Needed Documents For Marriage in the Catholic Church

These documents are to be submitted to the priest handling your pastoral care, and are all part of your pastoral file. Your priest will help you with these documents. Please wait until after you meet with your priest to begin gathering these documents, as they will require his approval.

Each engaged couple is required to submit a variety of documents and paperwork to the church in order to get married. This is part of the process of determining your freedom to marry in the Catholic Church and of registering your marriage with the Catholic party’s church of baptism. To celebrate your marriage in the Church, the following documents will be needed:

  • A Prenuptial Examination Form. This form is to be completed with a priest, deacon or church representative and signed by all parties. (In a Diocese other than San Diego, this form is sometimes called a Pre-Marital Inquiry or Pre-Marital Investigation Form)       
  • Statements of Freedom to Marry. These forms can be obtained at your local parish office and are to be filled out by a parent, sibling or close relative of the bride or groom, who can attest to his or her freedom to marry. One is needed for each the bride and groom.
  • From Catholics, a recently issued baptismal certificate dated within six months of the wedding. To obtain an original copy, you must contact the church you were baptized in (via phone/email/mail/in-person) and request a copy of your baptism certificate. We’ve had many couples baptized from all over the world, so it’s possible to obtain. From non-Catholics, if baptized, a certificate of baptism is also required, however no time restriction applies.
  • From Catholics, if confirmed, a confirmation certificate. No time restrictions apply and may be a photo copy of the original.
  • A certificate of completion from the Diocesan Marriage Preparation Program and a certificate of completion from either the Witness to Love Program or Engaged Encounter Weekend or other comparable preparation programs. If pre-marital counseling is done in lieu of the above preparation programs, a letter from the counselor is required.
  • Officiating priests or deacons from outside the San Diego Diocese are required to submit a letter of good standing from their Diocese in order to obtain delegation.
  • In cases of inter-faith marriages, a Mixed Religion Dispensation or Disparity of Cult Dispensation is needed. This is done by the priest or Diocese who is handling your paperwork.
  • A valid California Marriage License.  In San Diego, this license, good for 90 days, can be obtained at the Marriage License Bureau, County Clerk’s Office, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 273, or at 5473 Kearny Villa Rd., 3rd Floor.
  • For couples that are completing their Sacrament of Marriage after having completed their civil marriage, a copy of their marriage certificate must be provided.

Once your pastoral file is complete, THEN it needs to be sent to The Immaculata Wedding Director. 

All paperwork should be received by the Wedding Director AT LEAST 30 DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING unless otherwise specified.

Please note: If you are sending in your pastoral care file from another diocese: The diocese in which you are completing your pastoral care paperwork MUST send the completed file to the San Diego Diocese in advance so it is received by The Immaculata 30 days before the wedding.  We recommend your diocese send the completed pastoral care file at least two (2) months prior to your wedding date.