Nuptial Mass vs. ceremony input


I hope this is the right forum for this, as I know other parents are great sources of information based on experience.

My precious 23 yr. old younger daughter is getting married next June. She and her dear fiance are both practicing Catholics (she is a cradle Catholic, he was baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant but his parents did a lousy job of nurturing the faith; he went through RCIA a couple of years back and was confirmed.)

Both dd and fiance are sweet, kindhearted, and extremely sensitive to others, which has given rise to a problem. They have said they are seriously considering having a Catholic ceremony rather than Mass, as so many of the wedding party are not Catholic and they do not want them to feel “left out” of receiving Communion. I know this originated with her fiance, as he has spoken of how awkward he felt before completing RCIA when he would attend Mass with her (they are quite faithful in church attendance and highly moral young people, btw.)

The thought of no nuptial Mass makes me just about fly around the room backwards!!! We (her dad and I) have plainly stated our feelings, which she understands. We’ve told her that for practicing Catholics, the nuptial Mass is the norm; that it is about the two of them, not the wedding party; that anyone (wedding party) who chooses can go through RCIA and receive Communion, too; that they need all the special graces they can get (especially because of his wacky family!) She has said she will discuss it with her fiance, and with the priest who will marry them (brilliant, good priest) but has given no guarantees.

Her fiance is a sweetie, but has real self-esteem issues attributable to his mother favoring one child over the others. He tends to be anxious and self-conscious (he felt as if he stuck out like a sore thumb when he could not yet go to Communion) and this explains his extreme empathy with others - sometimes a good thing, but not in this case. He fears criticism, so I am most hesitant to discuss this with him directly.

I am looking for the right words to convey how they will be cheating themselves if they “settle” for just the ceremony. I well understand that it would be appropriate were one of them non-Catholic, but that is not the case. This is really bothering me, but I don’t want to badger my daughter who can tend to dig in her little heels and defend him. (They will be a great married couple and parents, I have no doubt; I just want them to start off in the best, holiest way possible.) I hate to think of them “settling” for less than the best (Holy Eucharist) because of the sensibilities of others. Any suggestions, insights? Thanks in advance.


Is your daughter sure this guy is strong enough to be a husband and father? What will he do when his mother criticizes his wife’s parenting? What will he do when someone tells him he shouldn’t be such a “strict Catholic” with his kids? And will she feel she has to go along and buckle under with him, or will she cause stress in her marriage by standing up for what she knows is right? Your whole post has me much more worried about their marriage than their wedding!

I think you should sit your daughter down and tell her that she and her fiance need to do what they know is right rather than what is popular. And that if her fiance can’t bring himself to stand up to social pressure in order to do the right thing, that she should seriously reconsider marrying him.

You are right in that the Nuptial Mass is the norm, and should not be departed from without serious reason. “Socially uncomfortable” does not qualify as a serious reason. When DH and I got married, we couldn’t understand why anyone would spend all that time and effort and not have the full Mass! And we had plenty of people at our wedding who were non-practicing Catholics, former Catholics going to other churches, and non-Catholics. We frankly didn’t care what they thought about it (and we were 22 and 21, so young like your daughter). We were marrying in the Catholic Church, and we were getting ready to start a Catholic family, so we wanted to start it off with Mass.


leave it up to the bride, the groom, and the priest.


I hope they have a Nuptial Mass. :signofcross: My husband and I had one, despite the fact that we only had one Catholic in a bridal party of 8, and very few guests were (I am a convert to the faith, and my husband has a small family).

Beginning our marriage by sharing the Eucharist together, as our first meal as a wedded couple, is a beautiful memory I have. We were advised that we could have it either way (full Nuptial Mass or not) because so very few guests were Catholic, but I am so happy we chose the Nuptial Mass! :heaven:

Ultimately, like Annie said above me, it’s up to them and the priest.


You have completely misunderstood my post.

Her fiance is not “socially uncomfortable” at the thought of having a Mass; he is concerned that his close friends will feel ostracized and left out, having been there himself. He is a wonderful, strong Catholic young man and has no problem “doing the right thing”. Your suggestion that he was caving to social pressure actually made me laugh. He has always been the one among a group of young people who swam against the tide; no drinking, drugs, sex. He does a great job of standing up for my daughter, especially to his nutsy mother, as my daughter does for him. He is a “gentle giant” whose only “faults” are a lack of self esteem and an extreme sensitivity to the feelings of others.

I already know the kind of person he is; they have been together for four years and he would not otherwise be marrying our daughter with our blessing.

I need to find the best way to convey to them that they must - for once - put themselves first. I am looking for the best words to use to convey this - not for derogatory remarks about a fine young person.


Good for you! :thumbsup: Please say a prayer that they come to this decision; I am hopeful they will.


I am not sure if they will be settling for less really.

Just imagine how many partake at weddings that ought not to…and dont have a clue they cant, and the weddings I have attended it was ONLY mentioned one time who could and could not partake.

I personally fear that problem more.


I understand where you’re coming from on this. I feel very confident, however, that our priest - faithful, a brilliant homilist and by-the-book - will deftly handle the “who can receive” situation in a firm but sensitive manner. I am hopeful that his meetings with dd and fiance will provide context and a solution that will encourage the Mass.


They aren’t “settling” for anything. The sacrament of marriage is just as valid during a ceremony as opposed to the full Mass. I understand that you want them to have the Mass, but what do they truly want? It sounds like they feel pressure to please everyone. Let them discuss this with their priest and make the decision they feel is best for them. To say that without reception of the Holy Eucharist, their marriage is somehow less is a bit odd to me.


Lets be fair here. I see your point, but lets remember, this woman is watching her baby go through the most important day of her life, she is likely emotional, and recalling her special day too, and we all know the Eucharist is the center of our faith.

I personally hope I can restrain myself when the day comes for me.

Lets realize we are just reading these words, and missing out on all the tears, and emotions mixed into all this.

Right or wrong is not the point now. This woman needs a hug, and help knowing that its okay to feel this way now.

All she is doing now, is bouncing these things off us.

I pray the Holy Spirit will guide her, as I know all of us here will.

Give this some time in reflection OP, and know you are a bit overwhelmed in emotion now. Take some time to just listen to God in prayer. Talk to your priest, and see if he can offer insight to help.

If nothing else, know you can count on us to be here with you through all this.

Your daughter has to be your top priority, even if it means its not your vision of how you always planned it in your mind.

I hope you know what I mean, and that I am not criticizing you, I really feel for you.


I know EXACTLY what you mean and appreciate it.

The frustrating thing is, I know that my daughter and fiance are truly special, deeply religious young Catholics. (They often take his sweet 80 year old grandmother to 7 am Mass as it’s difficult for her to drive herself these days.) I just don’t want them to forgo the Eucharist on their wedding day because - as they so often do out of consideration and empathy - they are putting others’ feelings first.

I well understand that their wedding would still be a sacrament if they had “just” the Catholic ceremony, but …why not partake of two sacraments (Matrimony and Holy Eucharist) on this special day?

Thanks for your understanding :slight_smile:


And it’s still early enough for it to happen. We could’ve changed our minds right up until the day before. :wink:


No prob.

Take it slowly, maybe spend some time with them both at mass or adoration. Bring out your wedding photos, and share with them, (as non emotionally as you can;)

How that day was so meaningful to you, and your start in the vocation of marriage that you treasure to this day.

I hope that helps a little, I think I will be learning more from you, and how you go through all this, when it is my time to deal with all these issues.

God bless you and your family:)


Mom needs to back off and pray for the strength to accept whatever decision the bride & groom make!

My own mother stuck her own nose waaaay too deep into this same exact question when I was married. My husband and all of his family were non-Catholic, so certainly just the ceremony would have made a lot of sense. Instead, we went ahead with the Mass, largely due to the extreme pressure of my mother. My husband and his family felt really alienated and disgruntled (especially my husband) and it really left some long lasting and negative problems between us. Not that we haven’t moved past that now…but it did take quite a while. Not really what we needed when starting our holy life together!

Please please please refrain from interfering here! That also means refraining from using subtle manipulation techniques. The fact is that both forms are wonderful, valid, spirit filled… not to mention perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the church.


I would encourage your daughter and her fiance to talk to their priest about the situation.
Take yourself out of the equation so as to remove all the “emotion” (mothers and MIL’s tend to bring lots of emotion to weddings!)…

Have her fiance explain the entire situation to the priest. Hopefully he can help calm their fears!
For example… at several Nuptial Mass weddings I’ve been to I’ve heard the priest stand up and the beginning and explain things to the congregation… with a big smile and welcoming words…“Thank you for joining us in this wonderful celebration! For those of you who are not Catholic or have never been to a Catholic Mass this is what’s going to happen… etc, etc, etc”

It’s an easy fix… and can calm lots of nerves! You never know, a simple welcoming speech like this may bring some of those non-Catholics to the Church! :thumbsup:


Perhaps they couple, and the Catholic family and friends would attend the Vigil Mass together before the reception?

Since 99% get married on a Saturday - afternoon wedding, pictures, non-Catholics have a free hour while the Catholics attend Sat Vigil mass- then time for the reception?


Let the bride and the groom decide together, without anyone trying to manipulate them. The one thing my husband and I remember most of our wedding was the continuous, subtle manipulations of his mother. It was a lovely day, but despite her, not because of her…Don’t be remembered like that!

Anna x


We also had only one Catholic in the bridal party and chose a Nuptial Mass. It’s like the wedding feast at Cana–Jesus (and his wonderful Mother) were guests at our wedding too :heaven: The thought of not having a Mass just because most of our wedding party and guests were not Catholic never crossed our minds.

I can understand opting for just the ceremony if either the bride or the groom were not Catholic, but in this case both are. Are they going to choose the flower colors, type of music, and invitation style based on the tastes of their guests too? :confused:


If these people are mature enough to get married, they’re mature enough to decide – with their priest – what type of wedding ceremony they’ll have. It’s just as valid without a Mass as with one, so Mom should step back and not add to the stress of the day.


That doesn’t work; the reception is to be held at our parish “banquet hall” (gorgeous new space that seats 350 easily) but will be starting very shortly after the wedding (wedding is to be at the downtown Cathedral, 20 minutes away) at about the same time as the vigil Mass. Nice suggestion, though. :thumbsup:

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