Post # 1
Hi Bees, I have a church question. I grew up in my hometown church, after HS graduation I went to college (and church in that town), after graduation I moved to a different town for a job (went to church there), 2 years later moved to another town for school again and attended church there. I have now moved back to my hometown for a job and my fiance’s business is here. We are having our reception in the town I just moved from, basically because there isn’t any place in this town to have a reception. I would also like to have the ceremony there.
During the time I graduated HS and have come back, the priest I grew up with was reassigned and the priest we got will be retiring in June (our wedding is in October). We will be sharing a priest with a neighboring town. The church here and the new priest has our dates, but my question is, how hard is it to get married in a church that you aren’t a member of? I never became a member of any church that I went to, and am not really a member of this church either (we really want to move when my contract is up). I would really like to get married in the town we are having the reception in. If we don’t then the ceremony and the reception will be an hour away from each other.
Post # 3
It depends on the church, but at my Catholic church, if you are not a member, it costs $500 for a ceremony. For members, a donation alone is suggested. Interestingly, we only have to be members for 6 months before the ceremony fee is waived. That’s my experience 🙂
Post # 4
In my area, frequently it will state on the church bulletin if the couple needs to be a member of the parish or not and for how long. Most of the churches it is six months. They may ask you to officially join the parish if you want to be married there, but you certainly wouldn’t stay registered there if your life changes and you move away. It’s OK to be a registered parishioner for however long even if just briefly.
Exceptions can ALWAYS be made and this situation happens all the time. Especially if you have been moving around a lot, or if you just got done with college or are student-aged, they really don’t expect you to be established somewhere. Is it a small parish and the priest would recognize you from weekly attendence at Mass or confession? Been on any parish mailing lists? Used checks with the collection plate?
I’ve also noticed that the “you must be a parishoner for x many months” rule tends to crop up mostly with older, urban, “prettier” churches, where they probably field a lot of requests from people who are just interested in using it for the architecture, not the spiritual significance. If this is a suburban or rural area with just a plain-looking church, it may not be an issue at all. I know my Future Sister-In-Law got married in a suburban parish where her parents were members, but she was not.
Post # 5
@GI Josephine: Yep. One of my friends is getting married, and she wanted to get married at one of the Basilica’s in the area cause it’s so pretty. She;s not a member so she has to pay 2000. Some churches wont let you get married there at all if you are not a member. Talk to the priest or deacon.
@Magdalena. Yep, we are getting married at the church Fiance grew up at and his parents are members. The church is pretty plain and small. We aren’t required to pay anything. Whereas the Basilicas and other beautiful churches will charge like 2k b/c they get so many requests.
Post # 6
I’m not Catholic, but we went through this same thing. The pastor at my home church left for a different church the month before we got engaged and I hadn’t been going there since my college was in another town. We looked at a church of a different denomination, but we had to be members or have an immediate family member be a member there to avoid a $1000 fee, plus non-members were only allowed to book 6 months out max.
We ended up choosing a different church, of the same denomination but not one we were members at, and they charged us $200 but let us book as early as we wanted.
I’d suggest just calling and asking what the church policy is, but my experience when looking around is that most churches require a fee when you or your immediate family isn’t a member, plus you’ll likely have to do your pre-marital sessions with that church’s priest.
Post # 7
We are in the same position. The church that I am getting married in is actually the church I grew up in, however because I don’t live in my hometown nor been an active member of that church for over 10 years I am now considered a non member.
There is a fee for using the church and minister. So we will have to pay that
Post # 8
Thanks for that help, I will just call around. Here is another one, if we have to be married in hometown church is it rude to ask our guests to travel an hour to the reception? The reception place, and the place that we want the ceremony, is more urban (I live in Iowa, nothing’s that urban), and it is kind of the middle point for both families as well as where most of our friends live. So, I kind of feel bad saying, “drive an hour to the ceremony, then an hour back.” It might work with the wait time between the ceremony and reception though?
Really, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t that big of a deal, at the end of the day I will be married, regardless of where. I just want the convenience of having it all in the same area. I feel I kind of screwed myself by never joining a church or helping with church activities in the last town I was in. 2 towns ago, I was active, but that doesn’t help at all 🙂
Any other suggestions? I’m so not a planner and this is killing me 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies!
Post # 9
I don’t think I would be very happy about driving an hour to and from the activities of the day, but if your families are travelling anyway, I guess it doesn’t make much of a difference!
Post # 10
According to Canon Law, every Catholic is under the pastorial authority of their parish priest. Typically parishes are regional, but for the past several decades, Catholics have been allowed to register at other parishes even though where they live they are technically in another parish’s area. Moreover if you’re not registered anywhere, than there may be a question about which priest in the deanery has pastorial authority over you and your fiance’. Usually to solve this problem, you are required to register at the parish. If you want to get married at a different parish than the one you are a member of, you need to get permission from your local pastor at that point. The priest of the parish you want to marry at also has to agree to allow a non-parishioner to marry at his parish as well. Getting married in such a way is usually more expensive. I’d say your first step is to call the parish you want to marry at, explain that you’ve been moving around and ask what you should do at this point.
Post # 11
It depends – if you live in the parish boundaries I think you are automatically considered a parishioner regardless of if you’ve “registered” or not. The more popular or beautiful churchs usually have the strictest rules about non parishioners getting married at their church. My church mandates you be a parishioner for 6 months before the church will let you select a wedding date if you live outside parish boundaries. If you live in parish boundaries, you just have to attend the new parishioner meeting before selecting a wedding date.
I’d avoid asking people to drive an hour between the ceremony and reception site. That seems really excessive to me and I would not be happy if I was a guest. What may happen is guests will decide not to come to your ceremony because of the drive.
Post # 12
^ This is correct. When a parish is created, the bishop sets specific geographical limits “This parish serves the Catholics that live between Main St. and Oak St. and between 5th St. and 10th St.”
Anyone who lives in that boundary is automatically a parishioner of that church, even if they’ve never been to that church, they’re registered somewhere else, or they haven’t been to Mass in 30 years. If you meet the canonical requirements for marriage, that church is required to witness your marriage.
However, churches usually have fee structures that are different for people that have donated regularly vs. people that have not. The basic idea is that those who have paid for the upkeep of the church over the years are entitled to use it for free, while those who have not should at least cover the cost of the church during the wedding (air conditioning, lighting, cleanup, etc). The easiest way to show that you’ve donated regularly over time is to be registered in that parish. Another way that I’ve seen people prove it is by having cancelled checks from years ago.
Sometimes churchs also have different timing for those who have donated over the years vs. those who have not. For example, someone who has donated over the years can book 24 months in advance, while someone who has not donated over the years can book 12 months in advance.