Post # 1
We met with our priest today to go over the basics of the wedding ceremony. It blew us away and really gave us some things to think about. The Catholic wedding ceremony leaves almost NOTHING to customize. WE are the ones getting married, but it’s pretty much a scripted ceremony. We have the “Together for Life” book but there are literally like, 3-4 options to choose from and that’s it. We were told we are NOT allowed to have a unity candle. Also, we really believe that we should be writing and saying our own vows, yet there is no room for that. In addition, the music all has to be from the religions music book in the church. We walked out of there feeling so limited we don’t know what to do. At this point, we’re thinking of converting. Some of our family is Methodist, and while their beliefs are similar, we would have the freedom to make it our own ceremony. Any thoughts? HElp? Did anyone else feel that way?
Post # 3
Getting married in a religious tradition will always bring about problems with customizing. A few points:
(1) A unity candle isn’t Catholic, at all. It has no basis on the culture or the religion, and therefore isn’t included in a Catholic ceremony. Most priests don’t allow them during a matrimonial mass because there is no scriptual basis for them, nor has any canonical law/statements decreed otherwise
(2) The Rite of Marriage is a scripted process, as are most sacraments. There are traditions that are followed, and those traditions are what make a Catholic marriage. I’m sorry you can’t customize the mass to your own wishes, but the priest has every right to tell you he can’t, because under canon law, the mass must be carried out a certain way.
(3) Why convert just because you don’t like how the marriage mass is going? it’s one thing to decide to do a civil ceremony (I’m doing civil because I’m Catholic and Fiance is Jewish)…but giving up on your religion, which is clearly important to you based on the fact that you sought out a priest for the ceremony, is a bit rash.
Sorry these aren’t the answers you were looking for.
Post # 4
Why do you have to convert to have a wedding? Why not use get a unitarian/non-denominational service? rentapriest.com has a ton of priests that will do less-traditional cermonies. However, you will NOT be having a Catholic wedding. Only a Catholic priest in a Catholic church can give you that.
Post # 5
Thank you for your replies. I guess conversion has been something I’ve struggled with for awhile, as our first decision was to get married at the place that we are having our reception. The thing is, there are definitely some facets and beliefs of the Catholic Church that we do not believe in or agree with. We’re wondering if this should be the first big step for us to declare our beliefs together, in a free-er type of service, such as Methodist. That way we are still declaring our faith and love in God, but we can do it in the way we believe and the way we want.
Post # 6
If being able to customize the wedding ceremony is very important to you, than I would suggest having a civil ceremony. Why do you feel the need to convert to another religion? Is it because you want to be married in a church and want a priest/pastor to do it?
*Edit – I just saw your most recent post where you answer my questions. I still think you should look into a civil or non denominational wedding, so you can have a completely cutomized wedding without any stipulations.
Post # 7
@Bichon Frise: We want to be married in a religious manner, in the eyes of God, but we also believe that God would want us to be able to honor our marriage in the way we felt was best.
Post # 8
We were recently married in the Catholic church as hubby and I were both raised strict Catholic…neither of us are really practicing right now, but it was important to both of our families that we have a Catholic wedding. We were able to have a unity candle, in fact I believe the priest was the one that brought it up. I know that it’s not “Catholic”, but I would talk to your priest to see what their reasoning is behind not allowing it–its symbolic and its not desecrating in any way. We also did a full mass, and you are correct, it’s fairly rigid. I will say that we were able to “personalize” things a bit when we met with the organist. Yes, everything still had to come from the church, no contemporary or mainstream music was allowed, but the organist was able to provide us with a much larger selection of music than what was in the Together With One book. Even selections that were not in the large red song missal for each Sunday mass. The other way that we were able to incorporate ourselves into the ceremony was with The Prayer of the Faithful–we used the Together With One as a guideline, but we wrote our own verses to include names of family members who had passed, those unable to be there for the ceremony, members of the Armed Forces and Civil Service, etc. It wasn’t the married on the sand barefoot with personal vows that I had imagined I would always have, but it did take me back to my Catholic roots, and I think that was both unexpected but a very spiritual moment for everyone there.
As far as converting, I would seriously reconsider doing that at this point. Like I said, I’m not a truly practicing Catholic and I understand 100% the reasons that one may want to explore other religions–however I would wait until after the wedding to do it. To me, it seems like a cop out, I don’t like how this church works for weddings, so I’m going to find one that fits my needs. Converting religions is a serious decision that shouldn’t be made hastily. My 2 cents: I would find a non-denominational priest to perform a ceremony that is suitable for you two as a couple and then re-examine your beliefs in relation to organized religion after the wedding. Good Luck =)
Post # 9
Hubby and I got married a month aaiming a Catholic Church, and we customized our whole ceremony. From readings, vow exchamusic and music selection. I think it all has to do with the priest or deacon marrying you and what church you choose. We also had the option of doing a unity candle or sand ceremony, but opted out of doing either. Good Luck!!
Post # 10
@MrsDrakely: Okay, this response may seem sort of b*tchy, and I’m sorry if it does, but it really doesn’t make sense to me. You say: “That way we are still declaring our faith and love in God, but we can do it in the way we believe and the way we want.” Well, your faith is rooted in the Catholic tradition. By saying you want to do everytihng how you want, you’re not following what the faith teaches. The faith has proscribed a manner in which Catholic marriages are carried out. It’s fine if you don’t agree with aspects of the faith, but turning your back on your religion because you can’t customize your own vows seems shallow to me.
Post # 11
Yes Catholic weddings are all pretty much the same because those are the rules! Have you been to many before? Like PP said, its a sacrament – you can customize it as much as you could customize a Baptism or Holy Communion – not much at all. But you can try to really look at the readings and pick the ones that stand out to you, and write your own Prayer of the Faithful. And as for the vows, they are really beautiful! I love the idea of me and Fiance exchanging the same vows that our parents and grandparents said at their weddings. Good luck!
Post # 12
- Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
I wrote about the reasoning behind no unity candle earlier today here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/church-says-no-unity-candle
Post # 13
There are a lot of “rules” like no throwing petals in some churches, no choice in modern music, no candles, no photography sometimes during the ceremony, you’ll probably have to cover your shoulders, no common wedding-related march to walk down the aisle, and no flowers on the altar.
The best way to figure out what is okay and what isn’t is to get your parish program on the Sacrament of Marriage, sometimes even the diocese will have one on their website.
Post # 14
@MrsBroccoli: This website is amazing, I’m glad I read through this post.
Post # 15
With regards to “Together for Life,” the readings in there are only suggestions. You can actually use any passage from the Bible (well, one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from the Gospels). Those are just the most popular ones. A few Catholic bees (myself included) have used a passage from Ruth, for example, that is not listed in TFL.
Instead of focusing on not being able to write your own vows, focus on how you are saying the same vows that have been said by Catholics for generations. In my opinion, that adds a lot of impact to them. And remember that marriage is a sacrament. During the sacrament of the eucharist, all of our responses are written out and not adlibbed. Many couples have chosen to say their self-written vows at the reception, during the toasts. Perhaps that could work out for you.
Post # 16
My husband and I got married in the Catholic church this past summer and there was many times that we were allowed to customize our ceremony. The book you mentioned “Together for Life” as others have mentioned offeres suggestions for readings. We used some but not all of the suggestions. For one of the readings I chose it because I thought it was a beautiful passage and relevent to our relationship. In terms of music, they certainly wouldn’t allow modern day songs but our church allowed other music (I walked into the church with Canon in D). We wrote the portion of the ceremony (forgot what it is called) where the church responds “Lord hear our prayer” so we were able to pay tribute to the thoughts and prayers we wanted. In regards to the vows there is some choice in specific wording but we thought there was something special about saying the words that countless in love couples had said to one another before.
All in all, a Catholic ceremony is beautiful but if it’s not for you it’s not for you.