Marriage » General Questions

General Questions

Where do we begin?
We ask you to download the form below and return it to the office either by fax or email. Once the form is received the Rectory Office or the Parish Priest will contact you for an initial meeting to learn about our process of marriage preparation. After this initial meeting, specific arrangements can be made with the Priest. At least one of the parties must be a baptized Catholic who is an active, registered parishioner of SS. Felicitas & Perpetua, or who has family who are parishioners.

When do we set the date?
Provided there are no special circumstances that arise at this first meeting, a date and time of the ceremony will be set. Please note that there is at least a six-month preparation time required for marriage.
IF THERE IS A PRIOR MARRIAGE BOND (i.e., if either you or your proposed spouse were previously married, regardless of where the wedding took place), NO DATE CAN BE SET FOR THE WEDDING UNTIL FINAL PERMISSION HAS BEEN GRANTED BY A MARRIAGE TRIBUNAL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

What are the times available for Weddings?
Weddings are generally held on Saturdays. The latest start time is 2:00 p.m. Weddings can also be scheduled for earlier in the day on Saturdays or on weekdays. Please discuss with the priest at the first appointment.

Who will answer our questions about the wedding itself?
The questions which specifically deal with the liturgy itself, i.e., the choice of readings, whether or not to have a “full Mass” or a “ceremony”, etc., will be answered by the Priest or Deacon you have chosen to witness your marriage. Questions concerning things like floral arrangements, decorations, photographs and the like will be explained by our parish Wedding Coordinator. Our parish Wedding Coordinator provides an invaluable service, which includes scheduling the rehearsal itself, and making sure everything runs smoothly the day of your wedding. The planning of music for your wedding will be assisted by our parish Music Minister.

What if we are getting married elsewhere?
For those couples being married in a Catholic Church outside the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we are happy to assist you with your marriage preparation. (1) We will refer you to an Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat, (2) administer the FOCCUS communication study tool, (3) complete the Pre-Nuptial Inquiry and (4) collect the Required Documents from you and forward them with the Pre-Nuptial Inquiry to the Diocesan Office where you are to be married. Please refer to the accompanying schedule of stipends for marriage preparation for ceremonies held outside the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The arrangements with the Catholic Church in question must be verified before we can begin any preparation work at Saints Felicitas & Perpetua.
For those couples desiring a wedding outside a Catholic Church, whether it is within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles or elsewhere, you must obtain the necessary permissions for the ceremony before we can begin any preparation work at Saints Felicitas & Perpetua.

Required Documents
Since marriage celebrates the unbreakable commitment between a man and a woman who are free to make this mature decision in the community of believers, certain documents are required to establish your sacramental status within the Church, your freedom from any previous unions, as well as sworn statements attesting to your clear understanding of the nature and responsibilities of Marriage. The following are required documents:
1. Baptismal Certificate
A newly issued copy of your baptismal certificate (with notations regarding confirmation and prior marriages) is required for those who are Catholic. This can be obtained by contacting the Church of Baptism. Simply let them know that you are getting married, and ask for a copy of your baptism certificate with notations. They will know what to do. [The certificate with notations should have information about your confirmation. If not, please provide a copy of your confirmation certificate.] For those baptized in another Christian faith, a copy of the original baptismal certificate is sufficient. If you are not baptized, simply let the priest know.
2. Letters of Freedom (forms provided by the parish)
This is a sworn statement, witnessed by a Priest, minister or notary public, attesting that you have never been married before, in either a Church or civil ceremony, and that there is no known impediment to the marriage. Parents normally fill this out, or others who have known you most or all of your life. Two witnesses are required for each party to the marriage. [We also have specific Letters of Freedom for those who are widowed and those who have been granted a Church annulment.]
3. Permissions and Dispensations
In the case of an “Ecumenical Marriage” (the union of a Catholic and a person baptized in another Christian faith), a Permission for Mixed Marriage form must be completed by the Priest/Deacon and either signed or witnessed by the parties. In the case of an “Interreligious Marriage” (the marriage of a Catholic and a person that has not been baptized), a Petition For Dispensation From Disparity of Worship must be completed by the Priest/Deacon and either signed or witnessed by the parties.
In both cases, the parties are expected to demonstrate a willingness to commit themselves to honest dialogue concerning their respective religious traditions, and to make sincere efforts to understand and respect each other’s beliefs.
As part of the process, the Catholic party signs a declaration stating that he/she is prepared to remove dangers of falling away from the faith, and promises to do all in his/her power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic church. The non-Catholic party acknowledges an awareness of the obligations of his/her Catholic spouse to preserve and profess his/her faith, and to do all possible to baptize and educate the children of the marriage in the Catholic faith.
4. Civil License
The County Court registers all civil documents. Therefore, any questions you have regarding the procurement of the civil license or other civil concerns should be addressed to the Court. Licenses are valid for ninety days from the date they are issued. The marriage license must be presented to the Parish Secretary no later than one week before the wedding date. Please note that it is against the law for the ceremony to take place without a civil license. You may obtain additional information at the Los Angeles County Register-Recorder/County Clerk website:
5. Pre-Nuptial Inquiry
This documents your freedom to marry and is generally completed at the initial interview.