Catholic Wedding Advice?


#1

I recently converted to the Catholic church after being content as a self proclaimed agnostic but came from a Church of Christ protestant background. My fiance grew up Catholic and his relatives are almost all Catholic as well.

I'm wondering if anyone else had to blend two families of very different religious backgrounds during their wedding and how it turned out. If there were any issues I might want to consider bringing up before the big day or things of that nature. I do know I need to inform my family that they are not to receive the Eucharist during the Mass but that they can go up with their hands over their chest and receive a blessing (something I enjoyed as an RCIA candidate and never felt excluded but blessed to be there).

On that note, I am a little nervous about their reactions. I don't want them to feel like they are excluded from the service because they are not Catholic but for them to understand that it is a holy act that requires the commitment of being part of the Church to take part of. My mother has dropped a few hints that she thinks it's rather rude of us Catholics not to recognize other Christians during communion and I've tried to explain that it isn't about exclusion but of reverence for our Lord and Savior. I asked her if she believed it was truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ and she got highly uncomfortable and didn't want to resume the conversation.

It's making me reconsider having a full Mass for our wedding and that breaks my heart. I know it's supposed to be 'my day' and that I should 'get whatever I want' (as I've been told my mother and fiance, much to my confusion) but I really don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. More than just the Eucharist I know they aren't familiar with kneeling during service or singing the responsorial psalms and even though it's not a huge deal if they choose not to participate - again I feel like they will perceive being left out. They don't understand my conversion to the Catholic Church, they have never been hostile about it, they just seem confused by it and we have never been big on discussing our feelings.

Recently my mother has been pushing for us to just have an outdoor wedding. I was confirmed in the Church where I'm set to be married, I attended my first Mass with the Priest who will marry us at this Church. During the semester I go to every daily Mass I can fit into my schedule at this Church. I can't imagine being wed anywhere else and told her as much so she has now decided that we could have two ceremonies, one at the Church and a second one outdoors. I love my mother and I respect her, but I just don't know how to navigate the wedding planning with someone who doesn't see the Catholic Church and her traditions in the same way that I've come to.

I guess I'm a little long winded and I apologize, I hadn't realized how much I've been bottling up recently.:(


#2

First of all, congrats!!!

Weddings can be tricky when family members want to run things and when you are concerned about hurting their feelings. You are right to point out the importance for non-Catholics to not receive Communion. Explain why that is the case, over and over again if needed. However, it seems that your mom is coming up with ideas that just can't happen in a Catholic wedding (like having an outdoors ceremony) and I wonder if your protestant family would still take communion even if you explained it to them. You are rightly concerned about their feelings being hurt, but another person ought to be considered as well: Jesus. If this was me, I'd consider not having the nupitial mass just to make sure they don't take communion. I hope I'm not being too paranoid here, and other posters will set me straight if I am. And of course, you know your family best so it is up to you to find the best way you can to deal with the Eucharist situation.
Another thing is that you can't have two wedding ceremonies. The church doesn't allow that. I'm afraid your mom might lose on this one too, but explain why the church is a special place, not just a meeting hall.

I know this is all stressful and that you want to make everybody happy. Unfortunately, sometimes it just can't happen. Do what is right and you will not regret it. In my experience, people chill out about these things (even mothers LOL) and things work out.


#3

Most of my immediate family are not practicing Catholics (with the exception of one sister) The rest are CINOs (Catholics in name only) I do have a lot of extended family that are practicing Catholics, but only a hand full of those would probably attend any wedding. What I've often thought of doing if I am very blessed to be married is to have my Catholic marriage rite as a very, very small ceremony -- maybe during one of the week day masses with just us, the priest, and our witnesses (maybe the parents if they wanted) and then have the "wedding" somewhere else.

My rationale behind that is I've often thought the true meaning gets missed at the "wedding." Things are so busy, it's such a production no matter how small that the true sacrament is missed. This would allow for the sacredness of the sacrament to come through and then we have the party as a wedding -- maybe on a cruise ship, or outdoors, or a destination.

This is all theory as I'm not dating anyone so I'm not engaged, but it's a thought I've tossed around in my head.:D


#4

Congraduations on your engagement! It is an exciting time, but also a stressful time as there is so much to plan. I always told myself when things got crazy the wedding is one day but the marriage is for a lifetime.

I converted to Catholicism at Easter 2009. It was a truly special moment to be received into Christ's Church. None (and I do mean none!) of my family at our wedding was Catholic. We literally had 7 out of our 60 guests receive the body and blood of Christ at our Mass as practicing Catholics (most of DH's family is not Catholic either)! But DH and I knew the sacrament of marriage was important to us and it was important that we celebrated it with Christ and his Church.

Was it hard? You bet. I had my Southern Baptist grandmother threaten not to come at one point. I had countless jokes from my family of how we were going to name our kids after popes. They eventually learned I was serious about my faith but it was difficult in the beginning.

Something we did to help my family was we spelled out everything that happened in the Mass in our program. Mind you the program ended up being 12 pages long...but I had a smaller wedding of around 60 people and most were grateful for the help. Most of them did not participate in any of the service, but a lot of them appreciated the elements of the service. I'd be happy to send you a copy of it if you'd like as we pretty much had to make it from scratch.

You only get one wedding and it is your marriage not your mom's. You need to do what is right for you and your future DH. It is hard to say no as every mom wants to feel involved in the wedding. Maybe try taking your mom to Mass with you a few times so she understands the process? My Mom asked to borrow my "Catholicism for Dummies" and she says it really helped her.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers. And again congraduations! Don't let the drama and stress ruin your joy! :hug1:


#5

Who is paying for the wedding?

I suspect your parents. And this makes it especially hard. I'm betting that most brides aren't a different religion from their parents.

I would talk to the priest to see if just you and your fiancee could have communion, and not the rest of the guests... Catholic or not. No idea if that's a possability.

I'm Catholic, DH and family is not. I did not do a full Mass. Since it's not required, it was more important to me to make this union a union of families... Not an exclusion of others... literally one half side of the church.

I would not agree to a 2nd ceremony... what is this for? People who can't respect your wishes, and choose to skip out on the real deal? Seriously, I'd go to a Jewish wedding and have and I accept all the traditions they choose to partake in. It's THEIR wedding.... And quite honestly, I'd sit there during any tradition that only they believe in and that I do not.

And perhaps you could tell your mom, she is MORE than welcome to take communion when she accepts that we're not failing to invite her... She has failed to accept the invitation in full. I mean, if she stood up to answer why she believed a wedding should not take place... would she expect to go have cake afterwards?

Oh, I'm sure this is hard... Sorry about that... I also happened to be quite lucky that my parents where just really to busy to help with my plans. I was given a budget, a few things were requested, and I handled everything...

Congratz! And best wishes!


#6

[quote="Raedar, post:1, topic:246554"]
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On that note, I am a little nervous about their reactions. I don't want them to feel like they are excluded from the service because they are not Catholic but for them to understand that it is a holy act that requires the commitment of being part of the Church to take part of. My mother has dropped a few hints that she thinks it's rather rude of us Catholics not to recognize other Christians during communion and I've tried to explain that it isn't about exclusion but of reverence for our Lord and Savior. I asked her if she believed it was truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ and she got highly uncomfortable and didn't want to resume the conversation.

It's making me reconsider having a full Mass for our wedding and that breaks my heart. I

[/quote]

welcome home
your confusion and feelings are common and understandable, in fact, the priest will almost certainly suggest that you not have a nuptial Mass for that very reason. It is hardly the sign of Christian unity that surrounds matrimony if half the Christians present cannot receive the sign of unity for our faith.

why not bring all this up with the priest or deacon who is preparing you for marriage. They have experience with these situations and can help you over this.


#7

I am Catholic and my DH is not, but we had a full Mass for our wedding. His mother is a part-time pastor in the Methodist Church and many on his side are of no particular faith at all (as were some of our friends) but we went with the full Mass anyway because there was no way I wasn't going to have it. It was just so important to me!

I wish we had put something in the program with guidelines for receiving Communion though because after the fact on the wedding video I saw some people receiving who shouldn't have.

We had so many people, including many non-Catholics, comment to us afterward that it was the most beautiful, loving, special wedding they had ever been to. They couldn't quite put their finger on what it was exactly, but they just enjoyed it so much! I happen to agree of course ;) and I know what that extra specialness was - Jesus! :love:

I think it's kind to want to make everyone comfortable, but it's also unrealistic. This is the beginning of your marriage -- make it how you want it, you don't want to have regrets later. Let your marriage ceremony be a witness of Christ's love. Many blessings to you and your future husband! :)


#8

Thank you for all the advice! It is truly a relief to know others have gone through this sort of thing and averted disasters.

I don't think anyone in my family would take the Eucharist on purpose knowing that they aren't supposed to, and I know God won't hold it against them if for some reason they missed the memo or forgot what they were doing or something. Still something I would prefer to be very clear about and avoid, none the less. (Reminds me of my poor Baptist friend who went to Mass with a friend that forgot to tell him about the Eucharist so he didn't know what to do with the wafer and stuck it in his pocket and pulled it out after Mass to ask what the souvenir was for. :eek: Poor guy had no idea.)

We looked at lodging for my extended family today and found a great place that's close by and Mother Dearest noted how easy it will be to get everyone to the church. She did mention having a 're-presentation' at the small outdoor gazebo at the lodge later in the evening which I think could be a nice compromise. (So long as there aren't any bees around. I don't want to go running away shrieking in my wedding dress...doesn't set a nice tone for the rest of the marriage, ha!)

That program sounds like an excellent source to get ideas, Laurie_86! I would very much appreciate getting to glance it over.

We have a meeting with the Priest this week and I will bring up some of my worries and concerns with him about uniting two families of different backgrounds in the most respectful and harmonious way possible. He's a really fun guy so I know he'll make the service enjoyable no matter which way we go about it.

Thank you all once again. <3


#9

In my experience (and this is probably something that has just become more common in recent years), the priest will usually make a short announcement, just prior to communion that only Catholics who are properly disposed (i.e. in a state of grace) are invited to come forward to receive.

I've seen this more often at funerals of late, but it takes the burden off the bride and groom for the celebrant to make the announcement.


#10

The priest at our wedding made the announcement beforehand at what was required to come up and receive. That took all of the pressure off of us. That way it is the priest's fault. :p After all he really is not going to care what your non-Catholic mother thinks of him.


#11

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