Preparing a Catholic Wedding and Reception


My fiancee and I are planning our Catholic wedding and reception. I am a convert to the Church and she is finishing her RCIA program. Now, both of our families are not Catholic (Her’s is Sikh which is an Indian Religion and mine are mostly protestant or non-religious) but we both are devout to the one true Church. I had several questions and they are in regards to the aspects of using Unity Candles, Rosary Presentations, and any other traditions or things like that. I am not all that familair with Catholic weddings (we have already worked out with my parish priest that my woman and I will have a private mass before the ceremony in the Church) so I was wondering for some tips and helpful traditions. Thank you and God Bless.


Congrats on your wedding! I do not know the name of the tradition but I have seen a beautiful one where the bride presents a special bouquet to Mary and prays a special prayer for Mary to bless her as new wife.

When is the big day?


The “unity candle” is not a Catholic tradition-- it’s actually secular. The Bride and Groom are the symbol of unity, through their vows. But, the Church does not forbid you to have a unity candle so if you want to have one, discuss it with your priest.

You don’t have to have any special traditions at all. It’s only if you want to. The Marriage Rite is beautiful without adding anything to it.


My wife and I did not do a unity candle, I find it tacky and politically correct. Her dad walked her down the isle, I shook his hand, and she walked with me to become my wife.

There’s no way I was having my mom walk me down the isle. It’s downright effeminate. I wore black tie attire, not some crazy technicolor three piece. We said the traditional vows, yes, the obey part too, then after the Mass we both presented flowers to Our Lady at her altar.

Our music was traditional, the Mass was in english but the Psalm and Agnus Dei as well as the hymns were in Latin. Everyone who went said it was a beautiful wedding! It was the only traditional wedding some people had been to, and in a backwards kind of way, the most revolutionary because everyone nowadays has the same ‘modern’ getup- the unity candle, the wedding in a field by some unitarian minister, some self-made ‘vows’ etc etc.

Then after the wedding, we had a wonderful reception. No smashing cake in faces. Open bar, good tunes, everyone dancing including her 80 year old uncle. :smiley:

I thank Our Lord for such a wonderful day, I shall never forget it.


Your post comes across as quite arrogant, and I should say, displays ignorance.

Your “effeminate” label is quite offensive, as the groom processing with his parents are a long standing jewish tradition.

Also, although allowing for cultural preferences, the procession order suggested in the rite of marriage is the bride and groom WALK TOGETHER.

I’ve tried searching online for the rite of marriage, and can’t find the US one, however, I think Im at about playing 200 weddings now, and there has only been one set of vows of consent ever professed, and it does not include “obey”. So you added your own words? or was this a different rite?

To the OP: the unity candle and marian devotion are not a part of the marriage rite. Some priests won’t allow them at all. The unity candle was originally in a soap opera. THe unity actually happens at the EUcharist. It doesn’t make a sense to get out of the car at the sign that says “10 miles to disneyland” and decorate it, take pics of it, etc, when you can just go to disneyland.

The marian devotion is not that out of line, at least it has a prayerful focus.


my advice is to stick with the Rite of the Sacrament of Matrimony, without adding anything that is not part of your own family or ethnic tradition. If most of the guests will be non-Catholic you will be urged to have the rite outside Mass.


We’re not talking about a Jewish wedding, and he wasn’t talking about walking down the aisle with both parents. He specifically mentioned his mother only, which seems to imply that he was dismissing the idea of walking down the aisle with his mother only. As a man, I can see why he would be reluctant to do so, but I don’t know that I would call it effeminate. The phrase “mama’s boy” comes to mind.


I concur. Let the Rite speak for itself.



Phemie said:

“I loathe the unity candle. What? It wasn’t enough that you just gave yourself to one another by your exchange of vows and exchange of rings???”

In addition, as I said before…the actual unity happens at the Eucharist. It doesn’t need to be a “pretend” unity first.


But that’s not taking into consideration that many marriage ceremonies today don’t involve Eucharist. I’d say that in our parish more than 50% are mixed/disparity of worship marriages so no Eucharist.


This comes up once in a while. I did the research on this. The vows that include the “obey” clause is NOT a part of the Catholic marriage vow and never has been. Henry VIII inserted it into the wedding vows in his newly created Church of England.

There is nothing “traditional” or Catholic about “obey.”


Congratulations, Alex! Isn’t it an exciting time of life? My fiance and I are getting married in November - he was raised Catholic and I am a convert, and we are planning to having a wedding Mass (with a very detailed program for the many non-Catholic guests). With the meaning of marriage being so closely tied up with the Eucharist, the heart of our faith, we couldn’t even imagine not having a Mass at our wedding.

One tradition I’ve heard about is the bride having a rosary as part of her bouquet, which I like. I also like presenting flowers to Mary but we might do that beforehand with just the two of us, not as part of the ceremony.

Personally I kind of like the unity candle, regardless of its tacky background. I like Christmas trees too, and they don’t exactly have the holiest of backgrounds (weren’t they incorporated from paganism?) Then again, I love candles and the symbolic meaning of candles have in our faith (the Light of Christ overcoming our darkness, dying to self, etc.)

I would also be interested in hearing others’ ideas, or things they have done…



Congrats on your upcoming marriage.

Some things we did,

My DH walked down the isle with the priest, and I walked down with my Dad who gave me a kiss at the end of the isle hugged my DH and then sat down, no given or taking of me was said :).

We had a Unity candle, the tapers were my deceased brother and sisters baptismal candles, our Alter Server (another of my siblings) lit the tapers. It was away for us to remember all of our family, and to remember the promises of our own baptisms as we celebrated this sacrament and become Christ to each other.

We presented flowers to Mary together as our priest and my Aunt sang the Ave Maria.

But the most wonderful thing we did was actually DH’s idea. He asked our priest if we could give each other communion, which we did. The priest was thrilled at the and said it was the first time he had anyone had asked to do that.

Also I recommend a detailed program, let people know the responses when to sit or kneel, and what to do, and not do at communion.

We didn’t really do anything Catholic at the reception other then say the traditional grace.

Have fun planning! :thumbsup:


It may be traditional in the US for a father to give his daughter away… but that actually is contradictory to the sacrament of marriage. When DH and I got married, we walked down the aisle together.

Personally… I know unity candles are popular… but they aren’t Catholic in meaning either… in lieu of that you may want to consider the Holy Family Prayer… generally the bride takes a bouquet of flowers to the Holy Family Statue and then kneels down and prays… Generally the music is a Marian song like Hail Mary, Gentle Woman or Ave Maria… I like classical so I had Ave Maria… while she is doing that the groom usually follows her over to the statue and places a hand on her shoulder and prays as well.

At the sign of peace we took small bouquets to our mothers and greeted our wedding party (family). DH took one to my mom and I took one to dh’s mom…


My goddaughter and her husband-to-be, from a non-Catholic family, attended Mass together the morning of their marriage, which did not include a Mass. I thought that was lovely.

without adding anything that is not part of your own family or ethnic tradition

I told my daughters they could not claim any “traditions” at either their weddings or receptions unless it had been done at one of their (or their husband-to-be’s) grandmother’s weddings. (No, dear, I know some cultures have money dances at the reception; ours does not . . . )

Best wishes during this joyful time of preparation.


Please don’t plan on that, it’s absolutely forbidden.

Redemptionis Sacramentum # 94: It is not licit for the faithful “to take…by themselves…and, still less, to hand…from one to another” the sacred host or sacred chalice. [181](181 footnote refers to GIRM #118 the (…) are the document’s not mine)
Moreover, in this regard, the abuse is to be set aside whereby spouses administer Holy Communion to each other at a Nuptial Mass.


[LEFT]Feeling a little dumb today:p, what does this MEAN?[/LEFT]


It means “stop doing that!”. A lot of that document was the Pope going “Come on guys, you’ve been told before that that was not allowed. I don’t want to have to tell you again! Just wait til your father comes home!” Ok, that’s my MOM intepretation.:smiley:


Did you wear a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt in college?

Are you Jewish, is this in regards to Jewish weddings? Am I Jewish?

“In some cultures they do X” is a really poor argument for anything.

Admit it, in OUR CULTURE the only reason why they changed it from the father walking the daughter to the parents walking both up (gag) was because it wasn’t politically correct.

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