Double Wedding Services - FQA
Question: "How does the Orthodox Church feel about double wedding services? In order to keep everyone happy we may have to get married in the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church….If we can’t get past this issue, I’m afraid this could do some serious damage."
Answer: While the Orthodox Church does not encourage two wedding services, they are sometimes necessary "to keep everyone happy." If you've both prayerfully determined that you must proceed in this way, this protocol is generally followed.
1. Such couples get married in one partner's church, and then the other partner's church. In this case, I wouldn't recommend that you attempt to accomplish this in one day. Couple's who've chosen this option have told me it's an exhausting process.
2. If you determine to marry in the non-Orthodox partner's church first, please be aware that the Orthodox partner will lose their good standing with the church. This means that the Orthodox partner will unable to receive the sacraments. However, good standing can be reinstated once you both receive the Sacrament of Marriage in the Orthodox Church.
Question: "Neither my fiancé nor I will be converting. It is very important to my fiancé for his brother, an Armenian Catholic priest, to marry us. It is very important to me for my 96-year-old grandfather, a retired Greek Orthodox priest, to be present and to participate (at least in a limited extent) in my Greek Orthodox ceremony, in Greece. Originally, I thought and hoped that we could have two back-to-back ceremonies (a Catholic one and a Greek Orthodox one) in the Greek Orthodox Church. I have since learned that the Greek Church will not allow this. My fiancé and I are now contemplating two ceremonies (a Catholic one in the U.S, followed by a Greek Orthodox one in Greece, OR an outdoor Catholic ceremony in Greece, followed by a traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony), but I would like the approval of both churches."
Answer: As you may already know, both churches discourage couples from having two wedding services. Despite this, in cases like your own some couples have opted to proceed forward and arrange for two separate services. When this occurs, neither church sanctions or approves this process. In addition, one or both churches will generally provide other options while seeking to discourage, but not prevent, you from arranging two separate wedding services. As a result, if I were you I would not spend too much more time seeking "approval" of you plan from both churches. Instead, I would expend my energy trying to figure out how you are going to satisfy the disparate needs that you referred to above.