Getting Married in the Catholic Church


The Church welcomes you and is delighted that you are considering celebrating this time in your life in the presence of God and your faith community.

Catholics have a right and obligation to marry in the Church. Therefore, we are ready to help you accomplish this and will work to the best of our abilities to support you both in your marriage preparation beyond.

The following requirements must be met for a valid Catholic wedding:

Premarital Investigation Form

Pre-Cana/Engaged Encounter

Meetings with Clergy/Pastoral Staff

Dispensations from the Bishop (if required)

Letter of permission from home pastor (if required)

Delegation letter from the Director of the Catholic Newman Community

Please know that Catholics can marry a member of any faith tradition with proper delegation and preparation (required for all couples seeking marriage. Also, weddings must take place in a Church building or receive delegation for a valid reason (ie..mixed marriages) and to maintain the solemnity of the marriage ceremony may not take place outdoors.

Helpful links

Who officiates at the wedding?

In order for your wedding to be validly celebrated in the Catholic Church, it must be witnessed by a Roman Catholic priest or deacon who is in good standing.  You should consult with him in advance of selecting your date to determine his availability for the date(s) time(s) you will be trying to schedule at the Interfaith Chapel or elsewhere.

If it is the priest at Newman, whom you want to officiate, you simply need to contact him at [email protected] or +1 (585) 275-8523.  If it is another priest or deacon, you need to provide the Director of the Newman Community with the contact info of the officiant.  The officiant will need to submit a Letter of Suitability from his diocese indicating that he is in good standing.  Then the Director of the Newman Community will issue him a Letter of Delegation indicating that he has permission to perform a Catholic Wedding here at the Interfaith Chapel. Newman staff will work with the priest/deacon whom you have selected to provide the materials needed for the wedding ceremony (Mass materials, etc.)

If you are marrying in another city/state/country and need marriage preparation, please contact the Director of the Newman Community at [email protected] or +1 (585) 275-8523.

Scheduling the Wedding and Rehearsal

It is recommended you prepare at least 6 months prior to the wedding and not longer than one year prior to wedding date. The availability of Interfaith Chapel is not controlled by the Newman Community staff. Please consult the Interfaith Chapel at or +1 (585) 275-4321.

Once your date and time have been secured, contact the Newman Director immediately to inform us of your wedding. Indicate if you have a priest/deacon who will be officiating, or if you are asking the Newman Director to officiate.

Wedding Ceremony with Mass or Outside of Mass

The sacrament of Marriage may take place during Mass or outside of Mass. This decision is made between the couple and the priest/deacon who is officiating.  If one of the spouses is of another tradition, it is usually recommended that the Marriage take place outside of Mass.  If one of the spouses is not baptized, the wedding is most always a ceremony outside of Mass.

Previous Marriage

Call us at +1 (585) 275-8523, as this may be confusing. We will help you understand.


Your wedding preparation, here or by another Catholic minister will usually require 3 meetings, plus one full-day seminar (Pre-Cana Class).  Two meetings to review the nature of the sacrament of Marriage, discuss issues of married life, and review/collect the paperwork necessary; and one meeting to plan the ceremony. If the officiant of your wedding is someone other than the priest at Newman, this last meeting will take place with him.

The Pre-Cana Class is a one day workshop that is required for your marriage preparation.  It is important for two reasons that you register for this program almost as soon as you notify the Newman Director of your wedding.  Workshops can fill up quickly, and early registration eliminates scheduling problems later on. Visit for more information.

What if we don’t both live here?  If you both live in the same location outside of the Diocese of Rochester, we suggest that you approach a catholic priest in your location to carry out your wedding preparation.  If that is the case, please be sure to let the Director of the Newman Community know.

If you both live in different cities, we will plan times to meet when you are together in Rochester.  We can also meet via Skype if that is helpful, however, at least one of the 3 meetings must take place in person so that we can fill out paperwork.

Marriage between a Catholic and a person of another faith

This is possible! If one of the parties is a member of another faith tradition or of no faith tradition, there are permissions or dispensations for which there is a need to apply to the diocesan authorities.  While this is in no way a major obstacle, it does require some paperwork, and more importantly some conversation regarding how the Catholic party plans to live out the faith and share it with your children.

If the party who is of another faith desires to have a member of their clergy present for the ceremony, they are welcome and can work with the celebrant to determine what role (if any) they will play in the ceremony, remembering that it is a Catholic ceremony.


Given the fact that this is an important moment in your life as well as a ceremony with civil law ramifications, there is paperwork to be filled out.  This is called PRE-MARITAIL INVESTIGATION.

The Director of the Newman Community or the person preparing you for your wedding will submit all of the appropriate paperwork, but only after the couple has taken care of the paperwork they need to obtain.

Catholics need to contact the parish where they were baptized no sooner than 6 months before the wedding date to obtain a Baptismal Certificate indicating that they were baptized and that they are free to marry (are not still married to someone else, have been ordained, etc.).  While many Catholics may have the certificate from the actual day of their baptism, this is not what is needed.  A certificate issued from the parish within 6 months of the wedding date is needed.  When contacting the parish, have them forward the certificate to you and then you submit it to the person handling your paperwork directly.

At the completion of the Pre Cana Workshop, the couple will receive a certificate indicating that they have finished the program.  This certificate is to be forwarded to person handling your wedding directly.

A Marriage License must be obtained. Please consult with New York State for this.

Planning the Ceremony

The ceremony will require the attention of both of the spouses as you prepare for your wedding.  A reminder that no wedding ceremony is perfect, and more importantly, this sacrament is a religious service that should reflect a decorum that is different from other types of celebrations.  The Interfaith Chapel will also assign a Wedding Coordinator who will work in conjunction with the priest or deacon who will be officiating on logistics and for the wedding ceremony. To prepare for the ceremony, we will issue you a book entitled “Together for Life” which has all of the prayers and readings from which you can choose.

Music is an important dimension of a liturgical moment such as a wedding. You will need to coordinate the music through the Director of the Newman Community or your celebrant. We do require a professional musician and professional cantor to aid the celebration of this significant event.


There is a fee that the Interfaith Chapel charges for the use of the Chapel and for the organist.  The Catholic Newman Community is not consulted in the determination of that fee, nor does it receive any amount of that fee.  You are requested to pay a $350 fee to handle all marriage preparation expenses and related materials for the celebration of your wedding. This fee does not include Pre-Cana and is payable one month before the ceremony. The fee reimburses the Newman Community student ministry for the expenses incurred for this non-student centered ministry.

If you would like to make a donation to the Newman Community in honor of your wedding day or would like to make an offering to the priest/deacon who officiates, that is appreciated and always at your discretion.

Helpful Information:

The Catholic Newman Community (Catholic parish at the University of Rochester) and the University’s Interfaith Chapel are independent. The chapel provides you the place/time for your wedding; the Newman Community assures the service/records meet the requirements of Church.

Under normal circumstances the Church requests a six-month marriage preparation period; attendance at a marriage enrichment program (Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter); and meetings with a priest/deacon.

Interfaith Marriages are always an option. The director of the Newman Community can assist you with your questions and needs in this special circumstance.

Newman Community Can Provide:

Provides answers to questions you (or your clergy) may have during the preparation period.

Permanent recording of all Catholic weddings.

Assures that Catholic priest/deacon receives canonical delegation as required.

Assistance with identifying a deacon/priest to officiate your preparation/ceremony.

Provides any and all items for a Catholic wedding (including presider book, chalices, patens, hosts, purificator, wine, white alter clothe, stole (priest), sacramentary, alter candle and crucifix). We do NOT supply a unity candle.


ALL couples preparing for a Catholic wedding MUST contact the Newman Community as soon as possible (regardless of who performs your wedding).

Fee is payable to the ‘Catholic Newman Community’ and sent no later than one month prior to the wedding date. This fee applies ALL couples marrying at the Interfaith Chapel or when the Director of the Newman Community presides at another church/chapel.

Catholic persons may invite local Catholic parish/priest/deacon to perform your wedding and non-Catholic ministers are always welcomed to participate.

Any Catholic priest/deacon also must contact the Director of the Newman Community as soon as possible to receive delegation to perform a valid Catholic wedding here at the University.