Should I attend a wedding in church?


Lately almost all the weddings that I have attended or heard about have been for baptized Catholics who have already cohabitated. Even though they are getting married in Catholic church, I am still uneasy about attending. They are not marrying in church because of a change of heart. It is for them just the natural progression of courtship to live together first. At what point do we say, I cannot attend? I don’t want to discourage marriage, and by the time an invitation has been offered what would be the point of protest? Yet I don’t want to seem like this should be the norm. Maybe I could go to the church and skip the reception.


By getting married they are regularizing their relationship. If you want to go, go. If you don’t want to go for some other reason, don’t use their current living arrangement as an excuse. The onus is on the priest here.


We need to share in the joy that the couple is normalizing and entering a sacramental marriage. Even though it is not the ideal progression, it is wanted.
Besides if the priest or deacon who is witnessing the exchange of vowels are there, why should you? Oh by the way share in all the joy, even the reception. We need to celebrate traditional marriage, if we don’t, we already know what we get.
Dcn Frank


It is for them just the natural progression of courtship to live together first. At what point do we say, I cannot attend? I don’t want to discourage marriage, and by the time an invitation has been offered what would be the point of protest? Yet I don’t want to seem like this should be the norm. Maybe I could go to the church and skip the reception.

You don’t really know this. Often, when a couple comes to see the priest about their wedding, he counsels them for a long time about what they need to do about approaching the marriage in the correct frame of mind and with the correct intent. We have seen many such couples begin to live as sister and brother, sometimes the girl returns to her parents home, they refrain from relations in order to get right with God.
I wouldn’t presume to know the state of their relationship. At any rate, I don’t know of any priest who would consent to marrying a couple in a serious state of sin.
If they are marrying in a Catholic church, I would give the priest credit for doing his job.


You have no way of knowing what is in the hearts of the couple in question. What they do or do not do is something between them and their priest and the Lord.
If something others do makes you uncomfortable, then, by all means, avoid it or the; but you have no right to judge or spread gossip about them.
Remember the words: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”


I am not looking to gossip or suggest scandal where there isn’t any. I am very familiar with the couples about which I am speaking.
I’ll take from the comments above that I am to assume that a couple who has been living together has been counseled by the priest to separate prior to marriage. I hope this is the case.


No matter what the previous living arrangements, if the marriage is now being solemnized in church, which is the right thing to do. For this reason alone, it is a good thing to celebrate with them both in the wedding and reception. There is no point of protest because there is nothing to protest. They are doing the right thing, regardless of how their living arrangements were in the past. If there’s ever a time they need affirmation in what they’re doing, it’s now.


I think what the comments are trying to tell you is that their spiritual state is not your concern. You may be familiar with the couples, but you are not their judge and cannot get inside their heads. That is between each one of them and God. Since they are getting married in the Church, celebrate with them and leave the rest up to God.


Thank you Carolyn et al. I will take your advice to heart. :slight_smile:


Mo wonders : “At what point do we say, I cannot attend [their wedding]? I don’t want to discourage marriage [in general], and by the time an invitation [to the wedding] has been offered [to me] what would be the point of protest? Yet I don’t want to seem like this should be the norm. Maybe I could go to the church and skip the reception.”

Well, if you are planning to do anything about your resentment, I recommend that you do NOT just skip going to their wedding reception. Since many people skip it (and the new husband and wife have their hands full with the people who are attending), you probably will not be noticed as being absent … much less appearing to have skipped the reception as an act of communicating your unhappiness at their loose morals.

It sounds like you are itching to tell-off every fornicating Catholic. Hey, if you want to tell them that their behavior is disgusting (or whatever feeling you have about it), what is preventing you from telling them all off? If not in person, at least you could air your views in an RSVP for their wedding. Honesty is the best policy. So, don’t become dis-honest by refusing to say the truth to people who you know should hear it.

Certainly, there are many opponents of abortion, who love to line up at abortion clinics and yell disgusting things to the women arriving to have abortions. These people are pleased to use whatever means are necessary to stop women in their tracks, thus refrain from committing the sin of abortion. Better for a woman to have hurt feelings than have blood on her hands.

Instead of suffering silently in the issue of fornicating acquaintances getting married, get out there and tell them what is burning inside of you to say. Remember, it is not just the person you attack who can learn, it is also those who hear about you doing it. So, you may prevent 2 or 3 couples from ruining the sanctity of marriage, by starting early.

This is a tried-and-true method. This way, you can be an agent of the Holy Spirit, and help “convict” these fornicaters of their sin against God and humanity. And, if there are any other sins you are annoyed about people committing, you might try to confront these people too.


Is that what you do?


Sounds like a fantastic way to get yourself uninvited to the wedding, any other family events and to be told exactly what THEY think of YOU.


What is the message you would hope to send to the couple by not attending the wedding ceremony? How would not attending drawn them closer to Christ and his Church? Given their current living arrangement – is it not preferable for them to be married? Doesn’t it stop the sin of fornication? Perhaps this marriage is a small first step back toward the Church. Perhaps getting married is their response to a small voice that they are every so slightly hearing? I’m confused as to why this wedding is troubling you–is there more to it than you are telling?

The peace of Christ,


Yes, attacking and confronting sinners, was the tried-and-true method that Christ used to call sinners to himself–oh wait that was the pharisees. Let you who is without sin cast the first stone. Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. It’s all about the approach–it is about acting in and with love. I’m annoyed with my own sin, so I will stick to confronting myself and trying to live the best Christian life that I can. Hopefully if I do that well others will find that attractive and I can share the good news of the Gospel with them. Standing infront of an abortion clinic praying --while people drive by shouting obsenities and tossing things at you is, in my most unworthy opinion, a more effective witness for Christ, His love and His mercy than shouting back etc…We need to look at ourselves as God sees us, to compare ourselves to God and not to other human beings in our society–then maybe, just maybe we will be able to act with humility and love toward others in our society and maybe just mayber then we will be able to stem our societies headlong rush to jetison the Christian values that transformed western culture. We need to stop sounding and behaving like the pharisees.

The peace of Christ,


I think we simply have to respect the sacrament of marriage that is taking place.


Thank you Clem. I think yours is the way I will see this going forward. :slight_smile:


Hi mo7,

In order for any couple to get married in the church, they have to go through Pre-Cana classes where they meet with a priest. These classes are very serious. The priest counsels them on various issues. They have to answer him honestly.

As others have mentioned, I would leave what happens, up to the couple and to the priest.


Mortify your will and preferences. Go. Attend. Be gracious. Leave it to God whether the couple returns to the faith. Their church marriage is, at the very least, a good start, an opening of the door. Don’t refuse to attend and never scold. That may well drive them away from the Church. You don’t want to be an instrument of their rejection of the faith.


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