(Closed) Catholic Wedding Help

posted 10 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
53 posts
Worker bee

Hi StrawberryBaby! There’s a lot of information already out there – search for "catholic" on weddingbee or google it and you’ll find a ton of sites.

My FH and I are in the same boat you are – I am Catholic and he is not, and we are having a Catholic ceremony. I’ve had bad experiences with my clergy at the church I grew up in, and came back to my faith in college, so needless to say we were both pretty nervous when the process began.

Basically, there’s three or four meetings with the priest, plus any marriage-prep (also known as Pre-Cana) classes. The first meeting is informational (for both you and the parish). The 2nd is the FOCCUS test, which is a fill in the bubble exam that asks you how you feel about certain statements on various subjects (money, children, etc). This can be combined with the first meeting. The meeting after that discusses your results, and the final meeting discusses ceremony specifics: readings, music, etc.

Pre-Cana meetings vary depending on the parish. Some will do little meetings over the course of a few weeks, and others will do a marathon session in one day. A good place to start is to search your dioscese website, but the church you select may have different criteria. 

The best thing you can do for your marriage preparation is to find a priest that you are both comfortable with. If you don’t already have one, start visiting a couple of churches and listen to their sermons – that’s the best way to get a feeling about a priest.

It’s also good to go in prepared for your informational meeting with a united front. Many priests will ask you if you are living together, intimate, intention to convert, and intention of raising the children Catholic. You’ll want to discuss all of this with your fiance before the meeting so there are no surprises. It may also help to have a general idea of how the Church feels about certain subjects beforehand – check wikipedia or ask your fiance!

It may seem like a lot, but in the end its very helpful because it encourages the communication process. We’ve been dating for 7 years and there were things that came up that we’ve never discussed!

If you have any other questions, please ask. Good luck!

Post # 4
238 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2008 - St. Catherine of Genoa, Jin Asian Cuisine Restaurant

Hi StawberryBaby! Mr. Toucan and I are like you guys! He’s Catholic and I’m not. I found this knot bio a little while ago that was pretty helpful. I hope it’s helpful to you too!

Post # 5
11 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

I’m in the exact same position you are!  One thing to be aware of is that it can vary significantly by parish/priest.  So, we are in a more liberal parish, but the process has been really easy!  We made our initial meeting with the priest last August, where he gave us the overview of the process and the book about our particular church’s restrictions, like no photography except for the pro, stuff about flowers and music and tossing things. These all vary by parish.

In October, they had a special blessing for all the engaged couples in the 9am mass (this seems to be something that doesn’t normally happen.  Afterwards we all took the FOCCUS survey, which looks at compatability.  We were also matched with a sponsor couple with the Parish.

 In March we met with our sponsor couple twice to go over the FOCCUS survey.  We talked about any question where we answered differently or "non-optimally" in the eyes of the Catholic Church.  This part was fun, it was nice to talk to a different couple.  John and I didn’t have a lot to talk about though, since we’d already talked about a lot of it.

Then, a few weeks ago we had our last meeting with the priest.  He gave us the Together for Life book that helps you plan your ceremony, which you can have with or without the liturgy of the Eucharist (communion).  It has different choices for readings, blessings, prayers, vows, etc.  (You can’t write your own vows, but you can do a special prayer of the couple, if you want)  So you just read through it and pick what you want, then fill out the tear out sheet in tha back, and in our case, bring it to the rehearsal.  You can usually pick different readings, but then you have to get them approved by the priest.  I wanted specific readings, so I brought them to the meeting, and they were OK’d no problem.  If you want to go this route, I suggest the Indie Bride forums – they had some good less churchy/non-submissive readings – though the ones in the book aren’t too bad.  John also had to bring in his baptism, 1st communion, and confirmation certificates (as would I, if I would have had them).  He asked us a series of questions sepereately to make sure there were no barriers to us marrying.  Then John had to sign the paper to get the dispensation to marry a non-catholic.  He had to promise to do his best to raise our kids Catholc – note that he doesn’t have to promise to do it, just do his best.  That’s because the church recognizes your responsibility to do your best to raise the kids in your own faith tradition.

Next up is planning the music – nothing secular, nor the wedding march.  Then we get married next month!

Um, as for random other things to keep in mind, you may have to kneel for the whole ceremony – we do, which is great because that normally maes me light-headed.  You might want to have a detailed program to help with all the stand up, sit down, say stuff elements of Catholic mass.  Your priest should be able to help you with it, and he may or may not want to approve the program.

 Sorry this is SUPER long, but hopefully it’s helpful!  Your process will probably be somewhat different, but this may give you some idea of what to expec.

Post # 6
158 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2007 - The Wellington House in Fayetteville, NY

StrawberryBaby — I was in the same boat.  Mr. Radish is Catholic and I’m not, but we still had a Catholic wedding. 

I second Miss Toucan’s suggestion above to check out the Catholic bio. That was very helpful to me when I was planning.

Also check out the website for the archdiocese where you are getting married.  Most will have a section about marriage that will give you some info on that particular archdiocese’s requirements. 

From your profile, it looks like you are in Vancouver, so go here – http://www.rcav.bc.ca/

I wrote a couple posts about our ceremony planning that may be helpful:

A Holy Matrimony?



Good luck 🙂 


Post # 7
41 posts
  • Wedding: June 2008

One basic note: the Church usually requires you to start the marriage prep process at least 6 months before the wedding.  We just made it in under the deadline, but it was close!

 Also, we did 4 sessions of pre-Cana, but never did FOCCUS or had a sponsor couple — we did our prep in NYC.  There are also a variety of books they can give you with sample ceremony readings, etc (we also go Together for Life, but I’ve seen others).  And no one ever asked my non-Catholic fiance if he wanted to convert.  So there are some variations in the usual process. 

 Good luck!

Post # 9
588 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2007 - Radisson Hotel

I think we may have gotten off easily, compared to the other women on here! Mr. Kiwi works at the church we married in, was baptized there, had his communion there and is really just so comfortable there. We did have to do the one-day marriage prep class, and we had to answer a small questionaire, but it was all verbally asked by the Father.

That "Together for Life" book was good, but they gave us the one that was for a ceremony with a mass, and I just kept choosing passages that I didn’t need! I would have picked up a different version, but figured it wasn’t necessary.

Our coordinator was a joke (search for my dealings with her, it’s insane), which made me even happier to be familiar with the church already (more than she was, which was very annoying). Good luck! 

Post # 10
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

My sister was in your same position, at the cathedral she chose they would not allow her to be married on the high altar…she didnt even know she was not where she could have been.  My father had to make a substantial donation so she could get her way.  I think its up to the priest, at another wedding I attended the bride was 9 mos pregnant.  I would say be clear on all the local rules!

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