Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Which traditions to include?

Just a quick summary: we're having an outdoor ceremony and will likely be married by a Catholic priest (if possible) but would like to write our own vows and include a unity candle ceremony.

I'm unfamiliar with the traditions of a Catholic ceremony though (i.e. length of the ceremony, apparently there's a prayer??) and even more unfamiliar with traditions of Hispanic weddings (Cuban and/or Puerto Rican to be exact). We want to incorporate some cultural traditions because it's fun, but not be sooo traditional. Especially since we're mixed as it is (his family is Presbyterian and mostly European white and Irish with a bunch of other stuff thrown in there). The cultural stuff is more important to me than him (his whole family seems to be that way), but we're trying to figure out how to incorporate stuff from his lineage too. So far he's fine with the traditions from my family in the ceremony as it stands.

Leave it where it is or do research?

Re: Which traditions to include?

  • tigerlily6tigerlily6 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    Question: Are you Catholic? Because it doens't sound like you know much about how Catholic weddings work, so I am a bit confused. Sounds like there is a lot of cultures going on in this wedding, which is fine, but just trying to figure out how that works into the equation.

    Unless you get special permission, and that is often quite rare, Catholic marriages occur only inside Catholic churches. So if your heart is set on an outside wedding, chances are you won't find a Catholic priest willing or able to officiate. 

    Secondly, yes, there are most definitely prayers -- you can even have a full Mass said with your wedding (although there is an option to just have the ceremony, too). A Nuptial Mass is typically around an hour or even a bit over, while the Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony alone runs about 20 minutes, all said and done, or so I believe (other posters, correct me if I'm wrong on that -- just going off experience, here!). 

    If you get married Catholic, you will have to attend pre-marriage counseling through a local Catholic Church (called Pre-Cana), and you and your fiance will have to make a vow that you intend to have your children raised Catholic. 

    If you are uncomfortable with these aspects, you may want to rethink how to do your wedding. 

    ETA some specificity. 
                        


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  • @tigerlily6 I am Catholic and was raised Catholic, but have never been to a Catholic wedding before so I'm at a total loss. My Mom told me that it's possible but difficult to get a priest to do something out of the church, so I knew about that hump but was hoping the father of my church would understand or something else could be worked out - even if that means no Catholic priest.

    I knew about the classes as well. The wedding isn't until the end of next year, so we'll have plenty of time to complete them once we start grad school (right now we live in two separate cities because we met in undergrad). Him and I have spoken on the children and he understood them being brought up Catholic.
  • geebee908geebee908 member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    edited January 2016
    PP is correct; an outdoor Catholic wedding is not likely. This can happen only with the consent of the bishop, and that is only given for extraordinary cases. I would guess your reason for wanting an outdoor wedding isn't going to be compelling.

    You also can't write your own vows; the rite for the sacrament is spelled out and the vows are part of that. Meet with your priest; he's your best source of information.

    Just a quick summary: we're having an outdoor ceremony and will likely be married by a Catholic priest (if possible) but would like to write our own vows and include a unity candle ceremony.

    I'm unfamiliar with the traditions of a Catholic ceremony though (i.e. length of the ceremony, apparently there's a prayer??) and even more unfamiliar with traditions of Hispanic weddings (Cuban and/or Puerto Rican to be exact). We want to incorporate some cultural traditions because it's fun, but not be sooo traditional. Especially since we're mixed as it is (his family is Presbyterian and mostly European white and Irish with a bunch of other stuff thrown in there). The cultural stuff is more important to me than him (his whole family seems to be that way), but we're trying to figure out how to incorporate stuff from his lineage too. So far he's fine with the traditions from my family in the ceremony as it stands.

    Leave it where it is or do research?

    collegechictigerlily6SP29
  • tigerlily6tigerlily6 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    @Knottie15770957, sounds good, just wanted to make sure you were aware. Some brides aren't and it can throw a big kink into their plans. I still think the first step you need to do is confirm with a priest that he has dispensation to perform an outdoor ceremony, since, like I said, this is usually a very rare exception to the common rule that you should be wed in a church itself. Unless you have a strong compelling reason to be married outside, many bishops may not give a priest permission to oversee a marriage outside a church (For some sense of why, I recommend you start with http://catholicweddinghelp.com/questions/outdoor-wedding.htm ). 

    I have a few friends who are Puerto Rican, but they were already married when I met them, so I am not sure about any specific cultural things you can do to honor that. As far as Irish goes, booze usually is a good idea at a wedding. ;)
                        


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  • Lolz, for sure @tigerlily6 ! :D One of the first things my fiancé did was check out the bars and the alcohol options at each venue we've seen! Thanks for the link!

    And thanks for the help ladies! Writing our own vows is very important to us @geebee908 so thank you very much for letting me know that, I had absolutely no idea haha.
  • OP, are you aware that if you do not get married in a Catholic ceremony, you will not be able to take communion again?  Do you plan to raise your children, if any, in the Catholic faith?
    I think these are more important issues than having an outdoor ceremony or writing your own vows.
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    holyguacamole79
  • @CMGragain I was not aware of that fine print. We had discussed raising the children in the Catholic faith, would our lack of a Catholic ceremony prevent that as well? That seems a bit silly to me... Something to consider, but I'm sure we can find a solution. The personalization of our vows is actually very important to us, and the outdoor ceremony was one of the few things my fiancé requested and he is helping pay so I must honor that request.
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2016
    Yes, you will be able to raise your children in the Catholic faith, but when they go up for their first communion, you will not be able to partake.

    May I suggest a solution?  Talk to your priest, arrange pre-cana, have a Catholic ceremony in the church.  At your reception, you can make some additional promises (vows) to each other.

    Protestants often do not understand the importance of Catholic rules.  Your FI probably has no idea that there are consequences to his outdoor ceremony wish.  The concept of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is something that a protestant will not understand, since marriage is not a sacrament for protestants.

    You and your FI need to talk seriously about religious issues before you do any wedding planning.
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Just a quick summary: we're having an outdoor ceremony and will likely be married by a Catholic priest (if possible) but would like to write our own vows and include a unity candle ceremony. I'm unfamiliar with the traditions of a Catholic ceremony though (i.e. length of the ceremony, apparently there's a prayer??) and even more unfamiliar with traditions of Hispanic weddings (Cuban and/or Puerto Rican to be exact). We want to incorporate some cultural traditions because it's fun, but not be sooo traditional. Especially since we're mixed as it is (his family is Presbyterian and mostly European white and Irish with a bunch of other stuff thrown in there). The cultural stuff is more important to me than him (his whole family seems to be that way), but we're trying to figure out how to incorporate stuff from his lineage too. So far he's fine with the traditions from my family in the ceremony as it stands. Leave it where it is or do research?
    I'm not really sure how you can be raised Catholic but not know whether there is prayer in a Catholic Rite of Marriage.  It is a Sacrament of Marriage.

    No priest in good standing with the church will perform a Catholic wedding ceremony outside the walls of a church.  There is a long historical perspective as to why Catholics host their ceremonies within sacred walls.  On rare occasion, and under extraordinary circumstances, a priest will validate a marriage elsewhere besides a church.  I am fairly confident your circumstances will not qualify for that dispensation.

    Further, because marrying in the Catholic faith IS a sacrament, part of its ritual is the words spoken in the vows.  Writing your own vows will not be possible.

    If your preference is an outdoor ceremony versus marrying within the faith, then understand that your marriage will not be recognized by the church.  As such, you will no longer be a member of the community in good standing, and will no longer be allowed to participate in  the sacrament of the Eucharist.
    CMGragainSTARMOON44InLoveInQueens
  • Would it by chance be possible to have a casual ceremony like I've seen some couples do vow renewals, separate from the wedding itself? Have you heard of that before @CMGragain ?
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2016
    This would be an offense to the Catholic church.  Your priest would be the person to advise you.
    It is possible to have an interfaith wedding with both and priest and a Presbyterian minister officiating.  No mass, and it must be held in a Catholic church.  Again, you need to talk to your priest.
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  • tigerlily6tigerlily6 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2016
    I think @CMGragain's original idea of having extra words of promise exchanged during the reception would be the best time and place, rather than trying to do an extra ceremony. If you will already have had a ceremony in a Catholic church, that should be sufficient, both spiritually and socially (the Catholic church would probably be offended by a second ceremony, and guests probably wouldn't want to sit through two ceremonies). You could definitely recite some romantic promises to one another during the reception, however. Maybe before or after toasts during the dinner? I think that could be a good time and be very nice. 

    As everybody has stressed above, however, please talk with your priest first and foremost. 

    ETA clarity.
                        


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  • Okay, I'll have this discussion with him and my family. Thank you for the information! It's embarrassing that I don't this already lolz, but none of my family members have ever had a Catholic ceremony (that I've been to), I'm the first one to try. Everyone else did non-denominational Christian ceremonies, I think I can understand why now.

    And @tigerlily6 I meant more of a private ceremony, just him and myself and our parents. My parents did something similar in Puerto Rico (they had 3 separate ceremonies, though for them it was because my Mom's Dad pass away suddenly).
  • @Knottie15770957, got it, that is a bit more clear. I think it is great that you are looking into how to accommodate both your faith and your fiance's. It can be tricky with interfaith marriages at times -- sometimes you can find middle ground, as @CMGragain suggested (where you have two presiders). But when you add in non-negotiables, sometimes a compromise simply can't work. I think ultimately, the most honest thing is to have one ceremony and stick with whatever decision you've made. That could be a Catholic wedding, in which case you will have to compromise having an outdoor wedding and writing your own vows, or it could be an outdoor wedding (perhaps Presbyterian if your FI wants?) where you could write your own vows, but you will have to compromise being in good-standing with the Catholic Church. You will need to figure out what the priorities are here. Talk with your fiance, talk with a local priest, and maybe talk with a local protestant minister. Hopefully you can determine what the best path for your and your future husband and family will be. Best wishes and prayers for you, regardless of what choice you make. :) 
                        


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  • Again, thanks so much for your help and information! ❤ There's definitely a lot to be discussed with everyone haha.

    And in perfect honesty, we originally going to ask his father to marry us (his Dad is a Presbyterian pastor), and with that information have chosen our venue, but my FFIL has now threatened for a second time that he may not even attend the wedding, so rather than risk that he follows through we started trying to figure things out. I always wanted to look into a Catholic ceremony but knew nothing about it haha, so thank you all again very much!
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Again, thanks so much for your help and information! ❤ There's definitely a lot to be discussed with everyone haha. And in perfect honesty, we originally going to ask his father to marry us (his Dad is a Presbyterian pastor), and with that information have chosen our venue, but my FFIL has now threatened for a second time that he may not even attend the wedding, so rather than risk that he follows through we started trying to figure things out. I always wanted to look into a Catholic ceremony but knew nothing about it haha, so thank you all again very much!
    Please make sure that your intentions for marrying within in the Catholic faith are sincere.  Wanting to "look into a Catholic ceremony" and desiring to marry within your faith are two very different mindsets.  It would be disrespectful to the church and the faith to marry unless you had a strong desire to be a practicing Catholic.  You typically also need to be a member of the parish to marry there.  Are you a member in any parish?

    It sounds as if you have already selected your venue.  Please understand that most parishes have very set times for which they offer marriage ceremonies.  The parish will not change these times to accommodate you and your venue schedule.  If you plan to marry on a Saturday, my guess is that the very latest your parish will offer a time is 3:00 PM.  It is dependent on the time of their Saturday mass schedule. 
    STARMOON44holyguacamole79
  • @MobKaz

    1) I am a member, I'm aware you must be a member to wed.

    2) Prior to my fiancé bringing up wanting his father to marry us, I was always planning on a traditional Catholic ceremony in a church. When he brought up wanting his Dad to do it, I said that I was fine with that. However, since announcing our engagement his father has done nothing but protest us, and so we reverted back to my original plan.

    Sorry that I don't seem to explain things very clearly. Communicating the full scale of things is difficult over text like this.
  • So I'm not Catholic, but was recently in a Catholic wedding where in addition to the vows of the church the couple were able to include their own vows as well. So they did everything that was required by the church but we're also able to say their own during the ceremony. Take the word of the Catholic ladies here over me, but it might be something to look into as well.
    collegechic
  • @CMGragain I was not aware of that fine print. We had discussed raising the children in the Catholic faith, would our lack of a Catholic ceremony prevent that as well? That seems a bit silly to me... Something to consider, but I'm sure we can find a solution. The personalization of our vows is actually very important to us, and the outdoor ceremony was one of the few things my fiancé requested and he is helping pay so I must honor that request.

    You could (possibly) have a covalidation down the line. However, there usually have to be extenuating circumstances for this.

    My parents did this and my brother and I were baptized when we were 4 and 6 so we could go to Catholic school (it's no longer a requirement where we live).

    Your best bet would be to have a church wedding and a reception where you would like and maybe incorporate some of your traditions then.
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ditto all the PPs. Before you make any official plans, I suggest you & FI schedule a meeting with your parish priest to discuss your concerns, your desires, and come to decisions regarding what is best for you regarding your wedding and your faith. If you're considering a Catholic wedding and have never been to one, I suggest you go attend one. Catholic weddings aren't necessarily private. You could possibly ask your priest if there is one scheduled in the near future and attend just the ceremony.

    Regardless, I don't think you should incorporate cultural / religious traditions just for the sake of doing them. If they mean something to you, awesome. If not, I don't think it's appropriate (just my opinion).
    ShesSoColdSP29
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