Post # 1
I’ve posted on boards quite a bit, and every time I feel I’m greatly supported and given good, down-to-earth advice, so…I’m back with the biggest wedding dilemma yet. All of my plans are completely falling apart, and I’m being asked to either give up or comprimise almost everything that means anything to me about our big day.
Since I’m in uber-stressed-n-tired mode and I just wrote about the whole thing on my blog, I’m hoping you’ll read the most recent post there and tell me what you think I should do!
Thanks for your time. I really appreciate knowing what other brides have to say about all this and I hope you’ll tell me if I’m just being a snotty brat. I think you gals totally have the collective power to keep me level headed, even when now when I feel like a bride to be without a wedding that’s honestly about me and my fiance.
Post # 3
maybe you can have two ceremonies and tailor each to your and your fiance’s preferences? i’m so sorry to hear that the church won’t recognize your marriage unless the ceremony is inside the church hope everything works out for you!
Post # 4
i know how you feel! Darling Husband and i also had very different ideas of our "ideal wedding". like you, i didn’t want to deal with all the family expectations and drama and would have preferred to elope with just the two of us. DH was strongly against this and insisted on including all the family and having a wedding their way, which was completely contrary to what we wanted.
in the end, our compromise was having two wedding celebrations – one for the families overseas and one for our friends back home. the family celebration was 260+ people, 240+ of which were strangers i had never met before. his family planned and paid for everything and i basically showed up like a puppet and did as i was told for six hours. there was no professional photographer so we never got any portraits. despite the fact that it was held in a very nice hotel, many of our guests (DH’s family) showed up in jeans. the toasts were led by local congressmen who kept forgetting our names and his dad’s ceo, who decided to spend the time giving an elevator pitch for their startup company. basically, it was far from my vision of the ideal wedding, but it made Darling Husband happy because he wanted to be with his family (and for some bizarre reason, DH’s family thought it made me happy…whatever!).
we had our wedding celebration with our own friends this past weekend, an intimate and lovely reception for 40 people and it was perfect. we had a professional photographer who diligently photographed for 6 hours (i’m not even sure he took time off to eat!), our friends and family gave toasts that moved us to tears, and people couldn’t stop telling me how happy i looked. it was one of the best days of our lives.
basically, this is my longwinded way of saying that if you love someone, you have to compromise. i was able to get what i wanted while giving Darling Husband what he wanted to. we would have never been happy getting our own way if the other person didn’t get what they wanted. i don’t know what your situation is so i’m not sure if you can pull off two celebrations…if not, can you perhaps go to city hall with just the two of you, get your marriage license and have a civil ceremony performed there, and have an intimate celebration for just the two of you afterwards, prior to the big wedding? is it Darling Husband or his family (or both) that want the big celebration? try not to shoot down all their preferences, it might make for awkward in-law relations and you definitely don’t want to start off on the wrong foot! as miserable as i was at the big family wedding reception, i’m glad that i did my duty as the dutiful daughter-in-law. i certainly didn’t want to start off the marriage with them thinking i was a big brat! so definitely keep that in mind too.
Post # 5
I have heard that the Catholic Church will recognize marriages that occurred outside the church — the term I’ve heard is that the Church will bless such a marriage. I don’t know what’s involved in obtaining a blessing, though, or whether that’s a compromise that would interest your fiance.
Post # 6
can you and your dear Fiance get away and simply have a personal ceremony somewhere else? call it a pre-wedding mini-moon or whatever, but even if it’s not the official ceremony recognized by the catholic church, it might just be what you need to clear your head and have a moment with the one other person that matters in this whole crazy mess. then you guys can proceed with the other plans you’ve already laid in place and maybe even enjoy yourself a little more. trying to reconcile the religious and cultural preferences/necessities for your wedding day will be difficult, but that’s part of taking on his family! i think you can have your moment and they can too. good luck!
Post # 7
I completely feel for you I am in a similar situation but my Fiance is a muslim Indian man and I am a christian woman. We too are having two cermonies one the way his family wants and that his religion will recognize and although the "Western" way which will be less formal, on a beach and 30 at the ceremony with a larger reception later. Sometimes you just have to grit and bare it sadly. You dont want to insult him or his family but you also have to be true to yourself. Good Luck because I truly know how frustrating it can all be.
Post # 8
Wow! Thank you guys SO much for sharing your stories. I can talk to my family about these issues, but they’re all WAY older or WAY younger than me, and don’t remember or know what it’s like to be getting married, especially interculturally, so it’s amazing to hear from other caring brides.
I’d really like to elope somewhere different in India and then come back and have a reception with FI’s family in the area where we’d originally planned to have the wedding. Marriage is a HUGE deal to me because we haven’t lived together or "been" together before-ahem-if you know what I mean! For me our wedding should be a beautiful marker for the beginning of everything about our lives as husband and wife. I’m really opposed to "celebrating" that with a stuffy, overly ceremonial Catholic procession, when that’s not what either of us really want.
I’d be happy to have a wedding for the two of us and a short honeymoon followed by a Catholic ceremony and big party with his family and friends. Is that too much to ask though? I know it’s not at all traditional, and I think Fiance might feel really disregarded. I love his parents and his family, but I hate the way they feel they have to do things! That being said, I’m totally willing to respect them, put up with cultural differences, and celebrate in their style on any day but OUR wedding day.
What do you guys think?
Post # 9
By the way, any priest who is a member of the Roman Catholic Church has an obligation to happily marry any couple who wishes inside or outside the church. The ONLY thing you have to do is get a special compensation from the archdiocese of the area. To do this, one of you will need to provide documents pertaining to that person’s membership in the church, i.e. baptism and confirmation records. THAT IS IT. The only reason some priests will not comply is personal opinion on the matter of being married "outside the church". This is a big deal to some because traditionally the marriage ceremony is really one small variation of a full mass, and you cannot have the full mass outside of the church. All you officially need is to say you are there to be married in front of a priest.
There may be cultural differences because this is India we are talking about, but church doctrine supercedes that. If you really really want the wedding where you want it, and it has to be recognized by the church, contact the archbishop of the area. If that doesn’t work – take it all the way up. Seriously, these guys are putting their personal preferences onto you when they technically aren’t supposed to.
I am getting married outside to a Jew and I’m still getting recognized by the church, and no he doesn’t have to sign away any rights over the children’s upbringing.
Post # 10
I didn’t read the whole thing, but marriage is about compromise. It’s not your job to give up everything you’ve dreamed about, just like it’s not right for him to have no say. Y’all really need to talk about what’s the most important thing to each of you and go from there.
Post # 11
I have to put a little reality check in here. If you are having this much problem just figuring out the Catholic part of the wedding, then what about the Catholic part of the relationship. Religion can be a huge factor in relationships.
Are you going to be opposed to baptizing your kids? Is he going to want that?
What about church on Sundays?
My family is Catholic and there was an individual who married outside the religion. He struggled for years to reconcile his beliefs with his wife’s and in the end just couldn’t.
I would encourage you to iron all this stuff out now! This isn’t just about your wedding, its about your future.
Post # 12
Ah. Those are good questions. Firstly, my fiance was raised Catholic, but is far less spiritual than I am. I’ve encouraged him to reconnect with his roots and religion, and think after our marriage we should begin attending church together. I’ve attended church most of my life, and he did as a child, but he lost touch with his faith for a long time, which I found really unfortunate.
We discuss these things regularly, and have decided we absoloutley want our children to be baptized Catholic and possibly recieve Catholic education. Although it’s not my religion, since I’m Christian but choose not to afiliate myself with any church, I want our children to have that choice and be part of my fiance’s heritage. It’s important to me.
Also, I’d be happy to marry in a Catholic church as well, just not the one my FI’s parents want us to be married in. I have no problem with a mass and the biblical readings and spiritual and religious references involved in it. Marriage is a very VERY spiritual and religious thing to me, and as a Christian I want that part to be there in our wedding very much, regardless of whether it comes through in a Protestant or Catholic manner. It’s just that this particular Catholic church has a very oppressive feel and I don’t want to celebrate our marriage in it. I’m looking into finding another church, hopefully a cathedral, that will make everyone happy, but I keep running into brick walls.
Post # 13
Sorry to hear about the recent stress. Unfortunately, it is Roman Catholic Canon Law that dictates that a wedding ceremony is to be celebrated in the church–not exactly an easy thing to get around, especially in more conservative parishes. If you want to be a total geek like me you can check it out at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P40.HTM. While it is possible to get a dispensation to be married in another "suitable" place, these are often not easy to obtain and it would be up to the bishop in India to decide whether your outdoor location is suitable (and often outdoors is a no-go). An alternative I’ve heard of here in the states is to have a private ceremony with the priest and family in the church first, followed by a blessing ceremony in the outdoor location. Would it be possible for your Fiance or his parents to talk with their local priest about this or similar options?
Also, not to throw another Catholic surprise at you, but have you determined how the two of you will complete your pre-Cana (i.e., marriage preparation) prior to your wedding? I’m in a long-distance relationship (although far closer than yours!), and it has definitely taken some planning to get this accomplished. I noticed on your blog that you’re traveling to India soon. If you all decide to continue pursuing a Catholic wedding, I’d really encourage you to meet with the priest to talk more about the wedding. I hope you’ll find that not all Catholic weddings are "stuffy" and "overly ceremonial" but instead can be beautiful, spiritual, and personal celebrations.