Post # 1
I am attending my first Catholic wedding this weekend and I have a few questions.
The church ceremony is at 1:30 PM, followed by a meal, and then a reception at another venue at 7 PM.
Is there a break between the ceremony and reception? Do I wear two different outfits?
The invititation didn’t list a dress code, so what does one typically wear to a Catholic ceremony? Do my shoulders need to be covered?
Post # 3
I personally have never been to a wedding and reception at the same venue, and almost all of the weddings I’ve attended are Catholic. So I can tell you, unless your friends are insanely fancy, wear the same outfit. Traditionally, you should keep your shoulders covered in the church if you’d like to keep safe. As a guest, I usually wear some kind of half sweater or something to keep my shoulders covered if I’m wearing a strapless or spaghetti strap dress. Basically keep yourself respectable, but you’re not a nun.
As far as there being a brake between the ceremony and reception, the weddings I’ve attended usually have a break. If the couple has a full mass with their ceremony and they have a long-winded priest, it’ll last around an hour and a half at most, so check the time of the meal (usually at the reception venue right before the dancing and what-not)…the time should be on your invitation somewhere.
Post # 4
I think its common courtesy for people to cover their shoulders during mass, but i personally thing its kind of an old tradition..i am having a Catholic wedding and my wedding dress is strapless and my bridesmaids will be wearing long haltered dresses. I wouldnt worry too much as long as you dress conservatively i think its ok to show a little skin, i wore a sleeveless tank dress to my FSIL’s wedding in august it came to the knees. Def sounds like there is a long break, if they are having a tradional catholic mass it will take about an hour so the ceremony should end around 2:30 then if you are having a meal i would guess another hour or so…and then you will have from then till 7 when the receptions starts, i dont think you need to change outfits but that is up to you.
Post # 5
The bride has told me that it is a traditional Catholic mass with a meal taking place immediately after the ceremony at the church. I guess that is different from some of the other weddings posted here.
There is no other times listed besides 1:30 PM for ceremony and 7 PM for reception.
Thank you for the information, I really appreciate it! I’ll plan to keep my shoulders covered for the ceremony. And not wear two outfits like my fiance suggested.
Post # 6
Another Catholic bride here. I definitely wouldn’t change outfits (unless you want to!) and I would probably have a wrap or something for your shoulders if for no other reason than some churches can be big massive buildings and not particularly warm! It’s also good to be on the safe side in case it’s a more conservative-leaning church. As a PP said the ceremony can be up to 90 minutes long so be prepared – have a snack if you need one beforehand and use the facilities if you need to beforehand.
Also there’s a lot of standing/sitting/kneeling in a Catholic ceremony so just follow what you see others around you doing. It doesn’t mean you have to convert but it is polite to participate. (like if you don’t kneel and the person behind you does, it will make it difficult for them…)
Post # 7
I’m Jewish ,so I’m very prepared for a long ceremony with lots of standing/sitting/kneeling. We don’t usually kneel, but there is lots of standing and sitting and prayer in other languages. I’m just excited to see my friends get married and to experience another religions way of bringing two people together. 🙂
Post # 8
I’m the same as you – I love going to different types of ceremonies and if it’s a wedding, even better!
I just made sure to mention the sit/stand/kneel situation because there was a post here months ago where people said they didn’t believe in what was going on in Mass so they didn’t have to do it. I thought that was a pretty rude attitude to have in someone else’s place of worship (clearly…it stuck with me all this time!)
I hope your friends have a great wedding day!
Post # 9
One thing about a Catholic Mass is that all are invited and no one has to do anything. You could just sit in the back and watch and that’s perfectly fine – you don’t have to stand, sit, kneel, or pray.
In particular, many non-Catholics feel awkward kneeling (usually people are fine with standing and sitting). If that’s the case, it’s fine to sit while others kneel. If you’re going to do that, it’s polite to scoot forward in your seat because the people kneeling behind you will use the top of your seat as their hand rest when they’re kneeling. People who are unable to kneel will sit, as well.
As far as dress code, churches in the US are much less conservative than in other parts of the world, but the “standard” that’s accepted everywhere is that you should have covered shoulders and knees and everything in between. You can have a low cut dress but not too low (and you know what I mean by too low). You do not need too dresses, unless you want to do that as someone else mentioned.
Catholic weddings usually have a break somewhere between the ceremony and reception (because ceremonies have to be done early for Saturday night Mass). Ususally there’s nothing planned and guests go back to their hotel room/house and rest for a few moments or the parents of the bride and/or groom invite people over to their house.
Post # 10
@R.Elliott: About the kneeling. Don’t stress about it, for sure. As a Catholic, I wouldn’t expect people to kneel before something they did not believe in. But as @AnamCara noted it is polite. At least for the sitting/standing part. Plenty of people don’t kneel during mass. Both my sisters have had major knee problems (one tore both of her ACLs!) and they don’t tend to kneel. So no one would look at you and think “wow she must not be Catholic.”
Well, that definitely wouldn’t happen at a wedding, but in general I am always a little confused about why visitors feel so self conscious during mass. I mean, I realize that if I had never been to one, I’d be super confused! But really, NO ONE notices if you don’t go up for communion, don’t sing along, don’t say the prayers. Some people prefer not to sing aloud, people don’t go up for communion for plenty of reasons, and usually, no one looks back at the pews and thinks “wow are they out of place.” It always bums me out a little when people worry about visiting a mass. I promise (to all of you out there who have never been to one) no one will judge you for not being a Catholic!