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Catholic Weddings

Three Strikes for a Catholic Ceremony

Hi ladies,

I just realized this board was here and would love to pick a few of your brains about my situation.  For our wedding, we essentially have a trifecta against us for having a Catholic ceremony. 

1.  We're not getting married at my parish:  his family is from upstate NY, mine is in Chicago, and we live in WI.  We decided on Chicago b/c it's easiest for all travelers to get there (possibly some from Europe or Israel).

2.  We're interfaith: I'm Catholic (oddly enough, newly found my faith) and he's Christian (technically Baptist, but more general Christian)

3.  We're having a Sunday wedding: again, for the large amount of people who are traveling, we decided on a Sunday ceremony (4pm ish) to accommodate and make it easiest for our families to be together. 

I know we start the pre cana courses soon with my priest (we're 9 months out from the wedding) which I'm fine with.  I am a little nervous for my fiance though, I don't know what will be expected of us or what my priest will think when we tell him we've been living together for a while. 

I know we cannot have a full out Catholic mass b/c of the interfaith issue. 

I suppose a 4th strike against us is the fact we aren't getting married in a church (reception and ceremony are the same place, again for the traveling families).  I know it was really hard on the both of us when we were looking to get married in a church that isn't our own parish.  There's nothing that makes you despair like your churches closing their doors to you because your money doesn't go to them on a weekly basis (I know I'm oversimplifing, but that's how it goes).   

I know parishes have to be granted dispensation to have ceremonies on Sundays.

Are there any other pitfalls of which I should be aware?  Is even a Catholic blessing an option with all the strikes against us?  

I'm really unsure of what our options are because each parish tells you something different (the joys of working with 3 dioscese)

Thanks for any input, be it bad or good: I'd rather be prepared.

- J
"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined...to strengthen each other... to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories." -George Eliot

Re: Three Strikes for a Catholic Ceremony

  • edited December 2011
    I THINK (and there are people here much more knowledgeable than I) that you can get a dispensation to marry outside of the church under very special circumstances, but I'm not certain what qualifies as "special."

    I know that the parishes in Dallas would prefer for couples to be members, but again, will be lenient under special circumstances (i.e: it's the parish you grew up in, or at least in your parents' neighborhood).  I don't know if Chicago is the same.
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  • monkeysipmonkeysip member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Well, I don't know, there are a lot of churches here in Houston that will marry you if you're not a parishioner, but sometimes you have to pay a larger fee.  I don't know if churches are like that in Chicago though.  Also, if you're active in your home parish, other parishes are more likely to let you marry at their church.

    As for the interfaith marriage--that's not a big deal at all.  

    I'd say your main two problems are the fact that you don't want to get married in a church and you want to get married on a Sunday.  I'm not sure why you're dead set on either.  It seems like you could get a church and reception location close enough that it wouldn't be a big deal for your guests.  And I don't know why Saturday wouldn't be a good day.  

    That being said, usually the only way you can get a dispensation to get married outside of the Church is if your spouse really wants to get married at his house of worship (a synagogue, mosque, or in your case, a protestant church).  But I don't think I've ever heard of a dispensation being granted to get married in a secular building (like a reception hall, outside, etc.).  But its possible, I suppose.  Worth asking I guess.

    And if you make a good enough case for it, a parish might be willing to ask the diocese for a dispensation for a sunday wedding.

    I don't know, you just have to consider how important this is to you.  How important is it to you to have your marriage recognized by the Church?  How does your fiance feel about it?  If you really want to get married in the Church, and your fiance supports you, then you may need to just forget about some of these logistical requirements and do whatever it takes.  

    If you're not willing to maybe alter your plans so that you can get married in the Church, then there is no "blessing" you can receive.  Your marriage can be convalidated after the fact (making the marriage valid), but sometimes a priest will refuse to do this for you if he thinks you purposefully got married outside of the church, knowing that later you could just get a convalidation.  

    If you want more info-->http://www.catholicweddinghelp.com

    Hope you can figure out something that works!

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  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_three-strikes-catholic-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:b61df52a-ccd3-440a-b8fa-0535537c7970Post:35f3fb11-3922-4a01-9dcb-66576d883894">Three Strikes for a Catholic Ceremony</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hi ladies, I just realized this board was here and would love to pick a few of your brains about my situation.  For our wedding, we essentially have a trifecta against us for having a Catholic ceremony.  1.  We're not getting married at my parish:  his family is from upstate NY, mine is in Chicago, and we live in WI.  We decided on Chicago b/c it's easiest for all travelers to get there (possibly some from Europe or Israel). 2.  We're interfaith: I'm Catholic (oddly enough, newly found my faith) and he's Christian (technically Baptist, but more general Christian) 3.  We're having a Sunday wedding: again, for the large amount of people who are traveling, we decided on a Sunday ceremony (4pm ish) to accommodate and make it easiest for our families to be together.  I know we start the pre cana courses soon with my priest (we're 9 months out from the wedding) which I'm fine with.  I am a little nervous for my fiance though, I don't know what will be expected of us or what my priest will think when we tell him we've been living together for a while.  I know we cannot have a full out Catholic mass b/c of the interfaith issue.  I suppose a 4th strike against us is the fact we aren't getting married in a church (reception and ceremony are the same place, again for the traveling families).  I know it was really hard on the both of us when we were looking to get married in a church that isn't our own parish.  There's nothing that makes you despair like your churches closing their doors to you because your money doesn't go to them on a weekly basis (I know I'm oversimplifing, but that's how it goes).    I know parishes have to be granted dispensation to have ceremonies on Sundays. Are there any other pitfalls of which I should be aware?  Is even a Catholic blessing an option with all the strikes against us?   I'm really unsure of what our options are because each parish tells you something different (the joys of working with 3 dioscese) Thanks for any input, be it bad or good: I'd rather be prepared. - J
    Posted by Cocnut0216[/QUOTE]

    <div><span style="font-family:Arial;font-size:12px;" class="Apple-style-span"><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" class="Discussion_PostTable" style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-top-width:initial;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:inherit;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;width:455px;border-top-style:none;border-top-color:initial;padding:0px;margin:10px;"><tbody><tr style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;"><td id="forumPostFormattedBody[4]" class="Discussion_PostTablePost" style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:1px;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:10px;vertical-align:top;border-left-style:solid;border-left-color:#e4efc7;margin:0px;">Okay, I've been sitting on this for a while, but here's my response:<div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">
    </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">1. A lot of parishes allow non-parishioners to marry in them.  You need to ask around.  You might have to pay a higher fee, and parishioners will have first dibs on popular dates, but it's still possible.</div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">
    </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">2. Interfaith isn't a big deal.  I am one-half of an interfaith couple, and we most certainly were offered the Sacrament.  We were also offered the full Nuptial Mass, but we opted against it.</div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">
    </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">3. We married on a Sunday.  My parish only has two Sunday masses, so Sunday afternoons are available for weddings.  </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">
    </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">So those are all excuses that can be solved with some searching and legwork.</div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">
    </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">Regarding the 4th (and also what you said on Afortunada's thread): that's where your problems are.  For your marriage to be recognized, you need to marry in a church.  Yes, it's possible to get a dispensation to marry outside a church, but usually those are granted if you get married in another house of worship because of your FI's religion or in very extraordinary cases.  Dispensations are pretty much never granted because you want the ceremony at the same spot at the reception.  </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">
    </div><div style="background-image:initial;background-attachment:initial;background-origin:initial;background-clip:initial;background-color:transparent;border-style:initial;border-color:initial;font-size:12px;outline-width:0px;outline-style:initial;outline-color:initial;vertical-align:baseline;border-width:0px;padding:0px;margin:0px;">Convalidation after a civil ceremony is possible, but again, it's up to the discretion of the priest, and most priests do not look favorably on people who are civilly married in secret, then have a second civil vow renewal, then want a convalidation.  Most convalidations (in the US) are done for couples that convert to Catholicism after they are married and want to get that sacrament.  </div><div>
    </div></td></tr></tbody></table></span></div>
  • Cocnut0216Cocnut0216 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    One of the many issues is, is that I've looked at about 3 dozen Catholic parishes in the area and they only marry parishioners (on their website, via asking their priest, or asking their admin staff). 

    It is more important to my family that it be recognized in the Church on my actual wedding day, but it's more important to me and the future husband that as many family members are there as possible.

    Again, Saturday or Friday aren't options because of the long distance travel the majority of the guests have to so- especially since this is a winter wedding and many people have to be in the day ahead of time.  Most of his family is taking the train in which leaves at night and arrives the next morning.  to work it out logistically, we asked his family how it would work best for them to be away from their jobs and Sunday was the best consensus. 

    There are 2 churches within a 1/4 - 1/2 mile.  My cousin's FIL is the head of the budget board for one (and he asked about marrying non parisoners and they said no.  their head priest is also the old priest of my mom's parish where she was baptized and confirmed and he still said no)  The other one has been very wishy washy about getting me a straight answer and I think they're trying to say no as well.

    Because the majority of our guests will not have vehicles, we have to consolidate things to make it easiest for them.  I'm wiling to make concessions if it means the two families can be together, probably for the only time. 

    "What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined...to strengthen each other... to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories." -George Eliot
  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I guess I'm confused. If you are dead set on having the wedding at the reception site, all of the priests are going to say no. That has nothing to do with non-parishioners being married at the church. These are 2 different issues.

    You might be getting nos because, as you've admitted, it is more important to you to have as many people there as possible rather than get married in the church. Right there you've said what your priorities are, and priests will be concerned that your marriage would have impediments and not be valid because of this fact. You should be aware that if you get married outside the church, you pull yourself out of communion with the church and can no longer receive the sacraments until getting the marriage convalidated.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    now im confused.  in a post about convalidation just below this, cocnut is already married?  they eloped?
  • Cocnut0216Cocnut0216 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    civilly yes- to make sure that my fiance would have relocation and reemployment rights if i was involunatrily stationed elswhere (am under a mobility agreement w/ my career).  if that means a convalidation ceremony, that's fine too, how do those usually work? 

    We weren't always dead set on the reception site, but being told no everywhere we looked sort of sealed the deal. I'm wondering what my options are now. 

    Like I said, we've personally asked about 2 dozen area churches what their policies are and between the 3 main issues with our marriage we have not gotten a single church to allow us to be married there.  I can list the parishes still lol. 

    and agapecarrie, it's not about the headcount.  I want the familes to be together and to bond; whatever makes that possible, I will try my hardest to do. 
    "What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined...to strengthen each other... to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories." -George Eliot
  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_three-strikes-catholic-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:b61df52a-ccd3-440a-b8fa-0535537c7970Post:5494665a-4fbf-49c3-94ac-a44ccbb64394">Re: Three Strikes for a Catholic Ceremony</a>:
    [QUOTE]civilly yes- to make sure that my fiance would have relocation and reemployment rights if i was involunatrily stationed elswhere (am under a mobility agreement w/ my career).  if that means a convalidation ceremony, that's fine too, how do those usually work?  We weren't always dead set on the reception site, but being told no everywhere we looked sort of sealed the deal. I'm wondering what my options are now.  Like I said, we've personally asked about 2 dozen area churches what their policies are and between the 3 main issues with our marriage we have not gotten a single church to allow us to be married there.  I can list the parishes still lol.  and agapecarrie, it's not about the headcount.  I want the familes to be together and to bond; whatever makes that possible, I will try my hardest to do. 
    Posted by Cocnut0216[/QUOTE]

    I wasn't trying to downplay that importance, I get  that is very important, but as you said, it is still more important to you than getting married in a church. I honestly don't see how in the situation described it would really effect that many people, and for those it did, you could provide a shuttle service maybe.

    Church have "policies" out there like this so that people don't go church shopping, and they protect the integrity of the sacrament. You will make more headway with a personal interaction with a particular church. Whoever from your family is from the area, you contact the priest at the church they attend, and sit down with him, explaining your situation. Therefore, you're not just some random church shopper, but you are connected to the particular community.

    There is a reason church's don't usually do weddings on Sundays, its not just an arbitrary rule. Sunday is the day for the church community to gather as one body, for the celebration of the Mass. Most people don't know this, but you could just get married at the regularly scheduled mass (if your fiance is baptized) on Sunday. You couldn't have a regular procession and your own readings and music, but it can be done. (just like Baptisms that happen at mass).
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Since you're already married, here's my solution for you:

    1. Fess up the truth to your friends and family.
    2. Call up the churches in the area where you want to get married.  Ask if you can have a convalidation done during their normal Sunday mass.
    3. Go through pre-cana locally.
    4. Invite your friends and family to the convalidation.
    5. Arrange for your reception after the convalidation at a local restaurant in the area.  If it's not walking distance, arrange for a shuttle to transport guests between the church and the venue.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    well in your case, the whole point of the "do over wedding" is to get the convalidation and make your wedding legit in the eyes of the church.  so your do over now, teh way you have it, still doesnt do taht.  so its like you will have had 2 invalid weddings.  i dont get the point??
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_three-strikes-catholic-ceremony?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:b61df52a-ccd3-440a-b8fa-0535537c7970Post:f5f894f4-668b-4e9f-a1ee-996f9ce2cc67">Re: Three Strikes for a Catholic Ceremony</a>:
    [QUOTE]Since you're already married, here's my solution for you: 1. Fess up the truth to your friends and family. 2. Call up the churches in the area where you want to get married.  Ask if you can have a convalidation done during their normal Sunday mass. 3. Go through pre-cana locally. 4. Invite your friends and family to the convalidation. 5. Arrange for your reception after the convalidation at a local restaurant in the area.  If it's not walking distance, arrange for a shuttle to transport guests between the church and the venue.
    Posted by mica178[/QUOTE]

    This would be my suggestion as well.  Your current plan will not get your marriage recognized in the eyes of the Church, and that seems to be what you want (as per your post below) -- but Mica's suggestion would allow you to have your marriage recognized by the Church. 

    I've seen convalidations done at regular Sunday masses before, most of them with tons of family in attendance, and they were all really touching.  I also have seen a convalidation at the Easter Vigil before. 
  • monkeysipmonkeysip member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Ahh, yes, that does change things.  

    A convalidation ceremony really isn't like a wedding.  If you want it recognized in the Church, they will do either a small private ceremony (without all the bells and whistles of a wedding) or they'll do it during their Sunday mass.

    Either way, just do the celebrating at the reception.  You're already married.  If people can make it to the convalidation, great.  If not, it shouldn't be the biggest deal, because like I said, you're already married and this isn't a wedding.  



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  • edited December 2011
    I agree with the PPs if you are already married, you should tell your friends and family. 
    Also, I would try for the convaliidation if you want to get married in a catholic church. But I would say, your best bet is to talk to your Priest and your local parish in WI if that is where you are planning on living. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your local priest, there are plenty of priests in WI that are very helpful. May I ask which dioceses you are under in WI? I only ask this because FI and I are students, and we are getting married at the Newman Center on our campus's but it is a different dioceses than were my parents go/ technically I belong to, and there are different rules about being a nonparishioner getting married in a Catholic church. 
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  • edited December 2011
    Since, it seems, what you're really after is the point of the convalidation and if you're having trouble getting that on a Sunday or don't want it at a regular Sunday mass, maybe you could do the ceremony on Sat and have the big reception on Sunday.  That way you can still have the best of both worlds- your marriage validated in the church and both families together to celebrate on Sunday.  It might not be your first preference but since it sounds like you're having trouble getting everything to happen at the same time at the same place this might be an option.  Sure some people may have to miss the ceremony but you need to do what's important for your marriage and if getting it validated in the eyes of the church is your priority then this could be a viable option.
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