Practicalities of a Catholic Wedding in the DR
For the most part all dioceses have the same requirements in the DR. However, as each church is looked after by an individual priest, the extent to which requirements must be met can vary. Personal relationships (and respect) are taken very seriously by the Church and someone, you, 4TW or another party, will need to establish one with the head of the local diocese responsible for the geographical area in which your desired wedding site is located. Note that you do not have to be Catholic to be married by the Catholic Church.
In addition to the requirements for a civil ceremony, the following are needed prior to approval by the Church:
- Certificate of Baptism or letter from your church serving as an affidavit for groom and bride. (If one of the couple is not baptized, this does not mean that you can not be married by the Church.)
- Certificate of Confirmation or letter from your church serving as an affidavit for groom and bride. (If one, or both, of the couple is not confirmed, this does not mean that you can not be married by the Church.)
- Letter from your home church confirming that you have completed a “premarital course”. I can not overemphasize the importance of this. The priest will only talk in loose, unspecific terms of performing your ceremony if you have not completed this course. In the event that the couple is not able to complete this course in their home-area, there is the chance that the priest will agree to meet and advise the couple in the DR in the days (weeks) leading up to the wedding date to satisfy the premarital course requirements. This is at the sole discretion of the priest responsible for the diocese.
You will receive a Marriage Certificate from the Catholic Church and a civil certificate of marriage, as well, filed on your behalf with City Hall by the Church. The official wedding certificates should be ready within 3 days to 2 weeks of the wedding ceremony.
Here is the catch: while it may appear that the requirements for a Catholic ceremony are far more demanding than a civil (and for some people they are), the importance placed on the personal relationships within the Church can allow for some leniency in the noted civil requirements above. For example, the Church may not demand that all documents be legalized and certified by government agencies. In fact, the Church may not demand that your documents be formally translated. This can save you much time, effort and money.
The choice between Civil and Catholic ceremony can be a challenging one, especially for couples of differing faiths or with families of particularly strong ones. 4TW facilitates both ceremonies with equal gusto.