Can I get married in a Catholic church where I am not a parishioner? I've noticed that with many Churches, bride or groom must be a parishioner. My Catholic church is in a rural area far from my friends and family.
Catholics have the right to be married only in a parish within whose boundaries a Catholic has lived for at least one month (canon 1115). If both the bride and groom are Catholic, they have a right to get married in the parish that either one of them resides within. If only one of them is Catholic, then they have the right to get married only in the parish territory of the Catholic party.
A Catholic may get married in any other parish, but that requires the permission of the pastor of that parish. A pastor is not obligated to permit marriages of non-parishioners.
On a practical level I'd say more than 95 percent of parishes permit weddings of non-parishioners if all the proper conditions for a Catholic wedding are being fulfilled. However, there are a few reasons why a pastor might always refuse to permit a wedding for non-parishioners:
- The parish is a "desirable location" and the parish would be so swamped with wedding requests that actual parishioners would be locked out too many wedding dates.
- The parish annually has many parishioner weddings and it would be a burden to accept additional weddings.
- The parish has a very small staff and cannot reasonably accommodate weddings from non-parishioners.
- Some pastors have had too many bad experiences with non-parishioner weddings.
I don't think you will have a problem finding another parish to be married in. I would just advise contacting the other parish as far in advance as possible and explained your situation to them.