Post # 1
I got engaged this past weekend (yay!) We immediately went to tell my parents and they were quite happy for us. Fiance and I have been together for 5.5 years – it’s about time! My mother had mentioned about 3 times that they hope we choose a more “traditional” wedding in the brief one hour we spent celebrating on Sunday.
A little back story: My mother has always been super involved at church: singing in the Folk Group. My brothers and I all grew up as altar servers. My oldest brother is about to be ordained a Catholic priest in June. My other brother was married 10+ years ago in a very pomp and circumstance wedding, in the family’s church.
Last night I broke the news to my mother and father that we will not be getting married in the Catholic church; we do not feel it is appropriate as neither one of us goes to church. My parents are so upset. I have not yet broken the news to either of my siblings. I’m just feeling overwhelmed and saddened.
Post # 2
We had a similar issue with FIs mom. Have you considered having your marriage blessed by the church afterwards? This ended up being out compromise with her and she was really,happy,about it. The plus side is that at least,according to our officiant, it is pretty easy to do (no classes or interviews).
Post # 3
I’m totally open to getting our marriage blessed afterwards, privately. I think the part that’s difficult is dealing with the guilt I have from disappointing my parents in such an obvious way. Thanks for the advice.
Post # 4
Hey there. I’m having a Catholic wedding as well but in Church. Perhaps you can be married physically outside the Catholic church by a retired Catholic priest (there are some and find out who is licensed by your state to marry) and have small Catholic touches during your ceremony? I believe they can even marry in any venue (gardens, event hall, hotel, resort, etc.) which current active priests are not willing to do. This is the most compromised suggestion I can think for your situation.
Post # 5
As someone who comes from a family of EXTREMELY lapsed Catholics, I’m not much help with how to handle your family. I am very sorry that your parents were upset by your choice, though. That’s never fun, no matter what it’s about. I feel ya.
My cousin was married in a big Catholic ceremony and I don’t think anyone (herself included) could recall any of it today. If your ceremony has the freedom to be more personal to you and your Fiance, then you could tell your parents that you value your relationship and feel that a secular ceremony will allow you to make a more meaningful committment to each other than a cookie cutter mass would. Let your parents sleep on it. A daughter’s wedding news can seem huge when they first hear it, but a good night’s sleep brings a little rationality sometimes haha. My mom hung up on me over a bridal shower thing, then texted me the next morning like “sorry..”
And also, you’re getting married. People will have more opinions than Heinz has pickles. If you had chosen a Catholic ceremony, they would probably find a way to be upset about your music selections or the readings you chose. Someone will probably have a problem with the date you pick, the cake you serve, and everything in between. Unwanted opinions suck, but come with the territory. The Bee is here for you, though!
Post # 6
Thanks for the insight everyone. It’s tough living up to familial obligations. You’re right, I’m sure it’s just one hurdle in the many we will encounter.
Post # 7
OK, as a former Catholic I would say the following: if you were to marry in the church, you would have to take communion as part of the ceremony. As a requirement for that, you would have to confess, and for the confession to be valid, you need to be 100% sure at the time of confession, that you don’t want to commit those sins again. One sin would be, say, not going to church every Sunday. Another would be taking contraception (assuming that you do).
So, to keep your mum happy, you could go to confession, not meaning to follow through, therefore making the confession not valid, and taking communion in sin, which is one of the greatest sins in the Catholic church. All this to keep your mum happy.
Ask her if she’d rather have you do this and see what she replies.
Post # 8
My older brother is getting married outside the church. My mom is devastated and is not going to the wedding since the Church considers attending the ceremony of a confirmed Catholic outside the church would be a sin for the attendee. I wouldn’t expect her to violate her religious belief (and if I were in his position, I wouldn’t WANT to be the reason she felt she was doing so). But it is hard on him (And the family). But she can still attend the reception, which is what my mom has done the past- just wait outside for the ceremony to be concluded. I’m not sure if she will do that this time as she is too emotionally devastated with it being her son. It just won’t be a happy time for her.
This is a pretty common issue, and a good deal of Catholics feel they can’t in good conscience violate their faith.
Im not sure if your parents would go this far or if they’re a little more lax in their Catholicism. But if they do choose not to attend, I would HOPE you could see that it isn’t because they don’t love you, rather that they love you so much that they can’t bear witness to something they feel violates their beliefs to the core. Presumably at your baptism, they were with you and charged with the responsibility of raising you in the faith. While they may have succeeded in raising happy, healthy children, they may believe they they have failed in the most important thing in this life. So as hard as it is, TRY to be sympathetic towards them. One of the hardest things as a Catholic is putting God before EVERYTHING else. It is tested to the fullest when it relates to one’s own child (think Abraham being told to kill his son). I think the concept is difficult to grasp for non-Catholics, but this is really the most important tenant of the faith- God first.
I do think it is appropriate that you don’t wish to lie to the Church and get married there just to appease everyone. This is just how life goes sometimes. My mom LOVES my brothers fiancé (possibly even more than she loves him!) and she thinks she is 100% the right girl for him. So when it comes down to it, she’s supportive of the union, just not the method by which they intend to achieve it.
Post # 9
you don’t have to have a full mass for a Carholic wedding. You can have a wedding service which means no communion.
Also the Penitential Rite at the start of mass is a general absolution so no need for reconciliation.
OP I would hope that if you can explain your reasons & intentions for the day your family will support you. Though it may take them a wee while. just stand your ground for what’s right for you & your Fiance
Post # 10
Ah ok, that’s good to know. All my (four) brothers married in the church. None of them had a full mass, but all took communion. In sin, I might add. All they cared about (and their brides) was the pomp. Each to their own.
Post # 11
We also decided against a catholic ceremony, even though it was very important to my FI’s parents. They were disappointed at first, but we explained that we couldn’t stand in front of all our family and friends and vow to things we didn’t agree with. One of the deal breaker for me was when they started to talk about not using contraception during our pre cana classes. I just couldn’t stand there and agree, and to the church, that’s one of the “pillar” of marriage (being open to life, meaning no intercourse without the intention to create life). In the end, my father-in-law understood where I was coming from, and i’m sure he’ll be happy for us regardeless. I’m sure your parents will be the same, but give them some time to understand your point of view.
Post # 12
: Technically communion would not have to be part of the wedding ceremony – they could choose to not have a full mass, and then communion wouldn’t be part of it. This is usually the recommendation when the bride or groom is not Catholic.
I second another poster’s suggestion of including catholic touches, if that’s something you and your Fiance are okay with. This would help make your family feel more included and enjoy your ceremony. Maybe a prayer or a traditionally catholic song you’ve always liked. If you’re willing, maybe even get your mom’s opinion on the prayer/song to include.
But I also think that EnglishGardenGirl:
gives great advice. If your family is extremely devoted it will be hard for them to see you marry outside the church. I know that would be difficult for people in my family also. But in the end it is your wedding and it has to fit what you and your Fiance want for your big day. Having your marriage blessed by the church afterwards is another good idea – I’m not sure exactly how this would work, but perhaps your parents could attend the blessing?
Best of luck, bee!
Post # 13
I’m in the same situation but my partner is Catholic and I’m Protestant. We’re getting married in the church I attended before I moved away. My Future In-Laws are not overly happy about this, especially Future Father-In-Law. He’s mentioned it a lot and Future Brother-In-Law got married in a non Catholic Church too! So we we’re breaking his heart more because now neither of his children will have a real wedding (because it’s the wrong chruch). What I would say, is sort out the feelings around this early on. Try to come to an understanding with your parents and get to a point where it won’t be constantly brought up. We did not do this and it’s just got worse as time has gone on. He has made so many comments about our ceremony and our wedding, including calling me a heretic and our ceremony godless (meant as a joke, apparently). We were planning on contacting a priest to see if we could have a blessing either before or really soon after but now I’m just not interested. If my partner would like a blessing, he can organise it and I will happily turn up but I am doing nothing to validate my marriage in the eyes of my Future Father-In-Law, if he doesn’t believe our marriage is real that’s his problem. I really wish we had taken the time to explain all OUR reasons for not marrying in a catholic church and asked them to understand, even if it wasn’t what they would do.
Post # 14
- Wedding: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception/The Gallery
First off, congratulations! Such an exciting time, albeit, with lots of new things to navigate with families.
To echo what others have said, there does not have to be a full mass, a wedding ceremony outside of mass is a much shorter ceremony, without as many requirements for the church (you would still have to go through Pre-Cana, etc. however).
If your brother is about to be ordained, would he be willing to perform the ceremony (outside the church) so that it still has some traditional aspects but is more your speed?
Ultimately, this is the day you and your Fiance create your own family; you have to do that in the manner that reflects what you want that family to look like going forward. Parents and families will always have opinions but, at this point, they matter less than yours.
As a side note, I would just keep in mind that if you are planning on relying on your family/families for financial help to pay for the wedding, they will probably be more adament on having control over what the wedding is like. Just something to think about.
Post # 15
What exactly does that involve? (We’re in the same situation.)