Post # 1
We’re getting married next Spring and are looking into venues. Originally, although I was raised Catholic and my parents are Catholic, we decided to do a non-religious ceremony. My Fiance is not baptized but his family is non-practicing Episcopalian.
Anyway, this caused my parents a lot of pain. They felt as though I was betraying my heritage by not doing a Catholic wedding. I’ve tried to explain to them that I no longer practice and wouldn’t feel right… but I’m not getting anywhere with them.
What makes it even more difficult is that even if I did start attending mass again, I’d be going to a local church and my wedding will be taking place across the country. My Fiance does not want to attend Mass with me and I’m totally fine with that.
So– I need some advice. I want to make my parents happy, my Fiance happy and myself happy! I think this involves some sort of compromise. Does anyone know of a way to have a ceremony w/ religious aspects to it but not a full Catholic mass? Or are there non-denominational chapels that will marry folks?
Anyone who has been in a similar situation or has some advice — please let me know! Thanks!
Post # 3
You can have a Catholic wedding ceremony in a Catholic church without having a full mass. The mass is just an option that you have, and the validity of the ceremony is no different whether or not you have it. The Catholic wedding ceremony is very similar to any wedding ceremony you’d have—processional, vows, exchange of rings, etc. It takes about 20 minutes.
Post # 4
Thanks! I’m nervous that it will be difficult to even be married in a Catholic church due to the fact my Fiance is not Catholic and I haven’t been practicing. Are they more lenient if you don’t have a mass? I feel pretty funky/uncomfortable about asking to get married in a Catholic church since I have my own personal issues with the church.
Know of any compromises? That would make my parents happy to have Catholicism incorporated in an outdoor ceremony? Thanks!!
Post # 5
The Catholic Church only allows indoor weddings if it’s truly a Catholic wedding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use religious readings or prayers in a different ceremony. Maybe you should really talk to your parents about what part of the Catholic wedding they feel upset that you’re omitting, and see if you can find a way to include that piece. If it’s a minister, I’m sure you can find a non-denominational minister. If it’s the religious aspect, try including readings/prayers.
It sounds to me like you want nothing to do with a church wedding, but I think a non-Mass wedding is definitely an option if you’re ok with it. Since your Fiance isn’t Catholic, this would really be your only option for a “Catholic wedding” (unless he converted, which doesn’t sound like it’s happening).
And if you want to do it there, your home church (your parents’ church, I would assume) would probably be willing to do the ceremony, but you could do the Catholic wedding prep anywhere. That’s what we’re doing.
Post # 6
If you’re set on marrying outside, I think you probably have three options. First, you can find an officiant from another denomination to marry you (an Episcopalian priest might offer the most familiar liturgical style, if you can find one…I have no idea on Episcopal regulations for outdoor wedding and marrying non-members). Second, you could incorporate religious readings into a ceremony conducted by a secular officiant. Third (and possible in addition to either of the other two choices), you could plan on having your marriage convalidated in the Catholic church afterwards. This would mean having a separate ceremony in a Catholic church later on and would (I think this is standard) require the same pre-cana work that getting married in the church would require.
My sympathies – this can be a difficult situation, when your beliefs and those of your parents are not in alignment. My husband is from a very Catholic family, and we ended up not incorporating any religious elements into our ceremony at all because it felt hypocritical to us, but his parents definitely would have like us to!
Post # 7
I’m Lutheran and marrying a big Catholic. Typically if you are Christian they still want a mass. Since your fiancé is not even baptised they would suggest just the Liturgy of the Word, not Liturgy of the Mass. An easy solution so both families could be happy.
Post # 8
A friend of mine is looking into getting an officiant from http://www.contemporarycatholics.org. They will do outdoor ceremonies, marry divorced people, etc. I’m guessing they aren’t officially part of the Roman Catholic church, but if you don’t want a truly Catholic wedding and just want a Catholic “feel” to yours, they might be an option.
Post # 9
Well, the Catholic church will marry a couple even if one of them is non-Catholic. My H is non-catholic and not practicing anything. I have also heard that even if the Catholic is nonpracticing, they will still marry you. Don’t know if it’s diocese specific. Regardless, you’ll still need to find a home church (e.g. near where you live?) to prepare ur paperwork and a diocese that is willilng to let you have the ceremony. Based on what you said, it seems that the ceremony is not where you’re living so there’ll be some more paperwork for that.
However, the most important thing is: is it worth “faking” your religious faith and practice just to make ur parents happy? I know ur parents brand you as betraying your heritage but it’s not a heritage perse. Rather, Catholicism is a faith and faith is personal. Would u rather betray your personal faith?
The Catholic marriage prep program I went through constantly advises couples not to get married in the Catholic church only if the parents want it. Get married in the church if you and your Fiance want to. Although they do not/cannot enforce that. You should get married the way you want to. A good compromise is to incorporate all the parts of the liturgy of the word, except it’s not in the church nor is it presided by a Catholic priest. So it would look/feel like a Catholic wedding but it’s not. However, if your parents are dead on the actual paperwork sanctioned by the Catholic church and no others, it could be difficult.
Post # 10
There are a ton of non-denominational churches that will let you bring in your own priest.
I feel for you that you are being pressured by your parents to do something you don’t want to do. Not only is it upsetting for you, but it is also not very fair for the church. I hope you can find a healthy compromise, but most of all I hope you do what makes you and your FH happy and not worry too much about your parents’ pushing. Good luck!
Post # 11
I’m sorry you have to go through this with your parents. I’m sure my parents would be exactly the same way – luckily I just fell in love with a guy who went through 20yrs of Catholic school (incl. college).
You can absolutely still have a Catholic ceremony, without having a full mass even if your fiance isn’t Catholic – BUT – be prepared because many churches still require you to go through marriage prep courses such as pre-cana, natural family planning, etc. You might want to find out what would be required depending on where you get married and if it’s worth all the trouble you’ll have to go through to make your parents happy in the end. I know churches are all different, so I’m not sure but I’d def look into it.
Post # 12
THANK YOU NEVA! You and http://www.contemporarycatholics.org may have just solved my biggest wedding dilemma! The info is very much appreciated!
Post # 13
Thank you to everyone!!! Your comments are so appreciated.
I’ll look into having a non-mass wedding at my parents’ church and see what that entails. I’m kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place because I’m upsetting my parents SO much, but I don’t want to make my Fiance uncomfortable or be dishonest to the church.
But, I think after everyone’s advice and my own comfort level I’ll probably try doing something like contemporarycatholics.org or having a minister of a different faith marry us. Then, down the road if we decide that it’s right for us to stay involved with the Catholic church we can have our marriage convalidated later.
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone! I knew you bees would help me work toward a solution!