Catholic Church Wedding – Nonparishoners?

posted 3 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
968 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@JrzyGurl:  Talk to your church and find out. I switched my parish to the one we’re getting married at  and they held the date as of then for us. They didn’t make me wait 1 year in order to book the date.

Just depends on how busy the church is with Weddings, they don’t want those in long standing to be turned away, or throw money away for someone that doesn’t attend and donate regularly 🙂

Post # 4
505 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

You won’t know until you meet with a priest and ask!

Post # 5
3735 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@JrzyGurl:  Sometimes the destination church needs a letter from your current church stating you are both members in good standing. Each church and/or diocese may have its own rules on this.

Post # 6
476 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I would speak with your church, and then the potential venues. It’s possible that they can work it out.

Good luck!

Post # 7
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

We’re getting married in a church that is not our parish. They required us to get permission from our local parish. The church gave us a letter/form to give to our parish. They also gave us a Marriage Bann to give to our local parish. 

Post # 8
3677 posts
Sugar bee

Yes, it can sometimes be done, it just depends on the individual church and will require a few extra steps and some paperwork.

I would suggest talking to the priests of your local parish(es), your parents’ parishes, any priests who are family friends, etc., to see if any of them have connections to a priest or church in the area where you would like to get married. That can go a LONG way toward helping you out, if your priest went to seminary with the priest over at St. Matthew’s in (city), etc., and can make a phone call on your behalf to see if he can help you guys set a wedding date.

The other possibility is that you can try calling parishes, explain up front that you are non-parishioners but this is the situation, and that a church wedding is really really important to you and you are looking for a parish that might be able to help you out. Sometimes they can make an exception for non-parishioners. There will likely be a higher stipend for you than what they charge parishioners (as a PP noted, it’s because you wouldn’t be attending regularly and contributing to the support of the parish with offering envelopes, etc.) Some parishes are more lenient on this than others.

It relates back to the traditions that were set hundreds of years ago, when people didn’t move or travel as much: generally, people stayed put in their parishes for most or all of their lives, and often married someone local, etc., so the rule was that all the sacraments needed to come from your local church. That way the priest knew your background and knew the marriage was legit, there were no previous spouses that were being abandoned and bigamy being committed, etc. Even today, parishes are still geographic divisions of dioceses, and technically every Catholic is supposed to “belong” to the parish where they live. Nowadays people often choose to attend and register at different parishes for any number of reasons, and you might find a church in New Jersey that will work with you.

Post # 9
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

@JrzyGurl:  Canon Law specifies that we are supposed to get married in our own parishes.   While it’s ok to visit and occassionally attend other Catholic parishes when the other option may be to miss Sunday Mass, the Church really wants us to stick to one parish.  This is because our parish is supposed to be like an extended family.  It’s supposed to involve not just showing up for Mass, but building friendships and supporting each other.

The priest of the parish is the only one who has pastorial authority over you.  As such, the details, exceptions and marriage prep have to be arranged by him or by someone in the parish that he assigns with this task.  Thus, if you want to get married elsewhere, you need to first start by setting up an appointment with your parish priest.  You can then discuss your financial concerns and your desire to get married elsewhere.  As such, you need your pastor’s written permission to marry outside of your parish and you need the permission of the pastor of another parish to use their facility.  All your marriage prep, though, will still work through your own parish.

Post # 10
1491 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@JrzyGurl:  I know all about this topic since I researched it up and down the east coast for about 6 months!!!  

I’m getting married in RI at a wonderful Catholic church that allows non-parishioners to get married.  The way they do it up there is that my church in MD had to give permission for my FI and I to get married at that church, AND my church in MD had to do all the pre-wedding paperwork/pre-cana stuff…and then sent it up to the RI diocese/church.   It has been like 5 more hoops to jump through, but worth it in the end!! 


Now, as to finding a church, I just got a list together of all the Catholic churches in an area…and started emailing and calling them, asking them if they allowed non-parishioners to get married in their church.  Some said yes, some said no, and I went from there.    I found that some areas, especially resort towns, had VERY strict rules regarding only parishioners getting married…or else they levied very high fees for the use of the church.   My search went from FL to MA, straight up the coastline. I ended up in RI for a variety of reasons, but I found my church there to be VERY welcoming and helpful.   


Good Luck!!  It IS possible!!  


Post # 11
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

The only thing I’ve noticed is an exceptionally higher fee for nonparishioners to marry. 

Post # 13
374 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@JrzyGurl:  FI and I were in a very similar situation as yours.  We looked high and low in Dallas and Fort Worth for a Catholic Church that would marry us.  We are both in good standing with the church, we just never “officially” joined the one by our house (even though we were giving cash donations at each service we attended).  Out of all the churches in DFW, we found ONE Catholic Church that was willing to marry us.  For DOUBLE the fee of a member.  So we’re paying $1200 to marry in the Catholic Church.  

Yep.  The fees are ridiculous.  Good luck and happy planning! 🙂

Post # 15
1893 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Dallas, TX

@futuremrsgo:  We’re having the same problem 🙁 What is the name of the church if you don’t mind me asking? We’re totally stuck and feel like we can’t get married next year like we want to.

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