(Closed) Getting married at a different church

posted 7 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

It sounds like you’re really trying to be loyal to the Church’s rules, so that’s great.  I think its pretty common for single devout Catholics to be transitory about where they go to Mass.  Most of the young people at my parish found their youth faith community built up around the deanery rather than the parish.

I was involved in a parish where the youth director had a very “deanery” focus rather than a parish focus.  Everyone of us from the kids to the volunteers felt the area was too small for each parish to have their own youth ministry.  The only way the faith would flourish is if we went past our parish boundaries and built a deanery wide community.  There was a lot of resistance to this among the parish and a lot of resentment and anger and petititions over what should be done.

Since I’ve gotten married, though, I’ve come to a greater appreciation for the parish structure.  The diocese would rather a youth ministry program draw entire families into a parish rather than just their teenage children.  Hense, there tend to be parishes built up mostly of elderly people and other parishes built up of young families.

You see, the parish is seen as an extended family, your home — sort of like if you were a member of a religious order and went down to your order’s chapel for Mass.  While when traveling its perfectly acceptable to attend Mass at other parishes (we should), we are really supposed to be striving to build a familial community within our parish. 

As such, having your wedding at your own parish is really about having your wedding among your parish family (not just your natural family).   This all is actually based upon the affirmation of the family structure within the Catholic Church.  In fact, the family unite (father, mother, children) is viewed as a church.  The home is supposed to be its own place of worship.  These little churches (families) then join together into a parish family, where they come together for Mass and are supposed to grow to love each other as an extended family.  The parishes are then connected by a deanery which might have a few deanery events held.  The deaneries are connected into the diocese and all the diocese are united under the Bishop of Rome.  The role of each higher structure tends to be based on the principle of subsidarity.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_subsidiarity

Requesting to get married in another parish is like a man asking his ordination happen in the Cathedral of a different diocese.  Certainly there are reasons they may be done (maybe the Cathedral at your diocese burned down and there isn’t another appropriate spot to have the ordination), but, generally speaking, requesting needs a good reason rather than a vane or petty reason (like the building is just so beautiful and close to the spot we booked for the reception).  Can you imagine if you told your parents that you wanted to celebrate your birthday in another family’s house because that family’s house looked nicer than your parents’ house?  That is basically what you are doing if your reason is visual appeal.

So, here’s my recommendation.  Do not visit parishes asking yourself, “Is this where I want to have my wedding?”  Ask yourself:  “Is this the parish I want to build my family into?  Is this where I want my children baptized, where I want to attend weekly Mass regularly, etc.  If the parish suits your joint and eventually familial needs, then register.  If not, register elsewhere.  Where ever you register, do not mention your engagement right away.  My experience is that they’re so used to people registering at engagement and then dropping out of parish life that mentioning engagement when you register brings out people’s hostilities.  As you get closer to the date you want to marry, then schedule a meeting with your parish priest about your desire to get married.

If you’re planning on getting married in a city other than the one you live in, than it is often seen as reasonable for you to get permission to marry elsewhere.  This, still, though goes through your parish priest.  Your parish priest is still responsible for instruction and formation for the sacrament.  Your parish priest has to agree to give you permission to marry at another parish and the priest of that parish has to accept you.  Some things are more streamlined.  For instance, there is a parish in Rome that regularly allows American Catholics to get married in Rome.  It is very costly though. http://www.santasusanna.org/weddingsRome/weddingsRome.html

I hope that helps.

I, honestly, wish I would have known all this when I was planning  my wedding.  I was so busy trying to appease my mother’s desire for us to marry at her parish, that I ruffled a lot of people’s feather’s trying to figure out how to bring in people to have the Latin Mass I wanted.  We would have then recognized that because my parish’s priest had suffered a stroke, we needed to go to go through my husband’s parish.  It would have made more sense, too, since my husband’s parish is the parish we both now belong too.  Not only that, but they offer the Latin Mass.  But No!, my mother had to tell me how it was just too far for my side of the family to travel and how I should have it over there because my husband’s side of the family was small and thus their travel arrangements were insignificant!

Every bride should keep things simply by keeping her parents out of the wedding planning!


Post # 4
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

We got married in a church we didn’t attend.  Our priest was pretty cool.  We met with him and he did not make us become parrishioners before we were able to get married there.  The reason we got married at this particular church was because the churches we attended as kids were far from the reception hall (like an hour away).

Post # 5
4 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013



in my experience it varies by Parish Priest, but we are getting married in a parish that is not 1. Where we live or 2. Where we grew up. In addition, we are bringing my childhood priest! The diocese could not have been more accommodating, and in fact it is very common in their experience. As with all of these things, it’s about getting your Parish Priest onside from the beginning. 


Best of luck! 🙂

Post # 6
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

You can do it. You need the consent of both priests, and you will have to ask for a dispensation. You will also need a good reason to have the ceremony in another church. Our reason involved disabled access.

You will probably have to do your marriage prep in your local church though. Make up your own mind if it’s worth it or not. It is a hassle. Do you have good reasons why you want the ceremony in a different church?

Post # 7
4 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013

On the reason, certainly none of the brides I know who have selected a different church have had to justify their choice: better location/prettier building perfectly acceptable. Again, all abou your relationship with Parish Priest. 



Hope you get what you want!

Post # 10
3696 posts
Sugar bee

If you love the church and can see yourselves making a commitment to attend Mass there regularly and be a part of the parish, then it makes perfect sense to join the parish; You have plenty of time to establish yourselves as active members ahead of your wedding. Best of luck to you!

Post # 11
476 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

We could have gotten married in a different church but they wanted to charge us anywhere between $1000-$3000 (just a different church- cathedral downtown) to marry in a parish that we weren’t members of. We decided to get married in our home church because we couldn’t afford that charge just for location.

Post # 12
177 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Thank God we found a beautiful cathedral in my FI’s same diocese which allows us to get married by our Priest (from the church we both attend). They’ve been very understanding and helpful. I live in another city than my Fiance and my “territorial” church would be in a different diocese, which I thought would be a problem, but hasn’t! Phew!!!

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