Post # 1
Hello everyone! I have a ceremony dilemma. Neither my fiance nor I are especially religious, although our respective churches are important to us for family, community, and sentimental reasons. I was raised Methodist, and he was raised Catholic. I have no problem with a Catholic ceremony but about 80% of my family would be unable to attend a Catholic ceremony due to conflicting beliefs. I feel it would be unfair to ask them to choose between their religion (however I may disagree with it) and attending my wedding, and would like to have things at the Methodist church as a neutral site. However, my fiance feels that he doesn’t want to encourage “bad behavior” (he feels they’re being too narrow-minded) and wants to go ahead with a Catholic ceremony.
Also, it seems we’re having a disagreement on the formality of the event. We can’t hold the ceremony in the main Methodist church due to size limitations, but there is a beautiful covered outdoor pavilion that is a consecrated church where they hold services in the spring and fall that would hold everyone. His objection to this site is that there’s no organ, which he wants (he is an organist and has played literally hundreds of weddings). Also it turns out he wants at least one vocalist (which I hadn’t even considered). I feel that once you throw in a Catholic ceremony with an organ and a vocalist and 250+ guests you’ve long since passed up relaxed and informal which is the feeling we’d originally agreed on.
Here are the solutions I see:
Hold it in the pavilion and keep the informal outdoorsy feel that I like (plus allow my family the chance to attend)
Hold it in the Catholic church with all the bells and whistles and change the feel of our wedding and lose 40% of our guest list (most of my family)
Have a civil ceremony everyone could attend
What do y’all think???
Post # 3
I had an interfaith (Independant) Catholic/Jewish ceremony outside.
The Catholic Church won’t recognise a marriage that occurs outdoors, so if you have the wedding that you want, it won’t be recognised by your fiance’s church. I think that this would be a big deal for your fiance.
I don’t think an organist makes it more formal.
Why won’t your family attend a Catholic Church and how is that different from his family attending a wedding at a Methodist pavilion?
I think you are being a little “all or nothing” about this. If you do’nt like the orgnist see if you can compromise and have it in a Catholic church without the organist. Another compromise would be in the pavilion with a Catholic preist (If they recognise the consecration of the ground) and an organist.
Post # 4
I’m having 4 different weddings to cover the many religious/cultural traditions we are dealing with, so that might be a way around it (have 2 ceremonies).
But…May I ask why your family wouldn’t be able to go to a Catholic ceremony? Between our two families we have Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant (United Church of Canada/Luthern), Muslim, Atheist, Aboriginal, and Buddhist family members (not to mention his Confucian culture, and Hindu friends). If we had a ceremony in a Buddhist temple, or a mosque, or a church, every single one of them would come. I can’t imagine someone saying, ‘you are mentioning the word God…so as an atheist I don’t want to be there.’ Sitting in a place of worship different from your own is not at all the same as holding the beliefs of that religious group. Perhaps you can find a way to make your family more comfortable with a Catholic service?
Post # 5
I don’t understand why your family would not attend a ceremony in the Catholic church. I’m Catholic, and I don’t know a whole lot about the Methodist church, but from what I do know, it’s not THAT radically different. And even if it wasn’t, why would that matter? As the previous poster said, they don’t have to agree with the teachings of Catholicism in order to attend a wedding ceremony. I have friends that are Jewish, and I would never not go to their wedding just because I don’t agree with their religious views.
I sort of side with your fiance here that maybe your family needs to be pushed to become a little more tolerant. Maybe the reason they are like this is because everyone has catered to them instead of challenging them to be a bit more open-minded. It’s not a very Christian way to live to not be respectful of other people’s beliefs. It’s up to you what you would rather do, but I wouldn’t not have a Catholic ceremony because of a few stubborn people.
Post # 6
I am being pretty inflexible because I’m trying to meet quite a few constraints. The Methodist church is not that radically different. And if my fiance wanted to have a Catholic ceremony for religious reasons, I’d completely understand, but at this point it’s for aesthetic reasons. I honestly have no idea exactly why my family won’t attend a Catholic church, but they believe that attending the wedding is the same as participating in the service. And it’s not so much for them as the fact that my mother would be very hurt if her family didn’t attend. So they’re just a constraint I have to deal with, regardless of how I feel about their issues.
Originally I’d wanted a small-ish Catholic wedding (~100 people) which would completely skirt the issue b/c then my weirder family members wouldn’t have to be invited but then my fiance said he couldn’t possibly get his guest list under 200-250. And here’s where I’m being petty: if he has that many people show up, I kinda want to keep things somewhat even on the guest list. We’re anticipating a ~300 person wedding, which means things are already 2:1. And as weird as they are, my family is important to my parents, and I don’t want to hurt my mom’s and dad’s feelings. Compounding the problem is the fact that the pavilion is extremely sentimental, as my late grandfather built it, and my parents were married there; and the Catholic church he wants to be married in is pretty inconveniently located for my family and I to decorate, etc, but that’s a really tiny reason and pretty much doesn’t count.
So at the moment I have the unenviable decision to either hurt my parent’s feelings and have a barren church on the bride’s side; or cater to narrow-minded people. Sigh…I just feel so railroaded. Right now I think the best idea is to just have a tiny wedding with immediate family only :-p
Post # 7
You definitely don’t have to seat people according to sides. I’m not!
When will you be getting married? There is marriage prep required to be married in the Catholic church. Are you 100% certain your fiance only wants to get married there for aesthetic reasons? When you grow up with a certain religion, you still do feel attached to that religion, even if you don’t really practice it. So maybe he has always seen himself getting married in the Church. Maybe there is a spiritual element for him.
All are welcome to attend and participate in a Catholic mass, just not receive communion. As far as I am aware, all other churches welcome everyone too. I’d never not go to a wedding because of the religious location where it is being held. Maybe your family is just threatening you because they really want it in a Methodist church. I can’t imagine that they actually wouldn’t come.
Post # 8
Ok, I commented in your other thread, but now that I see your explanation, I’ll comment here too. 🙂 The constraints are: you’re having a big wedding, your Fi wants to get married in the Catholic church, your family won’t attend if it’s in a Catholic church, and you and your Fi disagree on the formality of the event.
I think the main issue here is compromise. Your Fi seems like he’s making a lot of demands without trying to come up with any solutions. Have you sat him down to tell him all of this? Maybe once he realizes how overwhlemed and frustrated you’re feeling, he’ll be more likely to “give” on the location of the wedding. Also, you mentioned that a civil ceremony is a possiblity; honestly, that sounds like the best option to me. That way, neither family feels put out. Maybe, if you have a civil ceremony in a neutral location, you can even go back to the Catholic church later on for a special blessing or convalidation ceremony for his family.
Post # 9
I really appreciate the different points of view I’m getting. It helps me look at it from all sides.
I am all for having it blessed in the Catholic Church! And I actually want to go through the 6 months of marriage prep required. I think it would be a good idea. But he’s apparently not hung up on the religious aspects. I do know that he is attached to the Church, and I had proposed having 2 ceremonies to accomodate everyone. And the weird family members aren’t Methodist, they just are opposed to attending (and in their heads, participating in) a Catholic ceremony.
But now he’s so ticked off, somewhat justifiably, at my family that he doesn’t want to accomodate them. However, I don’t want my wedding reduced to a battleground with lots of lines drawn in the sand. Makes for awkward family gatherings later on, you know :-p
If it were a small minority it would be an easy decision, but we’re talking about a good 60% of the people I’d be inviting.
I’m leaning toward a civil ceremony, possibly with a priest there for a blessing, if they’ll even do a blessing outside the Church. That way I’ll actually get people to show up and my fiance can still thumb his nose at everyone, haha.
Post # 10
What if your future Father-In-Law is a pastor? Must do a protestant wedding over catholic, right?
Post # 11
A Catholic must always have a Catholic wedding. That’s required by Church law. However, in some cases, you can apply for a special permission (called a Dispensation from Canonical Form) to not have a Catholic wedding. You generally have to have a good reason, and a father in law that’s a minister is usually considered a good reason to have him officiate.
To get that permission, you need to contact your local priest. He’ll want to meet with you, then he’ll fill out all the forms and deal with it from there.
Post # 12
Is there another church, maybe a different, larger Methodist church that could accommodate everyone? It seems that the organist and vocalist are important to your Fiance. That way you could get the non-Catholic ceremony your family is comfortable attending and he could have the type of ceremony he wants.
If having a valid Catholic marriage is important to him, you can always apply for a dispensation (I got one just because it was important to my parents that I marry in my home (non-Catholic) church) or you can get the marriage convalidated later.
Of course, if an informal, outdoorsy wedding is what you really want, I think you and he have to really decide what is important to the two of you…what each of you can live with and what each of you feel you have to have.
You might also consider a Catholic service that does not include Mass. That way, there is no Eucharist in which the non-Catholics can’t participate; the ceremony is more wedding than “church service.”