outdoor weddings


#1

Can anyone give me the specific reasons why marriage ceremonies are supposed to be held inside the church building?

My niece and her fiance are planning to be married next summer and would like the wedding to be held outdoors. They are both Catholic. I would like to be able to give her reasons for this other than “it’s just a rule”.

I understand that permission for this can be given by the bishop. In what situations would this be approved? Our parish holds one outdoor Mass in the summertime. Why is this permitted and weddings are not? These are both in the same diocese.

herbgal


#2

There must be a pastoral reason for the Bishop to grant permission. One thing would be that the church building is too small to hole the number of people expected. The real answer is “It’s the rule” All Sacraments must take place in a Catholic Church or other sacred building unless something prevents that from happening. Another thing would be a fire in the church the day before, which would render it unusable. (don’t even think about it - lol)


#3

When I got married the rule was one had to be a registered member of the parish and that the wedding had to take place in the bride’s parish. In addition to the precana instruction (which was less than it is now), the Bands of Matrimony had to be announced for 6 consecutive Sundays prior to the wedding. Gives you a clue to how old I am :smiley:


#4

Marriage is a sacrament, the joining of the man and woman into one flesh, with God as an intimate part of that union… God is who will keep the marriage strong, and alive; what could possibly be more fitting than to have the wedding in the house of the Lord, where we encounter God most intimately in the Mass?

Also, marriage is about more than just the couple, and the couples’ friends and family who are in attendance. It is a public thing, to be lived out before the whole community, and the whole church. So it is most fitting that the wedding happen at the center of the community’s faith life, in the parish church. A ceremony in a private location, in my opinion, just misses out on the public aspect of marriage.


#5

Re

[quote=deogratias]. . .that the wedding had to take place in the bride’s parish. . . . the Bands of Matrimony had to be announced for 6 consecutive Sundays prior to the wedding.
[/quote]

Having the wedding in the Bride’s parish is an ancient requirement. The expectation was that the bride was less apt to be under compulsion on her home ground.

Announcing the banns was to ensure that there were no prior marriages. They were announced in both the bride and the groom’s parishes. In today’s more mobile society it is less likely that your fellow parishioners know all about you. Instead of the banns, sworn oaths, of the bride or groom’s freedom to marry, are required from witnesses in each family.


#6

[quote=Bobby Jim]Marriage is a sacrament, the joining of the man and woman into one flesh, with God as an intimate part of that union… God is who will keep the marriage strong, and alive; what could possibly be more fitting than to have the wedding in the house of the Lord, where we encounter God most intimately in the Mass?

Also, marriage is about more than just the couple, and the couples’ friends and family who are in attendance. It is a public thing, to be lived out before the whole community, and the whole church. So it is most fitting that the wedding happen at the center of the community’s faith life, in the parish church. A ceremony in a private location, in my opinion, just misses out on the public aspect of marriage.
[/quote]

Way to go Bobby Jim, that’s just about what I was going to say! Matrimony isn’t a private thing! It’s a celebration of the whole Christian family! I mean come on…logistically it works best to have it in the church building! When the wedding is announced, everyone knows how to get there, because they go there every week!
God Bless,

Justin


#7

[quote=Joe Kelley]Re

Having the wedding in the Bride’s parish is an ancient requirement. The expectation was that the bride was less apt to be under compulsion on her home ground.

Announcing the banns was to ensure that there were no prior marriages. They were announced in both the bride and the groom’s parishes. In today’s more mobile society it is less likely that your fellow parishioners know all about you. Instead of the banns, sworn oaths, of the bride or groom’s freedom to marry, are required from witnesses in each family.
[/quote]

Good post. In my area, we still publish banns. (First, second and third.)


#8

Actually, I think that if the Pope can celebrate the Mass at a soccer stadium why can’t people be married outdoors?


#9

First we will have weddings in the back yard, then in the park, then how long will it be before we have them in hot air balloons?

Some people seem to have an aversion to churches. They probably read too many issues of Modern Bride magazine. :rolleyes:


#10

[quote=Mike C]Actually, I think that if the Pope can celebrate the Mass at a soccer stadium why can’t people be married outdoors?
[/quote]

If you have that many people attending! I’m sure your Bishop would approve of the stadium location.


#11

[quote=Ray Marshall]First we will have weddings in the back yard, then in the park, then how long will it be before we have them in hot air balloons?
[/quote]

They do.

Some people seem to have an aversion to churches. They probably read too many issues of Modern Bride magazine. :rolleyes:

Perhaps someone could come out with a contemporary looking, glossy magazine type guide for authentic Catholic weddings. It could explain all the rules and regs(including why outdoor weddings are not done, give info on NFP, and include a comprehensive wedding planner (a check list, not a person ;)) emphasizing those things that are the most important. It wouldn’t be a periodical but would have that thick glossy magazine format. Anyone up for that?

herbgal, try to put as much of a positive spin on it as you can. If you can avoid saying “it’s the rule” and explain why it is it is it to be held in a church (because it’s a sacrament, the church is holy ground) and maybe things like their parents (or other family members or friends were married there and how they are about to become a part of that tradition. Was she baptised or recieve any other sacraments in that church? If a couple meets at college the Newman center parish might be an option, too. Hope this helps :twocents:


#12

Blood Rain,

Thank you for responding to my original question. I agree completely with your ideas of explaining why a wedding should be held inside the church building. I also liked (and hadn’t thought of) the more personal aspects such as becoming part of the tradition of prior Baptisms or weddings being held there.
I guess I was looking for any OFFICIAL (maybe written somewhere?), specific reasons to pass along to my niece. She is sort of on the fence right now with regards to her faith, and I was looking to share more of an explanation.

Just a side thought: It’s sort of difficult coming up with a solid explanantion when leniency for permission for outdoor weddings varies so much from diocese to diocese, don’t you think?

Thanks again for sharing your ideas. I found them helpful!
God bless!
herbgal


#13

If the wedding will take place in conjunction with a Mass, as so many of them do, the provisions of Canon Law apply:

“Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.”

Hope that helps.


#14

I’m a wedding planner. I’ve assisted many couples of various faiths with their weddings.

When Catholic couples don’t want to accept the Church’s wisdom on matters such as where, when, and how to administer certain sacraments, I wonder why they even want the Church to acknowledge and bless their marriage.

Will they embrace the Church’s teachings on the indissolubility of marriage, and the sanctity of human life? Will they willingly accept all of the children God wishes to send them? What is their reason for wanting a “Catholic” wedding?

If something such as the Church’s rule on location of the ceremony seem to be a stumbling block, it may mean that, although the couple is committed to each other, they are not necessarily committed to the Faith.

Not saying that all is lost, but hopefully that this will be an eye opener for them. The Church will always be a part of their lives, and a guiding and teaching force for them, if they choose to live according to Her Wisdom.

It’s sort of difficult coming up with a solid explanantion when leniency for permission for outdoor weddings varies so much from diocese to diocese, don’t you think?

I’ve not seen such a leniency, having daughters prepare for marriage in three different states in the US, the requirements have all been the same, as far as I know.
If some bishop somewhere is not adhering to the Church’s guidelines, I’d not hold him up as a good example.

I would encourage the young couple to really study the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It is awesome!
And consider an outdoor reception!
A wedding ceremony is a solemn, holy event, uniting the man and woman in accord with God’s law and civil laws. It requires dignity and decorum.
The reception is the time for festivity.
There is a distinct difference between the two celebrations.

Pax Christi. <><


#15

A friend of mine was married on a boat of some sort. Apparently the priest said this was ok because it was it was permanently moored, whereas it would not have been ok had it been in motion.

This struck me as quite bizarre, but I have since heard on Catholic Answers that when one of the parties is not Catholic the rules are not as strict (the groom was Jewish in this case).


#16

[quote=digitonomy]A friend of mine was married on a boat of some sort. Apparently the priest said this was ok because it was it was permanently moored, whereas it would not have been ok had it been in motion.

This struck me as quite bizarre, but I have since heard on Catholic Answers that when one of the parties is not Catholic the rules are not as strict (the groom was Jewish in this case).
[/quote]

That is correct. Beacuse a Catholic marriage to a non-Baptized person is NOT a Sacrament. It is a valid Marriage but it is NOT a Sacrament.


#17

[quote=Bobby Jim]Marriage is a sacrament, the joining of the man and woman into one flesh, with God as an intimate part of that union… God is who will keep the marriage strong, and alive; what could possibly be more fitting than to have the wedding in the house of the Lord, where we encounter God most intimately in the Mass?

Also, marriage is about more than just the couple, and the couples’ friends and family who are in attendance. It is a public thing, to be lived out before the whole community, and the whole church. So it is most fitting that the wedding happen at the center of the community’s faith life, in the parish church. A ceremony in a private location, in my opinion, just misses out on the public aspect of marriage.
[/quote]

Somebody should have told this to my niece and the priest that married them last Saturday. Had a beautiful wedding in the backyard garden - both groom and bride are Catholic - Too bad the whole thing was a joke (as far as Catholic weddings are concerned) Lasted 10 minutes. - But the priest did ask the pictures not be taken during the ceremony to preserve the sanctity and holiness of the service…Ha!


#18

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]That is correct. Beacuse a Catholic marriage to a non-Baptized person is NOT a Sacrament. It is a valid Marriage but it is NOT a Sacrament.
[/quote]

What about the rule regarding the boat being permanently moored. Is there a canon about that, or would that just be the bishop’s rule for that diocese?


#19

[quote=digitonomy] This struck me as quite bizarre, but I have since heard on Catholic Answers that when one of the parties is not Catholic the rules are not as strict (the groom was Jewish in this case).
[/quote]

Note that the exception is because one of the parties is unbaptized; not because he is non-Catholic. Marriage to a baptized non-Catholic, assuming the proper dispensation has been obtained, is Sacramental.

The requirement for the ceremony to be in a Church follows from the requirement that all sacraments be administered in a Church, barring exceptional circumstances. Since this marriage was not a sacrament, the requirement can be more easily waived.


#20

I’ve been to a good many outdoor Catholic weddings. The majority were held in the parish garden, under a permanently displayed crucifix and where mass is often said in the summer (mainly because the parishes can’t afford air conditioning, but also because the gardens are so beautiful). I’ve also been to Catholic weddings at botanical gardens. There the rule in that archdiocese was that the botanical gardens were acceptable as long as it was just the wedding ceremony and that there was no mass said. From my understanding, the couple would actually have a small private ceremony at the church first, then the big public display at the gardens was just for show.


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