Getting Married During Lent

Ok, obviously not a good idea.

And I imagine that many priests, and maybe even some dioceses, won’t do it without a really, really good reason.

But do you know if there is Church rule about not celebrating the sacrament of marriage during Lent?

I’m trying to answer a question from a family member. (I don’t think there is Catholic rule, maybe local restrictions . . . and common sense.)


I found this on the USCCB website:

Date (season)
There are no legal restrictions on when the Rite of Marriage may be celebrated, with the exception of the Triduum, as long as the various guidelines specific to the particular parish are respected. When the Rite of Marriage includes a Mass there are limitations as to dates and readings. Few parishes celebrate weddings on Sundays, but a few policies encourage couples to consider integrating their wedding into the regularly scheduled Sunday Mass to more fully express the support of the parish community (See, for example, Gary, Sioux City, Kansas City/St. Joseph, and Louisville). When a wedding coincides with a major feast the readings for that feast must be respected. Weddings during penitential seasons must respect the church tone and décor appropriate for the season.

So it seems there is no wide-Church rule against it but a diocese might have a rule against it. Some parishes will have simple weddings but not allow a big celebration. Most parishes don’t allow flowers during Lent so that would place some limitations on things too.

It’s not specifically forbidden in Canon Law (though perhaps individual parishes and/or dioceses may have their own rules in place). I believe that a couple cannot be married during the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday), but other than that it’s fine.

Most parishes will ask that the decorations be “simple” to respect the liturgical season. In other words, no elaborate floral arrangements or diamond encrusted pew bows. :slight_smile:

When in doubt, you could always ask the priest.

You can read those articles, but I doubt there is a general rule against it, and I haven’t read any canons that forbid it (and my parish does allow weddings during Lent).

The general opinion from the above threads seems to indicate that some parishes do not allow weddings during Lent, some allow weddings under limited circumstances (someone mentioned a visa issue that couldn’t wait), and some allow weddings during Lent with provisions (no flowers, etc). There was even one mention of a parish that did now allow weddings under an previous pastor but subsequently allowed them under a new pastor.

Just to throw it out there, though, if it’s a big wedding with a reception, consider the food limitations during Lent and the appropriateness of throwing a big party during that time.

Like the others above, I don’t think there is an actual written rule against it. Our parish, which is the diocese cathedral basilica, used to not permit weddings during Lent or Advent, but when a new pastor came, he opened Lent and Advent for weddings. So, it has stayed that way with the subsequent pastors after him.

I do know that some parishes still do not permit it, but it appears to be more on an individual parish level - at least in the dioceses that I’ve worked in as a musician. They are not as often as late spring through fall weddings, but I have found that if a parish does permit it, there will be many weddings during Lent - especially now with the economy and discounts offered by wedding vendors usually around the early part of Lent. The couples that are getting married around Lent tend to be also the couples who are not throwing large or extravagent receptions.

For the OP’s particular situation, it’s best to ask the pastor of the parish.

There is also something else to be considered if a couple so chooses to have a wedding during the Lenten season. According to Paschale Solemnitatis, the authoritative document of the Holy See governing Lent and Holy Week:

  1. “In Lent, the altar should not be decorated with flowers, and musical instruments may be played only to give necessary support to the singing.” [20] This is in order that the penitential character of the season be preserved.

Thus, given the penitential nature of Lent, liturgies, including weddings, should be subdued.

Something else that should be noted is that it would not be a wise thing to have the wedding Mass celebrated immediately after the anticipated Mass for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. Since, at this point, we have already entered Holy Week, imbedding a wedding would seem to me to not be the proper thing.

Just some thoughts for you to consider.

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