Must a Catholic wedding have honor attendants?


#1

My fianceé and I are planning a simple, family-only wedding in our local parish church and have a question as to wedding attendants: Are we required to have a maid/matron of honor and a best man? We are trying to have as simple a nuptial Mass as is possible.


#2

I know of no rule that says that you and your fianceé “must” have a maid or matron of honor and a best man at your wedding. All that is normatively required by canon law is that you have two witnesses to your marriage:

Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local ordinary [bishop] or parish priest or of the priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who, in the presence of two witnesses, assists, in accordance however with the rules set out in the following canons, and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in can[ons] 144, 1112 §1, 1116 and 1127 §2–3 (canon 1108 §1, emphasis added).

Customarily, the honor attendants (i.e., the maid or matron of honor and the best man) have been given the responsibility of being the official witnesses to the marriage, but the witnesses do not have to be labeled as “honor attendants.” I recommend asking your celebrant for instructions on responsibilities and requirements during the ceremony that you can give to the two people who agree to be your witnesses.


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