The resources listed on this page have each been useful aids in Pre-Marriage Education, contributed to our courses or been recommended by couples.
Please note that we do not necessarily endorse all content found in these resources. If you have come across a particular book, website or video that has assisted with your journey to marriage, please let us know via the contact page.
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Marriage & Family Resources
Why Marriage by Mari Nichols
- Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
- With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body
- Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me
- Who won’t hold them against me,
- Who loves me when I am unlikable
- Who sees the small child in me, and
- Who looks for the divine potential of me…
- Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
- With someone who thanks God for me,
- With someone I feel blessed to hold…
- Because marriage means opportunity
- To grow in love, in friendship…
- Because marriage is a discipline
- To be added to a list of achievements…
- Because marriages do not fail, people fail
- When they enter into marriage
- Expecting another to make them whole…
- Because, knowing this,
- I promise to take full responsibility
- For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness,
- I create me,
- I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
- Together we create our marriage…
- Wedding service with Nuptial Mass
- Wedding service without Mass
- Readers for the ceremony: Catholic tradition holds that God is present in the Scriptures. Keep in mind that whoever you choose will be doing more than just “reading”; that person will be proclaiming the Word of God.
- Witnesses: From a spiritual and liturgical point of view, everyone attending your wedding serves as witnesses. The names of the witnesses are included in the Church’s record of the marriage. The important consideration in choosing witnesses is the account needed should there be a question or doubt that the consent was ever given.
- Altar servers: Consider inviting children who have been trained as altar servers to fill this role at your wedding. Make sure you check with the priest or deacon who will be assisting at the wedding first.
- Best man: The best man should do all he can to take the weight off the groom’s shoulders. Both leading up to the day (Stag night, organising suits, etc.) and on the day itself.
- Bridesmaids: A bridesmaid is first and foremost someone who the bride wants to be a part of her wedding. Perhaps she is a sister or a very close friend. Her friendship and support of the marriage is meaningful. A bridesmaid and/or maid-of-honour also serves a practical purpose. During the hectic time of planning a wedding she is a confidant, advice giver, performer of menial tasks, errand runner and more. The bride should have at least one bridesmaid (preferably the maid-of-honour) who is reliable, cheerful, helpful, organised, and lives close to the bride.
- Ushers: The ushers provide guests with the printed wedding program and escort them to their seats. They do not necessarily have to seat all the guests of the bride on one side of the Church and all the guests of the groom on the other. Although this is a traditional practice, it can create some awkward situations if one person has few Catholics among his or her family and friends.
- Flowers: As with other decorations, flowers should not be placed in a way that interferes with the liturgy. For instance, they should not be placed on the altar. In some churches, such as St Patrick’s Cathedral a specific florist must be used for all flower arrangements. Some parishes encourage couples who are being married on the same day to split the cost of flowers to be used at both ceremonies. If you decorate the church with flowers, it is customary to leave the flowers behind for others in the parish to enjoy.
- Photography: The policies, rules, and guidelines for wedding photographers and videographers vary from place to place, but the basic principle that should be kept in mind is that a Catholic wedding is first and foremost a liturgy. It is the public prayer of the whole Church, not just a private ceremony for those present. People videotaping or photographing the wedding should strive to respect the sacred nature of the liturgy. This means not positioning cameras where they might interfere with or distract from the liturgy. Your parish will be able to tell you where photographers and videographers are permitted; however, generally the area immediately around the altar (the sanctuary) is off-limits. The centre aisle or other locations that might block the view of the assembly are also likely to be discouraged. It is always a good idea to check with your particular parish before the wedding if they have specific guidelines.
- Reception venue
- Guest list
- Legal requirements
- As a couple, Discuss and Decide on your “Wish List”: There are readings, psalms and songs that are typically used in Catholic Nuptial Masses. Spend time together researching these – you might find some that stand out to you as a couple and that you would like to include in your Nuptial Mass.
- Meet with your Priest (Celebrant): Don’t worry about knowing very little about planning your Nuptial Mass! Your priest will be very familiar with this process and should be able to provide a lot of guidance.
- Prepare the Content: Start compiling the content you’d like (e.g. readings, songs, message from the Bride & Groom). Remember to check the content with your priest, especially if you have some explanations of the Mass in your booklet.
- Design your Booklet: You can do this in a number of ways (the options range from the least effort and most expensive, to the most effort and least expensive): Engage a graphic designer, use a template, or start from scratch and do it yourself. A simple Google search will bring up some websites where you can download templates for free or purchase them e.g. Etsy.com. A template contains text, font and images – so all you need to do is to customise it to your needs and get it printed. Here is a free basic template (Microsoft Word) from a Catholic wedding held in Auckland. You can use this to get you started or have a look to get some ideas. Click here for the Booklet sample
- Print: You can either print your booklets yourself or engage a printing company.
Three criteria for choosing Catholic wedding musicThe Church does not keep an official list of “approved” wedding music, but it does offer three criteria for liturgical music that can be applied to your choice of wedding music.
- Is it prayerful?
- Is it accessible?
- Is it beautiful?
- Minimum Age In New Zealand, the minimum age is sixteen. Parental consent is required if you are under twenty.
- Notice of intended Marriage and Issue of Marriage Licence Civil law requires that you give written notice of your intended marriage no later than three days (and no earlier than three months) before your marriage. In special circumstances, the Registrar may issue a licence before the three day period has elapsed.
- Documents required prior to Marriage For purposes of New Zealand civil law, you may be asked to produce your birth certificate. For church purposes you will be asked to produce your baptismal certificate (if you have been baptised) and your confirmation certificate (if you have been confirmed).
- The Marriage Ceremony The basic ceremony required by New Zealand civil law is that those being married express their consent in the presence of an authorised celebrant and two witnesses. The marriage ceremony must be conducted at the place specified in the Marriage Licence. The ceremony may be in whatever form the couple chooses but at some point in the ceremony, the parties must acknowledge that each takes the other as his/her legal wife/husband. In the Catholic ceremony, the priest would usually be the authorised celebrant for the purposes of civil law as well as being an official witness.
- Marriage Certificates New Zealand civil law requires that both parties, the two witnesses and the celebrant, all sign the registration forms recording the marriage. The celebrant will give one copy (the brides’ copy) to you and send another copy to the Registrar of Marriages.
- Church Records Church law requires that the marriage be recorded in the marriage register of the parish where the marriage takes place and also in the baptismal registers in which the baptism of the spouses was entered.
- Marriage Fee There is a fee payable on issue of the Marriage Licence and the amount of the fee depends on whether the marriage ceremony is to take place in the Registry or in a church or elsewhere. This fee is payable when notice is given to the Registrar of your intention to marry.
- Change of Name A woman may choose to take on her husband’s surname on marriage, but there is no obligation on her to do so. If she does wish to use her husband’s surname, she may do so without taking any special steps. The marriage certificate substantiates her use of the name. A wife may also choose to combine her own surname with that of her husband and use both names after marriage or she may continue to use her own name.
Legal Consequences of Marriage.
- Welfare Benefits If you are receiving national superannuation or other benefits, you should consult the appropriate government department about the effect your marriage may have on these benefits.
- Supporting your Spouse and Children A major obligation imposed on a person by marriage is to maintain his or her spouse, should circumstances arise where the spouse becomes in need of support. Originally this obligation was limited to the husband alone. However under the present law, the obligation to provide maintenance is not limited to husbands. The Matrimonial Property Act provides that either party who is in need is entitled to maintenance from the other, to the extent that the other can afford to provide it. Both husband and wife have an obligation to their respective means, to maintain the children of the marriage.
- Joint Ownership When you and your spouse both want to put money into buying a property of a substantial nature – a house for instance – you should consider whether you want the property to be held in the names of both of you or one of you. A solicitor could help you decide what form of ownership best suits your needs.
- Making a Will If you die without making a Will, your spouse will inherit some or all of your property. If you have already made a Will, your marriage operates to revoke that Will unless it is clear that you made it in contemplation of the marriage. You should consult a solicitor about the need to make a Will or change your existing Will, or as to any provisions it should contain to provide for your spouse or children.
Financial ConsiderationsEffective budget planning is a key skill for your wedding day and beyond.
- A lot of arguments in marriage are about money
- An effective way of dealing with financial issues is to draw up a budget.
- Decide on your values and goals together – this comes first and is vital.
- Work on one year.
- Work out what your income will be for the year.
- Find out how you are spending your money at present. This gives you some starting figures.
- Estimate your fixed expenses for the year and put aside the appropriate amount each month.Eg. Rates, insurance, car registration, etc.
- Estimate what irregular lump sum expenses you will have for the year, divide the total by 12, and save that amount each month. Eg. Holiday, new baby, doctor, hospital, paint the house, etc.
- Estimate your weekly operating expenses. Each family member should receive what he/she needs for the necessities and extras. Eg. Food, rent, clothes, transport, entertainment, etc.
- If the first estimate does not work, adjust it until you find a satisfactory plan. This often requires several attempts.
- When things happen which affect your budget – redo it! Eg pregnancy, redundancy, etc.
- It is an excellent idea to make a will when you get married. It is a commonsense way of showing concern for those you love.
Budgeting AdviceFor budgeting advice contact the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services (NZFFBS). Look under “Budget Advice Service” in the White Pages of the telephone book, or contact Citizens Advice Bureau and they will put you in touch with your nearest NZFFBS office. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, independent information and advice on general financial matters, including your rights as a consumer. Call 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222) or contact your local CAB
Re-MarriageIf you or your fiancé have previously attempted marriage, and this has ended in a civil divorce, you may be wondering where you stand in the eyes of the Church. In such a painful situation, and after the example of Christ, the Church desires to walk with you and assist you in this sensitive area. The Church has processes which carefully and respectfully assess the validity of any previous union. The healing of past hurts and anxieties becomes a vital first step to moving on. We encourage you to have a talk in confidence with your Priest about your situation. For more information see "Tribunal of the Catholic Church for NZ" section on this website.
- 5lovelanguages course details
- Alpha Marriage Course
- Catholic Marriage resources USA
- Marriage Encounter NZ
- Marriage in the UK
- Marriage resources Australia
- NZ National Catholic Marriage website
- Online Catholic Marriage Preparation