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The Sacrament of Marriage at St Luke's & Holy Cross Parish

We are happy that you have asked to have your Wedding celebrated in the parish of St. Luke's & Holy Cross. To enable your Wedding day to go as happily and as smoothly as possible, we invite you to read through this page before your first meeting with the priest, and to refer to this page from time to time during the preparation. (Please be advised that all marriages within the Parish take place at Holy Cross Church.)

1. Civil Formalities

You will need to obtain a Registrar's License from your local Registry Office. For Harlow, this office is at: Watergarden Offices, College Square, The High, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1AG. Telephone: 01279 421295/445641. You will need to provide evidence of identity: birth certificate or passport (ideally both), documentation if there has been a change of name, evidence of freedom to mary if previously married (i.e. decree absolute or death certificate), and recent evidence of residence in Harlow. The Parish will arrange for a Registrar to attend the Wedding ceremony.

2. Church Formalities

You will need a recent baptismal certificate (sometimes called a christening certificate in other churches), and a letter of freedom from your parents or family member stating that you have not been married before in either a civil or religious ceremony. A Catholic partner who has lived in any parish other than Holy Cross for more than six months will also need to provide letters of freedom from such parishes.

3. Spiritual Preparation

The Church's teaching is that every Catholic who wishes to enter into marriage should be fully initiated into the Church; i.e. should have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Also the Sacrament of Reconciliation is recommended as part of the spiritual preparation for the sacrament of Marriage.

4. Marriage Preparation Course

It is the wish of our Bishop that all couples preparing for marriage attend a Focus Preparation Course organised by Marriage Care. This involves three one hour sessions at the Chelmsford Marriage Care Centre. It is conducted by trained marriage counsellors who under the umbrella of the Catholic Church provide support for couples at all stages of their married life. It will be necessary to obtain a Certificate of Attendance before your Marriage. The cost of this course is £50.00. Booking is done through Mrs. Sue Dennis.

5. Flowers

We are able to offer a Flower Arranging Service for Weddings. It will be necessary for you to discuss with our flower arranger your requirements and agree costs etc. Angela may be contacted via this page. You may prefer to contact a local florist, but whatever arrangement you undertake, it will be necessary to inform your priest to facilitate preparation prior to your wedding.

6. Music

The priest conducting your Wedding will be happy to discuss your musical needs for the service. There will be an organist available, a small parish choir, and by special arrangement soloist, and instrumentalists. It should be noted that Church regulations require that music should be of a sacred nature, either scripturally based, or in keeping with the religious nature of the ceremony. Your priest will be happy to advise. Our Choir-master is Mr. Ambrose Daly who will also be happy to advise and can be contacted here.

7. Photos & Videos

Photography and video-recording are permitted in consultation with your priest, who will advise where cameras can be placed. In the case of video-recording, it will be necessary for you to obtain a "Private Function License". Your priest is required to see this license prior to the Wedding Service. So please make sure that either you or your cameraman has the license to hand. These can be obtained from: Christian Copyright Licensing (Europe) Ltd., Chantry House, 22, Upperton Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1BF. Tel: 01323 417711. Fax: 01323 417722.

8. Fees

The fees for your Wedding cover: the organist, the choir, the church, the priest, the altar server, and the registrar. A total fee of £250.00 is requested to cover these. A breakdown of these fees is available upon request. Please arrange for a cheque to be given to your priest at least one week prior to your Wedding: cheques should be made payable to: "Catholic Church Harlow, Holy Cross".

9. Clearing up the Church

We are sorry to have to mention this matter but experience has shown that it is necessary. Please ensure that the Best Man or the Ushers are instructed to remove all unwanted items from the Church and Porch after the Wedding. We have in mind such items as: unused button-holes and orders of service.

10. Confetti

We regret that the throwing of confetti is not permitted anywhere within the Church grounds.