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Customs and Traditions

Can I get married in a church?

I know, I know, the obvious answer is yes, but hear me out first.

My fiance and I (still so WEIRD saying that lol) are both Catholic.  We even went to same Catholic school as kids and while we aren't ultra-religious we know it'd mean a lot to my parents and grandma that we get married in a church.  To be honest it isn't something either of us are opposed to, we just hadn't thought we would be able to.

And here's why; while neither of us has ever been married before I do have a six year old son from a previous relationship and by the time we get married Little Man will be 8.  I know that sex before marriage and children as a result are a big "no no" for the church, so I didn't think we'd be able to get married in one.  I don't want to start calling churches and priests asking questions if we're just going to be denied in the end.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated :)

Re: Can I get married in a church?

  • In most churches, yes.  Usually one of you needs to be a member of the Church to get married there.

    Most (if not all) Churches are going to have you do pre-marital counseling through the Church.  I believe if you have a child there is a section added into it.

    If your previous relationship was a marriage, you would have to have it annulled first.
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  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My sister's friend was married in a Catholic Church while she was 7 months pregnant.  It's not impossible to be married in the church after having a child.  But as PP said, if your previous relationship was a marriage, it will need to be annulled. 

    You can go ask any questions you may have on the Catholic board.  The ladies there are all very nice and full of helpful answers!  They really know their stuff!  The Catholic board is on the left under Cultural Boards.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Having had pre-marital sex is not an absolute ban from marrying in the Catholic Church.  In fact, many priests will marry couples that live together and have children together before the marriage.  

    However, if neither of you are practicing Catholics, it probably isn't a good idea to get married in the church.  You should have the ceremony that reflects the two of you and how you intend to practice religion in your marriage.  If neither of you attends mass or plans to start, getting married in the church just to make family happy would be silly.
  • This really depends on the specific church you go to. My cousin also had a daughter from a previous realtionship (not marriage) when she was getting married. She had to "shop churches" (her words, not mine) until she found one that would allow her to marry there. You'll just have to ask. (or post on your local board)
  • Thanks so much!  I was nervous, because the church that I used to go to...well let's just say the priest was less than welcoming once he'd had a chance to talk to me about my life.  It really discouraged me from going to church for a while, but we now go on a regular basis.  I hope we can find a church that will help us out then :)

    Thanks again gals!
  • As pp have alluded to, your ability to have a sacramental marriage in a catholic church isn't dependent on your past decisions, (unless you need an annulment) but your intent when you marry. If you are willing to say at the altar that you are old enough and free to marry, intend to live in fidelity to this man till you die, welcome children into your marriage (and not contracept), and strive to live a catholic life, then you can be married. The real question I think you should discuss with FI, is whether this is something you are serious about having in your lives. If you are, great! It might take reconciliation if you haven't already, and your priest will probably ask you to abstain from sex with FI until the wedding. If these commitments don't sound like something you want to live, that's fine, but I would not attempt to get married in a catholic church because you will find yourself lying to a lot of people. I would find a place to be married that more closely reflects your values and intents. Good luck!
  • Our Catholic Church has been absolutely amazing and welcoming to us as a couple and getting married in their church.  My fiance has a 6 year old daughter from a previous relationship and he was never baptized in any church and they never batted an eye.  Like you, I was raised Catholic and even though I dont go to church very often anymore, I understand the cultural pull and tradition to get married at a Catholic Church. Hopefully you find a Catholic Church that is as liberal and welcoming by you!
  • I think it depends on the priest and specific church. Some are much more conservative than others. Others are more liberal and accepting. It doesn't hurt to call and ask.
  • Having a child, pre-marital sex does NOT preclude you from being married in the Catholic church. If you were baptized Catholic, you're Catholic. When you speak with priests about your situation, they will want to be certain that you are a true follower of the faith. They will not want to perform a marriage ceremony for someone that is NOT intent on following the faith. If you do feel like you want to follow the faith (and raise your child(ren) according to the faith, then you shouldn't have a problem. If you (or your FI) don't intent to do this, then it really wouldn't make sense to have a Catholic ceremony. You'd be better off finding a faith that more closely aligns with your beliefs and being married in that ceremony.

    Just be clear about your intentions. Priests will want to be sure they aren't handing out sacraments willy-nilly!

    Also - if you have any more questions, feel free to PM me, or post on the Catholic Board, which is under the "Cultural Weddings" section, to the left.

    Best of luck to you!
  • I think that most people have covered what I'm about to say but I noticed that none of them are from Chicago so I just thought I throw in my two cents:

    As many people have said, it all depends on the church and priest.  My Catholic church in the city is great.  Our priest is pretty "liberal" and no one even batted an eye that we live togther.  Heck, my cousin got married at the Arch Diocese church to a non-catholic.  My fiance's friend got married in a church in the south suburbs in which her gay brother was her "man of honor."  

    What I'm saying is, there are many churches out there that will work for you.  I think a good way to start would be to look at the charities and volunteer groups that the church has, I feel it's a good indicator of how a church views certain social topics and how progressive a certain church is.

    Good Luck!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_can-married-church?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:ca0e0df6-75a6-414c-92c4-7991bf552caePost:13301414-83a6-4d9b-9277-27abaf349b4c">Re: Can I get married in a church?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think that most people have covered what I'm about to say but I noticed that none of them are from Chicago so I just thought I throw in my two cents: As many people have said, it all depends on the church and priest.  My Catholic church in the city is great.  Our priest is pretty "liberal" and no one even batted an eye that we live togther.  Heck, my cousin got married at the Arch Diocese church to a non-catholic.  My fiance's friend got married in a church in the south suburbs in which her gay brother was her "man of honor."   What I'm saying is, there are many churches out there that will work for you.  I think a good way to start would be to look at the charities and volunteer groups that the church has, I feel it's a good indicator of how a church views certain social topics and how progressive a certain church is. Good Luck!
    Posted by kaputi82[/QUOTE]

    There is nothing in Catholic doctrine that says a couple living together cannot be married, or a gay brother cannot be a man of honor. Marrying a non-Catholic is completely acceptable. Regardless of how "liberal" or "conservative" a priest may be - these are not things that preclude you from being married in the Church. A priest may ask you to sleep separately until the wedding, and would want to ensure you are truly seeking a Catholic marriage for the right reasons, but there shouldn't be a problem. And honestly, I would question a priest that doesn't care at all about a couple living together, as that is something the Church does not support.
  • Are you having a wedding mass or one outside of mass? You will need to go through pre-cana, which depending on your diocese can take a while. For my diocese it's six months. I suggest you contact the parish you are interested in getting married in and have a meeting with the priest and he can answer all your questions.
  • It would depend on the church. Some may have a problem, some may not. I am sorry to say, you need to do an extensive search to let your marriage happen in a church.

    Christian matrimony
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