Catholic Weddings

Wedding party at alter?!

Hi. I'm Tara. I'm getting married on 1-21-12 and I usually post on the January board. I thought I'd tell you an issue I'm having and get advice from you ladies here. (If you don't mind.)

We just came back from the meeting with the wedding coordinator at my church and I mentioned to her that when I went to one of my friend's wedding's back in July at that church I thought it was odd that she didn't have her wedding party stand up at the alter. They sat in the first few pews and only came up during the exchange of vows and rings. She said that what she did was normal. I said that I have been to several other Catholic ceremonies and the bridal party stood at the alter during most of the ceremony. Her response was "well we don't have the room here for them to stand. They must be seated." After explaining why I feel this way she said I could talk to the priest about it but she said he'll probably just say no.

I am so mad and upset because it seems like they will not be honored as my wedding party, they will only be up for less than 5 minutes during the entire 1 hour ceremony. I want them up there with us and now it's too late to change our church, plus this is the church I grew up in.
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Re: Wedding party at alter?!

  • edited December 2011
    Every wedding mass I've been to had the bridal party sit down.  Even the bride and groom sit at one point.  Personally, I would much rather sit than stand through an hour-long ceremony.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    The point of the wedding party is to be official witnesses of your marriage (and pray for you). During the mass, the Eucharist is the central focus. It is correct to have them up near you for your vows, but not for the rest of the mass. It's not about "not honoring" them. 
  • lalaith50lalaith50 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I've been to tons of Catholic weddings, and I don't think I've ever seen them stand up at any point other than the vows.
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  • Rummi302Rummi302 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I would prefer to sit down as a member of your wedding party. I'd actually be quite ticked if I had to stand that entire time, especially in heels. They'll feel honored because they're wearing special clothes, walking down the aisle, etc. 
  • edited December 2011
    Our WP also sat down the majority of the time. My MOH had to get up from her seat as we kneeled at the alter. I didn't think anything of it. They are all a witness to your marriage and are their to support you. While it is an honor to be in your wedding, the central focus is the ceremony.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with the others. I've never seen the bridal party stand through a Catholic mass. The bridal party sat for most of our mass, and I think that is way easier on the bridal party. I have been in several non-Catholic wedding parties at protestant churches and stood for a 30 or 40 minute ceremony, and it was not fun.

    Additionally, the nuptial mass is first and foremost a mass. The central focuses are Christ and the Eucharist, not the bride and groom (except during the Rite of Marriage, and even then, they are entering into Christ's Sacrament).
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  • TaraW1979TaraW1979 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks everyone. I guess I'm just used to going to non-religious ceremonies where they do stand up there the entire time. I'm going to ask my preist if they can stand up until my dad gives me away and then they sit. I don't want them to go right to their seats.
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  • ring_popring_pop member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Ditto everyone else, I've been to lots of Catholic weddings and I've never seen the bridal party stand the whole time. They sit and stand along with everyone during the mass. Heck when I was a BM I didn't even get to join the couple at the altar even for the Rite of Marriage, I stayed in the first pew the whole time.
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_wedding-party-alter?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:739eb1a8-2a5d-4689-ab25-0032feb92d17Post:ef5ad9f8-8760-40a0-af82-6b3b8ebb6e12">Re: Wedding party at alter?!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thanks everyone. I guess I'm just used to going to non-religious ceremonies where they do stand up there the entire time. I'm going to ask my preist if they can stand up until my dad gives me away and then they sit. I don't want them to go right to their seats.
    Posted by TaraW1979[/QUOTE]

    To clarify, my BP stood at the front of the church (because the altar is the actual table where the priest stands during the consecration) through the opening rites when everyone is standing, then sat in the first pew when everyone sat. They got up and stood in front of the church again for Rite of Marriage. They then returned to their seats for sitting/standing with the rest of the congregation for the rest of mass.
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  • mica178mica178 member
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    edited December 2011
    At all the Catholic ceremonies I've attended, the WP stands at the altAr only while the bride is still processing in and during the exchange of vows.  Otherwise, they are in the pews.

    Having stood at the altar for an entire Episcopalian wedding ceremony (pretty much the same length as a Catholic ceremony), I can tell you from experience that being in the first pew rather than at the altar is all the honor my poor feet prefer.
  • edited December 2011
    It's pretty normal for the BP to sit.  I have been a BM in 8 Catholic weddings.  I've always stood at the altar during the bridal procession, and during the Rite of Marriage.

    Once the BP had to stand up front the entire time.  It was horrible.  I almost passed out.  I think your bridesmaids would prefer to get to sit some :)

     

  • edited December 2011
    If I were a bridesmaid or MOH, I'd certainly rather sit! I think I'm going to appreciate being able to sit...an hour is a really long time to stand up anywhere, especially in heels.

    The last Catholic wedding I went to was at this lovely church at St. Louis University in St. Louis. Other than the Basilica, it doesn't get more formal...and the bridal party sat when the assembly sat, then went up for the Rite of Marriage.

    Linda
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_wedding-party-alter?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:739eb1a8-2a5d-4689-ab25-0032feb92d17Post:ef5ad9f8-8760-40a0-af82-6b3b8ebb6e12">Re: Wedding party at alter?!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thanks everyone. I guess I'm just used to going to non-religious ceremonies where they do stand up there the entire time. I'm going to ask my preist if they can stand up until my dad gives me away and then they sit. I don't want them to go right to their seats.
    Posted by TaraW1979[/QUOTE]

    Didn't you just say you've been to several Catholic ceremonies where the BP stood the whole time?

    In any case, PPs have explained it well.  They stand while you walk down the aisle, then they take their seats when everyone else does.  Depending on the church, they will sit in the front row, or up by the altar.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    catholic weddings rarely have the WP stand up there.  usually its just the MOH and BM as the official witnesses.  this is because the WP has no real purpose other than to make pictures look good.  they are not a necessary element.
  • lalaith50lalaith50 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_wedding-party-alter?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:739eb1a8-2a5d-4689-ab25-0032feb92d17Post:8485ed09-0f89-45b3-b6a6-2e32508e4377">Re: Wedding party at alter?!</a>:
    [QUOTE]  this is because the WP has no real purpose other than to make pictures look good.  they are not a necessary element.
    Posted by Calypso1977[/QUOTE]
    lol! nice reminder! :-)
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  • edited December 2011
    Calypso wrote (I couldn't quote it via ordinary means...for some reason it wanted me to register for some other site, LOL!)

    "catholic weddings rarely have the WP stand up there.  usually its just the MOH and BM as the official witnesses.  this is because the WP has no real purpose other than to make pictures look good.  they are not a necessary element."

    The only member of the WP we have is my MOH. The only person my FI wanted for his BM was killed in a tractor accident about six months before we got engaged. There was no one else he could think of that he wanted to stand up with him. So I think it's probably best that my MOH will be able to sit down...first, it won't emphasize the lack of a best man, and second, my MOH will be much more comfortable. We're not youngsters, LOL!


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  • TaraW1979TaraW1979 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_wedding-party-alter?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:739eb1a8-2a5d-4689-ab25-0032feb92d17Post:2002df1d-fb93-4718-8f97-8a0c4a5a4715">Re: Wedding party at alter?!</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Wedding party at alter?! : Didn't you just say you've been to several Catholic ceremonies where the BP stood the whole time? In any case, PPs have explained it well.  They stand while you walk down the aisle, then they take their seats when everyone else does.  Depending on the church, they will sit in the front row, or up by the altar.
    Posted by professorscience[/QUOTE]

    Well, I've been to three, I guess that's not several. I have been to about 6 non-religious ceremonies. The three I went to the bridal party stood a lot more than what my church is telling me. My church told me they go right to their seats, which is in the front pew, they do not stand at the alter. I would like them to stand at the alter and then file into their pew after my father gives me away.
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  • edited December 2011
    Every wedding we've been to the bridal party sits in the first pew, chairs are also sat in the middle for the bride and groom to sit. I personally would not want to stand for an hour
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  • edited December 2011
    During our ceremony (catholic without a mass) the bridal party only sat during the readings. They stood at the front during the beginning, sat during the readings in the first pew and us on the altar, and then they re-joined us for the rings and such. It concerned me at first too but once I saw how it would work in practice I wasn't as upset.
  • Kate61487Kate61487 member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    They'll still be standing for your procession; just in their pew.  Every Catholic wedding I've seen they process directly into the pew but they stay standing.  When the bride comes in everyone stands, so you wouldn't see them anyway.  It's funny how much we, as brides, focus on the procession, and we don't even see any of it!

    Like PPs, our BP sat for most of the mass and only stood up by us during the marriage rite.  My church doesn't agree with the aesthetic of the bride and groom sitting, so we knelt through the majority of the mass.  I've seen a few ceremonies where the MOH and BM were seated in front of the first pew so they're closer to the bride and groom, but they're still seated when the rest of the congregation (and the B&G) are seated.

    I think it's a little time consuming to have them file in, stand up front, then file into their pew, then file back out for the marriage rite, and then file back into the pew after.  If the first pew didn't have the front divider (so they could just sit/stand without going one by one) then it would be fine.  But really, you'd be surprised how long it takes for everyone to move and get settled.
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