any new word on Catholic weddings?


Two Normal People Obsessed With WDW
Jul 12, 2001
From everything I have read no Priests were permitted to do the wedding on Disney property, is that still true? Any new developments? Anyone find a loop-hole? I finally get really excited about planning a wedding that is going to be different and fun and this stupid rule is changing everything:(
I thought the same thing, and inquired about it here at home with an old friend who is a priest. It's a Catholic thing, and Disney abides by the rules. The Roman Catholic Church does not allow weddings outside of an actual (Roman Catholic) church. Since there is not a Catholic church at WDW you'll never be able to be married there... unless of course you can find a priest who is willing to bend the rules. That scares me a little though.
From what I understand - You can't get married outside of the actual Church building unless you have explicit permission from the Biship of that diocese. It has to do with the presence of the Tabernacle and the hosts. (catholic schooled for 13 years and that's the only explanation i can give ;) )

I tried this last summer, as my hubby and I are both Catholics, and we got married on Cape Cod, but we wanted to get married on the beach. We got vetoed on that one - so we got married in the CHurch and had our reception on the beach.

Good luck though! Maybe you can attend Mass somewhere in orlando and try to get in good with the diocese. :)
The Bishop of Orlando is the one who decided they were not going to do weddings on the property - I haven't heard anything about that changing. Our parish was very accomodating - we had our civil ceremony at Disney. When we got back from the honeymoon we did a "validation ceremony" where we exchanged vows in church with our parish priest and my parents as witnesses. It was a very special touch for us, much less hectic and we were able to really enjoy the moment. Not many can say they got to have two weddings in three weeks. After the ceremony we went to brunch with family. It was a great compromise; we had the wedding of our dreams, and then had a private pledge between us and God.

I actually met in October with a wedding coordinator to get some info on a Dec 2003 wedding...She gave us some really good info..part of the reason I wanted to talk to her was to get info on the "no priest performing the ceremony thing"...They still do not..and won't in the future...have any Catholic weddings on-site at Disney...and it is from the Church..not Disney...So they gave us a couple of options...Basically what we are going to get a Christian Minister to marry us...bringing my priest with to actually be a witness...and then when we get back we fill out the paperwork without having to do an actual ceremony (I want to exchange vows once..not more than once) that is cool..cause we really wanted our priest to be able to be there...if you have a meeting down there they give a couple of ideas..
Thanks! I agree with all of you and I think that is what we are going to do. I think we will come back and have a renewal of vows with our Priest that way it can be very special and private. I don't want to lose sight of the very special sacrament nor of our promise to God. In fact often I have been to church weddings where you couldn't concentrate on the mass because the videographer or photographer was in the way or the non-catholics felt out of place and clueless (although that is not their fault). So maybe I'm thinking if it is just those who really want to be there for the religious purpose with no big dress, pictures, or other distractions it may just be perfect! So here we go! September 2003!!!:) :bounce: :bounce:
My Disney Wedding is in August and in the Wedding Contract it tells you that your religion may not recogize the marriage. Since I don't have a religion, I don't care, but I image some people would be really bothered by this.

I would discuss the option of having two ceremonies with your church - you shouldn't have to give up your dream wedding for because of the minor formality of a building! This rule is one of the reasons I don't have a religion after 9 years in catholic school. I mean, as long as a catholic priest does the ceremony the way it's supposed to be done and both parties are welcoming God, who care WHERE it takes place??

Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!

I got married at the wedding pavillion in Disney in Oct. of 2000. My husband is Jewish and I am catholic. We had a christian minister and a rabbi perform an interfaith ceremony and then we had our vows blessed later in the catholic church. We could have had our own priest officiate the wedding at disney because I was marrying a Jewish man. The ONLY exception to the marrying outside of the church rule is for interfaith marriages of Catholic and Jewish. Muslim, Bussism and others may apply to but I don't know enough about them to say so. Because Jews do not believe Jesus is the son of God, the crusifix found in most churches can be offending. Thus, they allow these couples to get married outside of the church without another blessing inside the church. We could not afford to pay for our priest to fly down so we went with the other option mentioned above. The Orlando Bishop and church community basically has a thing against Disney and will not even officiate for a legitimate interfaith wedding as well. (Which by the way, goes agains the Popes law...and who are they to do that????) Disney had no problem with a priest coming in and performing the ceremony. I just would not inform the orlando catholic society and keep in quiet. But keep in mind, this only applies to certain interfaith marriages. Sorry I could not help otherwise.

Remember to follow your is after all, YOUR wedding!
I was married at the Wedding Pavilion on 02/02/02. My Uncle performed the ceremony. He is a retired minister. I know of other Disney Brides who have gotten married at a Catholic Church off Disney property and hold their reception at Disney. Check our wedding pics on our web page.
The "building" requirement is that some of the sacraments must take place on sanctified property. I attempted to have my first son baptised out of the church, (which was actually a school cafeteria, since the church was being built), but no go. The "building" rule. I believe that weddings fall under the same rule. They must be performed in a place that has been blessed, etc.

Now, if you have a friend who is a priest, well, you never know.
There are exceptions made to being married in an actual Catholic Church. Many times it is a decision of the local bishop and special permission can be granted (such as in the Catholic/Jewish example). The decision not to permit Catholic weddings at WDW has more to do with concern about the emphasis. A priest is not just an accessory but is celebrating a sacrament. There is a question of what is more important when having a wedding at Disney. Is it the sacrament or the "show"? That's why they put the ban on performing weddings at Disney. You can discuss with your local priest what options are available. I'd do it before going ahead with a Disney wedding. Some may be agreeable to performing a blessing "after the fact" while others may have problems with performing a secondary ceremony. I'd talk about it beforehand so you are not disappointed later. I wouldn't expect the current situation at Disney to change any time soon.

Doing a search I found this statement from the Diocese of Pittsburgh's site. They also have special instructions for performing Catholic weddings in Las Vegas and those also include a requirement that the weddings only be performed in church buildings (i.e., not the Elvis wedding chapel).

Here's the statement:

Weddings involving Catholics may not be celebrated at the wedding pavilion in Walt Disney World. This applies to both residents of the diocese of Orlando and residents of other dioceses. Priests in the Diocese of Orlando are not permitted to witness such weddings, and priests from other dioceses will not be granted the necessary delegation. Walt Disney World Executives have been informed of this decision.
Oh yes, the high holy ones again dictate what is proper for those who contribute the funds. If the church was as concerned with keeping their own house clean, as they are with the petty rules, they would not be having such a time in the press.

As to the wedding not being a show--when was the last time the wedding was not a show, and party.

I guess I am just one of those American catholics, whom Rome doesn't understand.
I thought that was Mass celebrated at the Polynesian. I have never been but I always wanted to. If the Orlando bishop and diocese doesn't like Disney than who would perform that mass. And wouldn't there have to be an altar and other requirements there?
I don't have information explicitly pertaining to WDW, but I think that the reason that many of the weddings are disallowed pertain to having Communion outside of the church.

DW and I got married about 7 years ago in a Baptist Church, but with a Catholic priest. The only thing we couldn't do is have a Mass (where you receive Communion). Catholics can still have a Wedding without having Mass (and, therefore, without Communion). I am unaware of any special permission that our priest had to have from the bishop to hold the wedding in the Baptist church.

It may be worth looking into if you can have a Wedding on Disney property without having a Mass.

(Just my 2¢ )

- Jim
Unless the rules have changed, communion does not have to be celebrated "in the church building". When I was a member of the CYO many years ago, we would frequently have mass outdoors at whatever venue we were (camping, etc.) and had communion also.

It's not just Disney either--when DH & I got married and planned to rent the church hall for the reception but planned the actual ceremony for the chapel at his former military school, the priest pulled our contract for the reception!!!!! He said if we didn't get married "in the church" we couldn't even use their facilities.
Come to think of it, Belle1962 is correct - you can have Communion outside of church. My uncle is a priest and one year when we went skiing and couldn't get to church for Sunday he performed the sacrament right there in the hotel room. He said that all you need is a priest, the hosts, and someone else.

I guess it's up to the individual preist/bishop to decide where the ceremony can take place since, like I said, we were married in a Baptist church by a Catholic priest. I don't think it's Church law that it must be performed in a Catholic church. If you think about it, I think I have heard of every Sacrament except Holy Orders being performed in a setting outside of a Church.

- Jim
What about having the ceremony in your Catholic Church first, and then having a smaller, less-expensive wedding at WDW?
DH and I are both Catholic (and I beat you all with 17 years of Catholic education) and we got married in the Wedding Pavillion 12/4/99. Can't have the priest but that didn't bother us too much. We figured God would understand and bless us anyway. We actually were married by a Luthern minister who happens to be married to one of my fraternaty sisters. It was the best wedding ever. To have our officient be also a good friend was wonderful.

Even my MIL was satisfied with how it all turned out. We had 2 readings and a gospel followed by a homily and the marriage ceremony.
I thought that was Mass celebrated at the Polynesian. I have never been but I always wanted to. If the Orlando bishop and diocese doesn't like Disney than who would perform that mass. And wouldn't there have to be an altar and other requirements there?

Yes they do hold Mass every Sunday at the Poly and in the ballroom of the Contemporary on Christmas & Easter. They set up an altar and hold a full Mass. They do not have a problem with Disney. The concern is with performing a sacrament frivilously. If it doesn't matter to the couple who performs the ceremony that sort of sums up their concern right there. They want to be sure it does matter. People attending Mass during their vacation are showing their commitment to their religion and the Church in Orlando has responded. In fact, the priest who first started the Disney Masses (at an offsite hotel) has now built a beautiful Shrine dedicated solely to serving the tourists who come to Orlando.

The same concern is expressed with Las Vegas weddings. They don't want to just be part of a wedding....they want to conduct the sacrament of marriage. I'm not judging the intentions of anyone planning a Disney wedding. I'm just trying to explain the reasoning. The idea of getting married by a priest first and then holding a reception/party at Disney sounds like a solution.
It really is a beautiful shrine that he built. I remember when it was first done, about 20 years ago? maybe even more

Windermere. I have you beat. 19 years. The parish did not have a kindergarten at the time.

parochial from 1-5
all boys-Brothers of Mary school from 6-12
undergrad and law at a marianist school as well.


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