Outdoor weddings

Hi. I am a converted Catholic and I have a deep appreciation for the faith. I only wish that I had been brought up in it. I am seeking guidance because my daughter has just informed me that she will not be having a Catholic wedding as she has always wanted an outdoor wedding. I have begged her to change her mind, but she won’t budge. I don’t know how I will get through the day, not being there with her, but I have decided not to attend the wedding. I am looking for guidance on this issue. I am also looking for advince on how I might try to entice her back to the faith. I have just taught myself the rosary and am saying it every day. Thanks!

Under Canon law the sacrament of marrige is to take place in a sacred place, i.e. church or chapel. Outdoors fits niether.

Just trying to clarify… Are you a convert and your daughter is not a Catholic? If this is the case she is not required to be married in a church and you can (and should) go to the wedding. If you meant you are a “re-vert” and you baptized and raised her to be Catholic, then she needs to understand the importance of the decision she is making and that this will separate her from the Church.

I know what I will say is not the “acceptable” answer, but first and foremost you should attend this wedding. It is your daughter, not a distant cousin or child of a co-worker. I don’t know how anyone could deny their own child; think about the long term consequences to your relationship with her and her husband if you do this.

There are a lot of unknowns here. For example, you say you are a convert, but when and what age? Was it before or after you had children? Were your children raised as Catholics or did they “convert” as well? What about the father here? What is the response of the rest of the family?

I know of a similar situation where the mother refused to have anything to do with a “mixed marriage” wedding. That was over a decade ago and I do not believe she has ever even seen her grandchildren. Extremely sad and pointless.

My final point is that to do this may close any potential doors to bringing your daughter back into the church. Why would you want to do this?

I don’t think we have enough information. Is your daughter Catholic? If so does she have dispensation from the Bishop? Either way you have talked to her and this is your daughter I would give some thought to going and not taking an active role - as otherwise it could damage the possibility of her ever coming to the Church. It was Pope John 23 I believe that said something to the affect of the Church should show mercy to the sinner and allow God to be the judge. (I am really paraphrasing by the way.)

Its not clear if your daughter is a Catholic but wants to be married outdoors rather than in the Church building. If that is the case you don’t say if she wants to be married by a priest or not. If she is Catholic a dispensation is required.

Anyway for general rules on attending various weddings see link below:


Please, please go to your daughter’s wedding. Do not allow this situation to create a rift between you both.

As most of the other posters have already asked - is she Catholic and therefore bound by the Church’s law on the form of marriage?

Have you considered other options - is the bridegroom a Catholic? If he is not then she’ll need permission to marry him (assuming she’s Catholic) they could also ask for dispensation from canonical form. If they’re both Catholic and bound to canonical form you could ask the Bishop for dispensation to have the marriage outside - he can grant it but he probably won’t - it’s an outside shot.

Finally, although you probably don’t want to hear this, I question your daughter’s understanding of marriage. It sounds, as so often happens, that she’s after HER big day rather than paying any attention to the fact it’s just the first day of a lifelong commitment. What does the bridegroom want? As a man this annoys me to some extent. A wedding should not be the bride’s big day. A marriage involves TWO people!

Correction - a Catholic and/or Christian marriage involves THREE people. Bridge, Groom, and GOD.

Equal parts for equal say from all three. IF the daughter is a Catholic, she should try to go for dispensation from the Bishop or maybe look at having the ceremony in a Catholic Church and the reception in an outdoor location of her choice. If she’s not Catholic and the groom is not either, then she’s pretty clear to get married where she chooses and wouldn’t have been able to have a Catholic wedding without converting first.

I agree that the groom’s wishes need to be taken into account here as well. Despite my husband repeatedly saying “Whatever you want, you’re the bride” I tried to take into account his tastes and things that were important to him. As goes the wedding planning, so goes the marriage. If she isn’t willing to listen to him and his opinions (and God’s) about this one day in her life there are bigger problems with this relationship than just the non-Catholic ceremony.

Actually 5 people and the devine in a Catholic wedding. Bride, Groom, Witnesses Maid of Honor, best man and Priest or Deacon. The Presiders are the bride and groom since they are sacramentally giving themselves to each other.

I meant there are 3 who’s opinions need to be considered. God, Bride, Groom. The maid of honor and best man are generally not people who are taken into account on the planning process in the big details. The Priest of Deacon is a representative of God and His divine will for the sacrament.

You ALSO knew what I meant when I said a marriage involves two persons. God is involved in all our lives all the time.

Is it possible for a compromise to be reached?

Could your daughter be married indoors at a Church or even at a shrine, which would be ‘indoors’, and then have the RECEPTION outdoors?

Every bride who fantasizes over an ‘outdoor wedding’ is picturing a sanitized, ideal day --cloudless, 70 degrees, full of nothing but ‘ahs’ and sensory bliss.

They never seem to fantasize over cloudbursts, storms, winds, ants, mosquitoes, high heat/humidity, bees, ‘critters’ including shunks, etc.

The bride picturing the sunlit meadow full of flowers doesn’t think of stinging insects, guests with allergies, the meadow full of ‘cowpats’, etc. And those little ‘tents’ don’t keep off the rain, or stand up to the wind.

Ah, the joy of an outdoor wedding, with the food being blown over, guests in sneezing fits, the bride’s dress splattered with muck, the parents hysteria as thousands of dollars are literally ‘gone with the wind’. . .

Best reason I’ve ever hear against outdoor wedding:thumbsup:

Ah, techniclly, God is three and one.
God, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
plus angels might show up too, and maybe even Mary also.
You wed in front of the holy heavenly family.

My daughter was raised Catholic. Influances, including her fiance’s, from college seem to have lead her away. (And now he is saying that he does not want involved in the decision.) I am grieving her leaving the church. I am not judging her, but as her mother, I feel that I must do everything in my power to make her realize that she is going down a wrong and dangerous path. I don’t know how I will get through that day, but I am pretty sure that I will not be going to her wedding. I’m sorry that I did not give more information, but I am a little uncomfortable with this format. This will probably be my last post. Thanks for your input.

I can understand your heartache. That your daughter would not follow the Catholic guidelines for a wedding must be awful for you.

Bishop’s permission would satify everyone. But I suspect that would be very hard to obtain.

The suggestions everyone has offered probably won’t change your daughter’s mind either.

Attend, pray without ceasing.

P.S. If it rains … don’t say I told you so :wink:

P.P.S. I certainly don’t take your situation lightly. I just couldn’t help myself. I’ll be praying for you and your daughter.

Maybe she could try for the Bishop’s permission if the fiance is not Catholic it may make things easier in getting that permission. But then again it will still be difficult. I am sorry for your pain. God bless you.

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