Non-believer as a bridesmaid?

Ive recently been conflicted with a problem concerning my wedding- particularly my bridesmaids. One of my closest friends from college is a non-believer, and naturally I would want her to be a bridesmaid, but I was wondering if that was frowned upon by the church or disallowed? I have always been a devout Catholic and went to Catholic school all the way up until 12th grade, and naturally I am going to be married in the Catholic church. I just feel like this might be conflicting and was wondering what the church’s views and policies were on this. Thanks in advance!

It sounds like you do not want her to be your Maid of Honor, so I see no problem with her being in the wedding party. She will need to understand, however, that she is to conduct herself accordingly (not saying she wouldn’t, just saying for clarity) - such as no drinking before the ceremony, dressing appropriately, NOT receiving Holy Communion, etc.

You may have an opportunity to discuss with her what the Sacrament of Matrimony means to you, and why your Faith is important to you. You never know, it may be a witness moment you. :slight_smile:

Welcome to CA!!! And please consider joining my Catholic Bridal Forum here as well!



one of my bridesmaids, although she was raised Catholic, has gone through some rough times in her faith in the past. at one point she said she didn’t believe in God and was very liberal in all thinking. she ditched the guy she was with at the time and her new boyfriend, although he is methodist and not catholic, is doing her well. she has starting to open up again and i just want her to see us celebrating the sacrament and want that for herself.

I think the only requirement is that either the Maid/Matron of Honor or the Best Man be Catholic. This is what I was told when I got married 4 years ago.

My MOH was my sister, who is unbaptized, but has Christian leanings. My other bridesmaids were a lapsed Catholic; a non-practicing Lutheran who dabbled in Buddhism; and an unbaptized future Wiccan (at the time, she was not Wiccan).

My husband’s Best Man was his brother, a Catholic. The remaining groomsmen were 2 non-practicing Protestants, and 1 was unbaptized (my brother).

As far as I know, no one had a problem with any of our choices, and we informed the parish wedding coordinator 18+ months ahead of time. I was especially concerned with the religious affiliation issue of the bridal party, because I am a convert to the faith, and really wanted my little sister to be my maid of honor.

the only issue will be if you have a Full Mass at the wedding…She should not participate in Communion.

Just a slight correction here - she MUST not participate in Holy Communion. :slight_smile:


No its fine my best man was an agnostic.

We had a 1/2 wedding service (no communion) since I was not Catholic at the time and we did not want to embarrase anyone (i.e. my side of the family).

if she is just another member of the wedding party, fine, as long as she is aware of etiquette for Mass and Catholic weddings etc. You only need to ask the priest who is preparing you about your 2 witnesses. by the way, say your maid of honor is your non-Catholic sister-in-law, you could still have one of your Catholic bridesmaids be the official witness, no matter who stands where holding which flowers.

My DH and I were married in the Catholic Church in 1981. My Matron of Honor was Baptist and she signed as a witness. My DH best man was also Baptist and he signed as a witness. These are the only two attendents we had. My 15 yr old brother at the time helped with the ushering.

When my parents were married in 1956, my mother is Baptist, her sister was Matron of Honor also Baptist, and my dad’s best man was his brother, a Catholic.

You could have had your sister as maid of honor if you wanted.

Sorry I wasn’t clear. :o She was my maid of honor… My brother-in-law fulfilled the “Catholic” requirement for the witnessing (since he was my husband’s best man).

Did that make sense, or am I still sounding kooky? :whacky:

No. I got it. thanks…:slight_smile:

We were never told in Pre-Cana that the people we selected for MHO and best man had to be Catholic. Both of ours as I stated earlier were Baptist.

Now when it came to our kids christenings…at least one of the Godparents had to be a practicing Catholic.

the witness to a marriage is just that, a witness, and does not fulfil a canonical role as does a godparent or confirmation spronsor, so the requirements are not as strict. Ask the priest who is preparing you for marriage.

Your diocese may have had that policy but I know of no ‘Church’ requirement that the witnesses need to be Catholic. I was never asked my witnesses’ religion, neither was Catholic, and in our parish the subject never comes up when Fr. does the pre-nuptial investigation. If it was a concern there would be a place for it in the questionnaire, just like there is for the religion of the bride & groom’s mom & dad. Their role is to witness an event, they don’t need to be Catholic for that.

Ahhh… Thank you! I guess I assumed that since it was required in my diocese, it was a universal thing. Thanks for clearing that up! :smiley:

My sister is not Catholic and she was my maid of honor and signed as a witness for our wedding in 2003. We just made sure the priest knew ahead of time so he wouldn’t try to give her holy communion-she knew not to take it, but to avoid discomfort, head shaking, ect, you know?

I was married in one of Cincinnati’s most conservative parishes - “Here Comes The Bride” or the “Wedding March” were not allowed as they weren’t good Christian hymns, no strapless/immodest wedding gowns, no candle-lighting ceremony, etc - and there was absolutely no objection to my non-Catholic MOH. She’s Christian, but not Catholic.

She also knew not to take communion.

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