@Mcda04: Sure, happy to help. This is a rather broad-based question, though – as I’m sure you know, there are many rules with regards to a Catholic wedding ceremony. Did you get a “Together for Life” book? If not, ask for it!
I’ll try to run off a few, but if you have anything more specific I would be glad to answer.
Convalidation or not, the ceremony remains virtually the same.
-You will still have to recite OR; offer your assent to the same vows spoken during all Catholic wedings. Unless the Priest is *extremely* radical, you will not be able to recite your own vows during the wedding ceremony.This is done to 1) emphasize the unity of the Church worldwide, 2) ensure that both husband and wife make the same promises to each other (there can be no marriage without an equal and mutual love and consent, and the vows are designed to ensure that both husband and wife make this promise.)
-If you want to insert a little personal flavor in a way that is *similar* to writing your own vows, you might consider asking your Priest for more information about writing what is called a “Prayer of the Couple.” In any event, the Priest should approve of the way you word this – I wouldn’t leave it up to chance. You wouldn’t believe the type of things that people think they should pray for… LOL
-If you are both Catholic, you may choose to have a Mass. You may always choose not to have a Mass (even if you are both Catholic.)
-Your Priest sounds very laid back, so he would probably be alright with a Unity Candle (if you want to do something like that… but you should let him know in advance if you do.)
-With regards to the rings, presumably you are both wearing bands already? If so, you may choose to “exchange” them again, OR; get new ones for this purpose (not sure why you would, just saying), OR; you may simply have them blessed.
-No matter how laid back your Priest is, there are still requirements with regards to music. Have you met with a music director in the Parish (in the Church)? This Priest sounds very relaxed but it’s always inappropriate to play secular music during the ceremony (non-sacred music) and if he doesn’t agree with that, I would be very surprised! Just because a song mentions God or love or whatever, that does not make it fitting for a wedding. People try to get away with all kinds of stuff, LOL, we used to have people ask us about playing the Star Wars title song and stuff like that. Understand that there’s probably nothing WRONG with whatever kind of music you would ideally like to hear, and just because it’s inappropriate for Church doesn’t make it inappropriate elsewhere.. but within the ceremony it is important to maintain reverence for God. Save the other stuff for the reception 🙂
If there’s anything else I can be of assistance with, let me know.