the first marriage is, for a number of reasons, not recognised as valid according to the practice of the Catholic Church. If one of the partners has been divorced, you should discuss the precise circumstances of the situation with the priest. Church law about the annulment of marriages can sometimes be complex and specialist advice may be required. The priest will be able to refer you to the office in the Archdiocese that deals with these cases.

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Contact: Miranda Catholic Parish Centre, Kiora Rd, Miranda,
2nd Thursday of the month or by appointment.
Ph: 02 9531 1871

Mission: To teach married couples, and couples preparing for marriage, about ways to achieve or postpone pregnancy through methods approved by the Catholic Church. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a program designed for married couples that reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and the family. It promotes openness to human life, and recognises the value of the child. The program calls for mutual responsibility and communication between the husband and the wife. If you have questions or would like to know more about NFP, please call one of the offices.