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Catholic Weddings

Note for Non-Catholic Attending Our Wedding

Hey everyone,
I could swear that I'd read something like this on this board before, but I've searched and can't find it.

I am building my wedding website and would like to put a note out for non-Catholics as we're having the full Catholic Mass. I was thinking of putting something like, "While they will not be able to participate in communion, we would appreciate all non-Catholics participating as fully in our wedding ceremony as possible." The majority of our families are Catholic, but we have a few family members and some friends that are not.

I know that most non-Catholics will realize that they can't take communion. However, I would really like everyone to "do the Catholic dance" - sit, stand, kneel, stand, sit, etc; Laughing join in the Rite of Marriage responses, etc. In particular, I have some Lutheran cousins that just sat there looking pissed at my aunt's wedding that they had to even be in a Catholic church a couple of weekends ago.

Am I being too hard on people? I don't know - I just want everyone to join in our special ceremony with us, and I don't know how to approach the issue.
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Re: Note for Non-Catholic Attending Our Wedding

  • edited December 2011
    I would suggest that you find the pages in the missal that have the simple out line of the mass. It's usually located in the front. I used that this weekend for my FI when we were at mass. He was able to follow along and know exactly what to say and when to stand/sit/kneel. it made him feel much more comfortable with the flow of mass. You could also invite your guests to get a blessing from the priest. Our priest this weekend explained that those not participating in communion, for whatever reason, could fold their arms over their chest in order to get a blessing. You might ask the priest to mention that.
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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I'd probably forgoe the direct request to non-Catholics in lieu of providing information as pp mentioned. Maybe something along the lines of "In order to help our guests follow along and participate in our ceremony, we've provided some information below for those that may not be familiar with the Catholic ceremony".

    I'd try not to spell out "non-Catholics" because it's not necessary and it may make them feel singled-out. Plus, there are some that may be "Catholic" that would also benefit from the information you provide.

    As for the sitting/kneeling/standing...from all the weddings I've been to, most people will just follow the crowd. I highly doubt there will be a lot of people sitting when everyone else is standing or vice versa.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    I know that most non-Catholics will realize that they can't take communion. However, I would really like everyone to "do the Catholic dance" - sit, stand, kneel, stand, sit, etc; Laughing join in the Rite of Marriage responses, etc.

    you really cannot force people to participate in your ceremony/mass, particularly if they may feel uncomfortable worshipping/praying in a church that is not of their denomination.  so you can welcome folks to join and provide the appropriate literature, etc. but you cant get upset if someone doesnt kneel or say prayers as it might go against their individual beliefs.
  • edited December 2011
    Ask your priest if he will outline the guidelines for receiving communion right before it starts. I have seen this done at Catholic weddings and the priest knows how to verbalize it in a tactful and respectful way.
  • edited December 2011
    I love how OP calls it a "dance"! It definately kind of is. I feel the same way. Maybe not to go as far as making sure everyone says all the words because that can definately go against others' beliefs but to at least sit and stand at appropriate times. If they didn't I would think that the person sitting while everyone else is standing is being disrespectful to what I believe in and they are visiting a place where my beliefs are front and center.
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  • edited December 2011
    I don't have the exact wording with me-  but in our mass booklet I wrote a "thank you for joining us" kind of paragraph and encouraged everyone to participate and to sing.   I made a special plea to my mom's side, and it must have worked b/c everyone sang and everyone participated!  We had gone to a wedding a few weeks before our own where we were the only two we could hear, and we definitely wanted it to be a celebration.   We chose well known music for most of the mass parts-  and the tunes for our gathering song and recessional song were well known, even if the words were not (we provided the lyrics).   I think we only had one non-catholic in attendance- and he mentioned later we were more lively than he thought catholics were :)


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  • Tuneful_BrideTuneful_Bride member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think the best way of helping people feel comfortable participating in the ceremony is to have a very detailed program, where they can follow along with all the prayers and responses, and insert little reminders in italics (The people stand. The people kneel, etc.)
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Note for Non-Catholic Attending Our Wedding:
    [QUOTE]I think the best way of helping people feel comfortable participating in the ceremony is to have a very detailed program, where they can follow along with all the prayers and responses, and insert little reminders in italics (The people stand. The people kneel, etc.)
    Posted by Tuneful_Bride[/QUOTE]

    Ditto.  I don't think you need to single out non-Catholics...  Just put together a very detailed program, with every response, the music, and notes about when to stand or kneel.  I did this, and I was amazed at how many people sang.  (I probably shouldn't have been surprised, though -- I had a bunch of evangelical Protestants in attendance who love active participation at church.  ) 
  • unplainjaneunplainjane member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    my FI is catholic and i'm not so i know how it feels to first come into mass and not know what to do. it can be very intimating. definitely don't mention non-catholics in the program. that will make them feel like they are being singled out. you can't expect them to follow along to what is happening. they know they are guests and just want to be respectful and want to try to blend in. often non-catholics will try to sit in the back as to not draw attention to themselves. as pp mentioned in the programs simple write down when they should kneel, stand, sing, etc. definitely don't expect that they will do it though. they may feel very uncomfortable participating and may feel most comfortable just sitting. it's not that they don't think your ceremony is special and they are not trying to be disrespectful to the religion, they simply are just not familar to what is going on and just want to be a bystander not a participant.
  • sallyanne7sallyanne7 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks so so much for putting in your two cents everybody! I honestly hadn't even thought about what to put in the program yet. I was just asking about my Knot.com website. All of your responses were so helpful though! Also I really am not trying to be a b*tch to anyone that is not Catholic; please don't think that! I'm really nice and non-judgmental in real life!! Smile You know how hard it is to express things online... I just want my guests to have as great a time as they can!

    I will definitely ask our priest to direct everyone as when to sit, stand, kneel, etc. I will also try to make those programs as detailed as possible. Dang, those things might be a mile long, but too bad! Bella, your suggestion about the blessing was smart too! That's what I used to do before my first Communion!

    Thanks again everyone. You've been so helpful!
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