Faith/Spirituality Forum: Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony QUESTION from Pam Kazusky April 17, 2001 My fiance and I are both Catholic. We are making plans to be married next year and thought it would be nice to be married outdoors. Is a Catholic wedding ceremony held strictly within the walls of a church? I have attended outdoor masses and thought an outdoor wedding ceremony would be relatively the same.
Thank you, Pam Kazusky
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 8, 2001 Dear Miss Kazusky:
Canon 1118 states:
.1 A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church. It can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor. .2 The local ordinary can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
To celebrate the marriage anywhere except a parish church or other church or oratory takes the express permission of the bishop. The definition of other suitable place includes a non-Catholic church or place of worship of one of the parties to a mixed marriage (this does not apply here since you are both Catholic), a non-denominational chapel attached to a college, university, or other institution, or even a private home.
To celebrate your marriage outdoors you will have to contact your bishop and get permission. But I think you ought to study up on the meaning of marriage. The nature of the SACRAMENT of marriage is such that to celebrate it outside of the Church diminishes the holiness and sacredness of the event.
The Marriage ceremony is NOT about pretty dresses, tuxes, and beautiful surroundings of nature and all or some other decor stage. It is about one of the holiest events two human beings can perform. It is about the mystical and material union of two humans, a man and a woman, coming together in HOLY Marriage. What I am as a religlious brother is second rate compared to that. My vows as a brother are not a Sacrament. What you do as a married couple IS a Sacrament. It should be treated with proper sacredness. It is a sacred ceremony, not a folk ceremony.
In any event, you will have to call your bishop to get permission.
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