(Closed) Nervous about attending Catholic ceremony

posted 7 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
1425 posts
Bumble bee

Nothing to be nervous about!

No, you don’t “need” anything.  Just respect, as in any church.

If they have usher’s, it’ll be just like any other church wedding.  If not, sit anywhere you please.

Yes, there will be some sort of hymn books.

I’m not sure about all catholic parishes, but in my family’s church, anyone can go up for a blessing.  My mom does and she’s not catholic (or any denomination for that matter) If you’re not comfortable, just let other’s pass by.

I’m not sure how to explain a catholic service exactly, but my Darling Husband described it as “a tighter schedule with the congregation acting as drones.”  Poor guy.

I’d give it under 2 hours for a full service.

Honestly, I’d try and keep the kiddies quiet.  Even during hymns, I’ve seen parents taking their kids out if they get fussy.

Post # 4
Member
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

 You don’t need to do anything special. Plus most Catholic Churches require weddings to have a program so more than likely you’ll be able to easily follow along. I had Southern Baptists and Jews attend my Catholic wedding and everything seemed to go just fine. Nothing to be worried about but to answer your questions…

Do I need to do anything when I enter the church? No.

Should we sit somewhere specific? No, unless you want to sit on Bride/Groom side.

Are there hymnal books like in Christian weddings? We didn’t use any, I’ve only been to one that did and it was pretty easy to figure out.

I know that I stay in my seat during comunion, but do I just make people squeeze past me or should I move to the aisle? Just sit there and let others do the work if they have communion.

What is the service like? Depends on what they do. Check out this link for more info: catholicweddinghelp.com/

How long does it last? Mine was about 1/2 an hour (we had a ceremony outside of mass) but for a full mass I’d say a little over an hour. Longest one I’ve been to was an hour and a half.

Post # 5
Member
1352 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Don’t be nervous!! We normally dip our fingers in holy water and do the sign of the cross upon entering, then before sitting in a pew kind of take a bow (like a guy proposing) and do the sign of the cross – but not everyone does it an no one will notice if you don’t.  There are books for you to follow along.  You mentioned you have kids… if they are really small (like under age 2) I would sit towards the back so if they start making noise you don’t feel uncomfortable but there will be music so it won’t be quiet the whole time lol.  As far as people squeezing by you should be okay because the aisles are normally wide enough since all of the pews have kneelers.  The mass will last about an hour.  But don’t sweat it you won’t be the only non-Catholic there and no one will even be watching, just follow the front to know when to sit, stand, and kneel.

Post # 5
Member
1827 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@MrsLulu: 

No need to be worried! But I can imagine how it would be intimidating.

-Catholics bless themselves with holy water when the enter, and genuflect (make sign of the cross, combo of bow/kneel) when they first enter their pews- since you’re not Catholic, you don’t have to worry about it. No one would be offended.

-Generally, the guests of the groom sit on the right, and guests of the bride sits on the left. Same set-up as non-religious weddings.

-There are books in the pews, but they generally aren’t used during weddings. People just go off of the program… and no one other than the cantor usually ends up singing anyway…

-It would be nice if you could move out into the aisle to let people get out.

-Wedding serivce is 30-45 minutes, without communion, a little over 45 mins with. It’s long and dry (lots of readings) and you probably won’t know much about what is going on. Hopefully there will be a priest holding the mass that has a sense of humor and is engaging when he speaks about the couple.

-Your kids definitely definitely have to stay quiet throughout the entire ceremony. How many kids you have? Will there be any other adults attending with you? If so, I’d suggest sitting more towards the back so if a kid starts fussing someone can take him/her outside without causing a fuss. The other kids can stay inside with whomever else you’re attending with.

-Other: sit and stand when everyone else does. Just follow the crowd. Since you’re not Catholic, I’m not sure if you need to kneel… anyone know? Also, at some point the priest will say “Let us offer those around you a sign of peace” (or something like that). At this point, everyone will turn to eachother and shake hands with those around them and say “peace be with you”. Since it’s a wedding, I assume there are a lot of families in attendance- so tehre will probably be a lot of leaning over eachother for hugs/kisses/etc. If you’re okay with doing so, it would be a nice gesture to shake hands with those around you and also say “Peace be with you”.

Good luck!

 

Post # 7
Member
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

the PPs said it very well but also remember you will definitely not be the only non-Catholic there, and almost certainly not the only person there who is unfamiliar which Catholic churches and services. So don’t worry about not knowing what’s going on! You won’t be the only one, and no one is watching or judging.

I would bring some coloring books or quiet toys for your children and try and keep them quiet. They were invited so no one should be upset if they make a little noise (I think kids who keep perfectly quiet during church are pretty unusual!) but out of respect it’s good to try and keep them quiet, and quiet distractions go a long way! 🙂

Post # 7
Member
2190 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’m catholic but Darling Husband isn’t, his best advice is to follow what everyone else does when it’s time to sit, stand, kneel. Usually the priest will tell you at weddings since there are so many non-Catholics who can attend. You don’t have to do anything when you enter the church, there’s holy water available to dip your right hand into to make the sign of the cross but Darling Husband skips that. Taking off hats/spitting out gum is appropriate though. You can sit where ever you’d like to, but closer to the front of the church since I’ve never seen so many guests at a wedding fill up an entire church. It will last about 30 minutes to an hour (closer to 30 if they choose not to have communion). It will start out with the priest greeting everyone and talking about the couple, then there will be 2 readings (if the bride and groom have programs, you can follow along with the wording) and then a sermon, the vows, the blessing of the rings and then it will either be over or there will be communion. If there is communion then stepping out of the aisle is nicer than having everyone scoot past you. Your kids will probably have to be quiet the whole time so coloring books make it easier.

I hope that helps!

Post # 9
Member
590 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012 - St. Philip Catholic Church/Arcadia Brewing Co.

I will second what everyone else said and add that they recently changed some of the traditional responses in the Catholic Mass so even some of the Catholics may be confused!

As others have said, just follow the crowd. You are not obligated to kneel but you totally can. Depending on how many non-Catholics are at the wedding they may even out-line everything in the program.

It is not uncommon for parents to bring cheerios or coloring books for their childer to quietly keep them occupied. Some churched have a “cry-room” for babies but that varies.

Good luck! Have fun! It won’t be too bad at all!

Post # 10
Member
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I see coloring books in church all the time! 🙂 Some people bring Cheerios, etc – since it is a wedding, I don’t know, but it’s common in general Catholic mass. It depends on what you think will keep your children quiet, and how much noise the distraction itself will make – if you have to bring snacks try and bring ones that are quiet to eat and not hard to access. I think water would be fine. Sit more towards the back to be less of a distraction, but I think people will be grateful about the coloring books because you are distracting them and keeping them quiet. 

Post # 11
Member
590 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012 - St. Philip Catholic Church/Arcadia Brewing Co.

Ha! I was posting as you were. But water (in a sippy cup or water bottle) should be fine too.

Catholics are supposed to fast an hour before communion, but since small children and non-Catholics do not recieve it, there is no issue with that.

Post # 13
Member
2584 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@MrsLulu:  I think most people gave you good advice already, but I’ll add a couple things.

If you’re not Catholic you’re not expected to take holy water or kneel or anything. No one will think less of you- Catholics do it but if you’re not familiar with it, it’s totally fine to skip that stuff.

Most Catholic masses last an hour,a bit longer with a wedding- maybe an extra 15-20 minutes. I don’t think it will last a full two hours, I’ve never seen that and I grew up Catholic with all Catholic relatives.

Coloring books and snacks are definitely fine. I would say that you’ll have to keep them pretty quiet the whole time, but if it becomes a problem it’s also fine to step outside for a little while.

About the Communion thing… I would say if you’re sitting right in the middle of a pew surrounded by people, just stay seated. If you’re right on the end and it’s easy enough to just stand up and take a step over to let people pass, that would be polite.

Good luck 🙂

Post # 14
Member
590 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012 - St. Philip Catholic Church/Arcadia Brewing Co.

It depends on how the curch is set up but I would recommend the side if possible but everyone will be paying attention to the front of the church, so it really doesn’t matter if you have to go down the middle.

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