When do Catholic wedding ceremonies happen?

I was raised Protestant and am in the process of becoming Catholic. I’ve been to multiple Protestant weddings, which in my experience always happen outside of a normal church service, and the local congregation may or may not be invited to the ceremony.

I was in Mexico a couple weeks ago and attended a mass on Saturday evening at a local church. It turns out that there was a wedding happening, although it was a regularly scheduled time for a normal mass. No one seemed upset that I was there, so is there any reason I shouldn’t have been there?

Are Catholic weddings usually during regular mass times, or are they during specially arranged times? Or does this depend on what the parish wants to do? If I go to a Saturday evening mass in the US, is there a chance I’ll drop in on a wedding?

At my parish the wedding can occur during a normally scheduled mass (except on specific holy days, not sure of all the rules, but I am sure that someone more knowledgeable will respond) or during a specially scheduled mass. They also have valid catholic marriages that occur outside of a mass, this is usually used when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic.

I can’t speak for the rest of the world but in the United States weddings are usually held outside of regularly scheduled Masses. In fact, they don’t have to be held during the context of a Mass at all but that is the preferred way when both parties are Catholic.

However weddings can be held in the context of a regularly scheduled Mass. Often this would be done when there is no Mass or other liturgy scheduled afterward since a wedding will likely increase the length of the Mass.

Most couples like to have their wedding at a time other than a regular Mass because it gives them more freedom in planning the liturgy than they would have if there will be attendees who just happen to be there.

Oh, and unless there is some very unusual circumstance (like an important political figure is attending and access genuinely needs to be controlled for security reasons or so many people show up that access must be limited for fire regulations) all Masses at a parish Church are public even if they are for weddings or funerals and are held at times other than for regularly scheduled Masses. If you just happen to show up at a Church and there just happens to be a funeral or nuptial Mass going on you are perfectly free to attend.

Funny you should mention weddings. At the Cathedral, we have had many weddings take place during the regularly scheduled Saturday evenng Mass. Since the Cathedral is a popular place for weddings, it works out really well for the couples. The wedding Masses have also taken place before the parish Mass and afterwards. On some rare occasions, we also have the Nuptial ceremony without the Mass.

a Catholic wedding can take place in the context of any regularly scheduled Mass, in which case the readings will be those of the day, or in a nuptial Mass outside the regular schedule, on any day of the week, with any of the readings prescribed. Or the wedding may take place outside of Mass–recommended if one of the parties or most of the guests non-Catholic. Any liturgy of the Church is public prayer, and nobody can be barred from the church.

down here there is a very good chance you will witness a wedding–often a convalidation–at the regular Saturday evening Mass in any parish, or it may be immediately after Mass. if you are not reserving the church outside normal hours, with all the flowers, attendants, extra cultural ceremonials etc, there is often no charge.

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