(Closed) Help a non-Catholic gal out!

posted 8 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
159 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

There is a book – you can get a used one on Amazon usually   – I can’t remember the name right now – but it will walk you through all of the options for readings, and prayers – the whole ceremony.  The good thing about the Catholic Church and weddings is it is pretty prescribed what the ceremony is.  If you are not doing a Mass, it is based on the Mass – everything but the Liturgy of the Eucharist (the second part where they do the consecration).  And if you are doing a mass, it’s the same mass with the Nuptials in there.  I am Catholic and am planning my Catholic wedding right now.  I would be happy to answer specific questions – feel free to PM me anytime.  I will find out the name of the book and PM you- bought it on Amazon for about $2.  But your priest will also probably give you one too.

I just went to PreCana yesterday – for some 40 somethings on our second wedding – it was just okay.  Anyway, enjoy – the Catholic ceremony is rooted in deep tradition – and there are some that either don’t appreciate it or care for it, but I personally love the tradition of the Catholic church.   

Post # 4
6998 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011


This site may help. My FH is one of 13 kids and comes from a very strong cathlolic family. Though i am Catholic too my family was not a devout as his and in the beginning it was kind of intimidating. I found this website helpful.

Post # 6
411 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Honestly, your best bet it to talk to the priest in the church you’re looking to get married in.

While it sounds strange, every church is different. Some are offended by secular songs, some aren’t. Some allow bare shoulders, some don’t. My church gave me a booklet, with readings I could choose from and everything. Regardless, you’ll need to do a pre-cana class – there’s usually the option between a getaway weekend or weekly classes (ours was 2 5 hour weekend days). This is also usually set up by your church – or you at least get info for it.

Good Luck!!

Post # 7
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Is your Fiance a registered and practicing member of a specific church?  If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to contact that church and reserve your date.  Most churches require some sort of donation when you reserve your date, and they should also give you a copy of the book Together for Life.  This book has all the resources you need to plan the Catholic ceremony.

In a nutshell, a Catholic ceremony is the same as a regular Sunday mass, with some extra blessings thrown in and of course the marriage rite (exchange of vows and rings).  If you’ve never been to a Catholic mass, I highly recommend sitting in on a couple to get a feel for it.  Your ceremony will go in much the same order, with most of the readings, blessings, and songs that are part of a regular mass.  You get to pick the readings and blessings you want for your ceremony; the easiest way is just to pick whatever’s the most meaningful to you out of the Together for Life book.  Since you’ll have an interfaith wedding, you can omit the communion rite from your ceremony, since most non-Catholics don’t take communion at a Catholic ceremony anyway.

Since there are lots of parts to the mass that might be mind-boggling to non-Catholics, I recommend distributing programs that list those parts.  PM me if you’d like to see my programs as an example.

Unless you get special permission from the Bishop, you’ll have to get married inside a church since your marriage is a sacrament.  Your FI’s church will probably have some small rules about decorating.  Most churches don’t want you scratching up the pews with metal clips to hold up flowers, for example.  And it’s an absolute no-no to put any decorations on top of the altar.

As far as the music goes, they’ll have rules about that too (go figure right).  Since you’re inside a church, no secular (non-religious) music is allowed.  In other words, you can’t walk up the aisle to “Tonight’s gonna be a good night!”  You should work with the church’s wedding coordinator to find a pianist/organist and singer.  The pianist will be very familiar with all the little songs that go into a Catholic mass and what’s allowed in a wedding, so follow his/her direction when choosing music.

Ok so that sounded like a lot of rules, sorry!  Just trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  A couple interesting facts:  In a Catholic wedding ceremony, the couple administer the sacrament of marriage to each other, and the priest is just there to bless it.  Since Catholics believe marriage should be entered into freely and that the bride is no one’s property, the bride’s father does not give her away (the priest won’t say “who gives this woman in marriage?”) but rather the father is considered your escort down the aisle.

One last tip LOL.  A lot of Catholic brides have a little angst because the priest doesn’t say “you may kiss the bride” right after the exchange of rings (again because they don’t believe the bride is property).  I recommend you ask your priest to say at the end of the ceremony “it is my pleasure to introduce for the very first time mr. and mrs. X” and then you kiss, right before the recessional.

Best of luck!  And thank you for giving consideration to your FI’s religion in your ceremony!  Some non-Catholic brides end up resenting the fact that their Fiance is Catholic.  You truly are starting off on the right foot when each person respects the other’s background, so neither person feels like they’re giving up the person they are, just to get married.

Post # 8
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I agree with the PP, all churches/priests have their own rules. We didn’t have a problem with bare shoulders but we could not choose our own reading. We could add 2 songs but they needed to be pre-approved by the priest. Some churches won’t marry you if you are not a member who attends reguarly so you should at least make sure you will be able to be married in his church and maybe attend a few masses to make sure it is something you want too. Good luck!

Post # 9
687 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I am also a non-Catholic marrying a Catholic so all of these tips  are very helpful! We have added stress though because we are getting married in our home town, but we live about 7 hours away due to grad school. There is so much paperwork that our Church here has to do so we are allowed to get married at our hometown Church! 

Post # 10
3344 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Know that you will have to agree to raise your future children in the Catholic faith.

Post # 11
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Congratulations! I would definitely recommend going to mass with your fiance a couple of times before you start wedding planning. Your wedding will pretty much look like that, but (if you aren’t having a mass) instead of the Eucharist, you will say your vows.

@jenbrandner: I agree with your “interesting facts”. To me, that’s some of the best part about getting married Catholic. No one gives you away, and you marry yourselves!

I had a great experience getting married Catholic. Granted, my husband and I are both Catholic, but we loved our Pre-Cana program (marriage prep) and had few problems with the church.

My advice: Don’t let yourself get frustrated by the church. I think Catholic weddings tend to require more forms than other places. Just remember, those are there to certify that you are ready for this and you are doing it of your own free will. There is nothing wrong with that! Sometimes brides get frustrated about priests saying that you can’t do something, like wear a strapless dress (not always the case) or write your own vows. Just remember that its not the little details that are important, its the marriage. Also, you are getting married by someone who never had to go through planning their own wedding, so cut them a little slack. 🙂 

Post # 12
2204 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Most Catholic priests will require you to go through Pre-Cana to be married in the Church. Since it is your FI’s church, has he contacted them? Those sessions will help you prepare.

Post # 13
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Since it’s a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic, you probably won’t have a Mass (Mass is optional and usually avoided when half of the guests would be alienated – remember, only Catholics can take Communion in a Catholic church).

As everyone else said, meet with the priest first.  He’ll probably give you this book:  http://www.amazon.com/Together-Life-Special-Marriage-Outside/dp/087793617X if not, you’ll want to get it (it’s only $3.95 because it’s a pamphlet with the readings and the specifics of the ceremony).  If you want a book with more ommph, I recommend http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Wedding-Book-Guidebook-Instructions/dp/080914462X/ref=pd_sim_b_6 .  This also has the readings, but it’s a full fledged book and goes into much more explanation.



Post # 14
618 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010 - Catholic Church & The Engine Room at Georgetown Studios

Congratulations!  All the previous bee’s offered great advice. I would add, even though you don’t want to convert, you should try to attend Mass a couple of times with your fiance soon so you can become familiar with the Catholic Mass.  As previously mentioned, the Catholic ceremony (without Mass) is based on the Mass.  It would be more comfortable for you if you were familiar with how a Mass flows.  If your Fiance is not well versed in the parts of the Mass and their significance, I would suggest finding a resource who is.  Many parishes have resources which explain the order of the Mass.


Post # 15
2321 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I am in the same boat as you! I found these sites very helpful that PPs posted: Catholic Wedding Help, For Your Marriage.

I have already been attending Mass with my fiance for the past 2 yrs and it does help to know and understand what is happening and why.

I would also recommend reading the Holy Bible if you want an even thorough understanding of your fiance’s religious values and beliefs. That certainly helped me. Though I didn’t ‘need’ to.  And we were not even engaged @ the time. It was just something that will definitely come in handy when picking readings so you know which context they are truly coming from.

Post # 16
499 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I second the sentiment that you probably won’t be having a full mass on your wedding day. Because you are an interfaith couple, it is more likely that you will have the wedding ceremony only, That is how most churches do it.

I also second the idea that your specific church will tell you everything you need to know. You will definitely have to agree to raise your children Catholic. You will also need to listen to and acknowledge a discussion on natural family planning. All of that should come out in pre-cana classes.

For the record, I’m not Catholic myself. But my first husband was, so I know how it looks from your side of the table. 🙂

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