Post # 1
My fiance and I were both raised by Catholic families (baptised, confirmed, the whole nine yards) but neither of us are particularly devout. We’ve just begun planning for our wedding, and I’m feeling torn.
I’m getting pressure from my parents to have the wedding in a Catholic church, full mass, Eucharist, etc. but my fiance doesn’t want to do the required prep work. I’m not sure what’s required in other states, but we’re from Minnesota, and we have to attend several workshops (family planning, personality inventories, mentorship with married couples in the parish, and so on) plus a required weekend retreat. He always resented being forced into attending the Catholic things growing up, and I’d hate to start our life together with him resenting me.
Any advice? Is there a way to hold a non-Catholic ceremony but still have it recognized by the Church? We both plan on continuing to be Catholic after marriage, attending mass, raising any potential future children Catholic…
I’d hate to disappoint my family, but I’d hate to ruin the love I have with my fiance, too.
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2018 - Holy Family Catholic Church, reception: National Infantry Museum
I think you have to be married by the church for it to be recognized, unless one of you isn’t Catholic. I think you should talk to your priest. I understand that the prep isn’t exactly fun. Ours isn’t either, although it’s just two days. I hope y’all can work it out!
Post # 4
Are you tied to this particular church? I would definitely ask around for marriage requirements, as they vary by parish. When we were first engaged we had just moved, so I had to settle in a new parish anyway. My husband was only baptized, and I am confirmed; I practice, he does not.
From what I was told there are required pieces of Pre-Cana – the initial consultation, FOCCUS testing & results meeting, marriage prep and a final meeting to wrap everything up, talk about readings, etc. Some things can only be done one way – the testing, for example – but the parish we chose did their marriage prep meetings differently than what the Dioscese put together for the other parishes.
We also asked about doing a non-Church ceremony, and were told that we could but to have it blessed by the Church later we would have to go through Pre-Cana anyway.
And finally, it comes down to who is paying for the wedding – you or your parents? If they are, then you may have to concede on this one. Good luck!!!
Post # 5
I agree that you should ask around about the prep requirements at different parishes, as they do seem to vary a lot. All parishes will require some form of pre-Cana, though. If you feel strongly about having a Catholic wedding, perhaps you could ask some recently married couples from your parish about their pre-Cana experiences, and their feedback might help convince your fiance… I know at first I was very apprehensive about the whole pre-Cana thing, but after talking to some couples who recently went through it, I heard nothing but positive feedback and now I’m actually pretty excited about it. Maybe your fiance will have the same reaction! Also, you say you want to raise any future children Catholic. It might be worth looking into baptism requirements in your local parish… I wonder if there are any obstacles to having your child baptized in the Catholic church if you weren’t married in the church? If so, that might impact your decision as well. Good luck!
Post # 6
My Fiance and I were both raised catholic as well. We both decided WE didn’t want a stuffy church wedding. We love the outdoors and wanted to be married by the lake in a short ceremony. While both sets of parents were not pleased when we broke the news to them that we wouldn’t be getting married in Church, they have accepted that it is OUR wedding, not theirs, and we need to do it our way. We are getting a non-denominational minister to officiate the ceremony and our wedding will be blessed. Our minister is wonderful and lets us choose what we want/don’t want in the ceremony.
Maybe you should look into getting a non-denominational minister if your fiance does not want the whole "catholic" wedding.
Post # 7
To me it is not a big deal just because you don’t get married in catholic church does that make you less catholic? I think the most important thing is that your getting married under god say I will love the man and he will love and we are going to make this thing work no matter what. God knows your heart he knows long before long after everything is done. As far as your parents and family if they love you they should be happy that you have even found someone to marry with all the crazies running around. Don’t make this a hassle it not for them it is for you. This your and future husband day. Don’t get caught up in all the hype enjoy each other and everything and everyone will be alright. It is supposed to be happy not hassle.
Ps. The only way you should go through all the hoops if you feel compelled by god and you feel like it would be great for your faith and marriage other wise why do it.
Post # 8
My F and I were both raised Catholic, I’m more practicing than he is, but we both wanted the Church wedding. While I can understand your hesitation about the classes (I certainly wasn’t looking forward to it either), they did end up being beneficial if you looked at the point of them, which is to get the two of you to discuss very important issues and see where you lie before you’re married. We discussed communication strategies, finances, personal and faith development, and of course, babies. We found that the things that we hadn’t discussed, we were forced to, and it brought us closer to know that a lot of things, we felt the same way about. And the sex talk was entertaining if nothing else-we had some folks in our class who wanted a dozen and the two of us, that wanted 2, maybe 3 if the first two go well. Luckily, we had presenters for the sex talk that said, well, we’ll present you with the information and what the Church recommends, but it’s up to you what you will do with it.
And-we found out that if you show the state (at least in TX) that you’ve taken pre-marital counseling (which those classes count as), they knock $50 off your marriage license!
Post # 9
First of all, this is YOUR wedding, so in the end you should do what’s right for you. With that being said, a lot of people that go through Pre-Cana end up thinking it was actually a good experience rather than an annoyance. Some churches have programs that go through the process more quickly than others, so if you’re not set on one particular church take a look around! About the wedding itself, if you do it in a Catholic church, skipping out on Communion and just doing the ceremony part will be much faster (and less overwhelming for your non-Catholic guests). My Fiance has a lot of non-Catholic family members so we’re opting to skip the long Mass and just do the ceremony. It is possible to have your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church if you have the ceremony itself somewhere else…a friend of mine did that…but they do require you to go through the Pre-Cana process anyway. My advice would be to try not to see Pre-Cana as a burdening requirement, and to look at it as a chance for you to discuss some important issues and spend quality time together. Good luck making your decision!
Post # 10
What you are describing (getting a non-Catholic ceremony of two Catholics approved by the Church) is called a convalidation. As others have stated, to get a convalidation you still have to go through the Pre-Cana classes. So sorry, there’s really no way to get around the prep work if you want your marriage recognized by the Church (this does not matter to all Catholics, but it may to you and your fiance and your families). Even if you do not do the classes now, if you have children someday and you want them bapitzed Catholic, I believe you will have to prove that your marriage is recognized by the Church, and thus get a convalidation and take the classes. So IMO you may as well do them now.
Pre-Cana may turn out to be a very positive experience for you and not at all what you or your fiance are expecting. My Pre-Cana classes were excellent, very thorough and helpful, about us growing as a couple and not preachy in the least. My husband wasn’t too excited to go either but he ended up thinking it was great. I think a lot of others will say the same. Many couples at the program will have only one partner who is Catholic, or have people who are only moderately involved like yourselves. They are most likely not going to be shoving doctrine down your throats, or trying to convert any non-Catholics.
Each church will have a different program, of varying degrees of involvedness. We went to a program called "Three to Get Married" that took place over a weekend and included all the elements you described except the mentoring. The vast majority of the topics covered were your typical premarital counseling stuff that you’d find in any secular program—attitudes and expectations about future kids, housework, money, in-laws, holidays, sex, family, communication, etc. Another big-name program to look out for is called "Engaged Encounter." Shop around your diocese and you will probably find a program that better meets your scheduling needs. All in all though I think any premarital counseling is a good investment.
As for the ceremony, I would suggest a Marriage Ceremony Outside of Mass. This ceremony resembles your typical secular wedding ceremony (it’s just the statement of intentions, vows, and ring exchange, essentially; no Eucharist) and takes approximately 20 minutes. Good luck!
Post # 11
I married a non-Catholic and we both were dreading the preparation process. In hindsight, however, they were a great preparation for the both of us. In a neutral setting we were able to discuss issues that had been plaguing us for a while (his family caused all kinds of problems for us).
And, to top it all off, the Pre-Cana class and the Engagement Encounter were not nearly as horrible as we expected. We actually got things out of them. If religion is important to you at all, your fiance will understand and come around. Many prayers.
Post # 12
First, I also suggest looking into the marriage prep requirements of different parishes. My story is a bit different, in that my husband was out of state. So we had permission to complete precana at another parish that would work into our schedule (of him coming home for a visit.) We didn’t have to complete Engaged Encounter or FOCCUS. We just had a one day (albeit 7 hour) crash course. So you might find something agreeable for you both.
Yes, the Church can bless weddings performed outside the Church. However, I ‘m getting a lot of contradicting statements about you, your fiance and your religious values. You say neither of you are devout, but plan to attend mass and raise children Catholic. You seem to feel it is important to have your marriage blessed by the Church. Yet, you (more over your FH) feel bogged down with all the "annoying" preparations…
Your parents might want the Catholic ceremony for you because they realize its importance, or maybe it’s just tradition. But I will try to explain what marriage means to Catholicism. (I am also saying this for the other posters who have used terms like "stuffy" and eliminating the Eucharist to make the cermony faster.) Catholic marriage is a sacrament. Much like Holy Orders (where priests and nuns decide they’ve been called to become such), marriage is saying you are being called to the vocation of wifehood, and likely motherhood. Because this isn’t simply making a vow to your FH, it is also a vow to God that you are choosing this vocation, the Church would like those vows to take place in a church, in front of God, where almost all other sacraments also take place. Full masses have special blessings . And receiving the Eucharist at your ceremony is a wonderful way of saying that you want God to be a part of your marriage, by receiving his body and blood at your very own wedding. How blessed is that? I’m sorry some people think that it’s stuffy our cramps their style. But religion isn’t always a rock concert. There are some solemn parts for serious refelection. Party it up at the reception.
And the Church wants to make sure couples are prepared because it doesn’t believe in divorce. And wants to do its best to reduce the number of anullments.
So are you looking for a Catholic wedding only because your parents want it for you? If so you probably shouldn’t be marrying in the Church because it sounds like you won’t really practice your faith. If you really do want a Catholic wedding but don’t want to upset your FH, I think the best course of action is to talk to a priest. Perhaps the one who will marry you. Maybe there is one who you know well and like. Maybe he and the precana couple can help steer him on a path towards appreciating his faith and its beauty. It sounds like he is fed up with boring Catholic obligations. But if he understood them, if he understood why Catholicism comes off as more introspective than other religions, he might be more receptive to it. I think if he should be willing to consider doing that for you.
God bless you. I will pray for you. Good luck in your marriage.
Post # 13
It sounds like you do want the Catholic wedding, since you want the marriage to be recognized and you want to practice Catholicism after the wedding. If that is the case, yes, you do have to go through pre-Cana. It’s not that bad though. Fiance and I talked through a lot of issues that we didn’t even realize we had, and I’m glad we did. It was a really helpful experience.
Post # 14
like some of the other bees stated, i would check other churches and parishes as well.
my friend had to go through an 8 week private session for her church and that FOCCUS test. for my Fiance and I, we only had to do the FOCCUS test and the precana. everything else was optional.
Post # 15
Just if it wasn’t clear before, I want to reiterate that Catholic marriage (between two Catholics) is still a sacrament and still valid even if you do not have Eucharist at your ceremony. It is, of course, a lovely thing to have and bears many blessings, but many factors affect whether it is the right choice for a couple. Alternatives to having it at the mass including having it just before or after the ceremony in private with the priest. But if a couple does not have Eucharist at their marriage that in no way diminishes the power and truth of the sacrament of marriage itself.
Post # 16
The pre-cana classes are probably the best free resource for engaged couples, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT