Post # 1
My fiance and I come from two different family religious beliefs. I was raised Free Methodist and he was raised Catholic. Since being raised, we have both moved away from being very religious. We no longer attend church and do not practice regularly, if at all.
My family is much more easy-going in terms of not giving me a hard time about it or really inquiring into my religious beliefs. My fiance’s family (specifically his father), however, has been giving him a really hard time. We believe that this is the case because his change of mind over practicing Catholicism occurred while he was in college and away from his family. To them, it is as if this change happened over night (just so happened to be around the same time he met me…which doesn’t help in terms of building a relationship with his family).
We have been together for four years and are now living together while attending grad school (about 8 hour drive from where both our families live and where our wedding is taking place). We have already chosen our wedding location- a garden (same location for both ceremony and reception). We have both agreed on incorporating religious elements, but making it non-denominational. I guess we want God to be a part of our wedding so that in case we have a change of heart or revert back to religion later on in life, we don’t regret not including it. Does this make sense?
My fiance’s father is insistent that we have a catholic ceremony (either before the actual wedding as a separate ceremony or at the actual wedding). My fiance and I have discussed this and are not fans of either option for multiple reasons…plus we do not even think it is possible with everything we have already locked in place (location being outdoors, secular music, etc.)
Can anyone provide advice on how to potentially incorporate catholic elements that might be sufficient enough to please his father? Should we just stick to our guns? I am afraid of how this might go over with his father and we do not want tension on the actual wedding day and its not like we can uninvite him! Haha.
Post # 3
FI’s family is Catholic, I am not (atheist). We’re having a secular ceremony outdoors with the only somewhat religious component being a reading of the Corinthians and a lighting of a unity candle. There was LOTS of struggle and lots of tears. Future Mother-In-Law struggled the most with our decision but in the end I think she got that this was not a battle she was going to win.
The ceremony is the most meaningful part of the day. It needs to resonate with both of you and it should be something you’re both happy with. His father will eventually get over it, just like my Future Mother-In-Law has. Do what feels best for both of you!!
Post # 4
If your Future Father-In-Law is a practicing Catholic, I doubt trying to incorporate Catholic elements into the ceremony will be enough. For Catholics, marriage is a sacrament and it’s sort of a package-deal– you need the church, the priest, the right parts? You could have a small mass a week before the other ceremony with just his family? You’d need to meet with a priest and set up pre-marital meetings and whatnot beforehand.
If that’s not doable, you could read some scripture on your day to bring in the Bible, but it’s not a sacrament.
Post # 5
I’m interpreting the concept of “non-denominational” as something similar to a local Christian camp that is not a single denomination, but rather is a general Christian campground program lead and serving children from a wide variety of faith backgrounds. I think your free Methodist family are probably more familiar with this concept than his family. My suggestion is that you have two ministers lead the ceremony. At my dear friends wedding, the groom’s Catholic priest came to her wedding and I believe that it was a Catholic recognized ceremony. (I don’t understand the rules on this, but the priest and my pastor worked together. If you aren’t comfortable with having your family pastor work with his priest, I would look for another pastor that you are comfortable. (I mention that because I’m aware that some protestant groups are not willing to work with a Catholic priest, and while some priests may be more reluctant than others to work in this manner it is possible.) You don’t want them to feel that you are simply copying their ceremony, but rather including his family history and faith within your new marriage.
Post # 6
@Missbliss: In terms of the Cathecism of the Catholic Church, a sacramental marriage has to take place in the church.
Some people choose to ignore this and have ceremonies elsewhere, and apply for a dispensation to have the marriage approved by the church. (Without this approved, anyone who marries outside the church is technically living in sin and shouldn’t take communion.)
Everybody has a different viewpoint on it. OP, if you’re comfortable with not being married in the church then go for it– but if your spouse wants to receive communion and participate fully in the Catholic Church, it’s worth talking to a priest.
Post # 7
Just wanted to add that in a Catholic wedding, you promise to raise your children Catholic. I think this a pretty heavy thing to consider. If you think you are okay with making this promise, but want to keep your wedding day as planned, you could go to church after the wedding for convalidation (please note you will have to do Pre-Cana still).
Post # 8
@bookworm88: What she said is right.
If Future Father-In-Law finds it very important to get married in the church I doubt incorporating aspects will appease him.
I’m Cathoilic Fiance is not. We are not getting married in the church. I’ve decided to wait to see if there comes a time in his life where he wants to convert & then get married in the church. If it doesn’t happen that’s ok…we all have different faith paths.
Post # 9
@MrsElopement: That sounds like a difficult decision– I’m converting to Catholicism now and Fiance is Catholic, but I already don’t think I’d be comfortable getting married outside of the church, even if Fiance wasn’t Catholic? (That’s just my personal opinion though, definitely don’t mean to judge your choice!) Are you doing pre-cana and getting a dispensation, or are you just going to wait and convalidate later?
Post # 10
Thanks everyone for the helpful responses!
It is nice to know that we are not the only ones trying to make this difficult decision. I talked more with my fiance and he is comfortable moving forward with a non-denominational wedding. I think we are going to stick to our guns and be happy with what we want.