- When you are married within the Catholic faith, you are partaking in one of the seven sacraments, called holy matrimony. Catholicism defines matrimony as the joining together of a man and a woman in a monogamous relationship under God for the purpose of procreation. Both participants must be baptized in the Catholic faith, have not been previously married (unless the marriage was annulled) and have received the sacrament of confirmation. Catholic weddings must be performed in a Catholic church for the marriage to be valid within the faith.
- From the advent of Christianity until the ninth century A.D., the Catholic church played no part in weddings. Not only were marriages performed outside the church, they did not usually have any prayers involved. It wasn't until medieval times when the church and priests would confer their blessings upon a couple being married.
It was in 1563 that it was ruled by the Council of Trent that Catholic weddings would have to be held in a church, with the ceremony performed by a priest and witnessed by two other people, in order for it to be recognized by the Catholic Church.
- Catholic weddings serve to join together a man and a woman in the sacrament of holy matrimony. The wedding is usually celebrated with a nuptial mass. The man and woman each state vows to demonstrate their lifelong commitment to one another. In the Catholic faith, marriage is a permanent bond that can be undone only in specific circumstances (death or annulment), as divorces are not recognized. The couple is expected to produce children within the marriage and promise to raise them as Catholics.
- The definition of a Catholic wedding has led some people to find fault with the faith, especially those who are in same-sex relationships, which the church does not recognize on any level. Also, many priests are leaving the Catholic church because of the rules against priests entering marriage--for the past few centuries, church law has dictated that priests remain celibate and committed only to God. Catholic priests who do enter marriage are excommunicated from the faith.
- Practicing Catholics who want to have their marriage recognized both legally and spiritually have their weddings performed within a Catholic church. A Catholic wedding proves you are following the tenets of your faith and also pleases parents and other family members who are Catholic. It also means that your marriage is blessed by God.