(Closed) Reconsidering Catholic ceremony… Help!

posted 5 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Well fortunately the Catholic Church is changing for the better… in light of this new Pope (he has said he wants less focus on Human Sexuality and more on HUMANITY).  BUT the truth is change will come slowly… and the Catholic Church in America is a lot more stringent about sexuality issues (comes with the US take on sexuality as a whole) vs some other more moderate places in the world (like Canada, and in particular the Province of Quebec, for instance)

So altho you could certainly turn away from the Catholic Church if you so choose…

You might also find a more moderate church that might fit the bill… be that in your own native Ohio or elsewhere.

If you are open to a Destination Wedding (be that with Family or an Elopement) where there is more tolerance, that could also be option… in that way you could still be married in a Catholic Church… and keep the relatives happy

Still won’t be out-of-doors (don’t think the Catholic Church for the most part allows that), but there are certainly some gorgeous spots in Canada where Catholic Churchs are “virtually” the next best thing, the Chapel at Mont Tremblant comes to mind… which is at the base of the Mountain…


Hope this helps (somewhat), just wanted to let you know that all was not lost… there are options if you are willing to think a bit outside the box…


Post # 4
394 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I don’t think your post is offensive at all…just honest!  I agree with you on a lot of these points, but I think if the Catholic ceremony is really important to  your FI’s family, you might want to try and make it work.  Religion is such a hair-trigger for people…you just might want to consider the outcome if NOT getting married in the church will put you in a lousy place with your new in-laws. If that’s the case, I would check out the other church(es) in your area.  I moved to a new town and went through 4 churches before I found one where the priest is funny, kind, compassionate and (dare I say it?) pretty hip!   Maybe you might be just as lucky! 

Post # 5
2395 posts
Buzzing bee

I wasn’t offended by your post title. And I hear everything you’re saying about not agreeing with some of the Catholic doctrine. Personally, I could not get married in a church that stands up for the very things you mentioned.

I think based on your beliefs, it sounds like an absolutely lovely idea to choose a beautiful outdoor location as you described. 


Are you and your Fiance paying for your wedding? If so, that gives you more leeway in choosing the wedding location that is aligned with your values and ideals. 


If you think this is going to cause some kind of World War III within the family — you’ll have to decide whether it’s more important to keep the peace (with relatives who don’t think the way you do) or to choose a place that you and your Fiance find inspiring and romantic…. a place that says “you” as a couple.


If your family is paying for the wedding, then IMO you would need to honor their wishes and get married in the church.


I’m sorry you’re in this position. I know it must be hard to decide, knowing that if you just do what you want to do, it may very well subject you to negative feedback from the family, especially at a time that is supposed to be happy.


Hope all goes well, no matter what decision you make. And congratulations!


Post # 6
2968 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

the catholic church is definitely changing. there was a priest in my hometown who actually came out during one his masses! it’s going to take some time and lots of baby steps, i would imagine, but it’s definitely making progress. i wouldn’t completely dismiss it just yet. i agree with the suggestion of checking out other churches. not all churches/parishes/priests are created equal. i loved the priest who performed our ceremony and so many of my guests told me how much they enjoyed it.

if you’re torn between having the outdoor wedding you really want and keeping your fiance’s family happy, how about having a very small, simple catholic ceremony and then having your dream wedding the following day/weekend/whatever. i know a couple who wanted the best of both worlds and that’s what they did. small catholic ceremony with just immediate family on saturday and outdoor ceremony with all the bells ad whistles on sunday. or you could have your outdoor ceremony first and have a convalidation later to keep the peace with your in-laws.

Post # 7
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I was also ‘rasied Catholic’ and feel the same way you do about it, especially the church’s views and finding God in nature. (Though Pope Francis is giving me hope). I also keep ‘not getting around’ to finding a new church I like. I had one growing up with a priest who was amazing, but he  was removed due to accusations. It kinda ruined it for me. Darling Husband and I got married outside in a non-Catholic ceremony, because neither of us has relatives who cared, and as Darling Husband is not Catholic, I didn’t feel right asking him to convert to something I’m not sure I fully believe in anymore. I had a good friend who was in this same situation as you, Catholic, wanted to get married outside (which is not allowed), her DH’s (then FI’s) family was very strongly Catholic. They compromised. They had the huge beautiful outdoor wedding of her dreams, and then the next weekend a small intimite Catholic wedding with just their immediate families. I think it was a good way to go. You really don’t want to start out your marriage with your DH’s family resenting you. You will have to live with them for the next however-many years, and I assume you will want them to like and respect you too. this may cause a huge rift. I thought tmy friend and her DH’s choice was a win-win.

Post # 8
942 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@MichiganGirl24:  I understand your conflict. We were in a similar siuation, and ended up married in a church. However, after the experience is over with, I’m very happy that we did this. It helped us sort of re discover the importance of faith in our life and in our marriage.

Now I’m not a perfect catholic by any means. I would probably make church members cringe. But that’s my deal, not theirs. We also lived together prior to marriage and did disagree with a number of catholic decisions. I’m very thankful for the current pope though, I think he’s bringing the church into the 21st century…or 20th century at least. 

But do what you feel is best, but make sure both of your make this decision. I think if your husband still wants to give faith a try in the church you should acknowledge those feelings at least.  But if you’re both totally ready to move past that idea, then having an ourdoor ceremony would be nice as well.

Post # 9
24 posts
  • Wedding: June 2013


We were in a very similar situation – raised Catholic but fell away from the Church as it became evident that our personal beliefs did not coincide with what the Church taught. We went into it thinking that we were going to have our wedding in the Church because that is what is expected of us, but we decided to have a “spiritual” ceremony outside. I understand making compromises for family, but the decision to get married in the Church or not was regarding our marriage, not just our wedding. It didn’t sit well with us, especially promising to raise our future children Catholic when we weren’t completely sure we believed it ourselves. Our faith is still a big part of who we are, and I have no regrets about this decision (though it has only been a few months!). 

It’s a decision that you both have to make together. Even though it might come across this way, I’m not trying to sway you away from getting married in the Church. I would just suggest that you make decisions based on what is right for you both, not what would make your fiance’s family the happiest. Best of luck, I know it’s not an easy decision!

Post # 10
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

This was my issue as well. I want to have a ceremony that spoke more on the philosophy of love with poems and one that I was able to have a say on. However, my mother who is a super catholic, asked why I was going to get married at a venue if God wasn’t going to be there (wth?). It upset me a lot, but I just don’t want my photographer to be restricted and I want it to be a personalized ceremony (I’m a super control freak and want it done a certain way).

Soooo, to satisfy my mother I am going to have my ceremony at my venue and then have a small catholic ceremony a few weeks after as well. My mom is happier with that decision. Yay! Smile 

Post # 11
7339 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I think there’s something really off about participating in a religious ceremony when you don’t agree with or practice the religion. It’s a bit hypocritical as you’re asking the Church to bestow th Sacrament of Marriage but don’t actually follow the faith of that Church. I’d choose a different venue. You can’t participate in a Sacrament just to please other people.

Post # 12
39 posts
  • Wedding: September 2010

I am a Catholic in the sense that I have received the sacraments of baptism, communion, reconciliation, confirmation, and marriage in the church, and I know the religion and its traditions best, but I also do not agree with most of the church’s teachings. I chose to get married Catholic for fairly vain and sentimental reasons; my church is an enormous turn of the century cathedral, and I wanted to get married in a grand and beautiful setting. Every other religious event in my life had taken place there, and whenever I had had childhood daydreams of my wedding, it had been in that church. I had similar concerns upon beginning pre-Cana, but I soon found that my priest (whom I hadn’t seen since grade school) was actually more progressive than I thought. He told a funny story about having married a transsexual couple and not realizing it until after the wedding. Upon his realization, he simply said, “Oops. Well, they’re not hurting anyone.” I guess basically what I am saying is that the church can surprise you. The Vatican is not representative of your average Catholic parish, for better or worse.

Are you having a mass and a ceremony, or just a ceremony? If it’s just the ceremony (what I had), it only lasts ~30 minutes, and IMO there’s nothing particularly Catholic about it; it follows the usual wedding “script” you see on TV/movies. The only thing that is significantly different is the “You may now kiss” part. Conservative Catholic churches don’t do that part at all. Moderate Catholic churches have you kiss during the exchange of rings. Liberal Catholic churches have it in the usual place at the end of the ceremony. My church was moderate, and my husband and I just kissed at the end of the ceremony on our own as well. If you have the mass, that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. It’s basically just a normal Sunday mass–homily, communion, the whole deal–with your wedding sandwiched in. The mass takes ~1 hour. I skipped the mass because 1) I didn’t want it to last that long, and 2) I didn’t want to force all the non-Catholic attendees to sit through a mass, heh.

However, you don’t sound conflicted about having a Catholic ceremony– you sound like you don’t want one at all, which is definitely different. It’s definitely fine to change your venue, assuming you haven’t sent out invitations yet. No Catholic priest will marry you outside; that’s a hard and fast rule for them (afaik). So if you want an outdoor wedding, you will have to choose a different Christian faith that is okay with outdoor weddings, and find an officiant of that faith to perform it for you. If I am wrong and you are just feeling a little conflicted, I would just weigh the pros and cons. What would be good about having a Catholic ceremony (family harmony sounds like a big one!)? What would be bad (not having the outdoor wedding you dream of)? Then see which list is longer and go from there. 🙂 Hope that helps!

Post # 13
113 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I could have totally written this post! I am in exact same situation as you — Fiance and I were born and rasied catholic. I just do not believe I am 100% catholic anymore due to all of those reasons you stated in your post PLUS their stances against birth control.

We decided to have an outdoor ceremony and be married by a pastor. The pastor we chose is actually someone I met at a bridal show who is a BAPTIST pastor. He said we can include verses from the bible if we wish because there ceremony is completly up to us.

I have not told my grandma yet about this decision. She will be the one who is hurt the most by us not being married in the church. I think I will just let her know that we can always get our marriage blessed later on if we wish.


Good luck in deciding. This is YOUR wedding and totally a personal decision up to the both of you.


Post # 14
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I say if you don’t care to raise kids catholic then don’t worry about it. I think if you “aren’t into it” all the hoops make it a pain…. My personal belief on BC is this Jesus isn’t going to be feeding my kids that may happen if I don’t use BC so I’m using it. Haha. I think gay people are born gay, I have gay friends, and support gay marriage. Basically, I have the same feelings as you.

I plan on doing all pre canna bc I think being Catholic made me have better morals and I want my kids raised Catholic. My mom and dad had a JOP ceremony then were turned away from a church to baptize me. My parents actually got married in the church when I was 10 so it would be recognised by the church like your bro in laws wedding – their JOP ceremony wasn’t valid in the church. All of this has contributed to my reasoning for getting married in the church.

I just want to do it “right” by the church and not deal with any of the crap my mom dealt with. I know some people who weren’t married in the church and had their kids baptized just fine, then other friends who were turned away from being married in the church bc their child was born out of wedlock.SO who knows!

As for living in sin we would have been married tHe second yr we were together if we could have a afforded to. It comes down to money and therefore we will be living in sin for another two yrs.Whatever. You can always have a spiritual officiant do your ceremony but not have it in a church if you want some elements of faith but not others. 

Post # 16
2890 posts
Sugar bee

Well, that’s pretty much why we chose a civil ceremony. We both were raised Catholic and had our Confirmation, but over the years, we both consider ourself Agnostic and we felt that we simply could not be married ”before God” and swear anything as if we believed in it. That would be a huge lie, and I know I would not feel comfortable pretending. 

However, the difference in our situation is that we know it won’t offend anyone, because most our family does not practice anymore. Maybe they still have faith, but they keep it private. For example, at my FI’s grandmother funeral, Fiance and I were the only people not getting up to receive communion. But nobody said anything or asked us why we didn’t go. Even the priest said, before communion, ”for those of you who wish to …”, being respectful of everyone’s beliefs. 

So really, it’s a matter of choice, but to us it was obvious that we simply could not pretend to be what we’re not, and to take communion, say prayers and all, knowing it would not be sincere. We wanted to stay true to ourselves, and be respectful enough of other people’s religion not to ”lie”, if I can express it this way.

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