Is Permissible for a Catholic Wedding to Be Held on a Beach?


#1

My girlfriend (a new-comer to the Baptist faith and faith in general) had a question concerning having a wedding on the beach. She says that if, God-willing, we get married one day, she would like to have it on a beach. I told her I’d very much have it inside a church for reasons she would hopefully come to understand later. Now, we are both younger people, but its something nice to hope for. But her question made me think: now why exactly do we have it in a church setting? Now, I’m pretty sure I know why but I wanted to make sure I was correct before I said anything. Thanks.


#2

[quote="iluvmusic0225, post:1, topic:331628"]
My girlfriend (a new-comer to the Baptist faith and faith in general) had a question concerning having a wedding on the beach. She says that if, God-willing, we get married one day, she would like to have it on a beach. I told her I'd very much have it inside a church for reasons she would hopefully come to understand later. Now, we are both younger people, but its something nice to hope for. But her question made me think: now why exactly do we have it in a church setting? Now, I'm pretty sure I know why but I wanted to make sure I was correct before I said anything. Thanks.

[/quote]

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.

I imagine that convincing the bishop that a beach is a "suitable place" to take part in the sacrament of marriage would be a rather difficult thing to accomplish. I don't believe that it is an impossibility; however, there would certainly need to be a good reason.


#3

Like the previous poster said you need special permission to have a Catholic wedding on the beach. That permission isn't usually easy to get.

However, there are many beautiful destination locations with beautiful Catholic churches and Cathedrals. Each of those places have rules and regulations about what you need to get married there, some involve the local dioceses regulations and some involve the rules of the particular country. Usually it involves getting some type of paperwork from your home parish.

My wife and I had our honeymoon in St. Lucia. We visited the local cathedral and it was beautiful. The only requirements to have a wedding there were paperwork from your local parish, two days in country before the marriage (requirement of the country). and all the associated fees.

So if you want to have a destination wedding, you can still have it, but just in a church at that destination. But make sure you research and arrange with the church first.


#4

Yes! Only with permission!


#5

[quote="iluvmusic0225, post:1, topic:331628"]
My girlfriend (a new-comer to the Baptist faith and faith in general) had a question concerning having a wedding on the beach. She says that if, God-willing, we get married one day, she would like to have it on a beach. I told her I'd very much have it inside a church for reasons she would hopefully come to understand later. Now, we are both younger people, but its something nice to hope for. But her question made me think: now why exactly do we have it in a church setting? Now, I'm pretty sure I know why but I wanted to make sure I was correct before I said anything. Thanks.

[/quote]

Why do we have the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony inside a consecrated Church, celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist on a consecrated altar? Well, definitely this is something that is hard to grasp for someone who is not familiar with the apostolic faith, but the question should not even be pondered by us. The sacred liturgy is not a matter of pleasing our fancies, it is worship to the living God, and it is a sacred setting. The Church did not invent it, rather the Holy Spirit guided its development through twenty centuries (though it only took a few centuries for the basic liturgy to be fixed).

The Eucharist is God among us. Christ is made present, and the sacrifice of Calvary is re-presented before our eyes in a mystical way. For this reason, the apostolic tradition desires the Eucharist to be carried out in a sacred place, celebrated in the most reverent environment possible. While for a missionary or a military chaplain a consecrated Church may not be available, for most of us this is not the case. No matter where we live, there is always a consecrated Catholic parish somewhere in the area.

This is even specifically included in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal: "for the celebration of the Eucharist, the people of God normally are gathered together in a church or, if there is no church or if it is too small, then in another respectable place that is nonetheless worthy of so great a mystery". Such a "respectable place", while not designed to be used for Mass, would still not be intrinsically inappropriate.

Necessity is the key word: if a Catholic church is readily available, under normal circumstances it is difficult at best to even justify the celebration of Mass elsewhere. If Mass can be said in the church, then it should be said in the church.


#6

As others have said, the answer is "yes, but only with permission.

That said, the words “another suitable place” mean just that - the place has to be “suitable” first, before permission can be considered. So: beach, yes; aisle 13 at Walmart, probably not.

As it happens, I asked a canon lawyer about this once - basically you need a pastoral reason before permission can be granted; so your reason has to be more than “the beach is a nice place”. I could see a family orchard or garden presenting fewer difficulties but ultimately, it all comes back to the question of why you want to get married on a beach. The best thing to do would be to discuss it with the priest who you would like be the celebrant - they may have issues of their own but should also be able to help answer your question better.


#7

What is the difference between the two? :shrug:


#8

[quote="R_C, post:7, topic:331628"]
What is the difference between the two? :shrug:

[/quote]

Well for starters, fewer customer service announcements on the beach...

Seriously though, it wouldn't be too difficult to conceive of a pastoral reason for wanting a beach wedding and it is, after all, part of the beauty of God's creation. For example, the couple may live in a rural area where the nearest church would be way too small. Granted, such things can be taken to ridiculous extremes - e.g. we met in aisle 13... A Walmart wedding would more likely be desired because of its novelty and would risk trivialising the sacrament. apologies to any one who had their heart set on a Walmart wedding :p


#9

Is a Catholic chapel considered an appropriate place?


#10

yes


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.