Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Full Mass?

Hey ladies! I haven't searched the board much for this question, so I'm sorry if it's already been asked, but my FI and I are both Catholic. We will be having a full mass, but most of the guests are not church-going catholics so I'm nervous they will feel awkward. 

I know this is "our day" but I really do love everyone attending and would hate for them to feel uncomfortable. Has anyone dealt with this before? Any suggestions? Some people may have no idea what's going on or what to do during the ceremony and I would hate for them to feel confused. 

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Re: Full Mass?

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    Most church weddings, regardless of the denomination, rarely if ever have 100% attendance from the same religion.  H and I had a full Catholic ceremony, and there were many of our guests who weren't Catholic, including some of H's family and our WP.  The people who don't know whats going on can manage to fake it.  Programs help to follow along with the ceremony, and they'll just follow the crowd on when to sit and stand. 

    The only time we had a small problem was during Communion.  My side was a majority of Cathlics, so they all were getting up row by row.  H's side had a few Catholics in his WP, then his mom in the 2nd row, but then nobody else stood up.  After a minute or two, a friends mom realized and stood up from several pews back to come up to Communion and then others followed.  The confusion was that they weren't sure if the people in the pews in between just weren't getting up yet, or weren't Catholic.  It wasn't a big issue, but it could have been avoided by maybe having 2 GMs recieve Communion and then act as ushers. 
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    The GM idea is wonderful! I'll be sure to steal that idea :) Thanks so much!
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    We also had a full Mass. I would say we had about half of the guests that were Catholic. The others that were not, knew we were both Catholic and most were familiar with our faith. We also had a pretty detailed wedding program.

    Before Communion, our priest explained the guidelines in order to receive. Those that were not Catholic could come up for a blessing or just remain in the pews.
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    I am protestant (and am usually in a denomination that's pretty far from Catholic). Although I've never been to a Catholic wedding, I have been to a Catholic service. It was at first slightly akward for me in the sense that I'm afraid I'll do something stupid (thank goodness I've never accidentally tried to take communion), but I would be more than OK going to a Catholic wedding because Catholiscim is an important part of your life. It's a bit like experiencing rituals in a foreign culture, you may feel akward and somewhat out of place, but at the same time you can respect their traditions and feel honored to be a part of them.

    Furthermore, I don't think anyone is offended by a couple taking their vows and wedding very seriously, which a mass obviously does. I would actually think it kind of strange if a very relgious couple secularized their ceremony to make their guests feel more at home.

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    I am Catholic (although not really practicing anymore so we are not having a Catholic wedding), but I say this to let you know I understand the whole "full Mass" concept and have been through it. I recently went to a full Mass wedding that took like 1.5 hours!! Yours may not be as long, but many guests got antsy. HOWEVER, it is your day, and if that is important to you, go for it. Although I knew everything that was going on, many others didn't but were able to follow along or at least sat quietly and just listened during all the responses, etc. They then just stayed seated or kneeling and didn't receive Communion. I don't think it would be awkward, esp. if they are with others who are not Catholic. Do what YOU want to do. I guess if any guests are just downright against it or way too uncomfortable, they could opt to just attend the reception.

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    First, I'd encourage you to join us over on the Catholic weddings board. (<-- Over on the left, it says "Cultural Wedding Boards." If you click, you get a drop-down menu and there is a Catholic Weddings board there.) There are lots of very informed, practicing Catholics who can help answer questions.

    Second, I'd encourage you to go the well-written program route. If guests know what to expect, know the responses, etc., they are likely to feel more comfortable. Just make sure that it isn't so detailed that guests are reading the program instead of listening to the service!

    Finally, I would suggest talking to your priest about your concerns. Most priests have performed many weddings and funerals -- two places where you are likely to get heavily non-Catholic attendance. He might have some suggestions or be able to tell you what kinds of cues he uses to help non-Catholics feel welcome.
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    I'm not Catholic and would have no problem attending a full mass ceremony.
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    We had a full mass with guests of mixed faiths and everyone thought it was beautiful. Most of our family and friends have been to Catholic weddings before so knew the Communion guidelines, but I don't think having a full church ceremony kept anyone from coming.
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    ZamphiriaZamphiria member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited November 2010
    We're having a nuptial mass and probably half to two-thirds attending are not going to be Catholic.  From attending other Catholic weddings I've noticed most priest are well aware of the fact that there are a great number of non-Catholics and "lapsed"Catholics in attendence and often give directions, like "please be seated" and "all rise", etc.
    Don't worry about it, think of it as a Anthropology lessen for your guests, especially if you hand out programs - like a mini World Religion lesson plan. Wink
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    btw, it annoys me when people say that they want to get married with "full mass"
    there is no half-mass. its either a ceremony, or one in the context of mass.
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    the purpose of your wedding ceremony is not to make people feel comfortable.  it is (in your case) to receive your sacrament and have  a mass said in your honor that will provide you with extra blessings and graces as you enter your married life.  you should not in anyway compromise your religious beliefs or your ceremony on your wedding day.  if people feel awkward, uncomfortable or think its too long, tehy will either skip the ceremony or sit in the back so tehy can slip out early.
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