Can Catholic weddings be done outdoors?

In relgion class I heard that the Catholic Church does not allow weddings to be done outdoors.Is this true?.If so why not?.Thank you very much so for your time.

It can happen but you would need permission from the Bishop

The reason is that marriage is a Sacrament, and all Sacraments are to be received in a church unless there’s justifiable reason it should be received somewhere else.

The Tabernacle is in the Church building. Why would one desire to get married away from the Lord’s presence?

P.S. Garden weddings. They look good in all the bridal magazines but they are just opportunities to feed biting insects and suffer from sunburn. It is however amusing to watch the bridesmaids sinking in the mud as they try, after a few margaritas to maneuver the newly laid sod in spiked heals. The bride is generally exhausted from not having slept for three weeks as she worries about the weather reports which are promising a 50 percent chance of typhoons and earthquakes that day. And destination weddings. Don’t get me started on Destination Weddings! You want to be married with just your closest friends on a beach in Maui. That means that Grandma can’t go because she hasn’t flown since the Hindenburg Disaster, and is thinking of cutting you out of the will, and all the friends and relatives who aren’t with you on the beach in Maui realize they aren’t very close to you after all. And I haven’t a clue how long the aisle is here at St. Dymphna’s.

I can’t think of another wedding, being as beautiful as one in the house of the Lord~!

Canon Law says:

Can. 1118 §1. A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church. It can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor.
§2. The local ordinary can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
§3. A marriage between a Catholic party and a non-baptized party can be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.
Such an innovation would have to be approved by the local ordinary (a/k/a bishop). Please pay special attention to the word “suitable.” It is unlikely that an outdoor garden would be considered “suitable.”

The only reasonable modern-day exception I could imagine would be if a military couple wished to be married while on a deployment to a non-Christian country where there were no Catholic churches within a decent drive. And a Catholic chaplain agreed to witness the marriage. But that’s about it.

I think the only time you could is if in poor countries where they have a large tent as they cannot afford to build a brick church but it would be the same as a church with everything in it but not outside as in under the sky.

matrimony is a sacrament, gift of Christ to his Church as a means of imparting his sanctifying grace. It is not a photo op, social event, or personal property of the bride and groom. It belongs to the Church. Therefore it takes place in a sacred space, namely a church or chapel, like all sacraments, except in case of emergency. And not just any church. Barring exceptional circumstances, and with prior permission, the sacrament should be conferred in the parish church by the pastor of either the bride or groom.

Let’s expand our imagination. It is frequently the case that those with close ties to a church or chapel that is not a parish church (e.g. they graduated from the school run by that abbey) may be married there.

As to what constitutes a suitable place (at least for §3) I knew a Catholic who married a Jew and the wedding occurred on a barge permanently moored at the riverbank. I was told the rule in that diocese was that an actual navigating boat was not suitable, but a floating vessel firmly attached to land was suitable.

BTW, I don’t think such occasions would properly be called “innovations.”

A marriage in which one party has not been baptized is not a sacrament; so the rules are less strict.

  • In extremis*, a hospital would be suitable, I would imagine. But, these are the primary exceptions. The secular and non-Catholic penchant for novelty in weddings (underwater, horseback, skydiving or mountaintop marriages) has indeed polluted our culture.

In cases of necessity, the wedding as well as any other Sacrament can be performed anywhere.

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