Can a Catholic wedding be performed outside of the church building?


I am engaged to marry a Protestant man. We have agreed to be married by a priest, but we would like to have a wedding in a neutral setting (such as a reception hall or other places where they hold the ceremony and reception in the same place). I was not sure on the Catholic stance on this. Is it possible to be married by a priest outside of the actual church building or does the ceremony have to take place inside the church? Also, is it possible to have a Protestant minister co-officiate? We have agreed to be married by a priest and receive the pre-marital counseling by a priest, but this is just more of curiosity question. Thank you for your time and effort!


With the permission of the bishop, yes. However, if the wedding is to be a Catholic liturgy, many bishops will likely be reluctant for it to take place outside of a Catholic church. If you feel that the wedding must be in a “neutral location,” then the easiest way to do that is to obtain a dispensation from the bishop to marry in a non-Catholic liturgy and have your fiance’s minister conduct the ceremony.

As a side note, whether or not you choose to marry in a Catholic church, you will need a dispensation from your bishop to marry a non-Catholic. This dispensation is separate from the dispensation to marry in a non-Catholic ritual. So, in short, at the very least you need the dispensation to marry a non-Catholic. If the two of you decide to marry in a non-Catholic ritual, you will need a second dispensation for that. Your priest can help you obtain the necessary dispensation(s).

As to your second question, with the permission of the bishop, a Protestant minister can be allowed to participate in a Catholic wedding, but he does not “co-officiate.” Your priest can outline for you what your fiance’s minister can be allowed to do at your wedding.

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