For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Catholic Wedding Q&A

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

If one of us is Catholic and one is not, what are our options for a wedding ceremony that will be recognized as valid by the Catholic Church?

You have a wide range of options for celebrating your wedding. First, though, the Catholic person must obtain permission from the bishop (to marry a baptized Christian of another faith) or a dispensation from the bishop (to marry an unbaptized person). Once this is done (usually not a problem), you can discuss the following options with your Catholic priest:

  • You may celebrate the Catholic Rite of Marriage with a Mass (although the person who is not Catholic will not be able to receive communion).
  • You may celebrate the Catholic Rite of Marriage outside of Mass.
  • You may have your marriage witnessed by a Catholic minister, and invite another Christian minister to participate in the wedding (for instance, by reading from the Scriptures or offering prayers and blessings). Your Catholic minister will need to obtain permission from his bishop to extend such an invitation.
  • You may have your marriage witnessed by a Christian minister, with a Catholic minister assisting (for instance, by reading from the Scriptures or offering prayers and blessings). Before doing so, your bishop must provide you with a "dispensation from canonical form" (in other words, your bishop must dispense with the requirement for Catholics to be married through a celebration of the Rite of Marriage).
  • You may have your marriage witnessed by a minister of the faith of the non-Catholic person, if the Catholic person first obtains a dispensation from canonical form from his or her bishop.

For more information

What are the rules and requirements for a valid Catholic wedding?

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