(Closed) Catholic wedding with mass – Questions from a non-Catholic guest

posted 7 years ago in Catholic
Post # 2
1348 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

It’s really nothing to stress over. DH’s family is Catholic, so on his side all of the weddings are Catholic. I had no idea what to expect since I was raised Baptist. 

The ceremony could last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half I would say. It really depends on what all they are including and the style of the priest. Typically, they are around an hour though. As far as standing and kneeling go, usually (from what I’ve seen) when the priest prays, you stand. Everyone suddenly stands up, so just go with the flow. There is a little bar to kneel on so when everyone kneels, you kneel. You can ask your BF to whisper to you when it’s those times if you feel more comfortable doing that. 

There will be a part where people turn to each other and shake hands. When that happens you say “peace be with you” or and shake their hand. 

There are also some phrases that people say after the priest, you don’t need to worry about that. You can just sit there since you don’t know them. No one will notice.

As for communion, you just don’t get up and go. When your row comes back though, quietly stand up and let them slide in if necessary. 

I would say that the ceremony would be over by 3:30, depending on if you need to drive to the reception, you can factor in that time. But inbetween, you’ll have to entertain yourselves. 

I would wear a dress that works for a daytime and nightime wedding. You COULD change inbetween, but you don’t have to nor is it expected. As far as dressing conservatively goes, Catholics do not dress any differently than protestants in my experience. 

Just have fun, ask your BF to help guide you (but just follow the crowd) and you’ll be fine. 

Post # 3
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - local park

You’ll pretty much see what everyone else is doing regarding the kneeling/standing/sitting.  It’s okay to sit when everyone kneels if you’re more comfortable with that.  Just chill out in your seat during communion.  A Catholic wedding can be anywhere from an hour to longer, it depends on the priest and the number of people there (how long communion takes and how long the homily takes).  It depends on the church how you’ll need to dress- some are more formal than others.  Around where I live, it’s not very formal so just nice regular wedding clothes would work.  It definitely seems like there is a scheduled break in your itinerary, so you could change if you wanted to.  

Post # 4
914 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

View original reply
lolita39:  She summed it up!  Just follow the crowd, and don’t worry about the responses.  

Especially at weddings, most Catholics and the priests themselves are quite aware that there are non-Catholics in the crowd and won’t mind at all.  Just don’t chew gum or text during the service.  Please.  Major pet peeve of mine regarding visitors at Mass! 🙂


Post # 6
2375 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Ex Catholic, but I’ve been to many Catholic weddings. Follow everyone else, they’ll sit/stand/kneel in appropriate parts. You are NOT required to kneel or pray if you’re not Catholic. You can just now your head quietly and that’ll be fine. Also, some Catholicc churches still go with the covered shoulders rule, so I’d bring a cardigan. It’s usually freezing, so it’ll come in handy anyway 🙂 Trust me, you won’t be the only non Catholic there! And many of the lapsed Catholics won’t remember the sit/stand/kneel points either.

Post # 7
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: ...

View original reply
Eribuzz:  Everyone else pretty much covered it, but I’ll throw my thoughts in.

– You’ll know when to stand/sit/kneel, just keep an eye on what everyone else does. Trust me, you won’t be the only guest there who doesn’t know what to do! If you’re not comfortable kneeling, you can just sit for those parts.

– Stay in your seat for communion unless that makes you uncomfortable. If it makes you uncomfortable, you can always just walk up for everyone and cross your arms in front of you to indicate that you don’t want to receive communion. You could also stand in the back. But you staying seated won’t be a big deal at all and I’m sure no one will notice.

– I’ve always worn the same outfit for the ceremony and reception, but I normally throw on a cardigan or a wrap for the ceremony. You could change if you really wanted to (you’ll have plenty of time), but you’re fine in the same outfit.

Don’t stress, I’m sure it will be fine! I’ve been to Catholic weddings with plenty of Catholics who have no idea what’s going on, so I promise you won’t be alone 🙂 

Post # 8
914 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

View original reply
Eribuzz:  Some people have very odd definitions of appropriate lol.

Ditto all the cardigan suggestions too.  I’m always freezing in church.

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