Outdoor Catholic Weddings


Another poster (I think it was kage_ar :smiley: ) asked this question in a different thread:


I think it’s just getting buried under other conversations… I was curious, so I thought I’d start a new thread.

I am especially interested, because 4 years ago, I had wanted an outdoor ceremony and was declined by the parish wedding coordinator. The decorating committee had done something weird with the altar that I felt was irreverent. At the time, our parish did not have a tabernacle, but did have an outdoor area where Mass was celebrated regularly outside in nice weather. We now have a different bishop, and our parish not only received a tabernacle, but a crucifix, too!!! (No, we didn’t have a crucifix before. :frowning: )

So… To get back to my own thread… :o Wow, I derailed my own thread before anyone else got the chance!

For those of you who had outdoor Catholic weddings, how difficult was it to get a dispensation from the bishop? Did it take a really long time? What was involved? Was it a Mass? Were both the bride and groom Catholic? What part of the country (or world, if outside the US) was the wedding held?



I’ve never met a single person who received a dispensation to do this. So, it will be interesting to see if anyone posts.


We were on vacation in the Charleston, SC a few years ago and went to mass in a beautiful cathedral that was surrounded by large and stunningly gorgeous gardens. During the homily the priest made a point of explaining that sacraments belong in church, and that Catholics are not allowed to be married outside. I’m not sure how it tied in to the readings, but it was in June and he mentioned that he was constantly receiving calls from people who wanted to get married in the cathedral gardens.

Anyway, that’s the only time I heard it discussed by any one with authority and he made it sound as if it’s just not allowed under any circumstances. I’ve never seen or heard of an outdoor Catholic wedding.


I was told by our priest that the Mass should be celebrated on sacred ground. So if we wanted to get married in the Catholic cemetary, that would be fine.:stuck_out_tongue: (That’s why there’s an alter for the Memorial Day mass at our cemetary)


In this thread, posts #2 and #14 both talk about outdoor weddings for their daughters … so… seems some of our members have sought and been granted those rare dispensations.

It woudl be interesting to explain to the teens what the process was like, was the resulting ceremony worth the process, etc.


Actually, both of those posters are recent converts to the Catholic faith, and it appears their adult children getting married are not Catholics.


Thank you. I’m not going to stick with my original topic to the teens - outdoor Catholic wedding dispensations are Unicorns :thumbsup:


I have only heard of ONE in my entire life, that involved a dispensation for a Catholic man and his Ba’hi bride. It was outdoors, with a priest, in the Lincoln Park Conservatory. In the 70s, it involved his dispensation to marry a non-Christian, along with a dispensation to marry some place other than his parish church, for the priest to be the officiant, and then a ton of paperwork with the City of Chicago because nobody had ever heard of doing such a thing back then! The photos were very pretty, but the majority of Lincoln Park Conservatory is under greenhouses. I don’t think the Archdiocese grants any type of outdoor wedding dispensation anymore, but I could be wrong.

My question: What if it rains?


What is rain? :shrug: :p:p :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve never heard of an outdoor Catholic wedding. But I’d be more inclined to believe of such a thing happening in the 1970’s when such ideas were rare (as far as I know). There would not yet have been a need for a blanket policy to deny requests for dispensations because so few people wanted one.


That, and the only thing anybody’d ever heard about Ba’hai was that Seals and Crofts (remember them?) were practioners. Everybody assumed it was some sort of branch of Hinduism. And a lot of people raised as “nothings” claimed to be buddhists, ba’hai, etc.


Diamond Girl! You sure do shine…


[/INDENT]I don’t hear of that many people claiming to be Ba’hai anymore. But I still know of a few who claim to be buddhists. Of eastern ‘religions’ I probably know more raised in the Hindu tradition than in any other. My SIL for one.


Seems to be the case. :smiley:

Except, of course, for the one in Chicago in the 70s. (Thanks for sharing that story, by the way, OutinChgo.)

I hadn’t realized, at the time I was getting married, how rare it was to get married outside (and be a Catholic ceremony). Now, I feel almost embarrassed to have asked in the first place. :blush:


Don’t be embarrassed. The fact that Catholics can receive a dispensation from form to marry a non-Catholic in **their **faith tradition/church sometimes confuses people into thinking Catholics can also do so when **both **parties are Catholic or it’s a mixed marriage *in *the Catholic form.

I’ve never heard of it, ever.


In Continental Europe you have to marry civill first and then have the church ceremony. Would one be allowed to meet the judge in a pretty garden and have the outdoor stuff some want and then the next day have the church wedding? I know that since the state willnot recognize religious ceremonies this is the standard form in Belgium, France, etc. My question is must the judge perform the ceremony at the courthouse or would he go outside?


You can shop for judges, commissioners, justices of the peace, etc. Pay the right ones, and they will perform your ceremony in a garden, in front of the family fireplace- even skysiving or underwater.

I THINK in the U.S., however, that the Church expects that there will not be a civil ceremony before the Rite of Marriage.


already off topic, probably because there is not much to discuss. A couple who wants to marry outside, not in a church or chapel, had better be prepared with a good explanation for their priest, which includes an explanation of why they are explicitly resisting marriage inside a church building. that raises such huge red flags the priest would be within his rights putting everything on hold while he learns more about this couple, their disposition for marriage and their intentions.


You are right again!

And the reason better not be that the 70s orange and avocado decor of the parish church, carefully preserved all these years by the loving hands of the altar and rosary society, does not match the bride’s color scheme, which relies heavily on the enhancement of natural greenery attached to real trees with a bright blue sky, not a ceiling…


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