Q. 1. I am in the process of planning our marriage. I am wondering if the Catholic Church allows its members to marry outdoors?
A. 1. Canon Law # 1118 of the Catholic Church states:
§1 "A marriage between catholics, or between a catholic party and a baptised non-catholic, is to be celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local Ordinary or of the parish priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory."
§2 "The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place."
§3 "A marriage between a catholic party and an unbaptised party may be celebrated in a church or in another suitable place."
Now to explain the above...
While a Bishop can grant permission to have an outdoor wedding, few ever do so.
Jesus promised to be present whenever His friends would gather in His name. The church is the "House of God" in which the followers of Jesus gather to celebrate the Sacraments, all of them being important events of their lives.
Considering that a newly married couple is starting a new household, it makes sense that the couple gets married in the Sacred House of God.
The Sacrament of Marriage usually takes place during a Mass, referred to as a Nuptial Mass. The celebration of the Holy Mass cannot be done outdoors.
If a Catholic is marrying someone who is not Catholic, the Catholic party may request permission from the local bishop to celebrate the wedding at the other person's place of worship.
Weddings cannot be scheduled for Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.
The wedding usually takes place in the parish church of the bride's family.