Catholics In the Wedding Business In the Age of “Anything Goes”


#1

There are moral issues for a devout Catholic in many business situations. Here’s one I’m curious about:

Having an interest in fashion, floristry, and cake decorating, sometimes I find myself looking at wedding planning magazines or businesses. There are some really creative and beautiful things being done (as well as some kooky, bizarre, or “over the top” things). Some of the really nice stuff I’ve seen in these areas fascinates me, to the point of wondering what such a business run by a traditional Catholic would be like.

On the one hand, helping couples plan a nice wedding celebration could be a really good thing, bringing people together, enhancing the spiritual with tasteful and festive elements. Just as the Sacraments are a visible sign of an invisible reality, on a smaller scale the right wedding touches could be a positive thing to enhance the liturgical and family celebrations. :flowers::kiss4you:

On the other hand, the wedding industry can be a moral and ethical (and aesthetic) minefield. Now I know that generally I’m more scrupulous than most, but how would a Catholic in good conscience handle some of the situations in the list below?

Keep in mind that when a consultant, florist, cake decorator, bridal clothing business, etc. is consulting with a bride or couple on something as important, personal, and intimate as a wedding, often the bride or couple would want to sharing of the story of how they couple met, and other details. Some of the details would be pertinent to the wedding plans by their very nature.

So, in the case of weddings that have elements that a devout Catholic would have trouble with, having a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” wouldn’t really work. Many things the planner would just have to decide whether she could do at all.

Finally, let me be clear that I’m not asking these questions with regard to weddings celebrated in other traditional religious faiths. I’m talking more about things such as:

• “Gay marriages”
• Divorced and remarried without annulment, or Catholic wedding not celebrated according to Catholic norms without an appropriate dispensation for same – not that the wedding businessperson must pry for details, but what if the couple has volunteered the information?
• Requests for sexually suggestive bachelorette party – or even wedding – cakes and decorations
• Outdoor weddings, “destination weddings”
• Oddball “theme weddings” – like with Elvis impersonators or something
• Excessive materialism and focus on externals, “bridezillas” and such

Given all these things, is it even feasible for a Catholic to think of having a wedding business serving the general public? Where on the spectrum between “The customer is always right” and “We reserve the right not to” should such a person strive for? :shrug: What are others’ thoughts?


#2

If being a wedding planner is something you always wanted, you could advertise as a Catholic/Christian wedding planner. Then you could have it in fine print that you only serve marriages that would be considered OK by the Catholic church. You could even have a contract done up to the effect 'Once I am aware that your wedding does not fall into the following conditions (list conditions) I have the right to terminate the contract with refund.

Do I think such a buisness would be succesful, unfortunately not. But … like I said, if it is what you want, I am sure you could find a way around your concerns

CM


#3

If you're good at what you do... you will be turning biz away.

I would start advertising in church bulletins... And I would also meet the wedding corordinators at your local Catholic Churches. As they are likely to make suggestions as well...


#4

Actually, I don't know if I'm all that serious about pursuing it in any big way - it's pretty complex a thing to do even without the moral issues. But the musings got me to wondering. So I guess the scenarios are pretty hypothetical at this point.

Having suffered from scrupulosity and anxiety, I tend to be a dilemma magnet . . .:confused:


#5

Neither destination nor outdoor weddings are considered to be invalid. Catholic ceremonies are performed in the Church but not all people are Catholic and it is perfectly valid for two non-Catholic persons to get married outside. Destination weddings are fine too, even from a Catholic perspective, as long as the marriage is performed inside a Church and the same situation as above applies if they are not Catholic.


#6

[quote="AdriannaJean, post:5, topic:229858"]
Neither destination nor outdoor weddings are considered to be invalid. Catholic ceremonies are performed in the Church but not all people are Catholic and it is perfectly valid for two non-Catholic persons to get married outside. Destination weddings are fine too, even from a Catholic perspective, as long as the marriage is performed inside a Church and the same situation as above applies if they are not Catholic.

[/quote]

I know that other faiths allow outdoor marriages but I'm scrupulous about Catholics doing so because the Church usually doesn't allow it. So wouldn't they be choosing someone besides a priest to perform the ceremony then? Personally, living in a part of the country with unpredictable weather it's kind of a dicey thing on a practical level. Yet I can certainly understand the appeal.

Please note that I realize how awkward all this is to discuss and I don't mean to sound harsh or whatever. I just think about a lot of these things. This issue is a lot less "loaded" than, say, if I had a gay couple wanting me to make them, say, a rainbow wedding cake with two grooms on top or something . . . :ouch:

It also probably seems weird to many people that I've thought a lot about this, yet probably will never be doing it in real life, yet feel an urgency to discuss it in great depth. I'm a brainstormer and I have many interests and in the past have tried to figure out jobs I might have, though I am not currently seeking a job. But I run into this problem of moral or other dilemmas on jobs because of my worrywart nature! :rolleyes:

So, I appreciate the feedback on any aspect of this - I guess it just helps me get out of my own head and see different perspectives and then it's still up to me to discern how I would feel about those perspectives. But at least it breaks up my mental "logjam." :o


#7

I am a music director for a catholic church.

I have gotten calls to play at other weddings outside of my own parish, a few places that are not catholic.

one was an outdoor wedding, by 2 NON-Catholics. This is perfectly valid. Non-catholics don't have a priest marry them.

I've gotten a call to play at a lutheran church, where 2 protestants were getting married. Perfectly fine.

Last week I gotta call from a catholic parishioner who is getting married at a lutheran church. I intend to find out before I agree to the date if she is getting the necessary dispensation from form. If she isn't, then I cannot participate in this wedding. If she is, then the catholic part is all good, and I'm good to go.


#8

I agree with the others that you could advertise as a Catholic/Christian wedding planner and could build an "out" into your contracts. Honestly, you might actually thrive as a Catholic/Christian wedding planner. When we were getting married we planned an extremely traditional nuptial mass and I ran into all sorts of unanswerable questions specific to the nuptial mass. I think a lot of brides would appreciate a Catholic wedding expert, and I wouldn't be surprised if, after working with you and seeing your respect for Catholic traditions, priests start recommending you to brides in their parish.


#9

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:8, topic:229858"]
I agree with the others that you could advertise as a Catholic/Christian wedding planner and could build an "out" into your contracts. Honestly, you might actually thrive as a Catholic/Christian wedding planner. When we were getting married we planned an extremely traditional nuptial mass and I ran into all sorts of unanswerable questions specific to the nuptial mass. I think a lot of brides would appreciate a Catholic wedding expert, and I wouldn't be surprised if, after working with you and seeing your respect for Catholic traditions, priests start recommending you to brides in their parish.

[/quote]

I would second that. If you think you'd be good at it, go for it. :thumbsup:

You could help couples navigate certain issues that are more unique to Catholic couples, from how to explain the Eucharist in their wedding programs (if there will be non-Catholic guests) to helping the brides find tasteful dresses (do planners help finding dresses? just an idea anyway).

All that being said, you may be interested in expanding out to traditional religious weddings in general. Maybe orthodox or conservative Jewish brides face similar issues that we do. :shrug:

Of course, as has been mentioned, you would only work for weddings that would be valid in the eyes of the Church.

I'd be interest in hearing if you decide to pursue it. Maybe blog it too. I think you have a great idea. Good luck!!


#10

Another idea might be to work for your church... that way, the couples they allow to be married have already been approved. And maybe you could work for a couple other Catholic churches, too.

How would you feel about couples living together who are getting married? Some Catholic churches don't mind, they figure at least they are getting married.... you might need to decide how you would want to handle that.


#11

I work for a parish, and to be honest, most wedding planners that come our way have NO CLUE as to what a Catholic wedding should be like. I think it would be a wonderful service (for those who choose to use it) to be a wedding planner that specifically caters to Catholic weddings.

As the mother of a bride-to-be who along with my younger daughter is planning a wedding, there is a lot that caterers and "outside musicians" may not know with regard to a Catholic wedding. Many Catholic brides don't know what is allowed and what is not allowed. I am lucky that my daughter has asked me to prepare the nuptial mass, but I have come across many brides and wedding planners who ask for the most bizarre things at their ceremony. The worst was a groom who got angry with me because his pet dog could not walk down the aisle at the church. He told me the dog would be in a tux (like that would make a difference). The most difficult thing with planning is the music. I know a bride who wanted to walk down the aisle to Led Zeppelin (not stairway to heaven), and the planner got annoyed that we would not allow it.

So, a truly Catholic wedding planner would be a great asset. As long as you advertised yourself as such.


#12

Not to frighten you away from your idea, but you must be aware of the militant attitude you might encounter as not only a Christian wedding planner, but a specifically Catholic wedding planner. This story was all over the news a couple of years ago. I am not sure if they won the appeal, my first memory is that they also lost the appeal.

cbn.com/CBNnews/357084.aspx?vm=r

I don't think the business is specifically Catholic, or there might have been riots in the street in support of the gay couple.


#13

[quote="Joannm, post:11, topic:229858"]
I work for a parish, and to be honest, most wedding planners that come our way have NO CLUE as to what a Catholic wedding should be like. I think it would be a wonderful service (for those who choose to use it) to be a wedding planner that specifically caters to Catholic weddings.

As the mother of a bride-to-be who along with my younger daughter is planning a wedding, there is a lot that caterers and "outside musicians" may not know with regard to a Catholic wedding. Many Catholic brides don't know what is allowed and what is not allowed. I am lucky that my daughter has asked me to prepare the nuptial mass, but I have come across many brides and wedding planners who ask for the most bizarre things at their ceremony. The worst was a groom who got angry with me because his pet dog could not walk down the aisle at the church. He told me the dog would be in a tux (like that would make a difference). The most difficult thing with planning is the music. I know a bride who wanted to walk down the aisle to Led Zeppelin (not stairway to heaven), and the planner got annoyed that we would not allow it.

So, a truly Catholic wedding planner would be a great asset. As long as you advertised yourself as such.

[/quote]

Yes, there are lots of crazy requests. The wedding coordinator at the Catholic church my daughters were married in told me she had requests to set up a bar (with alcohol) in the vestibule!


#14

You’re thinking of entering a business where you’re not willing to take on what 90+% of what the business involves. I’d say you’d be engineering an impossible moral nightmare for yourself, and a very unprofitable one at that. You might as well become a pharmacist at a Planned Parenthood clinic or try to get into the liquor business as a devout Muslim.


#15

One thing you could do that would allow you to be a resource to Catholic brides without getting into trouble with non-Catholics ones is writing a blog and selling advertisement space to relevant businesses (veil companies, modest dress designers, etc.)


closed #16

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