These guidelines are meant to be of help to those preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. We hope they will answer most of your questions. It is our hope that your wedding day will be beautiful and meaningful and that these guidelines will help you to achieve that.
--- PLEASE DO NOT SET ANY DATE FOR THE WEDDING NOR FOR THE RECEPTION WITHOUT CHECKING WITH THE PRIEST PREPARING YOUR MARRIAGE. --- This must be done six months prior to any fixtures, giving you sufficient time to meet all the Church requirements in good time.
IF PREVIOUSLY MARRIED / ANNULLED CASES - Please Note:
- Catholics must present a new Baptismal certificate dated within six months prior of the wedding arrangements - together with a copy of your Confirmation Certificate.
- Your Marriage Banns must be published in Kuwait and the place of your Baptism.
- The result of your Banns should be obtained to present the same to the Parish Priest of the place where your marriage will be solemnized. If this is done there is no need of a "Freedom to Marry Certificate".
- Both bride and groom must make an appointment with any Priest to prepare their marriage dossier, which includes to fill out, individually, under oath, and in the presence of the priest, a pre-nuptial questionnaire. During this time the Priest may also check into your preparedness for the Sacrament of Marriage, checking for basic understanding in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Faith, Morals and marriage responsibilities. Also your views on the upbringing of children, and the tasks of family life will be checked. (All couples will answer a questionnaire as a means of helping the priest preparing your marriage as well as the couple to determine strengths and weaknesses regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony for which the couples are preparing.)
- Two relatives (preferably parents) or Catholic friends of each party must sign individually, under oath, in the presence of a priest the form to declare the freedom of each party to marry. This should be done one month prior of leaving Kuwait for your marriage. This is not required if the Banns have been published as has been mentioned above.
- A MARRIAGE PREPARATION COURSE conducted by the Vicariate is mandatory for ALL COUPLES whether one or both parties are Catholic. If one of the parties is from out of Kuwait, he/she must produce a certificate that they have attended the Marriage Preparation Course in their Parish or Catechetical Centre.
- In a marriage of mixed faith, the Catholic party alone is to make a written promise to attend to the Catholic upbringing of all children born of the marriage. The non-Catholic is made aware of the Catholic's responsibility in this matter.
- If a priest other than the local parish priest is to perform the ceremony, he must have delegation to bless your marriage. These permissions should be arranged in advance of the marriage fixtures.
- If one of the partners does not belong to the Vicariate and is visiting the country just for the purpose of the marriage, all the necessary documentation and permissions must be obtained well before the marriage date and a letter of permission to marry is to be obtained from the parish priest of their parish.
- The Catholic party should attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before marriage.
- If there has been a previous marriage, Marriage Certificate, Death Certificate, or Annulment Certificate together with Civil Divorce Certificate have to be produced, in order to solemnize the second marriage.
- If one of the parties, has had his/her marriage annulled - The copy of
the Annulment Certificate should be produced along with the copy
of a Civil Divorce. All marriages fall under some category of Civil
Law, according to the nationality of the parties. i.e. Indian
Foreign Marriage Act, Indian Christian Marriage Act, or Indian Mixed
Marriage Act. Hence a Civil Divorce is required before attempting
another marriage, as in the eyes of the Civil Law, the first marriage
would still be valid, and the party would not want to be accused of polygamy/polyandry.
PLANNING THE LITURGICAL CEREMONY
The couple, with the priest, will plan the prayers, readings, and wedding format prior to the ceremony. Liturgical and sacramental preparation should take precedence over all the other social preparations for marriage.
No wedding will be scheduled during Holy Week and Advent.
Music is an important part of any wedding and great care should be given to the selection of appropriate music for your wedding celebration. Music chosen for your celebration should be liturgical in nature and should lead the congregation to pray and fully participate in the joyful celebration.
Floral displays for the altar will be accepted. Any other church decorations for the pews etc. will be allowed provided that they are removed after the ceremony.
Most professional photographers are aware of the requirements concerning photographs during the ceremony; however, the bride and groom are responsible for communicating proper decorum to their photographer. At no time may taking of pictures interfere with the ceremony. If you have any questions, contact the priest who is preparing your wedding.
No rice, confetti, etc. is allowed is to be thrown in the Church or on the grounds. Food and drink are not permitted in the Church. The wedding group is expected to leave the Church and its grounds as clean as they found them.
PRINTED MASS BOOKS
Once with the help of the priest, you have decided the prayers, readings, and wedding format, you can print the Mass Leaflets or Souvenirs as per your requirements.
Punctuality for the ceremony is very important, so as not to disrupt the liturgical services that may follow your wedding mass.
There is a Nuptial fee for the Marriage Mass to be given to the Priest celebrating your Wedding.
If the Choir is specially called, they accept a nominal fee, for the same.
All costs for other arrangements, flowers, carpets, decorations are met individually or with those who provide the service.
REQUIREMENTS & FORMALITIES
FOR A CIVIL MARRIAGE CEREMONY IN KUWAIT
For those couples desirous of having a civil marriage ceremony after their Church marriage, the requirements and formalities are as follows :-
- The Civil marriage ceremony between two non-Muslims is conducted at the office of the Public Notary at the Ministries Complex, Ground Floor, Block No:15 on Sundays and Wednesdays from 7.00 A.M. to 12.00 Noon.
- Two MALE witnesses are required to accompany the couple.
- The family name of the witnesses should not be the same as that of the couple.
- The couple is to take the "Free to Marry" affidavit form on which your signatures are to be notarized by the Consul of your Country's Embassy and attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait. This form should be presented to the Public Notary at the time of the ceremony.
- There is a fee to be paid for each copy of the Marriage Contract.
- The Civil Marriage Contract has to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait for the Embassy of your country to counter attest the same. Since the Civil Marriage Contract is issued in Arabic, it is recommended that the same be translated officially and the translation too be attested by the Embassy of your Country.
- The above requirements are subject to change and so it is recommended that you first approach the Office of the Public Notary to determine all the requirements and documentation needed before you plan on obtaining a Civil Marriage Contract.
Civil Marriage Contracts can be drawn up even at the embassy of your country. Rules and requirements for these are different in each embassy and we therefore recommend that you contact your embassy directly for information regarding the procedure.