(Closed) Catholic/Non-Catholic Marrying Questions

posted 10 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

You can have a Catholic wedding ceremony in a Catholic church without having a full mass. The mass is just an option that you have, and the validity of the ceremony is no different whether or not you have it. The Catholic wedding ceremony is very similar to any wedding ceremony you’d have—processional, vows, exchange of rings, etc. It takes about 20 minutes.


Post # 5
306 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

The Catholic Church only allows indoor weddings if it’s truly a Catholic wedding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use religious readings or prayers in a different ceremony. Maybe you should really talk to your parents about what part of the Catholic wedding they feel upset that you’re omitting, and see if you can find a way to include that piece. If it’s a minister, I’m sure you can find a non-denominational minister. If it’s the religious aspect, try including readings/prayers. 

It sounds to me like you want nothing to do with a church wedding, but I think a non-Mass wedding is definitely an option if you’re ok with it. Since your Fiance isn’t Catholic, this would really be your only option for a “Catholic wedding” (unless he converted, which doesn’t sound like it’s happening).  

And if you want to do it there, your home church (your parents’ church, I would assume) would probably be willing to do the ceremony, but you could do the Catholic wedding prep anywhere.  That’s what we’re doing.

Post # 6
348 posts
Helper bee

If you’re set on marrying outside, I think you probably have three options.  First, you can find an officiant from another denomination to marry you (an Episcopalian priest might offer the most familiar liturgical style, if you can find one…I have no idea on Episcopal regulations for outdoor wedding and marrying non-members).  Second, you could incorporate religious readings into a ceremony conducted by a secular officiant.  Third (and possible in addition to either of the other two choices), you could plan on having your marriage convalidated in the Catholic church afterwards.  This would mean having a separate ceremony in a Catholic church later on and would (I think this is standard) require the same pre-cana work that getting married in the church would require.

My sympathies – this can be a difficult situation, when your beliefs and those of your parents are not in alignment.  My husband is from a very Catholic family, and we ended up not incorporating any religious elements into our ceremony at all because it felt hypocritical to us, but his parents definitely would have like us to!

Post # 7
137 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m Lutheran and marrying a big Catholic. Typically if you are Christian they still want a mass. Since your fiancé is not even baptised they would suggest just the Liturgy of the Word, not Liturgy of the Mass. An easy solution so both families could be happy.

Post # 8
1551 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

A friend of mine is looking into getting an officiant from http://www.contemporarycatholics.org.  They will do outdoor ceremonies, marry divorced people, etc.  I’m guessing they aren’t officially part of the Roman Catholic church, but if you don’t want a truly Catholic wedding and just want a Catholic “feel” to yours, they might be an option.

Post # 9
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Well, the Catholic church will marry a couple even if one of them is non-Catholic. My H is non-catholic and not practicing anything. I have also heard that even if the Catholic is nonpracticing, they will still marry you. Don’t know if it’s diocese specific. Regardless, you’ll still need to find a home church (e.g. near where you live?) to prepare ur paperwork and a diocese that is willilng to let you have the ceremony. Based on what you said, it seems that the ceremony is not where you’re living so there’ll be some more paperwork for that.

However, the most important thing is: is it worth “faking” your religious faith and practice just to make ur parents happy? I know ur parents brand you as betraying your heritage but it’s not a heritage perse. Rather, Catholicism is a faith and faith is personal. Would u rather betray your personal faith?

The Catholic marriage prep program I went through constantly advises couples not to get married in the Catholic church only if the parents want it. Get married in the church if you and your Fiance want to. Although they do not/cannot enforce that. You should get married the way you want to. A good compromise is to incorporate all the parts of the liturgy of the word, except it’s not in the church nor is it presided by a Catholic priest. So it would look/feel like a Catholic wedding but it’s not. However, if your parents are dead on the actual paperwork sanctioned by the Catholic church and no others, it could be difficult.

Post # 10
219 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

There are a ton of non-denominational churches that will let you bring in your own priest.

I feel for you that you are being pressured by your parents to do something you don’t want to do. Not only is it upsetting for you, but it is also not very fair for the church. I hope you can find a healthy compromise, but most of all I hope you do what makes you and your FH happy and not worry too much about your parents’ pushing. Good luck!

Post # 11
1684 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

I’m sorry you have to go through this with your parents. I’m sure my parents would be exactly the same way – luckily I just fell in love with a guy who went through 20yrs of Catholic school (incl. college).

You can absolutely still have a Catholic ceremony, without having a full mass even if your fiance isn’t Catholic – BUT – be prepared because many churches still require you to go through marriage prep courses such as pre-cana, natural family planning, etc. You might want to find out what would be required depending on where you get married and if it’s worth all the trouble you’ll have to go through to make your parents happy in the end. I know churches are all different, so I’m not sure but I’d def look into it.

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