Congrats on your engagement!
I know it seems like these Churches are “rejecting” you, but really they are not. I agree with the PP that said it’s most likely miscommunication. That parish policies are spouted without explaining the “Why’s” behind them.
I think most of the “why’s” have been explained here by other posters. I agree that they best way to proceed is to consult with you or your fiancee’s local pastor and see what he has to say.
I got married in my childhood parish, to which no one in my family belonged at the time of my wedding. They were very gracious, but they did make me jump through a lot of hoops, LOL! I had to have my current local pastor write me a letter, had to get all my pre-Cana done locally and got that in writing, and we also had our own priest to celebrate the Mass! (My husband’ s family has a dear friend who is a priest, he kindly agreed to officiate).
As to the cost – well, keep in mind that we had a priest we brought, and had musicians that we hired, and the “suggested” donation was still $500.00 for the use of the church. We happily paid it…and that was 15 years ago, so I don’t think the amount you were told is necessarily excessive.
I have talked with several couples who get their backs up when asked for the donation, saying that there shouldn’t be an “Admission fee” for church…but I remind them “How much are you spending on the reception? $15K? I think you shouldn’t begrudge the church the fee that provides heat and lights, the cleaning person, the musicians, the time that it takes for a parish rep to have it all ready for you, etc.”
I have also reminded them that I doubt your local parish, where you regularly attend, would charge you the fee if you just wanted to be married but TRULY didn’t have a dime in your pocket. I’ll bet they would waive the fee for someone who really, truly couldn’t afford it – but why should they work for free when your caterer won’t?