Wedding outside of Mass

posted 3 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
2675 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

While not Catholic, FI and I kind of had to go through the same issue. We don’t even live together, but when talking to our church pastor there were so many things like no living together at all (FI stays at my place frequently) and no premarital sex that while we weren’t sure they would flat out ask us about these things we did not feel comfortable getting married by them when we were doing those things. We also didn’t feel comfortable about starting things out with a lie…saying he never stays over and we’ve never had sex. There was also a three month counseling with a “mentoring couple” that I wasn’t completely comfortable with either partially again because that would mean more lying and I am not very social/want to talk to strangers about my relationship.

We decided to get married by just an impartial officiant. She does both religious and non-religious ceremonies. Though her title is reverend and we will be having a more traditional/religious ceremony but we aren’t lying about anything to her because she doesn’t have those types of “rules”.

I wouldn’t want to lie to the church, you’ve already been honest about living together. I would move forward still living together and deal with the consequences of it. If your family gives you a hard time, I would just tell them it was more important to you to be honest. You could always try explaining your situation more to the priest and see if knowing that you won’t move out he’ll be more flexable but if not…then there’s not much else you can do.

Post # 4
Member
1566 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

 While the priest can have an opinion, I don’t see why he can’t marry you on your timeline.

My fiance and I cohabitate. We were up front with our priest about it. We were also very candid in our answers to the FOCCUS questions and discussed any discrepancies with him. We also proved that we were going into our marriage preparation with our eyes open and not clouded by living together. We actually referenced things that we’re working out to make our home a better place to bring children into the marriage.

You could also look into taking a precana/engaged encounter retreat over a weekend for the marriage prep so that you don’t have a long extended 6 week couple counseling session.

You could maybe tell your priest that you would like time in your engagment to prepare for marriage, and that you would like for your wedding to include your first meal as a married couple (communion). 

I don’t know if that helps?

 

Post # 5
Member
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@sniques:  Wow, that’s tough! I’m sorry you are going through it. Congrats on building your house together though, that’s an amazing accomplishment!

I can relate a bit — I grew up Catholic but am now Agnostic, allthough I still value Catholocism and always planned on having a Catholic mass wedding ceremony. I met my now husband about 5 years ago, who was on the exact same page as me.

I too did not want to move in before I was married, but 10 months later for a number of reasons it made a lot of sense, and we basically lived together in his apartment anyway. Knowing what I know now, I have since very much changed my mind and believe in living together first.

We got engaged at the 3.5 year mark. Our parish is very liberal, and they fully expected some couples to be living together first — even had a special section in the little evaluation test for couples living together. The test was not a “test” you had to pass, just a bunch of questions you answer separately, the answers of which are used as talking points during marriage prep to help you hash out whatever issues before you get married.

We had to do the same thing with the addresses, and I also did not want to lie to the church. We lived together, it was part of who we were and a big part of why our relationship was where it was. I’m very much of the “just own it” mind set in life.

Our priest and pre cana leaders did touch on living together and why it’s not recommended by the church, and put the option on the table to “separate” whether completely physically, or just in terms of sexual chastity leading up to the wedding, but it was in a group setting, non-confrontational and presented as optional. It was not a prereq to have the ceremony.

I tell you all this to put out the idea that not all Catholic churches behave this way. Is it an option to find another Catholic church in the area that will do your pre-cana and wedding mass when you want to have it? For us, even being agnostic, we still really wanted the traditional mass ceremony. It was also VERY important to my parents who were footing the bill, so I would have gone to pretty great lengths to make sure it happened.

I would not have anyone move out just for this purpose. That seems really contrived and a waste of effort. I think I would look for a neighboring church before I did that, even though I know it may cost you more $$.

I suppose one other thought is having a conversation with the priest about practicing chastity from this point until the wedding. That was one of the options presented to us as a re-commitment to God and your pre-wedding preparation. Would that be an acceptable subsitute? Could you explain to him that given this is a mortgage, you have pets, etc it’s simply not feasible to move out, but that you respect the church’s wishes and will practice chastity and sleep in separate bedrooms until the wedding? (You could actually really do this or not depending on your personal beliefs, but maybe there is some compromise to be found there?) Other than that, I am really not sure what you could do.

Second the above poster who recommended the weekend engaged prep retreat vs. the long program. We actually really enjoyed ours and it was great bonding time for us 🙂

Good luck, I hope you find a way to work it out so everyone’s happy!

Post # 6
Member
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@sniques:  You did the right thing by not lying to the priest. 

It seems you have a few options, including a) having the marriage without a Mass (this is actually preferred if a large majority of your guests aren’t Catholic, btw) or b) not getting married in the Church at all.

You need to decide what’s most important to you and go from there.

Post # 7
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2015

How about you ask the priest for a compromise: you live “as brother and sister” until the marriage takes place? Unless that’s just not an option you’d be willing to do, it may be worth exploring.

 

Post # 8
Member
3711 posts
Sugar bee

@MoonlitMagnolia:  I totally agree with your comment:

a) having the marriage without a Mass (this is actually preferred if a large majority of your guests aren’t Catholic, btw)

Post # 9
Member
387 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014 - Windstar on Naples bay

I didn’t want to lie to the priest either. But he was even stricter with us and in the end refused to marry us simply because we did not regularly attend mass. I know its important and I know they have mass basically every day but I’m busy, and work two jobs, planning a wedding, I need me time. I know it’s not a valid excuse when it comes to God but there’s only so much my physical and mental will allow me. 

the real kicker? He finally after 10 months called to check in on “I think I’m doing a wedding for you?” And when we told him we went else where he said “oh I’m glad I’m not marrying you. Good that you found something else!” Like really? This is after donations, paying for the precana out of our pockets and me going through countless ours of CCD and catscisim because I had never been confirmed. Apperantly that was not enough for him and he kept putting our stuff and date aside and would never confirm anything and made it really difficult for us. I’m glad he isn’t marrying is. It was just a load of bull. Im getting my church wedding by a church that is happy to do it and isn’t pushing us into the church but would be delighted if we did. And I’m ok with that! 

I have strong feelings against the Catholic Church so I’m not surprised to hear this. Be glad that he’s just harping on you living together and not making excuses to be nice and just not wanting to marry you at all. 

Post # 10
Member
559 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Would you be willing to marry in another Catholic church? I understand that might not be possible or ideal if you’re a regular parishoner at this one, or if it’s your childhood church. But you might consider it. Our priest married us even though we live together, and we could have done a full Mass if we wanted to (we didn’t because DH isn’t Catholic).

I’m not sure why he doesn’t want to do a full Mass for you. Is it because he thinks you can’t take communion b/c you live together? If that’s the case I think you can, as someone else suggested, “live as brother and sister” until the wedding, go to confession, and then be ready for communion at the wedding.

Really though, a Catholic ceremony outside of Mass is still so, so lovely. You still do the liturgy of the Word and the vows are the same. You just don’t have communion. But you and the Catholic guests can have communion the next Sunday in church anyway, you know?

It’s an uncomfortable situation, but I hope you work something out.

Post # 11
Member
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@sniques:  I’m cohabitating with FI as well right now. And I do not plan to lie to our priest about it!! When we met him last summer to set the date, we were not cohabitating yet. We are now since we sold my condo and I moved into FI’s mancave while we’re looking for our first home. We still need to do pre-cana half a country away bc we live in Chicago and are getting married in NY and I do not plan to lie to the local priest either.

We’re not having a full mass because FI is technically Protestant. He does not consider himself religious but was raised in an evangelical faith so it’s already ruffling feathers a couple of the hardcore creationists on his side that we aren’t getting married in a “real” Christian church (I didn’t realize that Catholics aren’t Christians…) and it’s ruffling feathers with my mom that we aren’t having a full mass. Everyone else we’ve talked to is happy that we are going with a shorter ceremony!

I’m tuning out the very few family dissenters because people will always find a reason to complain. We are planning to ask FI’s sisters if their kids will be flower girls/ring bearers when we see them later on this month but if either of them say no based on religious grounds I say that only punishes the kids who love us. I’ve already managed to become the favorite “Aunt” (the kids say that I’m the only grown-up who has ever played with them!) and I’m not even married to FI yet.

Post # 13
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@sniques:  It sounds like you have a clear picture of what you’re comfortable with, and what’s important to you.  You don’t want to lie, and you don’t want to rearrange your life, and you aren’t really bothered by having a liturgy only.  I would just take that option, and accept that the priest will make comments about it.  He’s not trying to be condescending (even if, in the end, he is) he is honestly concerned for you and wants your marriage to succeed.  Unless he’s actually just a jerk, which is sometimes, but not normally, the case.

Post # 14
Member
2885 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@sniques:  You did the right thing by not lying.  The cohabitating thing seems to be very parish to parish as far as what the priest will do. 

Full mass is nice, but I think if I had the option not to, I would not do a full mass.  My preist is actually insitant that we do a full mass (he is also my uncle, which could account for a lot of it)  Even if both of your familes are full Catholic, I think beyond our mothers, most of my family prefers the non-full mass part.

If you are really sold on the full mass, I might ask your priest for a compromise about you going into confession prior to your wedding.  I know that is what our local priest would have wanted if we got married there. 

Post # 15
Member
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@sniques:  I would talk to him again to see if he is willing to do a Mass if he knows it’s important to you.  Our priest was willing to work with us, especially since he knew we were serious about our faith.

Post # 16
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I believe you can also receive the Eucharist, without a mass; the hosts will simply have been consecrated at another mass, and then kept in the Tabernacle.

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