Catholic Weddings

should i get married in the Church??

Hello, this is my first time posting. I recently got engaged and am trying to start planning but am having trouble deciding whether or not I want to get marriend in the Church.
I am currently a non-practicing Catholic- just mass with the family on holidays. I do not belong to any parish-unless I'm still considered part of my family's church. But I was raised Catholic, made all my sacrements, went to Catholic school etc. My fiance is also a non practicing Catholic - but grew up in another country so I am not sure if he has documentation of his sacrements.
At first I wanted a non-religious ceremony mostly because it seems simpler to have the ceremony and reception in the same place. I am trying to have a simple but nice budget wedding. My fiance agreed with this and thinks it is hipocritical for us to need a Church wedding when we don't actually go to church. However I do want to raise our children Catholic. And part of me likes the idea of a church wedding.

My parents want us to get married in the Catholic Church. My mother only cares because she worries about what the rest of my religious relatives willl think. This doesn't bother me. :)
My dad actually seemed sad though when I mentioned we probably wouldn't have a Catholic ceremony. This bothers me.

 I don't know what to do and don't want to regret my decision either way.

Re: should i get married in the Church??

  • Theresa626Theresa626
    1000 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    I think you should do what you feel is best for you and your fiance only.  To be honest with you, getting married in the church is kind of a royal pain and if you're not really into it, you might wonder later on down the road why you chose to do it that way. 

    Unless you plan on getting married in the church that your parents attend and donate to on a regular basis, you're going to run into a lot of problems.  Most churches require you to be a member for at least three to six months donating on the envelope system before they will even give you a wedding date.  If you want to get married at your parent's church, you might not have this problem.  Secondly, most Catholic churches have very strict wedding times.  YOu can get married on the hour between 9 AM and 3PM.  I've never heard of a church having a wedding after three although some will do evening nuptials at 7 PM.  Therefore, if you want to have an evening reception. There will be a gap between ceremony and reception and you will need to plan some sort of hospitality room or something for them to do.  Many churches have rules about the ceremony as well.

    For example, my church allows no decorations at all other than what we hold. THough we may have one small arrangement next to the altar.  We can't have any thrown flower petals, rice or bubbles so we're not having a flower girl. There is no aisle runner allowed. We cannot have a recieving line.  The photographer must stay in the back of the church and never move during the ceremony although he is allowed to take a picture of me walking down the aisle.  My dress and the bridesmaids' dresses must cover our shoulders.  I have to get mine altered and add sheer cap sleeves to it  and all the bridesmaids must wear sheer shawls.   The music director must approve all musical groups and songs that you choose.  The music needs to be sacred in nature and it cannot be recorded.  You must complete a pre cana marriage counseling workshop before you get married.  YOu must agree to raise your children catholic.  You must be engaged for a minimum of six months after your FIRST meeting with the church.  (in other words, they won't schedule a date for you sooner than six months in advance)

    These things annoy me but getting married in the catholic church is also extremely important to me.  I could never not do it.  If it is not that important to you or you are not that religious, you need to think about whether you're willing to follow all of these rules as most churches have them though they vary from church to church.  If it is important to your family and you want to raise your kids catholic and maybe are thinking about going to church with your kids then it might be good for you to get married in the church.  If all of these things make you angry and you don't want to deal with it, I'd suggest not getting married in the church. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to should i get married in the Church??:
    Hello, this is my first time posting. I recently got engaged and am trying to start planning but am having trouble deciding whether or not I want to get marriend in the Church. I am currently a non-practicing Catholic- just mass with the family on holidays. I do not belong to any parish-unless I'm still considered part of my family's church. But I was raised Catholic, made all my sacrements, went to Catholic school etc. My fiance is also a non practicing Catholic - but grew up in another country so I am not sure if he has documentation of his sacrements. At first I wanted a non-religious ceremony mostly because it seems simpler to have the ceremony and reception in the same place. I am trying to have a simple but nice budget wedding. My fiance agreed with this and thinks it is hipocritical for us to need a Church wedding when we don't actually go to church. However I do want to raise our children Catholic. And part of me likes the idea of a church wedding. My parents want us to get married in the Catholic Church. My mother only cares because she worries about what the rest of my religious relatives willl think. This doesn't bother me. :) My dad actually seemed sad though when I mentioned we probably wouldn't have a Catholic ceremony. This bothers me.  I don't know what to do and don't want to regret my decision either way.
    Posted by KrissLS
    If you were raised Catholic,received all your sacrements growing up, and call yourself Catholic, you are.  Your FI's documents can be taken care of if you both decide that you want to marry in the Catholic Church.

    You say that you want to raise your children Catholic so that gives me the impression that you may just be a believer who is  not practicing at this time.  I've found that happens to many young people as they grow up and away from their parent's.  Questions come up about almost everything concerning what you really want and what you really want to be as a adult.

    How does your FI feel about raising your children Catholic?  I assume that you have discussed this and that it's not just your choice.  They will be equally his so he get an equal say her.

    Back to the current situation.  The previous poster has some pretty unusual things in her posts.  The majority of Catholic Churches these days are not that difficult.

    Example:

    My daughter was raised Catholic as was her now husband.  The received the sacrements (except confirmation for him which was done with a group a few months before the wedding)  They both wanted to be married in the Church but neither had their own church, both lived in Boston, his parents elsewhere in Massachusetts, I live in NYC where she grew up.  They wanted to marry on Cape Cod.

    We took a couple of days to look at churches around the area they wanted the wedding and found one they both loved.  The pastor had no problem with their not being members of the church and would not be after the wedding. They were required to do pre Cana but they did it in Boston where they lived and the completion info was sent to the pastor on the Cape.

    There were no restrictions on dress, secular music was alllowed and the only charge was the soloist/organists.  They had to pay her 250 dollars if they used her or not.  She was excellent and they did use her.  The pastor said the mass and the bride's uncle, a deacon of the church, did the wedding vows.  (The priest would have if the uncle had not been available)  They had the flowers they wanted, one arrangement on the alter, pew bows with hydrangea on every other pew end and two hydrangea wreaths on the front doors of the church.  The church just requested that the flowers brought in were taken out after the ceremony.

    1:30 wedding, over at 2:30ish, receiving line outside.  The guests were invited to a hospitality suite we had set up on the reception site grounds for light refreshment while they went to the beach for photos.  The reception doors opened at 5:00 and the cocktail time started then.  The gap was a bit less than 1 1/2 hours, very common in our circel.

    I think it's important for you to look at the positives of having the wedding where you want. Churchs accomodate couples such as yourselves quite often.  Don't let a fear of restriction listed above throw you off.  There are tons of churches fo ryou to choose from.

    If you have any question, you can private message me or page me on the Etiquette board.

    Good luck!
  • ExpatPumpkinExpatPumpkin
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    Based on everything you've written about you and your FI's Catholic upbringing - as well as your family's feelings on the subject and the fact that you want to raise your children as Catholics - I think you should seriously consider having a Catholic mass...  Why don't you start pre-cana and see where it leads you?

    While you may regret NOT getting married in the church, I seriously doubt that you will regret it if you do...  On  the contrary, it's really a beautiful sacrament as well as a rite of passage.  

    We also had to jump through some hoops - husband and I were living in two different countries, we had a destination wedding, I hadn't yet been confirmed, etc. - but it was absolutely worth it in the end.

    About the church's rules:  We did have a receiving line, but we couldn't throw flower petals or have elaborate floral decorations in the church.  No big deal.  I chose to cover my shoulders out of respect, but it wasn't required...  We were able to bring in our own choir and string quartet.

    Oh, and the church keeps much better records than you think.  I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised when you order his papers...  And if you really can't find them, I'm sure your parents' church will help.

    Good luck ;)
  • meltoinemeltoine
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    Honestly, in your situation I would get married in the Church.

    First of all, you must understand that if you are married outside the Church, the Church cannot recognise your marriage as valid. Furthermore, it is grounds for excommunication. This can cause problems down the line when you want to have your kids make their sacraments.

    Aside from that, weddings have a way of creating drama amongst families, so you would do well to attempt to minimise it from the outset by respecting your parents' and relatives' wishes about getting married in the Church. If you were completely against getting married in the Church and didn't care about the excommunication factor, I would say go for it, but it sounds like you still want the Church to be some part of your life, especially with kids. I think you should just do it.  
    Lilypie Maternity tickers
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011

    as PP said, marrying outside of the Church where you are both Catholic means that your marriage will not be considered valid, and you will be considered living in sin for the entire duration of your marriage.  As you will be in a state of sin, you technically will not be able to receive communion. 

    if i were you, i'd marry in the Church.  BUT, if you have no desire to be Catholic yourself, or raise your kids Catholic, then i wouldnt.


    consider attending on a regular basis with your FI.  maybe it will help you decide.  and regular basis can be whatever you determine is regular.  yes, we are obligated to go every sunday, but even if you go once or twice per month, that's better than nothing at all.

  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    I'm pretty appaled that someone would tell  you that you are in a state of sin.

    I think that's better left up to God.

    Only you and God know the state of your soul, don't let others judge it for you.

    particularlly on a message board
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011

    oot, i'm simply stating the facts.  sex outside of marriage is considered a sin in the catholic church.  if the church does not consider her married, then she is therefore committing a sin everytime she has sex with the person the State - not the Catholic Church - considers her spouse.  i would think that as a "devout" catholic, as you have claimed to be on these boards on numerous occasions, you would know this.  i provide this information merely so that the poster knows, if she does not already, the ramifications of not being married in teh Church.    of course God is still the ultimate judge.  and there are many every week that march up to communion knowing full well that they arent in a state of grace and receive anyway.  doesnt make it right.

    i swear that half the time  you think its better for people to be ignorant about their faith so they can then do what they want all under the cloud of "i didnt know".   it is similar to those that think if they go to a more liberal parish where the priest tells them its ok to do things that according to Church teaching are not ok to do, then its all good because a priest told them its ok. 

  • edited December 2011

    I agree with most pps...sounds like you should at least consider getting married in the Church.  You wouldn't want to regret not marrying in the Church later if you're really committed to raising your kids Catholic.

    Start calling parishes to find out their policies, and go ahead and attend Pre-Cana.  Attending Pre-Cana might help give you an idea of how important the religion aspect is to you.  (btw I recommend the Engaged Encounter for Pre-Cana...my fiance and I got a lot out of it)

  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: should i get married in the Church??:
    as PP said, marrying outside of the Church where you are both Catholic means that your marriage will not be considered valid, and you will be considered living in sin for the entire duration of your marriage.  As you will be in a state of sin, you technically will not be able to receive communion.  if i were you, i'd marry in the Church.  BUT, if you have no desire to be Catholic yourself, or raise your kids Catholic, then i wouldnt. consider attending on a regular basis with your FI.  maybe it will help you decide.  and regular basis can be whatever you determine is regular.  yes, we are obligated to go every sunday, but even if you go once or twice per month, that's better than nothing at all.
    Posted by Calypso1977

    "as you will be in the state of sin"

    THAT is judging, not observing.

    As far as "finding the easier way", there are as many opinions as there are priests in the Catholic Church.  I have encountered many different ones and I respect them all.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011

    i disagree completely, OOT, as you and i do on most issues.



  • edited December 2011
    I think that this is a very personal choice, and one that can't be decided by strangers on a message board.  The suggestions to start attending services, or attend come pre-cana classes, sound like a good way to help you make your decision.  What it boils down to is whether being Catholic is important to you and your future husband. 

    You mentioned wanting to raise your kids Catholic, which makes me think you are considering getting back into the church and that maybe you should think about having a Catholic wedding, since you can't change your decision once you get married.  But don't do this because you feel guilty, or like it's the right thing to do, if you don't truly believe in the teachings of the Catholic church.  None of us can decide for you whether you want to be Catholic or not.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: should i get married in the Church??:
    i disagree completely, OOT, as you and i do on most issues.
    Posted by Calypso1977

    such a shame.  All those years spent on a Jesuit education, my poor parents wasted money on learning heresy :(
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011

    i cannot believe your jesuit education didnt teach you what is a sin and what is not a sin, and under what circumstances one is allowed to receive communion, and at which times one should abstain from receiving until a visit to the confessional.   if it didnt, then your parents did waste a lot of money.

    you are typical of many liberal catholics today.  you have complete disregard for church teaching and proceed with the "do what feels good and what makes you happy" mentality.  that is why we disagree.

  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: should i get married in the Church??:
    [QUOTE]i cannot believe your jesuit education didnt teach you what is a sin and what is not a sin, and under what circumstances one is allowed to receive communion, and at which times one should abstain from receiving until a visit to the confessional.   if it didnt, then your parents did waste a lot of money. you are typical of many liberal catholics today.  you have complete disregard for church teaching and proceed with the "do what feels good and what makes you happy" mentality.  that is why we disagree.
    Posted by Calypso1977[/QUOTE

    My Jesuit education, all 17 years, taught me how to think and not just memorize someone elses thinking.

    THAT make a big  difference.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011

    oot, these are basic concepts of our faith that we're talking about here.  not much to really think about.  the 10 commandments tell us things like "thou shall not steal".  how much thinking do you really have to put into that?  you either choose to steal or you dont, or in your case, you go out and find a misguided priest to tell you that its ok to steal.  seems crystal clear to me, and doesnt require that much thought. 

  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: should i get married in the Church??:
    oot, these are basic concepts of our faith that we're talking about here.  not much to really think about.  the 10 commandments tell us things like "thou shall not steal".  how much thinking do you really have to put into that?  you either choose to steal or you dont, or in your case, you go out and find a misguided priest to tell you that its ok to steal.  seems crystal clear to me, and doesnt require that much thought. 
    Posted by Calypso1977

    Try going back to the OP, that may make things clearer for you.  I wish I could  but I am not a teacher nor have I run into any misguided priests.

    But then I don't live in Boston now, do I?
  • Theresa626Theresa626
    1000 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    ootmother, what school did you go to?  I went to a jesuit school as well. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    an international independent school system for girls to start (self explanatory) and Fordham for undergrad and business school
  • cukimerrydollcukimerrydoll
    1000 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Ok....

    I would at least think about getting married in the church.  Since you both are "up to date" on sacraments (can't really think of another way to put it), why not have one more?

    At my church, I'm not technically a parishioner, because I don't donate money.  But they consider me a parishioner because I'm in the music ministry... and my parents donate - which is probably the bigger factor.
    If the chuch will let you, from what you have said, I don't see why not.  If at least one of you can show the documentation, you should be good to go.

    As for "restrictions" on what you can and cannot do, that all depends on the individual church.  We can't have a runner, but I don't think I would want one anyway (I've seen them get tripped on by the bride, and I'm clumsy).  We can't throw petals, but that has more to do with making clean-up easy before mass later that afternoon.  So I understand that with both things.  Other than that, we can do just about anything, as long as taking it down is quick enough for it not to interfere with people coming early for mass.

    The costs are pretty standard at my church too: $450 for a service without communion, and $500 for a full mass.  That includes everything.

    As far as having the ceremony and the reception in the same place, it's sort of 6 in 1, 1/2 dozen in the other.  You don't have to go anywhere, but they are set up differently.  So guests will get to see the venue go from ceremony to reception, and that can get really messy and time-consuming.  Our reception hall can do both, but prefers to only do the reception because it can get so tricky.
  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    "thou shalt not steal"

    okay, you brought that one up.

    Isn't it stealing to buy someing (such as a bra to wear with your wedding gown), leave the tags on so that you can return it and get your cash back?

    I think it is.  But then, I dislike appearing judgemental.

    Personal Ethics rule along with God's laws.  Do try to remember that, okay?
  • clearheavensclearheavens
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: should i get married in the Church??:
    In Response to Re: should i get married in the Church?? : "as you will be in the state of sin" THAT is judging, not observing. As far as "finding the easier way", there are as many opinions as there are priests in the Catholic Church.  I have encountered many different ones and I respect them all.
    Posted by ootmother2
    I believe that stating what is and what is not a sin is not judging a person.  The Church makes her teachings clear.  However, stating that a person is as bad as his or her sin is judgmental.
    Follow Me on Pinterest

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • edited December 2011

    There are a lot of good responses, and I may be repeating what someone said, but this is what I (edit) recommend you give a thought to.

    Get married in the non-catholic ceremony at the reception site, as you and your FI have discussed. Then, do a smaller scale, closest family only, convalidation ceremony in the Church, on a different date. 

    FI and I are exactly the same, and we wanted to have a non-religious ceremony.  We decided against it when his mom (a Jesus freak in the family, so to speak) said she will be terribly disappointed if we do not have a Catholic wedding.  I did not know of a convalidation ceremony and did not realize that they are quite common in our area.  We decided to go with the Church wedding and although we both know we will not regret it, we also see how much more trouble we have to go through... we now have a gap between the ceremony and the reception, need to schedule two shuttles for the guests instead of one, need to get separate musicians and a separate flower arrangement for the Church... I know it will all be worth it, but the other day FI and I talked and we both agreed we should have done convalidation with the closest family only.

  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2011
    e_j

    I wasn't aware that it was common practice here to do that. I don't like the concept but it's interesting to know it is practiced.

    learn something new every day :)
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you for all the input! I am trying to contact my parents' Church and find out about pre cana and then decide from there.
  • edited December 2011
    Just wanted to back up e_jakiela's convalidation route. FI and I are both confirmed Catholics but like you, essentially non-practicing. I call it Catholic by Culture at this point. We'll be married at a non-denominational church and would have a convalidation ceremony with the closest family members around later in our marriage, mostly for the benefit of raising future children Catholic.

    Ultimately, it's up to you and your fiance, but just know that a compromise is out there.

    Good luck!
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards