The answer to can you have a Catholic wedding outside is yes, but you must get a dispensation to marry outside of a Catholic church. Otherwise, the marriage can be considered invalid.
We will discuss what happens if Catholic couples have their wedding outside the church and who decides if they can do their marriage ceremony outside. And for other requirements regarding Catholic weddings, please read how to have a Catholic wedding.
Everything To Know About Can You Have A Catholic Wedding Outside?
Catholics believe that marriage is a sacrament given by Jesus. Therefore, the wedding ceremony should be held in a dedicated, sacred, and consecrated space. The couple can’t have their Catholic wedding outside without these three requirements.
You can’t have your marriage ceremony outside the church as Catholic weddings should be held in a recognized space that is not only dedicated to weddings but also sacred and blessed by God. Furthermore, the place you should have your wedding is set aside from common use to sacred use, which makes the Catholic church the only valid place for a Catholic wedding.
However, it’s also worth noting that it’s possible to have some Catholic weddings outside because of certain circumstances. The Bishop of a Diocese can grant the couple special permission to have their wedding outside the church. You will also need to obtain a dispensation to marry outside of a Catholic church.
Why Doesn’t Catholic Church Allow Outdoor Weddings?
The Catholic church does not allow outdoor weddings unless the Bishop grants the couple special permission. The reason is that the Code of Canon Law stating marriage between Catholics is to be celebrated in a parish church.
The Bishop may also permit the marriage ceremony in another Catholic church. The same is applied if a Catholic marries a non-Catholic but baptized party.
What about a couple where a non-Catholic and non-baptized person marries a Catholic? They will be an exception to be married in another suitable place.
US dioceses have their rules against outdoor Catholic weddings. They find parks, gardens, and homes not dignified for the sacrament of Marriage.
What Happens If A Catholic Gets Married Outside The Church?
A Catholic couple is bound to have their marriage ceremony in the Catholic church. This church where one is married is also the one where they’re baptized, receive Holy Communion, and profess their faith.
It is also expected that even if a Catholic marries a baptized non-Catholic Christian, their wedding should still occur in the Catholic church. But if the couple would like to have their marriage ceremony in the Church of the non-Catholic party, they would need to complete their Catholic marriage preparation.
The Catholic party should also attest that he’s not leaving the Catholic church and promise to baptize and raise their children as Catholics. Consequently, the non-Catholic party shall attest to and understand these promises without interference.
But if the Catholic enters marriage outside of the church without dispensation, the marriage would not be recognized by the church and would also be considered invalid. The marriage might still have legal standing in the eyes of the state, and it has no legitimate status in the eyes of the church.
To further know what to expect with a Catholic wedding ceremony, please read how long is a Catholic wedding.
How Do You Obtain A Dispensation To Marry Outside Of A Catholic Church?
To ensure that your marriage outside the Catholic church would be recognized as valid by the church, you must obtain a dispensation. For example, if it’s a Catholic marrying a baptized non-Catholic Christian at the Church of the non-Catholic party, the couple will prepare and attain the promises discussed previously.
The priest would then petition the bishop on behalf of the couple for the dispensation from canonical form. the local bishop can permit a wedding in another church or suitable place if the couple has a sufficient reason.
For example, the Catholic party might marry a Baptist, and a pastor of the local Baptist close to the couple wants to officiate their wedding in the Baptist church. The bishop can give permission for the couple to have their marriage ceremony in the Baptist church with the dispensation from canonical form.
Who Decides If A Catholic Wedding Can Be Held Outside?
The bishop decides if a Catholic wedding can be held outside the church as he knows if a marriage is ready to enter into Holy Matrimony. Therefore, he’ll grant the permission the couple will need to ensure that their wedding outside the church is valid in the eyes of the Catholic church.
Remember that the Code of Canon Law states that marriages are to be celebrated in a parish, and the proper pastor’s permission will determine if the marriage can be celebrated elsewhere. However, such authorization from the local bishop can be hard to obtain as bishops are concerned with maintaining a sense of sacredness.
And that’s it! To recap can you have a Catholic wedding outside, the answer is yes if the bishop grants you permission or the dispensation from canonical form.
However, to avoid issues in ensuring that your Catholic wedding is valid in the eyes of the church, it’s best to get married inside the Catholic church. Catholics can still be legally married in the eyes of the state if they have an outside wedding and acquire the necessary legalities, but remember that Catholics view marriage as sacred.