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SoonToBeMrsMontasique wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am hoping someone can answer this.

My fiancé and I are looking to get married in the next few months. We want to have two separate weddings. Something small for us (getting married by the court) and then a big one for family and friends (a Church wedding).

Our concern is the following. Since I was raised Roman Catholic, we want to get married in a Catholic Church but my fiancé's father is a Protestant pastor and, to make him happy, we would want to be able to just get married by him whenever. We've been told by friends, we would need to divorce from the first marriage to then get married in the Catholic Church.

We would prefer not to get a divorce before remarrying by the state and Church. We would rather just do our own small thing first, then get married in the Church. We want no record of divorce anywhere. Our plan is to be each other's first and last marriages.

If it helps, the small wedding wouldn't happen until May or June or whenever we move in together. The big wedding wouldn't happen until November.

Hopefully this makes sense and someone can reply.

Thanks,

SoonToBeMrsMontasique

  { Can we have 2 distinct weddings, one by the Justice of the Peace followed by a Catholic wedding? }

Paul replied:

Dear SoonToBeMrsMontasique,

Your question is a little perplexing for two reasons.

  1. Since a Church wedding is recognized by the state, having two would be unnecessary.
  2. Secondly, if a Catholic wedding, and more importantly a Catholic marriage, is important to you, why add a secular ceremony?

Having said that, you would not have to get civilly divorced from each other in order to get married in the Church. The Church would not recognize a Justice of the Peace wedding of a Catholic as creating a true marital bond by virtue of a lack of form, so I don't think that would be a problem.

To be sure, call the rectory of your parish.

Peace,

Paul

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