- 4 years ago
- Wedding: October 2013
I have seen a lot of postings on here in the year I have been on the Bee from catholic brides worried how long the ceremony is, and about boring their guests (especially the non-catholic ones). So I thought I would write out a few small things that we did that you might want to consider for your ceremony, because some of the biggest compliments we got after the wedding day were about the ceremony and how great it was. (even from people that admitted to dreading the full mass ceremony)
You should know that I am posting this to be helpful, not to pat myself on the back. None of these things happened because of me/were my idea. In fact, a lot of the ideas came from our priest. (So they HAVE been done before. They aren’t brand new ideas).
1)We had a GREAT priest, who really meshed well with our personality as a couple. I know, I know. This seems like a no brainer. But who the priest is can make or break how engaging the wedding ceremony is. It doesn’t have to be that priest that you have known since you were 4. It’s great if you have that person, but not all of us are that lucky. We knew our priest a little bit, but not all that well, before we started the wedding process with him. We chose him because we had met him a few times, we liked his personality, and we knew he could give a heck of a homily. He also is a little bit more liberal- which for US was really important. He runs the AIDS ministry in our city, he didn’t even flinch when we told him that we already lived together, AND he loves theater- which was just an added bonus for me, as that is what I do for a living. Haha. All this means is that we picked someone we were really comfortable with.
2)We welcomed the congregation right after I walked down the aisle. This was our priest’s idea. He asked us to do the welcome instead of him. And I admit, I was skeptical when he suggested it. I had never seen that happen before, and thought it sounded awkward and weird. But isn’t it also awkward to have the bride and groom up there at the alter, as if on TV, seeming to not acknowledge that people are there? So, when I got the end of the aisle, I gave my parents and my in-laws a hug, took my husbands hand and then we turned around to face everyone there, and my husband said (I’m paraphrasing)“we just want to welcome all of you and thank you for coming to our wedding. It really means so much to us that all of you are here”. That’s it. And in that moment, everyone felt like they were really part of our day and not just a wittiness.
3)We served as Eucharistic ministers. Our priest gave out the hosts, but we did the wine. (me on the side most of my guests were on, he on his side). And yes, I was nervous about having wine that close to my ivory dress. But no spills- don’t worry. The chalice was not very full at all. This was also our priest’s idea. And it was so wonderful. Everyone kept the moment as serious as it needs to be, but I got to smile at my guests one by one, and I did get a few whispered “congratulations, you look beautiful” before they walked away.
4) We personalized our general intercessions. With the help and encouragement of our priest. Yes, we got a sample of what is usually used at weddings. Some we kept as is, some we tweaked a little (prayed for all “committed” couples, instead of all “married” couples). And some we didn’t do at all, and substituted ones we wrote. For example Darling Husband wrote a really beautiful one that prayed for creative people/ artists (since we both fall into that category- as did a lot of our guests).
5) Oh gosh, there was so much hugging and laughing. The reason I put this one is because a lot of times when I go to catholic weddings, the bride and groom stand up there a little stiffly. They are taking the sacrament very seriously- which is a GOOD thing, but it’s also a joyous occasion. During the rehearsal, when we were walking through the presentation of the gifts (which was done by friends of ours who are a married couple) the priest said “you all look so serious and sad. You know these people right? They are your friends? Smile! Greet them! Give them a hug!” So my advice on this one is relax. Loosen up. Laugh, smile, hug. YES this is a very serious ceremony. Listen to what is being said. Take it seriously. But that doesn’t mean you have to have your “serious church face” on all the time. And if YOU don’t have that face on, your guests won’t either.
I hope this was useful, at least to someone. Happy planning!