Post # 1
I will try to make this as short as I can but no promises! My fiance and I got engaged in December. We both currently live in Florida, but were both born in England and all of our family are there. I am a U.S. citizen, but he is on a visa that expires in April 2019. Our #1 concern was his visa, as we know how long an strenous the green card application can take, so we decided to get legally married at the courthouse in January and are now about to start all of the paperwork for his green card application. I am a baptized & confirmed Catholic, but only go to church for Christmas and Easter(just being honest), and he is agnostic. We’ve had all the talks and we’re on the same page about religion, how our kids will be raised etc and I’ve always wanted a Catholic church wedding. Although because his family isn’t religious we would probably only have a blessing/convalidation rather than a full mass. Because both sides of our families all live in England we are having our wedding in England and are going over in 2 weeks to look at venues and some churches in his parish. I know that we would have to do all of the marriage prep here which I just started looking at for my parish and I think i’m just feeling very overwhelmed and questioning if its worth it.
We are both full time students, both work, planning a “destination” wedding, and doing legal visa paperwork stuff so I cant imagine trying to fit in 6 months of marriage classes etc on top of everything without my hair falling out! I want our marriage to be regonized in the Catholic church, but realistically I’m not that active in the church and its not something that ever really is a big part of our relationship. Neither of our parents care what we decide so it really is up to us, but I think I’m just worried our marriage wont feel as “legit” without it. Not to mention since we are already legally married, I felt like the church ceremony was the thing that was going ot make our wedding day special and like our actual wedding if that makes sense. However, if we do decide to not go along with it, what would we even do in England for our ceremony there? No one except our parents know about our civil cereomony because we literally don’t consider us being married whatsoever until our wedding day.
I would really appreciate any advise you all have on this, maybe I’m just having a hard day and need reassurance but right now I feel like I’m exhausted as soon as I wake up 😞
Post # 2
If you’re planning this ceremony in the UK it can only be a blessing as you’re already legally married. The catholic ceremony is a legal marriage and you can’t have two.
This might remove some of the issue of pre marriage courses as you’re already married and just having a blessing.
you could also look at a CoE church for a blessing which might work.
the other alternative is to have a humanist ceremony. They are not legal in the uk so you can have elements of the catholic service incorporated.
Post # 3
oliviapxo : The short answer is you can’t get married twice. It doesn’t matter if your first wedding was religious or civil you can only get legally married once.
You can have a blessing though and can take absolutely any form you like. In the CofE (and I imagine in the Catholic church too) it is up to the discretion of the priest as to what they are happy including or not (for example CofE sometimes restricts “walking down the aisle” but I know people who have done it). You can also choose to have an independent celebrant who can include both religious and non-religious elements as it’s not a legal binding ceremony.
Bear in mind that in England and Wales there are only two legal types of ceremony: CofE and civil. People getting married in a different denomination including Catholic still need a registrar present at their wedding so there is a chance that the Catholic priest will perform your wedding as usual (my brother got married in a non-dom Christian church and they had to go into a separate room with the registrar present for essentially a super short civil ceremony and register signing – you wouldn’t have even realised)
Basically what I am trying to say is the legal and spiritual aspect is separate in law. And only you know whether you “feel” married or not. If you have any questions I would advise contacting http://www.catholicfaith.org.uk/Home/Ask-Find (corrected link) as they will be able to set your mind at rest as to what you can and can’t include, how to make your marriage “recognised” and what prep you need to do. My friend had a Catholic wedding in France and did all their prep in the UK. I am sure a similar option would be available to you.
ETA: I also had a friend from a non-dom church who decided to have a legal ceremony at a registry office (like you) and then have their own priest perform what they consider their real wedding outside (something you can’t usually do in England and Wales)
Post # 4
Seems like you and your husband aren’t that invested in the religious aspect. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through to feel approved of by a church you attend twice a year. You are married already; if it doesn’t feel “legit” I feel like that’s a real problem.
Post # 5
ren89 : I don’t really think its a problem as we aren’t living together so it definitly doesnt feel like we’re married and we’re also ok with that lol. Until our wedding day we’re still caling each other fiance and basically disregarding that civil ceremony for everything except visa paperwork. We both knew we had to do that in order for him to even stay in this country and thats it, we said no vows and won’t be celebrating that as our wedding anniversary. But thats why I want to make sure our wedding day feels like the begining of our marriage and since I am Catholic I feel like thats the best way to sancify the day/marriage. Also we both agreed we want our kids to be brought up Catholic so although its not a big part of our lives at the moment, it could be further down the line.
Post # 6
oliviapxo : I’m going to apologize in advance if this comes off as judgmental. I honestly don’t mean to be, but stuff like this really pisses me off.
A church is not a wedding venue. A Catholic church is especially not a wedding venue, if you – as a baptized and confirmed Catholic – know ANYTHING about Catholic rules and teachings.
“I want our marriage to be regonized in the Catholic church, but realistically I’m not that active in the church and its not something that ever really is a big part of our relationship.”
That’s a problem. Marriage in the Catholic church is a sacrament – it’s a big deal. You don’t get married in the Church so you can “feel your marriage is legit”, you get married in the Church so you can make a commitment to and before God and participate in the family of faith. That’s not at all what’s going on here, and it’s completely disrespectful to do that. Additionally, the Cathoic party must agree to try to raise your children Catholic – I would check out the text of the vows – and if you and your fiance agree that they won’t be, you’ll essentially be lying to the priest. So what’s the point of getting married in the Church? To have the building? Because it’s what you’re supposed to do?
You are completely middle-fingering your own faith so you can get married – again…? – at an altar. That’s not cool.
To be clear, your faith is your business, and if you don’t want to be a religious person, that’s your choice. But please don’t treat the Church as some building you can rent out because it’s pretty and makes you “feel married” while completely disregarding the entire point of why you get married in a church.
EDIT: I just saw you plan to bring your kids up Catholic. Perhaps I misunderstood where you are in your faith journey, or where you see it going. If that’s the case, I apologize.
Post # 7
There are some one day or one weekend marriage prep courses.
Post # 8
oliviapxo : You’re already legally married, and like the other Bees have said, the Catholic church will not “marry” you again. Most churches won’t allow you to have the sacrament of marriage with a full mass, bridal party and all the readings/prayers a traditional Catholic mass involves. They’re meant to be low key and most priests will tell you that it is not a second wedding, even if you didn’t have a big shebang the first time. It doesn’t matter that you’re “disregarding” the civil ceremony you had. The meaning behind the word convalidation is to “strengthen”. It is not a reinactment, and it not meant as a make-up day.
My sister had a convalidation ceremony. It was after mass one Saturday evening. It was just the immediate families there, my sister and Brother-In-Law wore church appropriate clothes, and the whole ceremony lasted about 15 minutes. It was very nice and we went out to dinner afterwards.
Whether or not it’s worth it is up to you, but I think your expectations may be too high if you’re expecting to have a traditional wedding.
Post # 9
collegebee : Thank you for saying what I was thinking. Even though I’m no longer a practicing Catholic, I feel like the OP wants to have her cake and eat it too.
Post # 10
collegebee : Yeah, I think you glanced a bit before replying. When I said the Catholic ceremony/blessing will make our marriage feel real, it wasn’t as in the pretty church will, I meant because in the eyes of God I will have fulfilled my sacrament of matrimony and our marriage will be considered eternal. Which my fiance and I have both talked about and agreed that we want. If I wanted a “pretty church” I most definitly would not be getting married in a Catholic church in England as Church of England basically has all of the “pretty churches”. Neither of us, even my non Catholic fiance, don’t consider our legal binding our wedding day, that was for paperwork. We both want a Catholic BLESSING because we think it’s important to stand up in front of God, our family and friends and say our vows to each other. Like I also said, we both agreed to bring the kids up Catholic and we want to send them to Catholic school rather than public, so it will become a bigger aspect of our lives at that point. Also we will hoepfully be moved by then and have a different priest/parish, as I’m not obsessed with the one we’re at now, which plays a big role in why we only go twice a year.
Thanks for your accusations! 🙂
Post # 11
Whatever you decide, I want to say that I definitely recommend premarital counseling (catholic or other). It’s something you’ll be glad you squeezed into your busy schedule, and helps bring all the craziness of wedding planning back on the focus of why you’re getting married in the first place.
Post # 12
oliviapxo : Again, I’m sorry if I misinterpreted what you were trying to say. What you wrote sounded a lot like you’re technically Catholic but don’t practice, but you wanted the ceremony without really caring about whether or not you’re receiving the sacrament and having a Catholic marriage, not just a Catholic wedding. It’s very common where I am from, so perhaps I projected a bit onto that based on the information you provided.
Best of luck.
Post # 13
collegebee : I don’t think you misinterpreted the OP’s post at all, as I got the same vibe. She actually said “I’ve always wanted a Catholic church wedding”. It’s only her subsequent posts where she backtracked.
Post # 14
I was baptized/confirmed Maronite (eastern Catholic) and, since my family is in Lebanon, we are getting married there. It’s important to both of us to be married where I am from and spent half my life. There is no such thing as a civil ceremony there, so while neither one of us is religious at this point and would rather be married in a gorgeous outdoor setting, we cannot get permission (since I’m still governed by the Maronite Patriarch) to be married anywhere outside of a Church. When we come back to the States, we will have a quick civil ceremony to make it legal here (as opposed to translating the paperwork, which can take aaaaages) and register that marriage with the Lebanese government. They do honor civil unions that take place overseas. We also just learned last week (after jumping through flaming hoopssss) that because my fiance was baptized nondenominational, we have to go through pre-cana for me to get permission from the Patriarchy (yes, say that out loud) to marry a non-Maronite. Six months to go!
All this being said, I SO GET being overwhelmed with so many options and rules and regulations with so little time. It seems like you may regret not having a Church ceremony just because it’s what you’ve always pictured and does lend deeper meaning. But in England, I’m assuming you can have someone perform a spiritual ceremony with the same meaning outside of the Church? This might save you time if you’re worried about getting pre-cana in. We did find a Deacon in NOLA, where we live, who said he would help us expedite the process, so if you really do want a Church ceremony, look into that as an option.
Post # 15
oliviapxo : If you think all of that is SO important for your wedding day then why isn’t it as important in your every day life? You’re one of those that we call “Sunday” people. You know the people who only care about their religion or church on Sundays or when it comes to special days like Easter and Christmas . Your marriage is already binding regardless of what you want to believe . To answer your post question, no I don’t think it’s worth it because you’re perpetrating and not fully committed to yoir religion or God but pick and choose when you want it to ve relevant. I’m not Catholic but I have friends who are and had sacraments and live their lives every day like so. Sorry but I hate when people play with religion tailored to their needs not to what it means to actually be in that religion.