Must a Catholic Wedding be in a Catholic Church?

I am converting to Catholicism and my boyfriend is a practicing Catholic. My parents are opposed to my conversion. I was wondering if you had to get married in a Catholic Church and have a Mass in order to make it a valid Catholic wedding? The only reason I would not want to be married in a church or have mass is because of my parents. Does anyone know what is recquired to make a marriage valid?


You would need to get a “dispensation” to be married in a place other than a Catholic church. Talk to a priest about it.

A church is usually required and rarely is someone married in another location. You will need to meet with a priest to discuss you personal circumstances.

That is why you will leave your parents and cling to your husband and the two of you will become one flesh. You can’t let your parents decide where the two of you will get married. They will have to get over it - otherwise what will happen when you have children and you get them baptized? Or they make their first communion? Your parents will be missing out on all the important points in your life - that’s no fun. I say take a stand now. They’ll respect you for it in the long run. (I hope!)
God Bless you! :slight_smile: CM

Quick answers:

The mass is optional.

If you are getting married before you will be accepted into the Church, then the dispensation to marry outside of the Catholic Church comes from the bishop.

If you are getting married after you will be accepted into the Church, then this dispensation must come from the Pope.

You can get married in the Catholic church without having a mass. My husband is Lutheran, but we chose to have a mass with our wedding. I know some interfaith couples prefer to not have a mass at their wedding. It was important to us to have a mass at our wedding.

Good luck to you!


You should post your question on the “Ask an Apologist” forum, where you can be assured of getting a clear and accurate answer. Since there are several variables in your circumstances, this is my suggestion.

If you are not Catholic before your marriage I don’t think it is actually a ‘mass’. I wasn’t Catholic when we were married, we had our marriage in the Church so it would be reckonized by the church (fiancee was Catholic). We had a beautiful service with scriptures and a homily, just no Eucharist.

I married a Catholic, so we had a mass. My two brothers married non-Catholics and one had mass and the other didn’t. The one that had mass - his fiance had already started RCIA to convert and my other SIL is very close to converting as well.

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