For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Catholic Wedding Q&A

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

May we have two separate wedding ceremonies—for instance, a civil ceremony and a Catholic ceremony, or a Jewish wedding ceremony followed by a Catholic wedding ceremony?

Church law forbids two separate ceremonies (Canon 1127) in order to avoid confusion. By definition, once you're married, you're really, truly united in marriage once and for all. It is impossible to get married again—unless the first marriage was somehow invalid. Having a second wedding ceremony would imply the first wasn't "real."

If a Catholic is married in a ceremony that is not recognized as valid by the Church, the couple may have their marriage convalidated—that is, they may celebrate the Catholic rite of marriage to make their marriage valid. In some cases, another option would be to request a sanation, in which the Church simply recognizes the validity of the marriage without a formal ceremony.

This question is sometimes prompted by a desire to incorporate two different faith traditions into the wedding ceremony; couples in this situation have several options for doing so. See the link below for more information.

For more information

If one of us is Catholic and one is not, what are our wedding ceremony options?

Other websites

Marriage Convalidation in the Catholic Church
A detailed article on the steps involved in convalidating a marriage, as well as how to plan a convalidation ceremony, by Kay Flowers (co-author of Catholic Annulment, Spiritual Healing)

Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Letter on Mixed Marriages
Statement of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

Interchurch Marriages: How to Help Them Succeed
At AmericanCatholic.org. This article takes a positive approach to mixed marriages, offering some background as well as eight pointers for helping them succeed.

Theology of marriage and the problems of mixed marriages
The final report of the Roman Catholic-Lutheran-Reformed study commission, 1971-1977, on the topic of mixed marriages, from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

A Guide on Catholic-Orthodox Marriages for Catholic Clergy and Other Pastoral Ministers
From the U.S. Catholic bishops at USCCB.org. (PDF)

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