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Catholic Weddings

Don't know where to begin.

Hi all,My SO of 3.5 years and I aren't yet engaged, but are seriously discussing marriage, most likely this spring. Here's the background. I was raised CATHOLIC with a capital C. My parents are extremely devout and conservative. SO's parents are Catholic and Lutheran and he was raised Lutheran, but his parents aren't practicing. Neither of us are currently practicing any faith. We'd like to do a very small, sort of informal ceremony with a larger reception. I haven't spoken to my parents about this yet, but they are very traditional and would most likely be paying for everything (my sister got married not too long ago and Mom and Dad covered everything). I don't know what our options are as far as finding some kind of compromise that won't make my folks go nuts. Ideally, I'd like to have a family member who is an ordained minister in a Christian but admittedly non-traditional faith perform the ceremony in a non-church setting. Would it be possible to have a priest there too and perform some kind of blessing? I'm so anxious about this, because when my sister got married, our parents completely took every aspect of the wedding over with the mindset of "our money, our decisions", and she had the huge formal catholic wedding. That is so completely the opposite of what we want and I'm hoping my parents have gotten that out of their system now, but I just don't know. Sorry this was a novel, but any advice would be appreciated.

Re: Don't know where to begin.

  • edited December 2011
    Okay, there are a couple of points to consider here. Unfortunately, if your parents pay, they really do have the final say. That's really how it goes. You should sit down and speak with them about your expectations and desires(after you are engaged -- I wouldn't bring it up now). Religion is a pretty big part of someone's life, so it would be pretty unfair if they honestly tried to shove something on you that you didn't want that related to religion. If they do, you should thank them but politely decline their money. Don't be scared about that; plenty of couples (like me and my fiance) pay for their own weddings! Also, you and your bf need to think about how you want religion to factor into your lives. If either of you suspected at all that you wanted to live even a little of the Catholic life or that you wanted to raise your kids in the Catholic faith, you should reconsider having a Catholic wedding. If your desire to include Catholicism in your ceremony is completely driven by your parents and neither of you are no longer interested in being Catholic at all (which is totally your choice!), then you two should think about not having a Catholic ceremony. Unfortunately, there are not too many ways to mix a Catholic and non-Catholic ceremony; the Catholic Church has very specific ideas about what constitutes the sacrament, and it's rather difficult to do only half of it and still be considered validly married. For example, most priests won't co-celebrate the sacrament with a minister of another faith in a non-Catholic setting. There are exceptions for dire situations, but the Church is pretty keen on keeping its sacraments within the blessed walls of a Catholic church. I see your dilemma, but you and your boyfriend need to figure this one out. If you honestly don't want Catholicism to be a part of your lives, you will need to tell this to both of your parents and be prepared to foot the whole wedding bill. If you decide that you're not ready to give up Catholicism yet, maybe you should think about having the ceremony in a Catholic church. It's up to you. GL!
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    ditto noonies. the biggest issue is whether you care if your marriage is recognized by the catholic church or not.  you can also have a small wedding in the catholic church with just immediate family, then the larger reception later (not not another do-over ceremony).  a catholic wedding does not equate to a big formal show.
  • lalala05lalala05 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Well, SO is really not down with a Catholic ceremony at all. He's not at all religious and feels like he shouldn't have to "fake it" on our wedding day by going through the motions, and that to do so would be disrespectful. I personally don't really have an opinion on whether or not the church recognizes the union, but I get the feeling that if it didn't my parents would be pretty heartbroken. I'm trying to find a compromise here but I feel pretty stressed and caught in the middle.
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    It sounds like neither one of you want a Catholic ceremony. I think that it is disrespectful for both of you to do a Catholic ceremony when you neither of you have any interest in the faith. Part of the ceremony includes the priest asking that you declare your intentions such as:- (Name) and (Name), have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage? - Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?- Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church? It seems to me that you do not meet 2 of the 3 above, so you really should not have a Catholic ceremony. If you were really interested in the faith, I would think differently. I agree with pp that you need to speak to your parents about this and you will need to be prepared to pay for your wedding on your own. From what you said about your parents' taking over all control of your sister's wedding, I think it might be best that they do not contribute significantly regardless of your ceremony. Weddings are difficult enough to plan, you do not want constant rug-of-war from others over every detail.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    if you dont believe it, you shouldnt do it.  IMO, its a worse sin to marry int eh church not believing it than it is to marry outside of the church. be frank with your parents about this.  be prepared to pay for your own wedding, but honestly, you should be doing this anyway. GL
  • ring_popring_pop member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    He's not at all religious and feels like he shouldn't have to "fake it" on our wedding day by going through the motions, and that to do so would be disrespectful. I agree with him 100%. Don't take your parents' money.
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  • tnspighttnspight member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree with pp's in that you need to be upfront with your parents about your beliefs and be prepared to pay for it yourselves.  You can then have whatever kind of wedding that you want.  Good luck!!
  • clearheavensclearheavens member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I agree with people. The biggest task now is to speak to your parents about the role of faith and religion in your life and in your bf's life. It will be a difficult discussion but they will need to know and understand you. Be brave. The rest, like wedding, should shortly follow. (I don't suggest on the same day.)
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  • baystateapplebaystateapple member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    With regards to your parents... My FI is agnostic (raised Catholic) and he was all right with marrying in the Church, but my parents, knowing that he was agnostic, thought he would talk me out of it until we came and told them we were getting married in the church. I was surprised that my father even asked, and when I asked him if he would have been angry had we married outside of the church, he said "Disappointed, yes...angry, no.  But it's your life, not mine." You might be surprised at their response.  I certainly wasn't expecting that from my die-hard, attends church every Sunday and retreat two times a year, has decorated my parents' house like the Vatican, Italian-Catholic father.
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  • lalala05lalala05 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thank you, baystateapple, that is really nice to hear...Your description of your parents' house cracks me up, sounds just like mine. And thanks everyone. This makes me nervous, but I know I'm not the first or last person to ever go through it.
  • edited December 2011
    Wow, so first of all, I cannot believe how similar our stories are. Both me and my FI are non-practicing raised catholics. I always wanted to have a garden wedding. My parents love the idea too, but they would like it recognized by the church. FIs mom is super Catholic, and there is no way she would accept the wedding without the religious ceremony. When we got engages FI said: "Getting married in church is the smallest thing I can do, to make my mother happy and save myself her complaining" so you see his attitude. With me it is more like this: I believe God exists, I have just been burnt by the Catholic priests before and stopped practicing. After years of not going, I really prefer the way my way of believing in God makes me feel... but, I love the tradition of the Catholic ceremony and I truly believe that having a deeply faithful person officiate it (priest) will help us connect with God on a deeper level. So, we will be getting married in a Catholic church, because that gives us what my FI wants and will give us what I want of it. I also feel that I do not want to take this choice away from our children. I trully believe that being raised in some faith helps build morale and character. One day I will want my children in Catholic school and learning about God. When they are adult like me, they can decide, like I did, what they want to believe in... having a Catholic ceremony will only make our lives easier moving forward. My last perk is - St. Margaret's in Pearl River, where we will be getting married is really the sweetest small old church I could have found, and this is the church that FI was an altar boy at once, and where his sister got married... this makes everyone happy
  • scoffindafferscoffindaffer member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    All I can say is our wedding is in 165 days includes 300 guests and is under $10,000, all paid by my and my man (including honeymoon) I'm very proud of this--you can do it lala :)
  • lalala05lalala05 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks :) That's encouraging!
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    I'm late on this one but I would never presume to tell someone else what is a sin or not as a previous poster did.If my daughter had said she wanted to be married outside the Catholic Church, I would have been quite surprised but would have respected her decision as an adult.Her dad?  maybe not so much so he probably would not have paid for the wedding, or downscaled it significantly. (we are divorced)  I'm not sure if his side of the family would have attended the wedding.I would have tried very hard to respect our differences and  pay for it anyhow.  It would bother me but I would STFU
  • lalala05lalala05 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Nice to get a Mom's perspective. Thanks for that!!
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