Post # 1
Our guests will range along the full spectrum from hardcore Catholic to Protestant to Buddhist, Jewish, pagan, and nonreligious. Do I have any hope for making everyone feel comfortable at a Catholic ceremony? Are there things I can do with the wording, or the programs?
Fiance and his family are all Catholic, whereas none of my family are catholics and I would feel responsible if my side all felt alienated during our wedding. :/
Post # 3
We’re going to have a pretty detailed program that explains most of what is “going on” at the ceremony. I assume that you’re not having a full Mass, just the wedding ceremony and readings, so if so, it will be REALLY similar anyhow to a Protestant wedding ceremony. If you are having a full Mass…then, yeah, it will be somewhat confusing to the non-Catholics, and I suspect that a program with explanations would be appreciated. I haven’t made mine yet or thought much about where I’m going to get ideas for what to write in it, but if you want to see it you can PM me closer to October!
Post # 4
I think most weddings have people who come from many different faiths and beliefs, so I’m not sure it’s really necessary to do anything special. People usually follow along with what the majority are doing anyway (kneel,sit,stand) so I wouldn’t worry about it. A program can help if you think its needed, but I’d rather have my guests watch than read during the ceremony.
Post # 5
I think explaining thing in the program is a nice idea. I’m Jewish, and when I go to a Catholic ceremony I expect to be kind of out of the loop. I don’t mind it, it’s just not what I know, which is fine b/c it’s not my wedding.
Post # 6
I agree with PP. As long as hey know what to expect they should be OK. I wouldnt expect them all to be comfortable persay, but they will know how long it will be, when the readings are vs when communion is.
For those that are unfamiliar with communion I would ask the priest to make an announcement who he allows up for communion. I am sure there is a standard in the religion, but I have been told different things by different clergy members.
I am not catholic or received first communion. I have been told I cant go up, I can get a blessing only and that I can go up to receive full communion. As a result I just never go up unless the preist says specifically that I can. It is really uncomfortable being the only person to hang behind during this. Then again I married into a super-catholic family so they are all catholic and they all go up.
Post # 7
That’s really unfortunate that priests are telling you different things. 🙁
Just in case you are ever wondering again, it is not allowed by the Church for non-Catholics to receive communion. Here’s the short explanation from the US bishops-
Post # 8
I have discovered the same source, but when I asked a priest he said that many congregations choose for themselves. I was in a wedding at a catholic church so I asked him and said please come up! We accept everyone…
Post # 9
We are just doing the ceremony, not the full mass with communion since I’m not Catholic and can’t have it. So thankfully we don’t have to deal with that challenge. Trying to make people feel welcome while also forbidding them to participate in the finale sounds like a real nightmare!
@lefeymw, Comfort is really what I am hoping for… I know it’s going to be a challenge. Even a lack of discomfort will probably be an achievement, but I’m very determined!
Does anyone know if the priest is allowed to mingle before the ceremony, or greet people as they arrive? I’m not familiar with many of the rules that apply to priests, but I think that if people are able to see ahead of time that the priest is friendly and not stern it might help.
Post # 10
I don’t see why the priest can’t welcome people as they enter. Our priest does that every Sunday! I think sometimes they are running late with getting their vestments on and don’t come out until it’s time to start mass.
Post # 11
I’m sort of in the same predicament. My FI’s immediate family is very catholic, whereas my family has never really practiced any religion.
My Fi totally agrees to just do the ceremony without doing the full mass/communion.
I think your guests will enjoy the ceremony regardless of what faith the are, the readings will be beautiful and you will be gleaming!
Post # 12
I’m sure the priest is allowed to. I think that the reason that they don’t usually is because they are busy “setting up” or getting ready for Mass or the ceremony and stuff.
I suspect if you mentioned this particulart concern to your priest yourself, he would either be willing to do it, or at least have other ideas of ways to make people feel comfortable.
Post # 13
It’s great that you are being so considerate of your guests! We had a lot of friends/family who were protestant and wanted to make sure they felt welcome too.
I would plan on doing a program that has all the info, responses and directions in it. I think it will help people a) know what to do, and b) feel like they aren’t already expected to know what to do.
Also, ask your priest to explain that all are welcome to come forward to receive a blessing during communion, and are also welcome to remain in their seats and pray. That way they won’t feel pressured to do either. (if you are having it)
You could consider not doing the “bride’s side” “groom’s side.” That way it won’t be noticeable if one half of the church is following along and the other side looks totally confused.
If you participate – people will feel more at ease. I’ve been to weddings where the B&G just sit and kinda listen along to everything. If you are into it, people will follow your lead. YOU set the tone for your wedding!
You can pick traditional hymns that everyone would know, Catholic or Protestant. Or just go all instrumental.
In your prayers of the faithful, you can pray in thanksgiving for religious freedom, for peace and understanding amongst faiths, and for unity in all peoples.
Post # 14
@JoJo Bananas and @joy2011, Thanks for the responses regarding the priest rules. I talked to our priest (well, facebook messaged him… he’s a modern priest lol) and it sounds like he would be happy to be out greeting people people before the ceremony. Yay!
@blondie_bride, Perspective! Thank you. I think I needed to hear that. 🙂 I’m wondering if it’s just my own anxiety that I’m projecting onto everybody else, and I’m all worried about trying to make them comfortable when really I’m the uncomfortable one. I’m not very religious, so I am definitely having a few nerves trying to wrap my head around the Catholic stuff.
@jedeve, I love the inclusive prayer idea. I will definitely try to do that!
Post # 15
It’s your wedding and you are catholic if a guest or guest can’t suck it up, watch the ceremony and respect that the host is for catholics then they are rude.
My wedding is going to be in Greek, not everyone speaks Greek, but if they love me they’ll suck it up. I’m not trying to convert them, lol
Post # 16
@mswhivo: i used to sing at weddings in church and have seen many such weddings. things to help the non catholic side are:
– printed booklets showing the order of the mass, who says what etc with words like ‘all:’ and ‘(kneel)’ printed so they know if to stand, sit or knweel, and what words to say.
– hymns or music which are common to christian churches and not overtly catholic eg Ave verum corpus or Panis Angelicus may alienate those who are not catholic but hymns like ‘be still my soul – sibelius’ or ‘shine jesus shine’ are often known by all christians, then they can join in too.
– at the start of the mass the priest sometimes welcomed everyone and said ‘for those of you who are not catholic, please pick up an order of the mass booklet from the back and during communion, you are welcome to also come up to recieve a blessing’