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Christian Marriage and Registration Procedure in UAE

Congratulations on your engagement! Now, it’s time for you and your spouse to iron out the details of your church wedding in the UAE. Take note: there’s going to be lots of details to get down into. Among them is finding a church or parish where you’ll be setting a date and solemnizing a Christian marriage in UAE. 

Disclaimer: it is always best to consult with a marriage attorney in UAE so you won’t have to figure out the legal processes associated with getting married in Dubai UAE and registering it with the local registrar. 

For marriage services in UAE? Click here to send an inquiry.

How do I begin the process of planning a Christian marriage in the UAE?

Contact your pastor first. A Catholic church bulletin will have a number for you to call if you’re looking into planning a wedding. you are probably going to have to call rather than email. However, it is best to check the bulletin just to make sure. 

If you are new in UAE and you don’t have one specific church that you usually go to, then find out the parishes that are in the emirate you are currently in. You can also opt for a church in a different emirate and call them to inquire about their requirements. 

Find more: Legalities of Registering Marriage in UAE

To prepare for your Catholic marriage in UAE, here are some tips to keep in mind:

12+ Months Prior to the Wedding 

  • Start envisioning the wedding ceremony. Do you want it to be symbolic and long? Maybe you prefer having the wedding short and sweet. Consider what you want to include in your wedding ceremony such as traditions or if you just want the highlights. 
  • Select a wedding date. Depending on the parish that you choose, there may be specific times and dates that are off limits. A formal wedding in UAE is often conducted at noon when the choir is available. 
  • Select an officiant and the location. Remember that majority of priests won’t allow couples to marry outside the church. As a matter of fact, most weddings are held where the couple usually attends mass. You may need to ask the permission of a church if you don’t regularly go there.
  • Explore the marriage requirements of the church. You’ll be required in showing your baptismal certificate. There are churches that require proof of confirmation and communion. 
  • If either the bride or the groom is not Catholic, then the priest should be asked regarding intermarriage requirements. 
  • For a bride or groom who was previously married, an annulment is required if the previous spouse is alive. Annulment is a long and complicated process, so you should start securing the paperwork as soon as possible. 

You may want to know: Procedures for Expatriate Marriage in UAE

9-11 Months Prior to the Wedding 

  • Meet the officiant in order to discuss the structure of the ceremony and requirements for marriage in Dubai. The priest may help in choosing blessings and readings for the ceremony. 
  • Start the premarital preparation programs that are required by the Catholic church. 
  • Inquire about the dress requirements like covering the shoulders of the bride. Inquire as well for rules that are specific to the site of the ceremony such as no tossing of items or aisle runners. 
  • Select the bridal party members. Parishes often prefer having the maid of honor and best man as Catholics although they don’t have to be. They just need to make sure that they fully understand what is involved. 

6-8 Months Prior to the Wedding 

  • Make arrangements with the church if bridal party members wish to participate with the morning mass and also receive communion prior to the wedding. 
  • Talk with the stationer regarding programs, invitations, and place cards. Pew cards may be needed in ensuring close friends and family are seated in the first rows of the parish or church. 
  • Select ceremonial musicians and music. Ave Maria is the traditional song for Roman Catholic weddings. 

3-4 Months Prior to the Wedding 

  • Decide who’ll be part of your wedding ceremony. Majority of churches will allow family members or relatives to read the biblical passages. 
  • Finalize the guest list and book the rehearsal dinner site. 
  • Consider the needs for decoration like flowers, candles, wineglasses, and aisle runners. 

you may want to know: Getting married in the UAE: What are the documents needed?

2 Months Prior the Wedding 

  • Order the ceremony programs if you’ll be using them. You will find that having programs can help non-Catholic guests understand a Catholic wedding’s rich symbolism and spirituality. 
  • Contact the parish or church regarding positing banns or notice of intention to wed. 
  • Prepare and mail the wedding invitations. 

3-4 Weeks Before

  • Meet with the priest for last reminders and clarifications. 
  • Send out the rehearsal dinner invitations. 
  • Finalize the readings, vows, and the other ceremony details. 

Day Before the Wedding

  • Rehearse the wedding ceremony.

Note: it is crucial to speak to a marriage attorney in UAE to make sure that your Catholic marriage in UAE will be registered with the local registrar and considered legal and valid in the eyes of the law. To know more, call us here in Dubai Court Marriage today! 

Hazim Darwish Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.