Post Marriage Blessing


Although marriage is not in the near future for my sister, she has been pondering on the idea of having a wedding outdoors. The only problem is that she’s a Catholic, and knows that that is not allowed.

She had been wondering if she could get married outside, but then get the marriage blessed by a Priest afterwards. There’s this really beautiful outdoor location that she has in mind for the future, but she wants her marriage to be legitimate in the eyes of the Catholic church as well.

Like I said, this isn’t an immediate issue in any way, shape, or form, but she has been inquiring about it for quite some time, and I thought now would be as good a time as any to try and find an answer for her.

So, in summation: Could a Catholic perform an outdoor wedding ceremony but then get their union blessed by a Priest later on in the day?

Thanks!! :slight_smile:


It may help her to learn more about what a sacrament is, especially holy matrimony. That is why it takes place in a Church. A place that is blessed.

As to your question, if your sister were to know what is required of her, marriage in the Church, then think about it, and decide to do something differently, would constitute a mortal sin. Not a great way to begin your new life.

Secondly, she would either have to lie to the priest as to why she married outside the Church, another sin, or be faced with her own pride of doing it her own way and the priest saying “no” or making her go to classes before it was blessed. The whole time she would be in the state of mortal sin unless she is not having relations with her newly wed husband.

There are so many ways to incorporate gardens and things outside, esp the reception. Maybe it would help if you influenced her in that way - looking forward to a reception there.


Thanks for the response. She does intend to go through the classes and required prep.
I think why she brought up the possibility of getting the marriage blessed by the Priest the same day–no relations til it’s legit, but still an outdoor wedding.

I had been thinking of trying to convince her of an outdoor reception, but she had also thought it out another way that I think sounds legitimate, but please correct me if I’m wrong. She wondered if she could have just a small ceremony with the Priest in the Church, but not a full Mass?


It is possible to celebrate the sacrament of marriage in a church outside of Mass. There is a rite for this. There can be a procession down the aisle to the altar at the beginning; then there is a greeting and the liturgy of the Word. The priest then gives a homily followed by the rite of marriage. After the rite of marriage there can be procession to the entrance of the church.

Since in the United States a priest is a legal minister of marriage the couple will have to provide a marriage license before the marriage for the priest to fill out and send to the government.

Note that the mortal sin in contracting a civil marriage is not in the civilly married husband and wife having sex but that they procured an invalid marriage according to Church law. That would be a horrible situation to be in at the beginning of their marriage! Gardens are beautiful, but even more beautiful is their receiving God’s gift of sanctifying grace to be with them in their marriage right from the moment of their married lfe together.


I would just ask her:
Which is more important? The wedding or the marriage?
A lot of brides spend so much time worrying about the place, the colors, the theme, the flowers, the dress…and all of that has very little to do with the actual marriage.

The Marriage needs to be done in God’s house, witnessed by the Church, and her family in Christ. The wedding, can take on a life of its own. If it were true that only marriages that took place in really gorgeous outdoor settings were happy, then none of us would be here.

As another poster said, it might be a lovely place for the reception. If she does indeed go through the prep, the priest will explain it better than we can, I’m sure. Maybe her fiancé will want the church wedding, you never know! :wink:


Thanks for the responses, I think they will help a lot, especially since they are personally directed towards her. I will relay the information to her, and hopefully eventually when the time comes, she will make the right decision! :slight_smile:


This is the way I think of it. Is it okay to skip mass with the intent to go to confession later? The thought that some one would knowingly enter an invalid marriage with the intent to “fix it later” shows a decided lack of understanding of the sacrament.

While canon 1127§3 does not directly apply the thought behind it would give me pause with such a plan. This section basically forbids two religious ceremonies. It is in relationship to mixed marriages, but the general reasoning still stands. We only exchange vows once. Doing it multiple times for convinence or appearances is not allowed. In essence your sister would be saying “hey, everyone, come celebrate a lie” with the intent that the real marriage be celebrated with a couple people.


Let’s be careful here. People from all around the world read these forums. In some places the civil marriage MUST BE celebrated BEFORE the religious ceremony and there is no lie in the first ceremony. It’s simply the way things are done in those countries.


Phemie, you are correct. I thought about that after writing it. I guess what I was getting at is that normally the ‘small marriage’ is the civil marriage. As I understand it the couple would legally marry and then have the main religious ceremony as the “main event”. In this case it sounds like they would be publically holding out that the outdoor wedding was the real one, and would do the pesky church wedding to tie up lose ends. That seems backwards to the case where priest are not held as agents of the state and require a civil marriage separate from the religious marriage.


I think there is a problem in saying that someone has their marriage “blessed.” That makes it sound like a nice formality, but not particularly essential.

In reality, the marriage is convalidated. That means that it takes place for the first time.

It sounds a little different to say “we’ll have our marriage blessed after the ceremony on the beach” and “we’ll have a real wedding after our ceremony on the beach.”

A Catholic who exchanges vows on a beach is in a situation similar to two actors getting married on stage as part of a play. They go through the motions, but they’re not really married.


I think an important question she needs to ask herself. Does she believe in the Real Presence?

If she does, why would she want to get married anywhere else, but in front of the Creator of the Universe, God Himself?

I understand wanting beautiful outdoor locations, but there are higher priority issues at stake. I would throw out the idea of holding a reception there, or maybe driving there and snapping some pictures there on the wedding day. But the wedding itself needs to be in Church.


Thank you for all the replies, I completely understand where all these views are coming from. What you are saying is what I originally thought, but I also thought it would be a good idea to check with other Catholics on the matter to make sure that I was right before attempting to convince her of anything. :thumbsup: After all, out of the two of us sisters, I am a little more about tradition then she, but I feel that if she saw this evidence she would understand why the traditional wedding-in-a-church route is the way to go.

“We only exchange vows once.” I will make sure she knows this too, because I am not sure what she was intending with her alternate plans. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

And I also agree with the earlier comment, the marriage is definitely more important then the wedding day :wink:

Vielen dank!


I think once she gets to that point, attends the classes, it will hopefully make more sense to her and not be an issue at all!
God bless you both, esp for being a good sister, help her.


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