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Catholic Weddings

When you don't do a full Mass...

I'm interested to hear from anyone who's opted not to do a full Mass, what your ceremony looked like instead, what your reasons were for opting not to do a full Mass, or any other thoughts you might have. My fiancé and I are both Catholic but most of our guests will not be. I've always thought I'd do a full Mass but now I'm going back and forth...

Re: When you don't do a full Mass...

  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    We aren't having a mass because I'm not Catholic, but if I were we would definitely have a full mass. I actually feel a little bad for my FI that we aren't having one. Your guests who aren't Catholic aren't going to care if you have a full mass. I think it's usually expected if you go to a wedding at a Catholic church.
  • I agree with TXKristan. DH and I are both Catholic and there was no way we were not going to do the full nuptial mass. I would say only about a 1/3 of our guests were Catholic, but that wasn't the factor for us.
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  • I agree with PP -- don't let the fact that some of your guests won't participate in communion stop you from having the full mass.  It is, after all, YOUR wedding (and I feel like this is one of the few times where it's appropriate to play that card).  No one in my family is Catholic except me, and we even had a priest advise us not to have a mass if I was worried that my parents would be uncomfortable, but in the end it was about how we wanted our wedding to go.  We got sooooooooooo many compliments from Catholics and nonCatholics alike about how beautiful and personal the service was.

    To answer your question, a wedding without mass is about 45 minutes long, as opposed to an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  Everything except the Liturgy of the Eucharist is still there, so if you've been to Catholic weddings with mass, just imagine that communion wasn't there, and that's about what you'll have.  I've been to one wedding outside of mass, and it was still lovely and they're just as married as I am.  Hope that helps.



  • Ditto everyone else.

    There were maybe 5 other practicing Catholics at our wedding besides H and I.  Everyone said it was beautiful... although we did get a couple "boy Catholic ceremonies are long".  But really, our ceremony was only 1 hour.  Without the mass, it probably would've been 45 minutes.  Not that big of a difference, and anyone who would complain that it's too long would probably say the same about 45 minutes as an hour.

    It was amazing receiving the eucharist as a married couple in that moment, and the whole symbolism of the mass being the wedding of the lamb is just too beautiful to forsake.

  • We definitely wanted to do the full mass, we didn't even consider not doing a full mass.  We are both Catholic though.


  • itzMSitzMS member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary

    I'm an outlier being that we're two Catholics and we didn't do a full Mass. I don't have a particularly "good reason" or anything like that. We talked through the options with our Priest, and opted for no full Mass. We had a Holy Day of Obligation (Assumption of Mary) three days before our Saturday wedding and attended that Mass together obviously and got a special blessing for our upcoming marriage from the Priest and the congregation. It was nice, but I'm an outlier here and am not saying my choice is right or wrong.

    Our marriage ceremony was then the same as every other Mass, like others have said, without the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

  • IMO, if you are both catholic, you should have Mass.  the denomination of your guests is completely irrelevant.
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  • My fiancé is catholic and I am not but I think we are having a full mass. We are discussing it this weekend when we take our ee weekend certificate to the priest.
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  • Aray82Aray82 member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Thanks, ladies! I've been away from this site for awhile since my computer's been in the shop and when I'm at school I have to manage my online class/write my dissertation...though wedding planning is way more fun :) I am leaning toward Mass now and I think our church may actually require it.
  • My husband and I had the ceremony without the Mass because he's not Catholic.  If he had converted, I would have pushed for us to have the Mass, but he probably would have been uncomfortable having one since less than a quarter of our guests were Catholic.  Most of his family members and friends had never even been inside a Catholic Church before (they're Mennonite) and we didn't want people complaining that only my dad's family (and a few others) could receive communion.

    Our ceremony was close to an hour long, thanks to our long-winded Deacon.  My uber-Catholic aunts told me later that it was so beautiful that they barely noticed that there wasn't a Mass.  My husband's Mennonite relatives were pleasantly surprised at how similar it was to their own services.

    Anyway, the wedding is for you and your husband; the reception is for your guests.  Have the ceremony that you want.  Even if some guests think that it's too long, they're not going to think that you should have done it differently so they wouldn't get bored--and if they did, who would care about their opinion?

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