A wedding story


Every priest or deacon can tell you a wedding story — and the protagonist is usually the bride. Here’s mine.
File this under “Things They Don’t Tell You About in Deacon School” …
The background: I inherited a wedding in my parish from a foreign priest who was called back to his home diocese in the Czech Republic. The wedding, on paper, was fairly straightforward: a ceremony, with no mass (the groom and his family aren’t Catholic).
%between%When the original priest left for his new assignment, my pastor told the bride that someone else would be handling the wedding. I called her to touch base and let her know I was the guy who’d be doing it.
This news did not fill her with joy. She told me she thought the pastor was going to preside. She was especially upset, she told me, because she’d already had the programs printed with his name. I told her that if there’s a problem, she should take it up with the pastor. She did.
When she called him, he explained that no one else was available on the wedding date. He added, if you’re not happy about this and can find a priest of your own to do it, go right ahead.
Long story short: the bride enlisted the services of another priest from outside the parish to come in and do the wedding. A few days before the wedding, she called me to let me know. But she said there’s a problem. “He can’t be there for the rehearsal,” she said. “Can you still do it?” Sure, I said.
After I hung up the phone, it all came into focus.
She didn’t have a problem with a strange name on the program. She didn’t have a problem with someone else doing the wedding. She had a problem because that someone else wasn’t a priest. The plain truth was, she just didn’t want to be married by a deacon.
Well, okay.
There were a couple other bumps in the aisle — like the bride’s mother insisting that her daughter receive communion during the service, an issue that ultimately had to be swatted down by my pastor — but otherwise, the wedding went smoothly. (The morning of the event, my pastor wondered why they hadn’t called to demand a bishop for the service…) When I finally met the visiting priest to walk him through the ceremony, he said he was shocked to learn that the parish had a deacon who could have done it. “At my parish,” he explained later in the sacristy, “if it’s a service and they don’t want the deacon, and there’s no one else available, we just don’t do it.” It later emerged that when they called him and said they needed a priest, he just thought he was helping them out in a pinch. “I’m the only priest at my parish,” he told me, “and it’s not like I don’t have a lot of other things to do today…”
Coming just a couple weeks after my experience with another bride, who wondered if her chihuahua could be in the wedding, I’m becoming convinced that the crisis in Catholic marriage starts with bad Catholic weddings. The other day, I was talking with a priest in my office about the challenges of doing weddings these days, and he agreed. A religious order priest, he doesn’t do very many of them, and he doesn’t like to do them for people outside his family. “It’s not a sacrament any more,” he said wearily. “It’s the Greatest Show on Earth.”
Indeed. Send in the clowns.

August 20, 2011 by Deacon Greg Kandra



I’ve played music for over 250 weddings (lost count at this point). I could write a book.

The latest: a phone call from a bride telling me that their first date was at a hockey game, and they wanted me to play the sound file of the terrible loud alarm goal horn right after their vows.

This is not a joke.




Oh man. I remember a priest once mentioned that a wedding coordinator insisted that the Nuptial Mass could not start because the doves, which would fly in while the bride walked down the aisle, had not arrived yet. This happened in Philippines. Apparently, they don’t do rehearsals in that country and the priest found out a few minutes before Mass. Fortunately, he ignored the wedding coordinator.


Peace and All Good!



Peace and all Good!



And people wonder why the “singles group” never seem successful. :shrug:


Here’s a funny story from Fr. Richard Leonard, SJ from Australia. It’s about a bride who wanted a certain song from Jesus Christ Superstar.



As a compromise, you could’ve offered to play it as she walks down the aisle, in lieu of the hymn she chose as her ‘entrance’ march… :wink:


My cousin had that at his Nuptial Mass. That was 35 years ago and my brother brought it up again two days ago.


This is why I have made the decision to not do weddings unless the bride and groom are people I know well. I have chosen not to participate in 3 ring circuses. I am wondering if the Church should get out of the wedding business all together. Just offer the sacrament without the frill and let the couple go elsewhere for their horse and pony show.

I may sound harsh but it is disheartening to see the reality and beauty of the sacrament take on the form of a spectacle.


it’s been my opinion for a long time that that would be better for the sacrament in the long run. Only those who really cared and believed would bother to approach the Church for marriage, and there would be less parish shopping for the most photogenic church.


When I first left the monastery, I played and/or sang at several weddings to make some money. I quickly discovered that I didn’t have the stomach for it – so much emphasis on appearances. And I would feel really uncomfortable when I met with a couple that gave every appearance of being a, um, bad fit.

All in all, I much prefer singing/playing for funerals. Everything is far more down to earth.



This is what they do in Mexico…the result?
Almost no one get their marriage blessed, no one can receive the Eucharist.
NOT a solution. If you give people an out, they will take it. Right out of the church, forever.
our First Holy Communion Masses are filled with parents, relatives, and even grandparents who sit back while the children receive.
The weddings in an opportunity to catechize the entire family.
And many priests do. We should support them.


It seems to me that, if they had any faith to begin with, not having the religious ceremony wouldn’t be an option. There are many countries where a civil ceremony must precede the religious one: France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Japan, etc.

I know that when same sex marriage reared it’s head in Canada, one of the options the CCCB was envisioning was refusing to be in the legal marriage business. Many priests were happy at the idea.


This thread is sad to me because it reads mean-spirited. The appropriate thing for the OP, the deacons, the priests, the wedding coordinators and anyone else who had a GOSSIPY anecdote to share would have been to pastorally reach out to the bride or groom and pastorally catechize them. You could have asked questions that would have offered some insight into their spirituality, their family life, their religious upbringing and then maybe have been able to help be a turning point in the couple’s lives.


I think once you’ve dealt with enough Bridezillas you recognize that those who want what they want because it’s their day are very rarely willing to be catechized.

I’ve even known one bride cancel her Church wedding two days before the ceremony, ask for her money back and go find a judge, all because the Pastor wanted the liturgy to go normally. Then she spread the lie that he had refused to marry them, when she was the one who’d stormed out in a huff.


I too have played over 200-some weddings. I think that because of the Internet forums, the knot.com, those TV shows about weddings, it’s all gotten too crazy. Now that our state will probably have to allow SS"M", I want to avoid those altogether and may just play Catholic weddings from now on.

An idea that I’ve stolen from someone else:
For Catholic weddings, just offer the couple that they can get married in a normal Mass. Not to have their own dog and pony show. That makes sense to me.


And why do you automatically think that those of us who shared an anecdote didn’t do that?

Talking shop here can actually have a helpful end-- to know what we are up against, to see what questions may come our way and be prepared with responses for them.


That’s what will happen here. It’s very sad.
We can’t assume that people have no faith. Maybe we could be instructive while we have a captive audience. But hey, I’m just a Catechist…what do I know? :shrug:

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