Post # 1
I’m new to this site and was wondering if anyone who has been in my situation can help me out. I’ve noticed a lot of rude comments on some other boards that I’ve “googled” to find out more information on but most were very old.
So, a litle background. My now husband proposed Dec of last year. We were planning on having our big wedding next year..no civil ceremony before, just our Catholic church marital sacrament. He proposed before being told were he was going to be stationed. Well, he ended up being sent to Okinawa, Japan for two years. Our understanding of getting your “wife” to be able to live in Japan and to change your orders to accompanied is that the paperwork takes very long and can take up to 8 months or a year for them to even approve you living over there. We wanted to be able to live together right after our big “wedding”. His higher ups also told him that by being legally married he would be able to petition to have his orders cut down to a year, which if possible would work out great in our favor. Since we were already engaged and knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together we didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with having just the civil ceremony on his leave before leaving to Japan so that the paperwork could get started. Only our immediate family attended since we planned in a week or so, and just went out to lunch afterwards.
Now, I still want to have my marriage recognized in the eyes of God since this is what we originally wanted. I know many see it as tacky, but I would like to have a bridal party and wear a wedding dress, have a reception with the rest of our family when we have our convalidation. Not to say that our civil ceremony is seen as “fake”, I do acknowledge that I am married, but having it recognized in the eyes of God is something that I feel should truly be celebrated and shared with everyone since we also did not share our special moment 2 months ago. I am a confirmed Catholic, but he has only been baptized and needs his first communion and confirmation. We have not lived together and will not be living together until after this ceremony (if the Marine Corps even allow it). I am going to graduate next year May 2013 and we want to have our reception Aug 2013. What are thoughts on this or personal experiences? Thanks a bunch!
Post # 3
Hey! and welcome to weddingbee! I personally have no experince with this but my husbands cousin recently had their marriage blessed in the church several years after they were legally married and after she had completely converted. I hope some of the other catholic bees will chime in with their knowledge and experience but I say go for it – the full shebang 🙂
Post # 4
@haze32.ks: I think you absolutely should celebrate the convalidation (and your husband’s return from the military!) with your family and friends. I’m not sure of the liturgical ins-and-outs as far as whether your priest would do a full nuptial mass as part of a convalidation, but definitely, talk to him and see about it. I know that many convalidations happen during regular Sunday Mass, just like many baptisms do, but I’m sure you can also have a separate, dedicated convalidation just like you can celebrate a baptism separately from Mass. The Church encourages that they be celebrated during Mass because the participation of the community is an important part of the sacrament – but, if you’re having a big family get-together, then by its very nature you’re making it a community celebration.
So yes, definitely. Talk to your priest about the details – he may, for example, ask that you be circumspect about language and call it a “blessing of the marriage of X and Y” rather than “X and Y’s wedding,” etc., but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a big celebration – and every reason why you should! Best of luck to you both, and congratulations! (BTW some friends of mine, a married Catholic couple, are currently on Okinawa where the husband is stationed. Maybe you guys will cross paths at some point!)
Post # 5
This would be a question I would discuss with your priest. We really wanted to get married outside but I was also adament that having a Catholic wedding was a must. We ended up doing the reverse of what you’re talking about and having a Catholic wedding the day before our Outside Wedding Ceremony. However we did look into a convalidation, eventually deciding we didn’t want that because I felt in doing so we would be deceitful.
In your case however I think you did what was best for the two of you and I don’t think there was malice in your decision. I would find it difficult to believe that a priest would deny you this sacrament but you never know.
When we did speak to our priest about having a convalidation he was very adament about how small they generally are and how he wouldn’t preform a service, so I’m not sure how a huge celebration would work for you.
This is something your priest would be able to help with 100%
Post # 6
@KCKnd2: I agree there’s a lot of stuff you just need to sit down and talk to a priest about.
AND even if it is just a blessing you can still have that big reception you wanted!
I say if you are firm in your Catholic beliefs and you really want the marraige to have meaning (to you *trying not to offend anyone here!lol) then get it done! I told my Fiance that the only thing I cared about the whole wedding was that it had to be recognized/done in a Catholic church!
Post # 7
Cora brings up some good points. You might have to ask a couple of different priests. I’m sure, though, that if you explain the extenuating circumstances, you will be able to find someone who will work with you. After all, this is a totally valid reason to hasten the legal marriage, and you are taking your faith into consideration as part of the decision, not trying to do an end run around the rules and then tie up the loose ends after the fact, etc. Especially if you emphasize that, in your view, the Catholic wedding is the one that “really counts” despite the civil one being legally necessary to satisfy the military, I would hope that you would find a priest who will work with you on having a nice service, even if it’s shorter than a full-on wedding mass. And then, definitely, have a reception for your friends and family!
Post # 8
Thank you all for your help!
Yes, like I said I do acknowledge that I am already married and this will not be a full on wedding ceremony again, but I really feel like this one will be the one that counts since it will be recognized by God and I will be able to celebrate and share with my whole family.
If he was not stationed overseas we would have definitely waited, my dream was never to do what we did,but we had to in a way. Like I previously mentioned, we are not living together, we continue to be long distance, so I’m hoping this would also help us in a way, since I know that some couples who wish to have their marriage convalidated have been living together as husband and wife and years later want to have the huge “celebration” (which I’m not judging anyone for that, because I know everyone’s situation is different but I would figure that the church would look down upon this a little more than my situation.) I guess you are all right, I would have to speak to a priest about it and hopefully we find someone who will be willing to work with us. We don’t mind having to go through pre-cana but not sure how this will work out since he is overseas.
Post # 9
Can you talk to the priest who works with your FI’s old base? I’m sure he has seen this before. I know LOTS of people who has a civil ceremony first, then the big Catholic wedding. And anyway, in the eyes of the church you aren’t married yet, so many priests will be happy to help make your marriage “Catholic legit.”
Post # 10
Definitely talk to your priest. I actually asked mine about this a while ago because I had seen it brought up on the Bee and was curious as to how it works. Since the Catholic Church doesn’t actually acknowledge civil ceremonies, I don’t think you’ll have a terribly difficult time getting approval for a convalidation (though I’m not entirely sure of the requirements). However, my priest did say that typically, for convalidations, there is no big hooplah (no bridal party, fancy decorations, etc). It’s usually very private with just the bride and groom, the priest, and 2 witnesses. Good luck!
Post # 11
Yeah, I know we will most likely be approved for convalidation but I’d really love it if we were able to have the big thing with bridal party and everything. Like I said, hopefully since we are not living together and living really as husband and wife it’ll help. 🙂 I will update you ladies I’m going to talk to my priest Friday and if he does not want to help, then I’ll look and keep looking. 🙂
Post # 12
My Darling Husband and I were married by the JOP and about 3 years later we had the convalidation. We did this because I was pregnant and we were not able to get his first marriage taken care of. We were waiting from some info from his exwife so that we would not have to go through the whole annulment process. It should not have taken as long as it did! After we had the info from his ex, we were able to pick our readings and plan our celebration. Ours was very small, but he mentioned that some people have very large celebrations. You shouldn’t have any problem getting it done. Have fun planning!
Post # 13
FYI- your Darling Husband will probably have to go through part of RCIA classes to get his sacraments lined up to receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Be sure to mention that to the priest when you ask about it, just so you can get all your ducks in a row.
Congratulations! I think this is a wonderful idea and I don’t think you’ll have much problem finding someone to do the procedure– you didn’t try to have a religious ceremony elsewhere, you just needed legal benefits to improve your life. I think it makes sense and know my priest would approve something like this– I hope yours does!
Post # 14
Personally, I don’t mind it. I actually just had a friend who was getting married in the Philipines but they really wanted to make it legal here…so she did the civil thing here, even had pro photos and a small reception…and then went to PI to have HUGE HUGE wedding, with no wedding tradition spared. I thought it was kinda weird she did it twice…but under your circumstances I do not think there’s anything wrong with including some of the traditions you missed out on by getting civilly married first.
Talk to your priest or parish wedding coordinator about what they feel is appropriate. But I’m sure they will support you celebrating your covalidation to the fullest.
Post # 15
I am in the military and my husband and I are planning to do the same as you describe. You need to get in contact with the parish where you wish to have this ceremony and arrange it with them. Once you explain your situatiuon and that pursuing this is important to you for religious reasons they will do everything possible to help you.
good luck and God bless
Post # 16
The military chaplins are usually extremly understanding about this situation! Goodluck:]