Post # 1
Hi! Has anyone ever been to or done a Catholic ceremony in the morning and then a secular ceremony in the afternoon on the wedding day?
I was raised Catholic and would like to honor that part of me, but my fiancee is not Catholic (nor religious), and we’d also like to be able to have a wedding ceremony that feels like us. Catholic ceremonies aren’t really customizable, so I’m wondering – could we do the Catholic ceremony in the morning and then do a secular ceremony in the afternoon? I know technically we could do pretty much anything we want – I guess I’m wondering how that would feel in terms of the flow of the day and the happiness of our guests.
Post # 2
I don’t think I would want to go to two weddings in the same day for the same couple. I would attend one or the other. Since I’m Catholic, it would probably be the Catholic one. I guess the second one in the same day would feel too much like you are … playing pretend to be the center of attention longer. I don’t think that is your intention, but it can come off that way. Even if you only invite certain people to each ceremony, you are either going to end up with hurt feelings, or segregate your guests. I would assume your family would want to see the Catholic ceremony, and his would likely be invited to the secular ceremony? I don’t think I would want to start off my marriage with dividing mine and my FI’s families. Then you would also be expecting the Catholic guests to entertain themselves all day while you and your FI ran off to your second ceremony.
It also would be a VERY long day for you. You would have to be dressed to be ready to go for the AM wedding, probably stay dressed to take photos, and then stay dressed through a second ceremony, and then through the reception. Wedding dresses get warm, and heavy. No mater how good your stylist is, your hair will look worse for the second ceremony, and you will need at least one make up adjustment.
We are including a lot of the stuff that we can’t include in our Catholic wedding at our reception. Is that an option?
Post # 3
emilyelaine: I think this is too much to ask of your guests. Some priests will still marry a couple if one is not catholic. My friend and her now husband chose this route. He had to promise to raise the children catholic and do premarital counseling with the priest. It wasn’t a full mass, but it was a nice ceremony at the church. Is that an option?
Post # 4
It is your wedding, you can do whatever you want. If a couple had a catholic ceremony and then a jewish ceremony, I wouldn’t think twice about it. If having a catholic ceremony and then a secular ceremony is what feels right for you, then go ahead and do that. Let everyone know up front what you are doing by making it clear on the invitations and then if people don’t want to sit through two ceremonies they can decline the invitation. If you have a reception venue that can also do ceremonies it wouldn’t be logistically that difficult. Married in church in morning, take pictuers, maybe a gap, secular cermony at reception site, and then go straight into the recpetion. It will be more expensive to hire another officiant and pay for the setup and rentals and everything.
Post # 5
I know more people who did it the other way around… they were unable to get a legal license for a religious ceremony (in England, it can be much harder to get a marriage license for a religious ceremony than for a secular one). Therefore, they got a license for the secular/legal part, and just had a small ceremony with a handful of witnesses, first thing in the morning, and then they got changed and had their blessing ceremony in the afternoon. The only problem with doing things that way around is that it isn’t technically a wedding if you do the legal bit first; it’s technically a convalidation. So that can complicate matters.
Post # 6
I wouldn’t do two in one day. I’d get a secular ceremony and then a blessing from the priest at a later date (convalidation). The convalidation isn’t a second ceremony and would be private.
As others said I wouldn’t go to two ceremonies for the same people on the same day. Its too much. You have to decide if its more important to have a Catholic ceremony or one that feels “more us”. Talk to your priest to see how personalized you can make a Catholic ceremony. For me it was much more important to have a Catholic ceremony. I was raised Catholic and wouldn’t feel married unless it happened in a church.
Post # 7
Misswhowedding: I was thinking the secular cermony would be at the reception venue, immediately preceding a cocktail hour. Maybe that is similar to what you said about including the things you couldn’t include in the catholic ceremony at the reception. Can you explain what you are doing?
Post # 8
emilyelaine: FI and I were both raised Catholic. However, wedding planning and other life changes have made us realize we don’t really identify with the religion anymore.
We will be having a secular ceremony. But, we will be having a Catholic reading- the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (FI was confirmed under St. Francis’ name). We will also be having a Cherokee wedding prayer as a nod to my heritage. And we’ll be doing a handfasting. Here is the prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace<br />Where there is hatred, let us sow love<br />Where there is injury, let us bring the spirit of forgiveness <br />Where there is discord, let us bring harmony<br />Where there is doubt, let us bring faith<br />Where there is despair, let us bring hope<br />Where there is darkness, let us bring light<br />Where there is sadness, let us bring joy<br />For it is in giving that we receive <br />It is in forgiving that we are forgiven <br />It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
As you can see, it is pretty non-religious as far as Catholic prayers go.
Maybe you could have one ceremony and just incorporate bits of the Catholic religion like we are? I think two ceremonies would be.. odd, for lack of a better term, in the same day. You could always do a secular ceremony first, then just have a ceremony in your church a few days later with just your family present.
Post # 9
emilyelaine: Our priest is not allowing us to do a unity ceremony, since technically all of them are protestant or pegan based. We are doing a unity sand ceremony at our reception venue because of this.
Post # 10
I never understood the dual ceremony thing. I think you should create one ceremony that reflect you both and combine it.
Post # 11
- Wedding: May 2015 - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception / Courtyard Marriott Legacy Ballroom
I had a friend who did something like this years ago, but they had a destination wedding weekend so the two ceremonies were done on different days. They had a unity sand ceremony before the rehearsal dinner on a Saturday and then the Catholic ceremony on Sunday morning before a brunch reception.
Post # 12
Thanks for all the replies! I’ve got some thinking to do!