Catholic Weddings

Catholic-Destination Wedding Combo

Hi all! I'm new here and looking for some advice.

After throwing around ideas for a few weeks, and trying to squeeze a large guest list into a $10,000 budget, my fiancé and I decided that a "local" destination wedding suits us best. We live in Louisiana and are thinking about having it somewhere on the Gulf Coast or FL. In this way, people who really want to come can drive up and just make a weekend of it, but it will minimize our guest list to only our closest family and friends.

However, being that my fiancé and I are both Catholic, it is very important to us to have our ceremony performed in the church. (I just converted to Catholicism a couple of years ago, so please bear with me as I'm new to the rules of a Catholic wedding.) Any ideas/suggestions as to how we can combine the local destination and a Catholic ceremony?

We've previously thrown out the idea of doing a private ceremony at our church (with only our parents and siblings) before leaving for the beach, but I don't want to feel like we're having "2 weddings." Is it possible to go through pre marital counseling in our home parish, then have a Catholic ceremony in a church in FL?

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions and advice! Happy planning to you!

Re: Catholic-Destination Wedding Combo

  • It can be difficult to have a wedding at a parish you don't belong to, but it's doable.  Many churches prefer to marry members.  Do you have any connections in the area where you want to marry?  I would think your best bet would be to contact some churches to see if they'd even entertain this option.

    As for your budget/guest list issue -- are you hoping that by having the wedding somewhere other than your hometown, fewer people will go, even if you invite them?  I would caution against that, as you never know what people's circumstances will allow.  You might be surprised by the number of people who are excited about the idea of taking a little vacation to see you get married.  If budget is an issue, I would say just slash that guest list and leave it at that, whether you stay local or go to Florida.



  • Typically, historical churches/chapels or cathedrals will be more likely to marry non-parishioners.  These kinds of churches may actually depend on the funds received from marrying people.

    Also, it helps if you already know your own parish priest.  I would talk to him first and see if A) he'd be willing to help you with the marriage prep locally and B) he knows of any priests who might be willing to marry you in another gulf state.

    I also second Prof in that a destination wedding may not always be smaller/cheaper, especially if its not THAT far.  It's florida, not the bahamas, you know?  But you know your family/friends better than we do.

    Even if you can't do the destination wedding, you could just have a great destination honeymoon :)  DON'T do the second "wedding" thing.  And congrats on entering the Church!

  • Congrats on your engagement!

    If you are somehow able to find a parish in the destination you're looking at, then please, by all means, get married in a parish in the destination spot of your dreams.

    However, do not:

    Have two "ceremonies". You are married ONCE. Have the one ceremony you want, whereever that may be. If that means you have to scale back on some things to make it possible to invite everyone you want, then that's what you should consider. Anyother in addition to your actual wedding ceremony would be considered a PPD. (See the etiquette boards "sticky" about second weddings/PPD's).


    Oh and welcome to The Church! I recently became Catholic myself, back in April 2010. It's great to feel a part of something bigger than myself, and to be accepted as a "newbie". Please feel free to hang around this board, the other ladies here are very knowledgable about our church's teachings and will guide you in the right directions.

  • Thank you all for your advice!
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