About five seconds after we got engaged -- actually 5 seconds after we shared the news with someone beyond our cats or the lady who sold me the ring -- the wave of questions started pouring in. Having answered them as best we could, one particular question stood out: Have you set a date?
We have to set a date for several reasons. It's much easier to ask people to save a date if you give them a specific date instead of a vague, Fall or September or some Saturday in 2011. However, to save a date, we first needed to figure out what kind of wedding we wanted. After mulling it over for a while, we've decided to go with a church wedding in Chicago although a destination wedding isn't completely off the table.
The irony is that a few years ago, I was involved with several young adult programs at local catholic churches that I probably could have had my pick. Alas, I've lost much of my church cred in the last couple years by not attending regularly. And I'm sure the whole living in sin thing probably negates the rest.
When I went through RCIA, we had a class on the Sacrament of Marriage. I'm going off decade old memory here, but as I recall, the general rule is that any catholic can get married at any catholic church.
Now for the fine print. said church has the right to require at least one, if not both, of the married couple to be members of that Parrish in good standing. That means at the very least, you cannot just become a member the week of your wedding. Usually they want you to be a member for at least six months though a year isn't unheard of. In a very small congregation (read:we need money) sometimes a donation can cut through a lot of the rules.
So is the couple that relocated to another city and hasn't found a church they like forced to go back home to wed? No, there are a couple of procedures that can be helpful. You can request a wedding at an alternate church. It's up to that parish to decide if they want to honor your request. You can also petition to have a catholic wedding at a location that isn't a church. This is handy if say you really want the priest you grew up with to marry you, and he is available but the church isn't available that afternoon.
All of these procedures sound flexible but are also opportunities for stress. I've heard horror stories of power-hungry priests who make couples perform back flips and summersaults just to get their day before God.
SigOther and I are exploring the church wedding but if it gets to be too much hassle, I hear that Costa Rica is a great place to tie the knot.