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Etiquette

Bridesmaid Etiquette

perdonamiperdonami member
Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
edited August 2016 in Etiquette
So, my friend is having a traditional Catholic wedding in the next few days and I am very excited for her! 

But, I have some concerns as I am not familiar with Catholicism and am worried I may accidently do something offensive or make myself look stupid, and thus make her feel embarrassed. A few months ago, I asked a of couple times if there is going to be any kind of rehearsal and apparently there won't be. She explained that we won't be told what to to do until 30 minutes before the ceremony. She also explained to me that she hasn't spoken to her priest about the process but that the rest of her family is handling it. 

Now, I just recently received a text that some of the bridal party is meeting up prior to the wedding the night before to discuss the ceremony but that I don' t need to come. 

Is it normal to not have a rehearsal prior to a traditional Catholic wedding? Is there anything I should know besides the basics?

ETA:
I also recently discovered that she has provided us with jewelry to wear as our BM gift. Of course I don't mind receiving jewelry as a gift, but I wanted to wear my own since I matched it to the shoes and dress she selected for us to wear. 

I don't want to come off as rude if I don't wear it but I'd much rather wear my own.


«1

Re: Bridesmaid Etiquette

  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    short+sassy
  • Thank you for the advice. 
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited August 2016
    Also, if the church has missalettes (spelling?), those will be your best friend. They have instructions on when to kneel, when to stand, when and how to respond to prayers, etc

    Hoping some Catholic Knotties comment; I grew up Catholic, but a lot has changed since I left the church.
    perdonami
  • I would also encourage you to follow the lead of another non-Catholic bridal party member. If you end up doing something not perfect, at least you will be in good company.

    Rehearsals aren't always necessary. The bride should be willing and able to answer any questions that you have. If she doesn't have time/is unwilling to provide answers to your question, you could always ask a member of her family for specifics.

    OurWildKingdomperdonami
  • Wear the jewelry she gave you. It's not unreasonable for her to do that. 
    DrillSergeantCatInLoveInQueensGoingGoshko
  • The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    Unless you are Catholic yourself, the Catholic Church does not permit you to take Communion as far as I am aware.

    Anyway, there's really not anything one can do that would be offensive or look stupid that it's not already common sense not to do at a wedding, like running around the aisles or talking during the ceremony. Stand when others stand, sit or kneel when they do, and it's acceptable to remain sitting when others kneel, though you should scoot up a bit so the person behind you is not directly up on your back. Do not feel obligated to speak/sing since you likely will not know the words. If the priest says something like "The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you," the response is, "And also with you." Bow your head during prayer out of respect, but you need not do anything else if you don't pray personally.

    As far as the ceremony, it's easily something you can be told what to do 30 minutes ahead. You can assume you will be walking down the aisle in some fashion, possibly with a groomsman or alone, and you will either stand at the front or sit in the first row. Super easy and no need for rehearsal.
    image
    SP29short+sassy
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    No advice on the Catholic service, but I agree with Starmoon on the jewelry. We generally encourage brides to let the WP choose and wear their own accessories, but since she bought them for you and wants you to wear them, you should do it.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • edited August 2016
    I was in a Catholic wedding, although not Catholic. There was also a Jewish bridesmaid and an agnostic. The priest told us before the ceremony when to stand and sit and that we had the option of a blessing but could say no if we wanted. It's not different (just longer and more standing up/sitting down) than any other ceremony. If you have questions or there is something you're asked to do you don't understand just ask right before the ceremony starts. 
    perdonami
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    Unless you are Catholic yourself, the Catholic Church does not permit you to take Communion as far as I am aware.

    Anyway, there's really not anything one can do that would be offensive or look stupid that it's not already common sense not to do at a wedding, like running around the aisles or talking during the ceremony. Stand when others stand, sit or kneel when they do, and it's acceptable to remain sitting when others kneel, though you should scoot up a bit so the person behind you is not directly up on your back. Do not feel obligated to speak/sing since you likely will not know the words. If the priest says something like "The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you," the response is, "And also with you." Bow your head during prayer out of respect, but you need not do anything else if you don't pray personally.

    As far as the ceremony, it's easily something you can be told what to do 30 minutes ahead. You can assume you will be walking down the aisle in some fashion, possibly with a groomsman or alone, and you will either stand at the front or sit in the first row. Super easy and no need for rehearsal.


    All of this, in addition to what Marie and Guac said.

    But to the second bolded, the answer is now: "And with your spirit".  They changed most of the phrasing used in Mass around 4-5 years ago now.

    You can probably skip trying to follow along in the Missal, as the priest/deacon leading the ceremony will announce sitting/standing/kneeling.  Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with. 

    During the Sign of Peace, it is a time to shake hands with your neighbors and wish them peace.  During some Catholic ceremonies, the B&G may go to all WP members and their parents during this time.  So that may be slightly longer than usual.

    And if you have someone sitting behind you, and you don't want to kneel, please sit forward a bit.  It's very difficult for the person behind you to properly kneel if you are sitting all the way back.

    scrunchythiefMandyPandy87
  • Don't be too worried about when to stand/sit/kneel. I grew up Catholic, and have been to a lot of Catholic weddings, and one thing I've learned is that about 99% of priests understand that at events like a wedding many people may not be Catholic. So they really spell out what you're supposed to be doing (by saying things like "please stand" "please kneel" etc.), they also usually give a heads up if there's communion, if you're not Catholic you can come up for a blessing or remain in your seat. 

    You most likely will not be the only non-Catholic, so just follow the program listen for what the priest says. Don't worry, you'll be fine!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    OurWildKingdomperdonami
  • ei34ei34 member
    2500 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My best friend is Muslim, and she just followed my sisters' leads during my Catholic ceremony as far as when to sit and stand.  She said that was easier than following our program which also had "sit" "kneel" etc.  We did have a rehearsal at the church, but it was a 15-minute who's walking down the aisle with who kind of thing, not a run through of the mass.  
    I was a bridesmaid in a Greek wedding once, and I was more thrown by not understanding the language than i was being in a church outside of my faith.  The Greek-speaking BM next to me helped me a lot.
  • The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    Unless you are Catholic yourself, the Catholic Church does not permit you to take Communion as far as I am aware.

    Anyway, there's really not anything one can do that would be offensive or look stupid that it's not already common sense not to do at a wedding, like running around the aisles or talking during the ceremony. Stand when others stand, sit or kneel when they do, and it's acceptable to remain sitting when others kneel, though you should scoot up a bit so the person behind you is not directly up on your back. Do not feel obligated to speak/sing since you likely will not know the words. If the priest says something like "The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you," the response is, "And also with you." Bow your head during prayer out of respect, but you need not do anything else if you don't pray personally.

    As far as the ceremony, it's easily something you can be told what to do 30 minutes ahead. You can assume you will be walking down the aisle in some fashion, possibly with a groomsman or alone, and you will either stand at the front or sit in the first row. Super easy and no need for rehearsal.


    All of this, in addition to what Marie and Guac said.

    But to the second bolded, the answer is now: "And with your spirit".  They changed most of the phrasing used in Mass around 4-5 years ago now.

    You can probably skip trying to follow along in the Missal, as the priest/deacon leading the ceremony will announce sitting/standing/kneeling.  Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with. 

    During the Sign of Peace, it is a time to shake hands with your neighbors and wish them peace.  During some Catholic ceremonies, the B&G may go to all WP members and their parents during this time.  So that may be slightly longer than usual.

    And if you have someone sitting behind you, and you don't want to kneel, please sit forward a bit.  It's very difficult for the person behind you to properly kneel if you are sitting all the way back.

    I, as a Jew, know this thanks to John Mulaney's most recent stand up special. Highly recommend it, we were laughing so hard the entire time :)
    OliveOilsMom
  • It's also fine to just sit there. If you're not comfortable participating in any aspect, respectful silence is fine. 
    ViczaesarSP29short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • It's also fine to just sit there. If you're not comfortable participating in any aspect, respectful silence is fine. 

    This. I'm culturally Jewish, religiously agnostic / atheist (haven't decided between the two). When I attend a catholic wedding, I just sit there. Honestly, if I don't believe what's being preached, i think it's more respectful to just sit and listen than to go along with the motions just because everyone else is doing it. I don't want to disrespect anyone's faith by pretending.
    MairePoppyGreenjinjo short+sassy
  • The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    Unless you are Catholic yourself, the Catholic Church does not permit you to take Communion as far as I am aware.

    Anyway, there's really not anything one can do that would be offensive or look stupid that it's not already common sense not to do at a wedding, like running around the aisles or talking during the ceremony. Stand when others stand, sit or kneel when they do, and it's acceptable to remain sitting when others kneel, though you should scoot up a bit so the person behind you is not directly up on your back. Do not feel obligated to speak/sing since you likely will not know the words. If the priest says something like "The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you," the response is, "And also with you." Bow your head during prayer out of respect, but you need not do anything else if you don't pray personally.

    As far as the ceremony, it's easily something you can be told what to do 30 minutes ahead. You can assume you will be walking down the aisle in some fashion, possibly with a groomsman or alone, and you will either stand at the front or sit in the first row. Super easy and no need for rehearsal.


    All of this, in addition to what Marie and Guac said.

    But to the second bolded, the answer is now: "And with your spirit".  They changed most of the phrasing used in Mass around 4-5 years ago now.

    You can probably skip trying to follow along in the Missal, as the priest/deacon leading the ceremony will announce sitting/standing/kneeling.  Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with. 

    During the Sign of Peace, it is a time to shake hands with your neighbors and wish them peace.  During some Catholic ceremonies, the B&G may go to all WP members and their parents during this time.  So that may be slightly longer than usual.

    And if you have someone sitting behind you, and you don't want to kneel, please sit forward a bit.  It's very difficult for the person behind you to properly kneel if you are sitting all the way back.

    Thanks, @OliveOilsMom

    I haven't been to a Catholic service in over 5 years (and am not Catholic, we went with a friend) and the Presbyterian church we attend now still uses 'And also with you.' Interesting that the Catholic phrase changed.
    image
    OliveOilsMom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    Unless you are Catholic yourself, the Catholic Church does not permit you to take Communion as far as I am aware.

    Anyway, there's really not anything one can do that would be offensive or look stupid that it's not already common sense not to do at a wedding, like running around the aisles or talking during the ceremony. Stand when others stand, sit or kneel when they do, and it's acceptable to remain sitting when others kneel, though you should scoot up a bit so the person behind you is not directly up on your back. Do not feel obligated to speak/sing since you likely will not know the words. If the priest says something like "The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you," the response is, "And also with you." Bow your head during prayer out of respect, but you need not do anything else if you don't pray personally.

    As far as the ceremony, it's easily something you can be told what to do 30 minutes ahead. You can assume you will be walking down the aisle in some fashion, possibly with a groomsman or alone, and you will either stand at the front or sit in the first row. Super easy and no need for rehearsal.


    All of this, in addition to what Marie and Guac said.

    But to the second bolded, the answer is now: "And with your spirit".  They changed most of the phrasing used in Mass around 4-5 years ago now.

    You can probably skip trying to follow along in the Missal, as the priest/deacon leading the ceremony will announce sitting/standing/kneeling.  Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with. 

    During the Sign of Peace, it is a time to shake hands with your neighbors and wish them peace.  During some Catholic ceremonies, the B&G may go to all WP members and their parents during this time.  So that may be slightly longer than usual.

    And if you have someone sitting behind you, and you don't want to kneel, please sit forward a bit.  It's very difficult for the person behind you to properly kneel if you are sitting all the way back.

    Thanks, @OliveOilsMom

    I haven't been to a Catholic service in over 5 years (and am not Catholic, we went with a friend) and the Presbyterian church we attend now still uses 'And also with you.' Interesting that the Catholic phrase changed.
    The Episcopal Church also uses, "And also with you," at least in the Rite II service.
    LadyCatherineDB
  • I was in a Catholic ceremony a couple of years ago, and we weren't given any instructions on what to do during the ceremony either. There was communion, and I just followed everyone's lead (although apparently, I shouldn't have taken it since I'm not Catholic, but no one told us that, so...)

    So that's my only observation! Don't do communion! 
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Regarding the Catholic aspect of the service, the priest/deacon will guide you (and the guests) regarding what to do and when to sit / stand / kneel.  You'll stand during the Gospel and the Our Father.  You'll be invited to kneel during communion (but you can sit if you prefer).  It is not appropriate to receive communion if you're not Catholic, but you can (if you're comfortable) go up for a blessing.   Simply cross your arms over your chest as a sign to the priest.   

    I assume that the bride's family is Catholic; I'd follow their lead. 
    Did I tell you guys about the time that I accidentally took communion while trying to receive a blessing?  (Episcopalian service)



  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Viczaesar said:
    Regarding the Catholic aspect of the service, the priest/deacon will guide you (and the guests) regarding what to do and when to sit / stand / kneel.  You'll stand during the Gospel and the Our Father.  You'll be invited to kneel during communion (but you can sit if you prefer).  It is not appropriate to receive communion if you're not Catholic, but you can (if you're comfortable) go up for a blessing.   Simply cross your arms over your chest as a sign to the priest.   

    I assume that the bride's family is Catholic; I'd follow their lead. 
    Did I tell you guys about the time that I accidentally took communion while trying to receive a blessing?  (Episcopalian service)
    No!  That's kind of funny!  I serve communion at my church and it's hilariouslyrics awkward when someone comes forward with their arms crossed and their mouth partially open (mouth partially open is a sign that you want to receive on the tongue).
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    Wear the jewelry she gave you. It's not unreasonable for her to do that. 
    It's probably easier to wear the jewelry than make a fuss, but I would likely politely decline.  I am allergic to a lot of jewelry, including some so-called hypoallergenic jewelry (I'm not just allergic to nickel), and I also have pretty particular tastes and a strong aversion to being dressed up.  I do think it's unreasonable to try to dictate what the bridesmaids wear, jewelry-wise.  



    cowgirl8238perdonami
  • The only advice that I can offer is not to take Communion if they're having a full Mass, unless you're a member of a denomination that permits it.
    Unless you are Catholic yourself, the Catholic Church does not permit you to take Communion as far as I am aware.


    Members of the Eastern Orthodox faith can take communion in a Catholic Church.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Viczaesar said:
    Regarding the Catholic aspect of the service, the priest/deacon will guide you (and the guests) regarding what to do and when to sit / stand / kneel.  You'll stand during the Gospel and the Our Father.  You'll be invited to kneel during communion (but you can sit if you prefer).  It is not appropriate to receive communion if you're not Catholic, but you can (if you're comfortable) go up for a blessing.   Simply cross your arms over your chest as a sign to the priest.   

    I assume that the bride's family is Catholic; I'd follow their lead. 
    Did I tell you guys about the time that I accidentally took communion while trying to receive a blessing?  (Episcopalian service)
    No!  That's kind of funny!  I serve communion at my church and it's hilariouslyrics awkward when someone comes forward with their arms crossed and their mouth partially open (mouth partially open is a sign that you want to receive on the tongue).
    I was at a conference at Oxford and staying at Christ Church college, which is the seat for the Dioceses of Oxford (and absolutely gorgeous).  I hadn't attended an Episcopalian service before so I went for an evening service.  It should probably be noted that I had no experience at all with elaborate communion services; my sister's church passes out little plastic cups.  There was a line up at the end of the service to go to the front of the cathedral to take communion, and they told us several times throughout the service that if we just wanted a blessing to take our program up with us and hold it in our hands to indicate that we just wanted the blessing, no communion.  

    Well, the bishop presiding over the service that week was a guest bishop (actually in town for the same conference I was) and somehow missed this repeated instruction (or forgot?).  When I got to the front of the line and they had the 6 of us kneel in a row he came down the line to give the bread, and then was followed a minute later by someone else with the chalice of wine.  I was kneeling there, observing the whole thing with interest, with the program cupped in my hands and my hands resting on top of the bannister.  Instead of giving me a blessing he put the bread into my hand, next to the program!  I kind of froze and tried to decide quickly what to do - he had already moved on to the next person, and now I'm holding this sacred object and the cup of wine is moving towards me.  And all the while the choir is singing beautiful music, and there's still a line of 20+ people waiting behind me and everyone's watching.  I panicked a bit and just took it.  



  • Viczaesar said:

    Wear the jewelry she gave you. It's not unreasonable for her to do that. 
    It's probably easier to wear the jewelry than make a fuss, but I would likely politely decline.  I am allergic to a lot of jewelry, including some so-called hypoallergenic jewelry (I'm not just allergic to nickel), and I also have pretty particular tastes and a strong aversion to being dressed up.  I do think it's unreasonable to try to dictate what the bridesmaids wear, jewelry-wise.  
    Sigh. Yeah okay fine if you have special needs decline. But she said nothing of the sort just that she had her own stuff. 
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Viczaesar said:

    Wear the jewelry she gave you. It's not unreasonable for her to do that. 
    It's probably easier to wear the jewelry than make a fuss, but I would likely politely decline.  I am allergic to a lot of jewelry, including some so-called hypoallergenic jewelry (I'm not just allergic to nickel), and I also have pretty particular tastes and a strong aversion to being dressed up.  I do think it's unreasonable to try to dictate what the bridesmaids wear, jewelry-wise.  
    Sigh. Yeah okay fine if you have special needs decline. But she said nothing of the sort just that she had her own stuff. 
    I wouldn't just decline because of my allergies; as I said, I have particular tastes and a strong aversion to being dressed up as well.  She would not be in the wrong for politely declining to wear jewelry picked out for her, for whatever reason.



    perdonami
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Viczaesar said:
    Viczaesar said:
    Regarding the Catholic aspect of the service, the priest/deacon will guide you (and the guests) regarding what to do and when to sit / stand / kneel.  You'll stand during the Gospel and the Our Father.  You'll be invited to kneel during communion (but you can sit if you prefer).  It is not appropriate to receive communion if you're not Catholic, but you can (if you're comfortable) go up for a blessing.   Simply cross your arms over your chest as a sign to the priest.   

    I assume that the bride's family is Catholic; I'd follow their lead. 
    Did I tell you guys about the time that I accidentally took communion while trying to receive a blessing?  (Episcopalian service)
    No!  That's kind of funny!  I serve communion at my church and it's hilariouslyrics awkward when someone comes forward with their arms crossed and their mouth partially open (mouth partially open is a sign that you want to receive on the tongue).
    I was at a conference at Oxford and staying at Christ Church college, which is the seat for the Dioceses of Oxford (and absolutely gorgeous).  I hadn't attended an Episcopalian service before so I went for an evening service.  It should probably be noted that I had no experience at all with elaborate communion services; my sister's church passes out little plastic cups.  There was a line up at the end of the service to go to the front of the cathedral to take communion, and they told us several times throughout the service that if we just wanted a blessing to take our program up with us and hold it in our hands to indicate that we just wanted the blessing, no communion.  

    Well, the bishop presiding over the service that week was a guest bishop (actually in town for the same conference I was) and somehow missed this repeated instruction (or forgot?).  When I got to the front of the line and they had the 6 of us kneel in a row he came down the line to give the bread, and then was followed a minute later by someone else with the chalice of wine.  I was kneeling there, observing the whole thing with interest, with the program cupped in my hands and my hands resting on top of the bannister.  Instead of giving me a blessing he put the bread into my hand, next to the program!  I kind of froze and tried to decide quickly what to do - he had already moved on to the next person, and now I'm holding this sacred object and the cup of wine is moving towards me.  And all the while the choir is singing beautiful music, and there's still a line of 20+ people waiting behind me and everyone's watching.  I panicked a bit and just took it.  

    thisismynickname2
  • perdonamiperdonami member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
    edited August 2016
    For my wedding, I provided gifts to the wedding party in addition to jewelry to wear during the ceremony. I told the ladies they didn't have to wear it if they didn't want to but rather do what makes them comfortable. Only one bridesmaid wore the bracelet and I was fine with it. 

    ETA:
    I'm going to bring my own stuff but I plan on wearing her gift to me as I want to make her happy and do nothing to hurt her feelings on her special day. 
    OurWildKingdomViczaesar
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    aurianna said:
    Google has lots of break downs of the Catholic wedding if you want to prepare for what will happen.

    None of my bridesmaids were Catholic and one was Jewish. No one embarrassed themselves. It's pretty hard to do so no worries.

    Participate in what you want to response-wise. Also, if the sign of peace comes up, my priest made a point in our knowing that it derives from a Jewish tradition and is not a Christian-specific peace.

    The key piece of advice here is don't participate in the Communion. But if some how, you somehow get swept up in the line, and you're approaching the priest and everyone is getting communion, when you get to him, cross your arms over your chest, hands on shoulders. He won't give you the bread then. Instead he'll give you a blessing or a sign of peace. But best to just not get in the line if you can help it.
    The priest at DD's wedding insisted that the WP come up for communion or receive a blessing if they were not Catholic. I didn't agree with that but kept my mouth shut. As a guest though, there should be no problem not going up for the blessing.
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