Wedding Resources

Wedding Resources

If you are reading this section because you are planning your wedding – congratulations! The people of our parish offer our sincere good wishes now and throughout the years ahead. May you have blessings in all your preparations and all the days of your life together.

In the Catholic Church, marriage is one of the seven sacrament and Catholics believe that marriage between any two baptised Christians, as long as it is entered into with the intention to contract a true marriage, is recognized and validated by God Himself.

The Catholic Church carefully distinguishes between a civil marriage and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Civil marriage is regulated by civil law and there are civil regulations and legislation which govern this contract. In a parallel way, a Sacramental Marriage is governed by Church (canon) Law and Church regulations. Both sets of laws and regulations often mirror each other but there are some very significant divergences. This is particularly true with regard to the permanence of marriage. Civil law allows for the dissolution of marriage through divorce. Church teaching does not. Similarly, Catholic Church teaching only allows for a Sacramental Marriage to be solemnised between a man and a woman.

First Steps For Weddings In Our Parish

  1. First, find a fiancé!
  2. At least six months before you intend to be married, arrange a wedding date.
  3. However do not finally decide on a date until you confirm that Claregalway church is available. Do this by contacting the Parish Office.
  4. If your chosen date is free, request a Wedding Booking Form from the Parish Office.
  5. When you are booking a Church in our parish for your wedding you are not necessarily booking a priest of the parish.
    If you wish a priest of the parish to celebrate your wedding service, you must contact Fr. Ian or  directly by email with details of the date and time of your wedding.You are welcome to invite any priest who is ‘in good standing’ with the Catholic Church to be the celebrant.

The following applies to the marriages of Irish, unmarried Catholics. In other circumstances, contact Fr. Ian for advice and information!

  1. The following applies whether or not Fr. Ian is the celebrant –
    If you are resident in the Parish of Claregalway, arrange to meet Fr. Ian  at least six months prior to your wedding day to complete the required paperwork. If you are resident in a parish other than Claregalway, arrange to meet the Parish Priest in your parish of residence at least six months prior to your wedding day to complete the required paperwork.

If both bride and groom are resident in different parishes, they can arrange to either go to their respective Parish Priests or, by tradition, both bride and groom can have their paperwork completed by the Parish Priest of the bride.

  1. The priest will complete a Pre-Nuptial Form with both the bride and the groom.
    The Pre-Nuptial Form has a series of questions which seeks to establish:

    • who you are
    • that you are free to marry
    • that you understand and agree with the teaching of Catholic Church on marriage

Both bride and groom will be asked to take an oath that the information given is true and each Pre-Nuptial Form must be signed, dated and witnessed.

  1. The priest will require from both bride and groom:
    • A recent Baptismal Certificate – obtainable from the parish wherein you were baptised.
    • A Confirmation Certificate – obtainable from the parish wherein you were confirmed.
  2. The priest will require a Pre-Marriage Course completion certificate.
    For weddings in the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora participation by both bride and groom in a Pre-Marriage Course is a requirement.Please note that in the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora some advertised Pre-Marriage Courses are NOT acceptable.

ACCORD Courses are acceptable, as are courses at Esker and Mount Argus. For Pre-Marriage Courses other than these, seek advice from Fr. Ian or .

  1. The priest will require documentary reassurance that both bride and groom are free to marry.
    He will outline what is needed in the individual circumstances before him.He may ask for a sworn affidavit from the bride and/or groom or the parents of the bride and/or groom that they are not previously married.

He may require Letters of Freedom. A Letter of Freedom is a statement on oath from the Parish Priest of a Parish where the bride or the groom have resided for more than six months, that, having examined the registers of his parish, he is satisfied that the person concerned did not contract marriage while resident there.

This requirement may appear onerous but it rarely is!

  1. If the wedding is to be celebrated in the Parish of Claregalway this paperwork is retained in the Parish Office.
    If the wedding is to be celebrated in a parish other than Claregalway this paperwork is forwarded to the Parish wherein the wedding is to be celebrated.If the wedding is to be celebrated in the Parish of Claregalway and the paperwork has been completed elsewhere, it is forwarded to the Parish of Claregalway.
  2. Civil Law requires that you provide at least three months notice of your intention to marry with the Civil Registrar and the priest.
    For information on the requirements for a valid civil marriage in Ireland see
  3. For further information, advice and support on all aspects of marriage in the Catholic Church see

Wedding Music

A wedding in a Catholic Church is a religious ceremony, giving praise to God and asking Him for his grace and blessings on the man and woman who are to be married. While the love shared between the bride and groom is acknowledged and celebrated, the wedding ceremony in the church is not the time, nor the place, for wholly secular songs.

It is also true to say that, since the structure, tone and intention of the liturgy serves to worship God, music and song which does not have this aim always tends to jar the congregation, tends to upset the atmosphere and, much more often that not, tends to sound out of place. In the same way as hymns are generally excluded from the play-list at a wedding reception, it makes for a much more cohesive and appropriate liturgy if secular songs are omitted from the wedding ceremony. There are ample opportunities, in the course of a long day of celebration for such songs to be sung, appreciated and enjoyed.

Finally, since in all likelihood the priest who is celebrating a wedding has participated in significantly more weddings than anyone else in the church, and since he has the ultimate responsibility, training, experience, authority and expertise to ensure that all weddings celebrated by him are respectful and appropriate, ASK HIM FOR HIS ADVICE before choosing wedding music. Rely on him rather than solely on wedding singers and musicians for the best advice.

The Following Is A Basic List Of Suitable Material And Some Liturgical Pointers

The Beginning

  • Entrance Procession:Instrumental Music at any liturgy contributes greatly to the creation of both a festive and reflective atmosphere. Its traditional use at the wedding liturgy is at the entrance of the Bride and the Recessional Procession of the wedding party. It can also be very effective at the Presentation of the Gifts, Signing of the Register, and before the ceremony as the community gather. As well as organ music, music from our own Irish tradition works very well.

Introductory Rites

  • Gloria:If sung, a known setting, so that people may be able to sing.

Liturgy Of The Word

  • Responsorial Psalm:A psalm is primarily a song from scripture, and therefore needs to be sung. Substituting something other than a psalm at this point would be incorrect.

The soloist leads and all should respond.

Sé an Tiarna m’Aoire (Ps 22) F. O’Carroll
All the earth proclaim the Lord (Ps 99) L. Deiss
In you creation finds its joy (Ps 64) R. McDonagh
Lord, show us your mercy and love (Ps 85) J. Cotter
May your love be upon us, O Lord (Ps 32) M. Daly
Mo grá thú a Thiarna (Ps 17) L. Lawton
On eagles wings (Ps 90) M. Joncas
The Lord is kind and merciful (Ps 103) J. Cotter
The Lord is my shepherd (Ps 22) T. Egan
Throughout all time (Ps 89) D. Hass
  • Gospel Acclamation:Generally Alleluia (except during Lent) is a “festal shout‟.

Again it calls to be sung.

Chant Alleluia Traditional
Celtic Alleluia F. O’Carroll
Seinn Alleluia Traditional
Pilgrim Alleluia L. Lawton

The lyrics of the now popular Leonard Cohen ‘halleluiah’ are not at all suitable.

Liturgy Of The Eucharist

  • Presentation of the Gifts
  • Eucharistic Acclamations
  • Our Father:As the great prayer of unity, it is never a solo piece, whether said or sung.

If sung, it is sung by all – a sung solo version contradicts what the prayer is all about.

  • Communion Hymn
  • Post Communion Hymn:For all the above, the following are generally suitable:
Ag an bPósadh a bhí i gCana Traditional
Bridegroom and Bride Slane / Iona
Fíon agus Uisce M. Ní Dhuibhir
Love never fails D. Hass
Love one another F. King
Servant Song R. Gillard
Song of Ruth G. Norbert
Today and tomorrow L. True
When love is found Traditional
Where your treasure is M. Haugen
Wherever you go D. Hass
Eat this bread Taizè
I am the bread of life S. Toolan
I will be the vine L. Lawton
Let us be bread blest by the Lord T. Porter
One bread that is broken F. King
Take and Eat M. Joncas
A Íosa M. Ní Dhuibhir
Ag Críost an síol S. O’ Riada
All I ask of you G. Norbert (not Phantom)
Be still for the presence of the Lord A. Adams
Faith, Hope and Love R.McDonagh
Increase our Faith D. Hass
My song will be for you forever D. Hass
O God you search me B. Farrell
Set your heart on the higher gifts S. Warner
The hiding place L. Lawton
This is my will Traditional
Make me a channel of your peace Traditional
You are mine D. Hass

Some further notes:

    • A piece of music or a hymn just because it is nice or liked by the couple doesn’t always make it suitable for the liturgy. For example ‘Pie Jesu’ is a text from the Funeral Liturgy.
    • The Lighting of Candles – both times – is a very short ritual. Music or song should be brief, if at all; there is hardly space for more than a verse of a hymn, otherwise it is intrusive. Incidental instrumental music works the best.
    • Pieces from the classical repertoire such as ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Panis Angelicus’, and ‘Laudate Dominum’ , since they do not find a natural home in the liturgy, are best used as a reflective piece after Holy Communion or at the signing of the register.
    • There are many competent, experienced musicians and singers available who understand the structure and requirements of liturgy and who know what is and is not appropriate.However there are also many skilled musicians and singers who are not sensitive to the religious nature of the wedding ceremony and who seek to impose the songs and pieces they know best, whatever the context.

A wedding is not the place for ‘party pieces’.

Choose wisely !

Music Resources

The Veritas Hymnal

Veritas Publications ©1973 / 2007

Alleluia Amen

Veritas Publications ©1978

In Caelo

Veritas Publications ©1999


Decani Music ©1999 / 2002

A Day of Our Own / Book & CD

Liam Lawton

Veritas Publications ©2004

Music for your Wedding / Book & CD

Edited by Margaret Daly

Veritas Publishers ©1991 / 2004

The Wedding Album / Book & CD

Dublin Diocesan Resource Centre ©2006

Like a Seal on your Heart / Book & CD

North American Liturgical Resources ©1980