Catholic Weddings

Can we have a small Justice of the Peace before Catholic Wedding?

My fiancée and I are both Catholic and we have been planning our wedding for about 4 months now.  Our wedding is going to be a traditional Catholic Ceremony, but we have been thinking about going to the county courthouse and getting married well before our Catholic wedding, just the two of us.  We will still have a Catholic Ceremony with immediate family there for us.  Could this fly?  Would the Catholic Church have a problem with this?  Any other thoughts?

Re: Can we have a small Justice of the Peace before Catholic Wedding?

  • What would be the purpose of getting married in advance? If you do this, you would be having a convalidation ceremony in the Church, which is not the same as a wedding ceremony. Basically, since you will have been "married" by the JOP, but not married according to the appropriate form (in the Church), the Church will convalidate your pre-existing "marriage".

    Convalidations are not granted willy-nilly, so you'll need to speak to your priest about this. Other countries require a separate govt ceremony from the religious ceremony, so it isn't uncommon, but the issue is that in the eyes of the govt, you're married, while in the eyes of the Church, you aren't. So, in-between your civil ceremony and your Catholic ceremony, you should NOT be living "as husband and wife", since you are NOT married in the Church, until you have the marriage convalidated.

    The other side of things is that many of your guests will nto appreciate that you are already married, and therefore they are not able to witness your marriage ceremony. Many feel this is poor etiquette and gift-grabby. "We're already married, and we didn't invite you to the ceremony, but we're having a party so you can shower us with gifts and celebrate us, eventhough we didn't want to include you in our wedding day"

    It's a heck of a lot more complicated than just having the one ceremony.

    Hope that helps!
  • if you really want a quiet wedding the two of you, ask your priest to do that now (you'l still need 2 witnesses) and then have a reception later.

    you cant have a JOP wedding and then a catholic wedding later.

  • http://catholicweddinghelp.com/questions/civil-ceremony-first.htm

    HOWEVER, I've read the relevant Canon Law sections on this; what they say is you can't have 2 ceremonies, both of which you consider valid or real. Outside the US, the Church often requires a civil ceremony before the Sacrament because in those countries, Priests and Deacons aren't "deputized" to officiate at the solemnization of the civil marriage contract, the way they are in the US. When couples go for their civil marriage ceremonies, they understand that it's just a piece of paper (or whatever), and the important part takes place in church, sometimes months later. (Usually it's the same weekend, though)

    I prefer the system overseas. I think it's better for the Church, and that our American Family Codes are unconstitutional. I've discussed it with a Priest, and he said there wouldn't be a problem with our doing a civil ceremony before the sacrament, with this understanding.
  • OP,

    I think we might be able to answer your question better if you explained WHY you want this.

    I mean, getting married at the JOP sooner would only be for legal benefits.  You wouldn't have the full privileges of  sacramental marriage.  Why the rush?  It's just 4 months.

    I'm not trying to sound judgmental.  Perhaps you have a good reason.  I'm just wondering what it is.  If we knew, maybe we could give you a suggestion that better fits your situation.

    SaveSave
  • yes you can do it. My husband and I got married by the JOP and are now looking at getting married in the Catholic church. We told them what we did and they said they would have not problems "marrying" us again.
    lakeboss
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_can-small-justice-of-peace-before-catholic-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:3915c111-5a6a-4ad7-9b65-738661e0a3c6Post:15d98890-e823-4536-8dd0-9810c1ebe859">Re: Can we have a small Justice of the Peace before Catholic Wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]if you really want a quiet wedding the two of you, ask your priest to do that now <strong>(you'l still need 2 witnesses</strong>) and then have a reception later. you cant have a JOP wedding and then a catholic wedding later.
    Posted by Calypso1977[/QUOTE]

    <div>In Texas, you don't even need witnesses. Our priest said that he's ours, though I was one for my sister's wedding in Arizona... just a little FYI for the day :)</div>
    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_can-small-justice-of-peace-before-catholic-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:3915c111-5a6a-4ad7-9b65-738661e0a3c6Post:7381ad85-71f0-4077-8b40-70f23b3c20ed">Re: Can we have a small Justice of the Peace before Catholic Wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Can we have a small Justice of the Peace before Catholic Wedding? : In Texas, you don't even need witnesses. Our priest said that he's ours, though I was one for my sister's wedding in Arizona... just a little FYI for the day :)
    Posted by caiti2u[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, I was surprised by this.  Our marriage license says "(optional)" next to the line for witnesses.
    Anniversary

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  • well, there are your state witnesses and your church witnesses.
    here in MA, i didnt need witnesses.  but i still needed 2 witnesses to sign the church register. 
  • On a related note, I found out that my church does NOT do convalidations.  No exceptions.  I'm not in the market for a convalidation, but I found that interesting.

    It seems that's what you'd be doing if you got married in the JOP first.

    I still just want to know WHY... I just don't get the reasoning for getting married at the JOP 4 months before your valid, church wedding.

    SaveSave
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_can-small-justice-of-peace-before-catholic-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:3915c111-5a6a-4ad7-9b65-738661e0a3c6Post:211e5f5b-15c8-440a-9075-851a4eb4b129">Re: Can we have a small Justice of the Peace before Catholic Wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]O I still just want to know WHY... I just don't get the reasoning for getting married at the JOP 4 months before your valid, church wedding.
    Posted by monkeysip[/QUOTE]

    <div>I gotta admit, me too...I'm incorrigibly nosy (hazard of the profession, or why I got into in the first place) but I don't understand either. If you want a small, intimate wedding, have a small, intimate wedding...</div><div>
    </div><div>Linda</div>
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Anniversary
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