Post # 1
Hi bees. I’m newish to the site and newly engaged. Hoping I could get some clarification here. FI and I both grew up Catholic (both baptised and confirmed), but neither of us belong to a church or have attended church in quite some time. My parents go every week so this kills my dad and at every opportunity he suggests that I “get back to church”. My parents are both very religious and my dad will not go to my wedding unless it’s at a Catholic church. Both of my sisters were married in one for the same reason. One sister married at her DH’s church, and the other married at a church in PA where my grandmother lived and we all attended together as a family for years growing up so the priest knew us.
My question is…do we actually have to go to church and be a member of the church to get married there? Is it up to the priest? Or does it come down to giving a larger donation? We are going to pick our venue first because that is more important to us, but I’m worried about not getting permission to be married in a church that we don’t attend or belong to that’s close by.
Finally, how much time in advance to we have to seek “permission”? We’re not planning on getting married until either October or December or 2014 so I really hope that’s enough time.
Post # 3
When FI and I decided we wanted to be married in the catholic church neither one of us had gone to church in many, many years so we weren’t members of any church. We met with the priest and he agreed to marry us (and he had every reason to say no: we were living together, not going to church, etc) but FI had to be confirmed first (he was baptized, had first communion, etc but was never confirmed). Once we met with the priest we started attending church although he never said specifically that we had to. I felt that since he was making an effort to marry us we should make an effort and attend his church. Because we are parishoners now we do not have to pay to use the church, just a donation to the priest himself, for his time I’m guessing.
Everything I read said to contact the priest at least 6 months before your wedding. Since you are getting married in late 2014 you have lots of time.
Post # 4
depends on the church. Where we are getting married, it doesn’t matter as long as one party is Catholic. At another in town, you have to have been a member for at least a year. At FI’s childhood church, you had to be an active member. It really depends on the parish. I would just call around and ask.
Post # 5
- Wedding: September 2014 - Dallas, TX
We are having a rough time trying to find a church. We are both Catholic but not parishioners of a specific church. Pretty much every church we’ve contacted says we have to join the church for x number of months before we can even set a date. After that there’s 6 months to a year of pre-marriage counseling. I’m sad I won’t be able to get married in spring 2014 like originally planned. Good luck on your search!
Post # 6
If you’re a baptized Catholic, you’re actually a member “by default,” so to speak, of whatever church is in charge of the territory where you live. (Probably the nearest one, although sometimes parish boundary lines are a little funky.) That will be the easiest starting point. (Same is true for your FI – depending on where he lives, you may be able to look at two different parishes as “home” options.)
If you want to get married in a church other than where you live, you can either become members by formally registering with that parish, or ask to get married there as non-parishioners. If you choose the latter and they allow you to (not all parishes allow non-parishioners to have weddings there), it will cost a bit more and there is more paperwork involved. You will both need to get forms filled out by “your” parish priest(s) (i.e. the one/s where you and FI live), which means that at some point you’ll need to go talk to that person anyway. It might be smart just to go check out the local church.
Post # 7
@forever_young: Go to your local church first, and make an appointment to talk to a priest there about getting married. Say you’ve been away, but you want to come back to the Church, and this is a perfect time; they like that line. You’ll have to each have an interview (there are no sex questions, FYI, lol) where you basically say “yep I’m Catholic, no I haven’t been married before, I don’t (or do) have kids, I am open to children” and so on. It’s really not a big deal. Then you need a parent , relative, or other person who’s known you forever, to go in and fill out a similar form for each of you. Then you do the marriage prep classes, and have new copies of your baptismal certificates sent to the Church where your paperwork is being done.
Your paperwork can be done at one church, and the ceremony be at another, or both be at the same place. Getting married at a church other than your own parish is generally just a larger fee than if you are a member.
@kimmo416: You need to keep looking; that’s the most draconian set of conditions I’ve heard of so far, and it is far and above what the Church, itself, actually requires. You can try phrasing it like this – “It’s an important spiritual moment in our lives, and we are trying to come back to the Church, but all we keep getting told is that we aren’t good enough for the Church until we’ve done this, that, and seventeen other things. We were under the impression that Mother Church was for all of us; were we mistaken?” — BUT more often than not, money is the answer to this problem.
Post # 8
Churches will allow you to get married there if you’re (1) a parishioner, or (2) living in their “zone” (i.e. that’s the closest Catholic church to where you live). They may require you to be a parishioner for 6 months before setting a date (this is generally if it’s a “popular” pretty church that has issues with too many people wanting to get married there).
Some churches will allow you to get married there regardless of where you live or whether you’re a parishioner, but it depends on the church. Most churches have you pay a fee for getting married there, and the fee is usually larger if you’re a non-parishioner.
6-8 months is usually enough time to get through the church’s marriage prep process (you will have to follow their requirements to get married in the Church).
Hope that helps!
Post # 9
We are getting married in a Catholic university church, so we don’t have to be members. Maybe you could look into that?
Post # 10
If I were you, I’d visit the local parish and register and do all of your pre-marriage stuff there. That way it will be local and not terribly inconvenient. Then ask that your priest send a letter requesting that you be married in the church of your choice. You will have to pay more as non-parishioners (sometimes a LOT more), but if that’s what you really want, give it a go.
Post # 11
@forever_young: Will you be getting married near your parents’ church? You can always get marrieed at the parish of a family member. If either of you has been married before that puts a kink in it, but assuming not it takes 9 months of prep here in AZ, some dioceses are different. Google your diocese and it’ll give you more info.
I’m not going to lie, I went through that prep once and it is not easy to stomach if you’re not actually a practicing/believing Catholic. I’m sure it’s very helpful to some people but I had a difficult time swallowing natural family planning seriously from a couple with 5 kids in 3 years…
Post # 12
@jennmariee: We went through wedding prep and never had natural family planning discussed once. I guess it depends on the parish.
To the OP, my fiance and I are both Catholic. We don’t attend church every week but we still find it important to us that we get married in the Catholic church. We did have to become parishioners at our church which just meant filling out a form.
Each church is different. Some require 6 months notice while others a year. Your best bet is to ask the church.
Post # 13
And as someone mentioned, the catholic church has their pre and post marriage counselling. that was the worst bit for me because my now ex husband thought it was a joke, even though he’ll put on a show of going to church for his parents – who are the most fake religious peopleI’ve ever met. Then there is their expected wording of vows and all sorts of other things that just made the day feel very generic to me.
Post # 14
@Chizzy: I’m sorry to hear that. My church allows us to customize our wedding so I feel that it will be personal to us.
I was married in the church before and had an annulment. I feel that if both parties have their selves invested in the pre marital classes, that it is beneficial. But if one doesn’t, then there isn’t anything you can do.
Post # 15
@Autumnsnow: they’ll let you remarry in the church?! And do personal vows?!! Wheres that priest….!! Lol
Post # 16
Second the PP that says university churches–they’re usually more flexible with parishoners. Also, maybe look into the parish that your family belongs to. Many churches have higher fees for non-parishoners, but if someone in your immediate family is a parishoner, then it might be waived. Some churches (maybe those affiliated with with schools) require you to bring in your own priest because they don’t have a regular priest–these might be more flexible with non-parishoners, and might also be able to recommend a priest to perform the ceremony.