Catholic weddings, known as holy matrimony, are full of spirituality where couples take oaths for lifelong togetherness in churches. Such weddings follow a set of time-honored rituals and the presence of priests makes them complete. I, being a catholic, had a fully traditional wedding that involved all the rituals and ceremonies. However, things are starting to change today and the clergy is permitting a lot of things. And so, if you are planning for your catholic wedding anytime soon, you must be wondering if catholic weddings have to be in a church.
As a general rule, a catholic wedding is performed by a priest inside a church, which can be either the groom’s or the bride’s parish church. However, the Catholic churches in Montana and Baltimore in the US are now permitting couples to plan marriages outside the church.
Is it mandatory for a Catholic to marry in a church?
Today, it is not mandatory to marry in a church if you are living in two cities – Montana and Baltimore. The Archdiocese of the catholic churches in these places has recently given permission to couples to marry in other suitable places. However, the presence of a priest is mandatory no matter where you choose to marry if you want to have a traditional catholic wedding.
The canon law on marriage by the Catholic church considers marrying inside a church in the presence of a priest since the olden days. For centuries, marriages that occurred outside the church in common venues like a beach or a hotel were not considered legit in the eyes of the church. Luckily, with the new rules set by the churches, it is possible to marry outside.
Are garden weddings permitted in Catholic?
The answer to this question will vary depending upon which region you belong to and which is your parish church. For example, a garden wedding is nowadays allowed in catholic, as permitted by the Marriage & Family Laws Division of BCIDP Law Office & General Consultancy. They are from the Eastern Catholic Church following the Pope in Rome. For them, the garden or beach sacrament of a wedding is also similar to the church wedding.
If you are baptized in other churches, a garden wedding may not be allowed by your parish church. Hence, the best way to know about it is by enquiring in your church about their canon law of marriage. In churches where it is allowed, the couples need to send prior applications to the authority. Once approved, they can fix the date and venue for the wedding.
Will a Catholic priest marry you outside of the church?
Yes, a catholic priest may marry you outside depending upon whether your church permits you to organize your wedding outside of the church. However, in churches where an outside wedding is allowed, there is a guideline on choosing suitable places for marriage. For example, venues like hotels, museums, gardens, and beaches are fine according to the churches whereas, in bars, clubs, and boats, weddings are prohibited. Hence, while choosing your venue, make sure you follow the guidelines of the church. Otherwise, your priest may not be able to marry you outside.
Which things do I need for a Catholic church wedding?
There is a long list of catholic church wedding requirements, which are mentioned below:
- Baptism and Confirmation Certificate: Both your partner and you need your baptism and confirmation certificate from the church you were baptized in.
- Marriage License Application Form: You will need to get your marriage license from the Local Civil Registrar of your area. You need to submit four copies of the form.
- Canonical Interview: At least one month before your wedding, both you and your partner need to attend a canonical interview with the priest at the parish church.
- Pre-Marriage Seminar Attendance Certificate: After the canonical interview, both you and your partner need to attend a pre-marriage seminar to get the certificate.
- Marriage Permit: You need to get the Certificate of Freedom to Marry from your parish and submit it to the church where your wedding will take place.
- Church Marriage Bans: You need to collect the form of your marriage bans after completing the canonical interview and submit it to the church.
- New Birth Certificate: You can apply for this form online or get a hard copy from the National Statistics Office.
- Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR): This is a very important document that you need to submit in order to get married in a catholic church.
- Principal Sponsors Names and Addresses: You need to submit the names and addresses of two of your ninongs and ninangs before the wedding.
- Confession: Though it’s not mandatory for all catholic weddings, your priest may want both of you to attend a confession session before marriage.
- Additional Requirements: In a specific case like remarriage, you may need to provide the death certificate of your former spouse or your divorce paper.
Can my priest refuse to marry us?
Yes, your priest can refuse to marry you in the catholic church if you fail to submit all the documents mentioned below or for some other reason. Sacrament of Marriage is only possible when you are able to understand it by performing well in the self-examination steps. Here are a few cases where priests have refused to perform the sacrament of marriage:
- The couple didn’t accept the fact that Christian marriage is for a lifetime.
- They didn’t promise sexual fidelity to each other.
- The couple proposed not to have children of childbearing age and condition.
- One of the partners was mentally unstable and hence, unable to perform marriage duties.
- One of the partners was forced to marry against her will.
- One of the partners had a quite evident different sexual inclination.
- There was some blood relation or incestual relationship between the partners.
How will the Catholic Church know when I have been married before?
The catholic church needs your original baptism certificate, based on which the authority can enquire about your previous marriage from your parish church. This is how they will get to know if you have been married or divorced before.
If someone wants to lie about a previous marriage, the person may still get away with it somehow but a lie won’t get the person a real catholic marriage. It’s because marriage is not about the church dispensing it but it’s more about how individuals marry with free will and how they understand the concept of it.
Will a Catholic Church allow me to marry twice?
A catholic church will never allow you to marry twice if you’re divorced and your spouse is still alive. It is out of the question to remarry in the church if you’re already married and not divorced yet. According to the Roman Catholic church, only when a person is not married with a non-annulled divorce, the person is free to marry. However, you can marry twice only when your spouse is not alive or your marriage is nullified.
Should I convert to Catholicism to marry a Catholic?
It is not mandatory to convert to catholicism if you want to marry a catholic. You only need to be a baptized Christian to be sacramentally married to a catholic inside a catholic church. If both of you and your spouse are not catholic but only baptized Christians, you can still marry in a catholic church but it won’t be a sacramental marriage.
How should we date before a Catholic wedding?
According to the dating etiquette for Catholics, holding hands and brief kissing are appropriate for dating before marriage. Greeting and parting are also accepted by the catholic dating etiquette. Anything more than this is not accepted as a part of dating because these things should be kept private if you want to be modest.
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