Can Catholics get married outdoors?

I have been to a few Catholic weddings and they’ve been inside a church, but my sister asked me if they were ever done outside - just a question

Under most normal situations, no, nuptial masses would not be done outside. I have heard of them being done outside in remote areas which did not have a Catholic church and other unique situations. There is also one Catholic parish in New England, I believe, which had some special permission to do their weddings outside right next to the church itself. It was an area which had a “roof” but was outdoors. I can’t remember the name of the parish, though, but it was a small church building if I remember correctly.

But on the whole, most outdoor “Catholic” weddings I’ve heard of in the US were usually done by “priests” who were no longer affiliated with the Catholic Church. So, if your sister has come across one of these “priests”, I’d warn her about that.

I’m sure others on here can give even more detailed information on why it is not permitted. I have to get back to my puppy. :smiley:

It varies from diocese to diocese because it is up to the local Bishop (Ordinary).

Canon 1118.1 A marriage between catholics, or between a catholic party and a baptised non-catholic, is to be celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local Ordinary or of the parish priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory.
Canon 1118.2 The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
Canon 1118.3 A marriage between a catholic party and an unbaptised party may be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place.

In general, no.

A Catholic must marry in the Catholic form and in the parish in which either the bride or groom resides. Catholics may receive permission to marry in another Catholic church other than their own parish church or in a Catholic chapel or oratory (i.e., like getting married at a Catholic university chapel, a chapel at a monastery, etc).

For two Catholics to be married somewhere other than a Catholic church, chapel, or oratory requires the bishop’s permission and they must have a good reason (per canon law). I would say receiving permission for an outdoor wedding is rare, because church teaching is that the Sacraments are to be performed in the context of the Mass and the Mass is to be celebrated in a Church or other sacred space. It’s not impossible, but it is up to the bishop… and I would say “because it’s pretty” or “because the reception site is giving me a deal” would not be reasons that impress the bishop and persuade him.

If a Catholic is marrying a non-Catholic they can receive a dispensation from form to be married in the non-Catholic’s church. If they are marrying a non-Christian, they can receive a dispensation and can be married in “another suitable place.” Canon law doesn’t specify what the bishop will find “suitable.”

Contrary to popular belief, it is not “rare” for Catholic weddings to take place outdoors. In some diocese (New York for example) the local ordinary has a standing approval of outdoor weddings. It needn’t be done on a case by case basis.

Marriage is one of the sacraments of the Catholic Church; accordingly, they should be celebrated in a Catholic church.

New York notwithstanding (see SMOM’s post above), it is actually rare to have a Catholic wedding outside. It can only be done with permission of the bishop.

My archdiocese (a major US city that’s not NY or even in the Northeast) also has a standing approval for an outdoor wedding. My church even has a pamphlet on booking the outdoor chapel next to the church.

Redemptionis Sacramentum also carries this interesting provision:

  1. The Place for the Celebration of Holy Mass
    [108.] “The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place”.197 The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.

[109.] It is never lawful for a Priest to celebrate in a temple or sacred place of any non-Christian religion.

The problem is that most tv reality shows like A Wedding Story, Whose Wedding Is It Anyway and Platinum Brides present full-blown wedding productions that pay little to no attention to the religious, sacramental aspect. I suspect that many a bride is influenced by this.

Where does it matter where you get married? Inside, outside, in a church of another faith, etc. As long as you invite God to the marriage, who cares.

Does the Catholic Church–or any other denomination, for that matter–have the right to issue regulations about how its services are to be celebrated?

One thing–it’s not the couple’s wedding. It’s the Church’s wedding rite, and it’s being bestowed on the couple. (This is to be distinguished from the Latin teaching that the couple bestows the sacrament of marriage on each other.)

Thanks for the posts! For the record though - neither of us are close to marriage and it was only out of curiousity that I posted this. My opinion - if my vocation is marriage I’d rather have it in the parish I grew up in anyway rather than outdoors. And yes I do realize it is one of the Seven Sacraments and that I should be focusing on that and God rather than whether the wedding is pretty. thanks for all the information!!

You know, this is one thing I never understood. Why can’t Catholics usually get married outside? :shrug::confused:

Except that’s not true.

I’ll say it again:
Marriage is one of the sacraments of the Catholic Church; accordingly, they should be celebrated in a Catholic church.

I apologize if I did not catch it the first time you said it. That said, the sacrament of the anointing of the sick can be administered on a road side with a person who is dying so not all sacraments have to be celebrated inside a church building.

Our Parish in the Mountians and our Pastor often gets requets to maried outdoors. He always replies “Why would you want to get married in front of the mountains when you can be married in front of him who made them?”

ooo…nice! :smiley:

I don’t think that most people who are looking for an outdoor wedding mean an outdoor chapel - in my experience they’re usually looking to get married at the beach or at a local park.

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