Can I get married in a Catholic church?

posted 2 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Neither this plan nor this post are going to go well for you.

Post # 3
3727 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Catholic churches aren’t venues for you to rent out because they’re pretty. If you get married in one they expect you to have a Catholic wedding ceremony and attend Pre Cana preparatory meetings. Many do require you to be members of that church or at least to provide a letter from the priest at your current church giving his “blessing” to marry outside your home church. You don’t fall under any of these categories so I’m going to say no. 

Post # 4
3860 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

You would not have to convert. If your fiancé is a practicing Catholic and you were baptized Catholic you wouldn’t even have to get a dispensation. However, your Darling Husband will likely have to be a member of the church you want to marry in (or at least a member of some Catholic Church). You definitely cannot just rent out a church like another venue. Catholic marriage is a sacrament and you will have to meet with a priest and do precana classes in order to marry in the church. I would not mention wanting to marry in a Catholic Church because of the “pretty windows” because this is not a good reason at all to enter into a Catholic marriage and would likely be taken with offense. What does your Darling Husband think? We were married in the Catholic Church (DH is a practicing Catholic and I am Agnostic but was baptized Catholic.) I was honestly not a huge fan of the Catholic wedding but it meant a lot to my Darling Husband and we married in the chapel at the university we both attended which was Jesuit and therefore a little more liberal. Good luck bee! I would suggest meeting with a priest in your local church for further guidance. 

Edited to add: It’s really weird how you worded the “first born child” thing. It sounds like you will have to sacrifice your first born to the church as an offering. In reality you will agree to raise any children you have together in the Catholic faith. LOL.

Post # 5
830 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I suggest you look for another venue with stained glass windows.

Many liberal denominations (like Unitarian Universalists) would be very welcoming of an agnostic/Catholic couple using their church. You’d just have to find one with pretty windows!

Similarly, there are other venues with stained glass windows, like this pretty “memorial chapel” at Callaway gardens in Georgia, which can be rented for weddings. Link here.

Post # 6
1846 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

My brother got married in his wife’s Catholic church when he was not Catholic.  He had to take classes and agree to raise their future children to be Catholic.  I think it probably depends on the priest and rules of the particular church.  I would probably have your fiance officially join the congregation of the church you want to use before you ask.  The Catholic priest who married my brother also allowed my brother’s Protestant minister to be involved in the ceremony, so I assume he was fairly liberal as Catholic priests go.

Post # 7
466 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

There is a rite of marriage for a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic, but you still need to go through the Catholic counseling sessions and get permission to marry in the church.  Keep in mind that the Catholic Church doesn’t acknowledge divorce.  They annul a marriage if they review it and find it so flawed at the time of marriage that it wasn’t real to begin with–someone was unsound of mind or body, someone was coerced, the parties didn’t agree on what marriage was, etc.  And because they don’t allow for divorce, they can and do deny their members access to a Catholic marriage, and if you’re not having a Catholic marriage, you can’t have it in a Catholic church.

That’s not to say it’s impossible.  It is to say that if your partner isn’t practicing and your desire to get married there is more for ambiance, you’re going to have an uphill battle.  On the other hand, if you are drawn to certain aspects of the spiritual culture as you say, and your wedding isn’t going to be until 2021 like your profile says, maybe put off the question of where to have your wedding (let’s be fully honest withourselves here, a lot of post-VII churches are hideous) and explore in more depth whether you agree with the notion of marriage being sacramental.  If you find you disagree, there are churches with very similar spiritual cultures–Lutherans, Episcopalians, etc.–but who view marriage as a holy appointment but not a sacrament.  That might be more in line with what you and your FH believe.

Post # 8
2455 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

One of you had to be a “practicing” Catholic, and you usually need some kind of tie to the church you want to get married in (whether the Catholic person is a registered member there or a family member is a member there). There are some larger cathedrals near me that don’t require you to be a parishioner of that specific church, but you still have to be Catholic, and in those cases they are allowed to charge a high fee.

The definition of practicing Catholic varies widely, but usually they want to see you confirmed and showing up to church once in a while.

The other can be anything- my Darling Husband is agnostic. I’m the Catholic one. It just required an extra piece of paper.

You cannot just rent out a church like a venue.


Your tone regarding getting married in a Catholic Church is disrespectful, whether you mean it to or not.

All you want are stained glass windows. That is not reason enough to fake being Catholic.

Find somewhere else.

Post # 10
4036 posts
Honey bee

There’s a beautiful, non-denomenational chapel near us (not you) that’s for rent to the general public. It always reminded me of a miniature Westminster Abbey, with marble floors, carved pews, and loads of stained glass. You may be able to find something near you.

Post # 12
7416 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Most priests won’t let you participate in a religious sacrament like marriage or communion if they don’t think you actually believe in their religion. Different priests/parishes have different standards but since you’re agnostic and your fi is non-practicing, you may be better off looking for a venue that has stained glass windows rather than trying to become just catholic enough to be able to have a catholic wedding.

Post # 13
2705 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Yeah, definitely can’t rent out a Catholic church like other venues.  However, if your Fiance is Catholic you can get married in one provided a few things.

1. You do have to be a some-what active member of the church community.  My church required that you were a registered member for something like 9 months prior to the wedding to show that you were active and serious about wanting a Catholic marriage and not just doing it because your family wants you too or you like the look of the church.

2. You take Pre Cana classes.  They’re just marriage prep classes with a Catholic flavor.  My husband is agnostic and I’m not a super active Catholic but we both found Pre Can classes to be really helpful.  And in all honestly, pre-marriage counseling is always a good thing.

3. You do have to agree to be open to kids and rasie them Catholic.

4. Provide some basic paperwork showing when you were baptized/received First Communion/confirmed etc.


I would suggest talking to the priests for both the church you want to get married in and the one in your parish (if they are different).  They will be able to tell you the requirements for getting married in their church.

Post # 14
3060 posts
Sugar bee

mermaidmoon :  As other PPs have said, a Catholic church is not like “any other venue”: you can’t rent it. But hey, no worries! Buy some stained glass window films and negotiate its placing in whatever other venue. There, you can then have your stained glass undecided.

Post # 15
2169 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

We got married in a private chapel. There are several lovely ones in my area. Darling Husband grew up in Catholic schools, but is not Catholic. I’m not Catholic, either. He really liked the look of the Catholic setting. The chapel we were married in definitely had Catholic themes. I’m sure it depends on where you live, but we have lots of options here. You could Google chapels in your area, or ask around. 

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors