Many congratulations on your decision to be married. This page will help you with the plans and arrangements that you need to make concerning the ceremony at the church.

Generally speaking, you may marry in the Catholic Church if:

• at least one of you is a Roman Catholic;
• neither of you has been married before;
• you are 18 years old or over.

To marry in the parish, at least one of you should normally reside in the parish. The Civil Law states that the church in which you plan to get married must normally be within the registration district where you or your partner resides. The Church's Canon Law states that your marriage is to be celebrated in the parish in which either of you is residing.

You need to give us at least one year's notice of your intention to marry.

The process of planning your marriage with us will take the following pattern:

1 A meeting with the priest with whom you have been in contact to discuss your plans to ascertain that you are free to marry in the Catholic Church. A date for your proposed wedding will be discussed at this meeting, and not before.

At this meeting, essential paperwork will be completed. The priest will need:

if you are a Catholic, a new copy of your baptismal certificate (issued in the last six months) from the parish in which you were baptised;

if you are a Christian of another church, a copy of your original baptismal certificate.

If you are unable to bring these documents with you to the initial meeting, don’t worry, but the priest will need to see them in due course, and certainly in good time before the proposed wedding date.

3 You need to ensure that you fulfil the legal requirements to get married by approaching your local Register Office and making an appointment to see them. It is your responsibility to provide the necessary legal documentation to the priest at the wedding rehearsal. The local register Office is in Guildford

Guildford Register Office
Artington House, Portsmouth Road, Guildford GU2 4DZ
Tel: 08456 009009

If you live in separate registration districts, you will need to contact each Registrar concerned. You will find the address of any Registrar by looking in a telephone or Thompson's directory or via the internet.

If the Catholic lives outside the Catholic Parish of Haslemere with Chiddingfold or Hindhead, you also need a Letter of Freedom from the priest of the Catholic parish in which you reside. Both of you need, please, to be prepared to supply a letter from your parent(s), stating simply that to the best of their knowledge you have never been married before.

4 After the initial meeting with the priest you will be asked to attend a Marriage Preparation Programme, held locally; or make alternative arrangements through Marriage Care (locally: and nationally:

5 Once you have completed the Preparation Programme, please contact the priest for a further meeting with him.

6 At some stage after a date for your proposed wedding has been agreed, a wedding rehearsal date will be added to the diary. For the rehearsal it’s helpful to have the following personnel available if at all possible: bride, groom, best man, principal bridesmaid, bride’s father. Any others who wish to come to the rehearsal are more than welcome.

7 In the Catholic Church no ‘official fee’ is charged. It is customary to make a personal offering to the priest. You must decide how much you’d like to give. Some priests suggest 10% of your overall costs is an appropriate figure. A further fee of £60 is required for the Authorised Person who will be present to register your marriage. Sometimes the priest is also an Authorised Person, but the fee is still required. Please bring the offering and the Authorised Person’s fee to the rehearsal.


You may have organists/musicians of your own which, of course, you are free to employ. However, if you do not, there are excellent organists customarily used in the parish.

All of whom can also advise and provide details regarding the booking of a soloist, a small choir, a string quartet, a harpist and so on. All the arrangements for music at your wedding may be made directly with the musicians concerned. However, it is very important that you discuss with the priest who will be celebrating your wedding all of your proposals and plans before going to print in any booklet you may be preparing.

All fees concerning the use of musicians are discussed directly with them.


You may wish to use professional florists for your wedding which, of course, you are free to do. However, we have a number of talented flower-arrangers across the parishes that can help you too.

All costs concerning flowers are discussed directly with them.


You must have at least one reading from the Bible at your marriage ceremony, but more are possible (though not necessary). Usually, only Bible readings are acceptable. Texts from other sources, or poems, are best reserved for use at the Reception.


Your photographer is allowed to take photographs in the church as long as he/she does not get in the way or distract attention from the service, and similarly with video recordings.

However with sound or vision recordings you may be breaking copyright laws by recording marriage texts, hymns and music. If the copyright holder chose to do so, everyone taking part in the service, including best man and bridesmaids could be prosecuted!

So if you want to record the service the onus is on you to obtain a licence from:

Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Ltd
Elgar House
41 Streatham High Road
London SW16 1ER
Tel. 0208-769-4400


Fr Fergal McGuinness, 
21 Derby Road, Haslemere. GU27 1BS 
(01428) 643877