Preparing for a Wedding in Another Parish/Diocese

Congratulations on your Engagement!

Holy Trinity regularly prepares couples for marriage who are planning to celebrate their wedding at another parish, often in another (Arch)diocese.  We are happy to help prepare you.  This page will provide you with all of the information you need to prepare for matrimony.


The process for preparing for Matrimony in another parish and (Arch)diocese is very specific.  The entire wedding jacket (paperwork and certifications) must be prepared and sent on behalf of the couple to the place of marriage.  The couple will meet with the priest at Holy Trinity, who will prepare the entire jacket.  It will then be sent to the Chancery (Diocesan Offices) in Richmond, where it will be certified and sent to the Chancery of the (Arch)diocese where the wedding will take place.  That Chancery will then send the jacket to the parish/installation where the wedding will take place.  Because this can be a lengthy process, all paperwork should be completed a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the wedding.

First Steps

  1.  Meet with the pastor or wedding coordinator in the parish where the wedding will take place.  That parish should give you information about the requirements for marrying in that parish, costs and fees (if any), as well as information about the reading and music choices for a marriage in that parish.  Once that has been secured, you may then meet with Father Dan at Holy Trinity to begin the marriage preparation process according to the norms of the Diocese of Richmond.
  2. The initial meeting to be prepared through Holy Trinity is to complete the Pre-Nuptial Investigation with Father Dan.  For this meeting, both the bride and groom must be present in person.  At this meeting, you will need to furnish Baptismal certificates for both the bride and groom.  You should not bring an old or original Baptismal Certificate – but should contact the parish of Baptism and ask the parish to issue a new certificate.  This certificate will be surrendered to the parish.  For those baptized in the Archdiocese of the Military, Baptismal Certificates may be ordered here.  Note Well: No parish may charge for a Sacramental Record.  Do not pay any fees to receive your Sacramental records.
  3. At your first meeting, the priest will give you Affidavits for Freedom to Marry.  These forms need to be filled out by people who knew you before you knew each other – with a preference to parents or siblings.  These forms should be witnessed by a Priest or Deacon.

Preparation Classes

Couples have two options for preparation for marriage catechesis.  The first is a one-day Diocesan class called Unveiled.  It is taught regularly at Holy Trinity or may be taken at other places in the Diocese.  A second option is an Engaged Encounter weekend retreat.  You may register for either program and find more information from the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life.

The rest of the preparation process will be completed with the pastor.

Reading choices are described and listed at the USCCB website.  You should inform your presiding priest or deacon of your choices.

Archdiocese of the Military

Preparation for marriage in the Archdiocese of the Military is satisfied by completing the requirements of the Diocese of Richmond.  Your marriage jacket will be completed using the required paperwork and forms from the AMS, once you have informed the pastor that you are being married in an AMS Chapel/Installation.