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Catholics need permission to do this on the beach!

What bride-to-be hasn’t secretly imagined the incredibly romantic image of herself and her loved one on the beach standing in the sand, waves gently lapping, seagulls soaring overhead and loving family and friends looking on as they become man and wife.
OK, let’s get back to reality.  You know that weddings on the beach are subject to sudden tropical showers, sand crabs, and  grandma’s walker getting stuck in the sand. And most importantly, as pointed out in a previous blog post, Catholic weddings must be performed on consecrated ground, so that pretty much rules out a beach wedding, right?  Not necessarily!  In the last few years some wise resort owners have decided that they are missing out on the Catholic wedding market.  One of these is the Gran Caribe Resort in Cancun, Mexico shown in the photos below.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel Gran Caribe Real
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel Gran Caribe Resort
Altar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel Gran Caribe Resort
The Altar at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel at Gran Caribe Resort

To take much of the stress out of the wedding there are wedding planners who help to coordinate everything at your destination and also put you in touch with a local  Roman Catholic priest in good standing.  And, the prices seem to be a bargain compared to many other countries.



If you are thinking of an exotic setting you might also consider staying at a resort and getting married in a Catholic church nearby.  Some of these are either overlooking—or on—the ocean.   An example is Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  Their website clearly spells out the requirements,  and has contact information for those interested.  

Also, there are wedding destination firms that arrange Catholic weddings in Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, St Kitts & Nevis and St Lucia, with packages starting around $2.000. U.S. that include most everything for a small party. 

Here are the steps you need to prepare for your Catholic destination wedding:

1.  Check with your local pastor as either he or your Bishop will need to give permission for the ceremony to be performed by the priest in the country where the wedding will take place.  Be sure that you have fulfilled all the marriage requirements that you would have in your home country.

2.  According to Canon 1118 the pastor, Diocesan Bishop or Vicar General needs to delegate (give permission) to the pastor in wherever the destination wedding is going to take place  to perform the wedding.

3.  The priest who performs the wedding must have been given permission to do so by his Bishop or Vicar General.

Numbers one and two are necessary for the marriage to be valid (recognized as a marriage in the Catholic Church) and number three is necessary for licity (to be lawful).  

Sounds like a fair amount of work, but with enough effort things should go smoothly.  Good luck and let us know how it turns out.  And….if you are a wedding planner, please share your experiences with us.

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