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Catholic Weddings

Convalidation ceremony?

Hi everyone!

I am planning a convalidation ceremony/blessing of my marriage and wanted to get opinions and see if anyone has ever been in the same unique situation as me. My husband and I got engaged back in 2012. He is not a US citizen, so we met with an immigration lawyer back then who suggested we get married sooner rather than later, since he was in jeopardy of possibly losing his work visa the following year. At the time, I was still in college. We met with my pastor to explain the situation and ask if he could marry us. He told us he couldn't on such short notice for a few reasons, one being we had to do Pre-Cana etc. He told us we should have our civil marriage and then come back when we were ready to have our Catholic Mass.  We had a very small civil ceremony with just immediate family in 2013.
I'm now at the point where I've been out of school for a couple years, we've purchased our first home, and are able to pay for the wedding we want. Getting married in the church is very important to me, and so is having a celebration with my extended family and friends. My whole family has told me that they want to celebrate with us because they have not had the chance to yet, even a few years later, but I can't help feeling self-conscious and that people are going to accuse me of having a reception just to get gifts and wear the wedding gown/be the center of attention. In my mind, that's not it at all. On the other hand, I feel like I would be missing out on a major milestone by not having the whole ordeal. It just sucks because the situation was sort of beyond our control.
I know I'm rambling, but I was just wondering if anyone has ever been in a similar situation and could provide some reassurance that I should do this! The other option is to just have our convalidation Mass with no reception after, which to me, would feel very strange and anti-climactic. 

Re: Convalidation ceremony?

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I've seen varying opinions on this board about how elaborate a convalidation Mass/reception should be. Some think it is personally ok to have the dress and the whole shebang while others feel it should be more subdued. My daughter was married in the Catholic church and I read everything on this board during the engagement period since I am not Catholic. How does your current priest/parish feel about it? If you go through with a big party and everything, I certainly wouldn't act like you had never been married. Remember the important thing (to you and your family) is that you are married in the eyes of the Church not how elaborate the party is following the ceremony.
    MesmrEwe
  • On the one hand, you've been living in a legal marriage, and I'm presuming living as husband and wife this whole time.  So it's not like you're getting married for the first time.  On the other hand, you are officially getting married *in the church*, so that IS cause for celebration.

    If it were me, I would probably buy a nice dress, invite my loved ones, and have a party after to celebrate.  But I would NOT do a registry, a shower, bridal party, etc.  I also wouldn't have a "first dance", although you can certainly dance with your husband :)  

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    ILoveBeachMusictigerlily6MesmrEwe
  • monkeysip said:
    On the one hand, you've been living in a legal marriage, and I'm presuming living as husband and wife this whole time.  So it's not like you're getting married for the first time.  On the other hand, you are officially getting married *in the church*, so that IS cause for celebration.

    If it were me, I would probably buy a nice dress, invite my loved ones, and have a party after to celebrate.  But I would NOT do a registry, a shower, bridal party, etc.  I also wouldn't have a "first dance", although you can certainly dance with your husband :)  
    Just one small quibble with this phrasing. Technically, your are having your marriage officially recognized by the Church. The Church recognizes that your ARE married already, so I agree that you need to recognize this too, and not try to "redo" a wedding. But at the same time, this is a big cause for celebration, as @monkeysip said, and I like her ideas of how to celebrate. In a certain way, I'd think of the celebration to be a bit akin to a Vow Renewal one -- because basically you are renewing and "updating" your vows to be in line with the full Catholic understanding of marriage.

    I wouldn't do a "first dance", but you could still have a husband-wife dance. And instead of having your father walk you down the aisle (if that is something you were thinking of), you can have your husband walk down with you (which is, actually, the actual old Catholic tradition anyway!).  Personally, if I were in your shoes, I don't know if I would go all out for an actual wedding dress (it's up to you -- some people may frown on it though since you technically aren't a "bride", you're already a wife!), but I would probably get myself a really elegant white or ivory cocktail dress without a veil (again, some people may even frown on wearing a white dress . . . but if I were a guest, I'd say go ahead. White dresses can be worn for more than just your wedding day).

    I agree also to refrain from showers and bridal parties. 

                        


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    ILoveBeachMusic
  • Actually, the church recognizes the fact that there is a legal marriage, but doesn't actually consider it being married. Convalidation is "Con'= along with. It's referring to the fact that the priest marrying the couple is not performing the legal part-- he's simply marrying them validly in the church. 

    A Radical sanation is when the marriage is retroactively made valid from the time the legal part took place.
  • Actually, the church recognizes the fact that there is a legal marriage, but doesn't actually consider it being married. Convalidation is "Con'= along with. It's referring to the fact that the priest marrying the couple is not performing the legal part-- he's simply marrying them validly in the church. 

    A Radical sanation is when the marriage is retroactively made valid from the time the legal part took place.
    I had to look this up, but yes, you are correct. I was wrong. Thank you for the correction!


                        


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  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 2016

    Think of it more as you'd plan an anniversary party than a formal wedding.  Yes, go ahead and have a nice dress - doesn't necessarily need to be a WEDDING dress for example.  Also, go ahead and invite your family/friends, have a dinner/reception, but be up front about what it is - instead of "Nuptial Mass" go ahead and call it "Convalidation Ceremony" (some churches do this during regular mass, others will have your own separate mass).  Yes, you could do a registry or two, but don't publicize it nor expect that anyone is going to get you anything.  Skip the WP, first dance, etc.  Go ahead and have a small cake if you want, but it doesn't need to be the fancy/formal cake, it can be a centerpiece on a dessert table. 

    Yes, there is a general "No PPD" on the boards, the Convalidation is a gray area because say you wanted to get married at the Vatican, you'd first need to be legally married in your home country (someone I listen to on the radio went through this process).  Technically, this is your wedding in the eyes of the church, but with it having been this long, keep it on the "Celebration" level, not necessarily the full shebang... 

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