Post # 1
So I am not Catholic. I am more like an honorary Catholic though. I attend mass monthly with my fiance. I would like to become a Catholic later on.
So I don’t really know how you do this part of the ceremony. At our church, part of the wedding ceremony is laying flowers at the Virgin Mary statue, while they play Ave Maria.
So yesterday I was at the church and asking where that is done. They pointed a Mary statue at the way back of the church(there were 3 statues to choose from based on your ethnic background).
Anyways, I am wondering how you do this. The statue is high up. Do you put the flowers on the ground or the bottom of the statue, on the pedestal? Do you kneel down and pray silently? Do you make the sign of the cross?Do you just put them down and come back up to the altar? Do I do this alone without my groom? When do you give your moms the single roses?….This is a ceremony outside of mass, so no communion, so no sign of peace to give the roses. Instead we’re including it as part of the flowers to Mary.
Has anyone ever seen this done in a Catholic ceremony before or know much about it? Thanks so much. Sorry that I am so not knowledgeable about this stuff.
Post # 3
First, keep in mind that this is not part of the ceremony. It’s not in the rubrics, but is allowed for cultural reasons (like the unity candle and using protestant vows in the US) because it is a popular practice in Latin America. You don’t have to do it as part of your ceremony, and I would highly recommend that you not do it if there are a large number of non-Catholic present (who may view it as idol worship).
First, you should only have one statue of Mary in the church, not three. And it should be near the alter, not in the back of the church (those are requirements for how a church is laid out). When the music plays, you take flowers, walk up to the statue of Mary, and lay down the flowers (the location of where you put the flowers depends on the church and how it’s laid out – you can ask someone at the church where they go). Keep in mind that this isn’t an “offering” or a sign of adoration, it’s simply a remembrance of the Blessed Virgin (much like when you place flowers at the grave site of a loved one). Once the flowers are laid down, you pause for a second and can say a brief prayer. After the prayer, you can bless yourself (sign of the cross) or not. It’s always acceptable to bless yourself, but it is not required.
Post # 4
Depending on the age of the church, it’s totally possible to have 3 mary statues and in those locations. There have been a bunch of layout rules implemented in the last few decades (e.g. where to put the tabernacle) but churches that were built before whenever x, y, or z, came down the pipeline are allowed to keep their original design if it’s not a easy fix to change it (which is why you see some tabernacles in older churches tucked in the back or to the side)
As coffeehound said, it’s not a required part of the ceremony, but more one up to you. The church should tell you where to put them. If the statue is really high there is usually a kneeler or a area with candles that you can place them. I’ve seen it every single way you described (together, alone, with or without music, kneeling, not kneeling), so it’s a matter of personal preference.
Post # 5
I wish I had an image to show you what we did but we don’t have our pro pics back yet.
Our church has a small statue of mary on the side, up high, I imagine similar in position to what you describe. I had the same questions, do we stand there? Where do the flowers go?
The statue was also a representation of a different “version” so to speak of Mary than we wanted. Out back and out the doors, our church has a giant gorgeous mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe which IS the “version” so to speak we wanted to use. As we thought about the logistics again, “OK, so now we have to “leave” the church?”
I wound up asking the priest if the parish had a missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that maybe the Spanish ministry uses etc… Turns out they did… so we had the missionary image placed in front of the Ambo (where the readings happen) and then just knelt in front of the image.
Post # 6
My church’s statue of Mary is next to the alter, but she is up high. We had a ceremony with Mass, so we just did it after communion, but we put the flower on the shelf she is standing on and then stood together and said the Hail Mary. Our priest explained what were doing and why breifly before we did it which was nice since we had a lot of non-Catholics at the wedding.
I found a picture that shows what we did.
Post # 7
@CoffeeHound: I know it is the extra feature/optional party of the ceremony. However, at this church it would be Unusual *not* to do it. I asked them if they did it and they said yes, just like the Unity Candle. So we’re doing it. We do have some Catholic guests. I’m not worried about that though.
Post # 8
We didn’t do it at our wedding – our mothers did because we thought it was a nice way to honor them and the Blessed Mother. There is a little ‘altar’ for the Blessed Mother to the left of the main altar and they put the vase of flowers there. I’ll attach a photo so you can see!
Post # 9
@starry: Most Catholic ceremonies don’t have the unity candle. There are many people who want to ban unity candles out-right because they are secular and have no place in a religious ceremony. Some diocese have banned them, but others continue to allow it as a way to “bridge” Catholic and non-Catholic Christian tradition.
Flowers for Mary are different because that is an inherently religious act. When you place flowers at the statue in rememberance of Mary, you’re devoting you marriage to her. Typically, that is done for people who have a particular devotion to the life of Mary.
While this is, of course, a good thing, the issue is that it’s not part of the Rite of Marriage or the Nuptial Mass. Since both the Rite of Marriage and Nuptial Masses are considered forms of prayer, you can’t just add or remove things on a whim – even if they are good things. Adding something in the middle of the Nuptial Mass or Rite of Marriage is the same as adding something into the middle of any prayer. Would you say the Our Father with an extra line in the middle thanking God? Doing so would obviously not be the worst thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should do.
Post # 10
@starry:You aren’t having the sign of peace? I know its during the Eucharist, but I vaguely remember this from my friend’s non-mass wedding. I might be making things up though.
Does your church have a small table or one of those old school kneelers you could move in front of the statue to place flowers on?
@CoffeeHound:I think she’s already decided to do this.
Post # 11
@CoffeeHound: It’s not in the middle of the ceremony. It’s near the very end. My fiance is very devoted to Mary. I am also someone who regularly attends mass, even if I am not a Catholic. I want to be a Catholic though. You said most Catholic ceremonies don’t have the Unity Candle, but at this Church, most of the ceremonies do. Maybe it’s because this is a Portuguese Church, I’m not sure.
Post # 12
@jedeve: I’m not sure if there is a Sign of Peace or not. We will see. I will have to ask. Otherwise, we will give the roses to our mothers when we give the flowers to the Blessed Mother. Yes, I know it’s so that she can bless your marriage, etc. I don’t know what is near that statue. I will have to go look since it is at the very back of the church. The other 2 statues are near the front, but they said those are used mainly for Mexican/Spanish and Asian people. They said the more traditional statue was in the back. We’re not putting a vase. They said it’s best to use a small cellophane wrapped bouquet of flowers.
Post # 13
Someone mentioned this is particular to Hispanic churches usually. And from what I understand, that is true– it’s certainly more of a “standard” practice with Hispanic Catholics in the US, but the side of my family that traditionally does this at weddings for 3 generations at least, is actually Dutch.
Anyway, as others have said, this is definitely a “nice to do” and not a “must do.” Since you said your husband is more especially devoted to Mary, and you seem to want to do this as well, I say go for it. But also keep in mind that just because your church usually does things a certain way (flowers to Mary, unity candle) that does not mean you *must* do it that way… Together for Life and other Catholic wedding resources can fill you in on what is in fact required, and areas where you have flexibility to do things a little different.