top of page

Preparation for Engagements and

Weddings

Congratulations on taking the steps forward towards engagement and marriage!

In order to make sure this exciting time in your life goes smoothly, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Engagement

Before the engagement can be performed a Recommendation for Marriage form must be obtained by both the Bride and the Bridegroom. 

  1. This form should be filled out by each person’s Confessor Father.

  2. If you don’t have a confessor father, you should go to the priest of the church you are attending regularly.

  3. If you don’t attend any church at all, you should go to the priest of the church in your geographical area where your residence address is.

 

To complete the form you will need the following:

  1. Two recent passport size photos.

  2. Photo ID

    If the couple is not known to the priest previously he may ask for the following two things as well:

  3. Three witnesses over 18 years old (With their D.L.) that will sign the form indicating you have not been previously  married.

  4. Letter from the State of Tennessee stating that you have not been married in the state. The letter can be obtained here:

 

Tennessee Vital Records

1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower

710 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN  37243

 

Please note the following: 

  1. You need to start the process at least two weeks in advance prior the engagement date and/or your trip if you are to be engaged abroad.

  2. Couples are encouraged to perform their engagement in the church.

  3. Engagement period cannot be less than 40 days. 

  4. Recommendation for marriage forms expire after 1 year, however the one you take to Egypt is only valid for 30 Days. Forms cannot be post dated.

  5. If you are over the age of marriage (21 Years of age for males and 16 for females) and 

  1. Came from Egypt directly to Nashville, you will need to bring a recommendation of marriage from your church you were attending in Egypt prior to coming to the states in order to get the same from your church in Nashville.

  2. Came to Nashville from other states, you will need to bring a recommendation of marriage from the priest of the church you attended in the states prior to moving to Nashville in order to get the same from your church in Nashville.

Marriage Preparation

Marriage is a Holy Sacrament and cannot be performed except between two of the same Orthodox faith.

In order to get married within the Diocese of the Southern United States, you will need the following documents: 

  1. Recommendation of Marriage forms for both Bride and Bridegroom

  2. Engagement Contract

  3. Proof of completion of the Southern United States Diocese Premarital Preparation Program (PPP). No wedding can be performed without completion of this (PPP). Information about attending the PPP can be found here:

    https://www.suscopts.org/programs/pre-marital/

  4. State Marriage License

    • A Tennessee State marriage license will need to be obtained within 30 days of the wedding day. Information about the civil marriage license in Tennessee can be found here: http://www.nashvilleclerk.com/living/marriage-license/  

      Or can be obtained here:

      Marriage License Bureau

      700 2nd. Ave. S. Suite # 101

      Nashville, TN  37210

       

      Please note the following:

      Both the Bride and the Bridegroom need to be present at the marriage license bureau office with the following documents:

      1. The form mentioned above (If you attended the PPP)

      2. Photo I.D. (Drivers License or Passport)

      3. Social Security Cards.

      4. Cash Or Personal Check. 

       

  5. Other documents:

    • If one of the two is a convert a Baptism Certificate will be required prior the engagement

    • If there was previous civil marriage(s) final decree of civil divorce will be required prior to engagement.

    • If there was a previous Coptic church marriage a letter of acknowledgement for a permit for a second marriage in the Coptic church will be required prior engagement

    • Acknowledgement letters:

    Acknowledgement letters will be needed to be signed by both parties prior to the wedding for the following cases:

    • Previous marriages (Civil or church) if any.

    • Children whether out of marriage or from previous marriage(s).

    • Child Support and/or Alimony payments if any.

    • Existing health conditions such as but not limited to Heart Disease, Diabetes, HIV, Hep. C, STDs., and Cancer, etc...

    • Previous Major surgeries such as but not limited to Open Heart, Kidney removal, Uterus and/or Ovary removal, etc...

    • Previous or existing Psychological treatments such as Depression, Anxiety, Mental disorder, bipolar disorder, and mental health hospitalization

    Bishop special approval will be needed if:

    • The Bridegroom is older than the Bride by more than 15 years.

    • The bride is older than the Bridegroom by more than 2 years.

 

Make sure you let the priest handling the marriage paperwork knows and approves of the date and time of your wedding as well as the church where the wedding will be performed to ensure his availability prior making any after wedding arrangements and/or printing the invitations. 

It is important to note that just because the church is available does not mean the priest is available at the same time, please confirm with both the priest performing the marriage AND the church where the wedding will be performed to ensure availability.

Recommendations:

  1. The recommended Engagement period is between six months and one year.

  2. It is recommended to have one confessor father for the married couple

Wedding Day

Finally, as marriage is a sacrament, please ensure that attire of the bride, groom and bridal party is appropriate for church.

  • Please remember to be considerate of the priests attending your wedding. Let them know the time you intend to begin. If you are more than 15 minutes late, the fathers may not be able to attend the wedding.

  • Please refrain from chewing gum in the church for it is the house of God

  • Please attend to the prayers in reverence and humility and refrain from talk and loud noise during the prayers

 

Following the Wedding

  • The officiating priest will sign the civil Marriage documents and mail it to the state county clerk to be registered within 3 days of the wedding, the married couple will receive in the mail a recorded Marriage license within a couple of weeks. 

  • The officiating priest will also sign the church Marriage Contracts and 2 Originals will be given one to the Bride and one to the Bridegroom.

  • You are more than welcome to take pictures in the church if time allows, but please refrain from taking any intimate pictures (kissing, etc) in the church, on the church property, or in front of the altar

  • The church is more than happy to allow you to bring someone to decorate the church or for you to decorate it yourself. However, the church must be cleaned following the wedding to ensure it is in the same condition as it was prior. This includes:

  • The return of all moved furniture to its proper place

  • Removal of all decorations, flowers etc

  • Failure to completely clean the church will result in $200 cleaning fees

bottom of page