small weddings

Anyone on here ever had a very small Catholic wedding? Small as in maybe a couple of people at the most? Is a small wedding discouraged in the church?

There is no maximum or minimum; you can have any size wedding you want.

No, there is a minimum. There must be two witnesses of legal age to sign the marriage licence above and beyond the couple and the priest.

A friend of mine had a wedding with no more than this (bride and groom, 2 witnesses, and priest). It was held in the small chapel in the parish office.

I love the small weddings!!!

Yes, you can have a small wedding like that. All you need is two witnesses and the priest or Deacon (if not a mass).

A small wedding like that would most likely cost you nothing except pre-Cana materials since there would be no music, additional air conditioning, extra janitor service, etc.

You might even be able to have it in the Chapel or Rectory.

I’ve been to them with no more than 50 people, but never super small. I’ve seen the couple go very basic on expenses though…kept it under 10,000, which is hard to do these days. I think Catholics tend to have at least a few people there given that you usually need to plan at least 6 months in advance to have a Catholic wedding, so you don’t have last minute eloping.

Under $10,000 is very basic? :eek: Try under $1000! That’s the wedding my daughter is planning for August 30th, and my own wedding in 2001 was well under $1000.

Yes, if you are going to have all of the typical wedding stuff. She struggled to do it for that. Dress (500-2000), tux rental (50-100), food (10 a person-100 guests=1000), cake ($2 a slice-200-most places are 4 or 5 a slice), music (500 if you hire someone-she actually had a friend do it), wedding invitations (she did homemade, but you still have paper and ink-$25), gifts for bridal party-$100, centerpieces and decorations-she did homemade at probably $200 or so, various fees (200 or so). Add in a honeymoon at $2000. Now if you are talking just show up at the church and get married without guests, yes, you could do it under 1000. Unfortunately, the wedding industry marks everything up these days.

I’ve had two very small weddings.

Nothing as small as the OP has stated. Since both had at least some guests.

The first one had 25 people, include my husband and me. The second one had 15, again, including my husband and me.

For those that don’t know, I married my husband twice. Once civilly and once in the Church, 10 years later.

I believe small weddings are the very best. They let the couple focus on the commitment they are making to each other and to God and not on all of the unnecessary fluff that usually becomes a big distraction.

My best friend had a small wedding. 30 people (only close family) and in the chapel. She then had a small cocktail at the church’s hall. Hers was $3,000. Basically she just paid church’s fees, marriage license, dresses for her and her husband (very simple for her and he just wore a suit). The food for your cocktail and invitations and a piano player for the cocktail. I wanted to do something similar but Hubby’s family is about 50 people so we ended up with a 100 people. We did it for $7,000. I tried to shoot for 5k but we wanted nice pictures so we couldn’t get a photographer for less than $1500. :shrug: I agree the wedding industry marks everything. You say the word wedding and everything skyrockets.

Yes wingsofeagles is right. A wedding for less than a 1000 I imagine is with nothing traditionally used for wedding. My friend paid on church’s fees only $500 (what the church charges for the wedding only, to use the hall she had to pay another $300) and $200 for the church piano player. Her dress was $500 and she had to pay for rings and marruage license. She had no flowers, no bridal party, no singers at the wedding, no decorations, the photographer was her mother with a regular camera, no cake. Hers was super basic with only what it was strictly needed and it was 3k.

I imagine that for under 1k at current prices would be no formal dresses, about 10 or 15 people, no photographer, no nothing, and a very small cocktail at your own house. That is the only way I can see it with current prices in the US.

Yes, my parents married just that way.

My wife and I splurged and spent about $2000, including the parish organist, flowers, photographer, and a reception for about 40 guests. The wedding dress was her sister’s.

You may not believe this, but our wedding cake came from a doughnut shop. We happened to know that the baker liked to make cakes too, and he was good at it. I mean, he is a professional baker. He made a lovely cake for our wedding reception.

We had a simple but memorable honeymoon in the Adirondacks.

Sure, the wedding industry is big, but you don’t have to buy into it.

Yes, and in some families, you can only go so cheap. I probably have 50 friends and family on my side alone that I would have to send an invite to in order to not insult anyone. I looked up the average wedding cost in the US out of curiosity and it is currently at 25,000-30,000 :eek:. Now, that is excessive.

Oh yes after having done mine, a wedding at $25k is average. I had the initial thought to do it for 5k and with a 100 people it was impossible. I was able to do 7k because the dress was a present, because we did not have a limo, we did not have a wedding party, and we did invites and all decorations by ourselves. Oh and my Sister in law had a good friend that owns a flower shop who gave me the flowers ridiculously cheap. We got the food too at $10 per person only because my father in law owns a whole food providers company and he gave the food. He got us in contact with one of his clients who was happy to do it charging only the service. But I have to say that the cheapest I saw for food was $40 per person and that was a very cheap menu. So yes it is ridiculous how expensive they are

Ohhh and the fees in the churches is high too. In my area most churches charge between $500 and $700. We got lucky because we tend to contribute heavily to the church during the year so we paid only $200.00 but for a regular person is $500.

I agree! I know some people who wished they had thought this way, as they could have paid off their student loans.

Let us all remember 2 things regarding the fees:

  1. if having a small Chapel or Rectory wedding like the OP asked about, you most likely would not be charges those fees.

  2. the fees typically are for the following:
    a) the Overtime pay for the Music Director, who are usually employees of the Parish and not volunteers.
    B) the fee for a 2nd musician (if one) who are treated as independent contractors and not volunteers.
    C) the overtime pay for the janitor to clean up
    D) the additional cost of heating or cooling the Church for the rehearsal and wedding, which in some of the older, not so we insulated Churches can be expensive. For example, some parishes have a daily mass chapel, so they “close” the main church during the week to save power. The lights are off or dimmed and the heat is turned down/ AC up. When a wedding is happening, they have to heat or cool the Church outside the normal budget.
    E) finally, your fee may or may not include pre-Cana materials depending on how the parish does this.

NOTE: some parishes charge more to couples who are not members of the parish.

But money is never an object to getting married in the Church. It might be an object to a fancy ceremony, but it’s never an object. If someone has true financial hardship, simply speak with the priest.

So did mine. The two of them, their two witnesses and the priest. Nuptial Mass in the church. Lunch at a nice hotel afterward.

I served a wedding like this (priest + sacristan/altar server + the couple + their two witnesses = six people total) in our chapel about a year and a half ago. I only found out about it 45 minutes before it took place. Fr. B mentioned it in passing after I had served that morning’s Mass—this was during the week and serving a wedding was the last thing on my mind—so I asked if he wanted a hand since it was to be a Mass. After answering in the affirmative, he giggled a bit while telling me about the “young” couple, and I wondered what was so funny. Did I have the surprise of my life when the bride and groom arrived: they were each almost 90 years old! :smiley:

The Husband and I had a small but not tiny wedding, 40 people at the ceremony (but 80 or so at the reception :hmmm:) yet the cost was exorbitant because Paris is just that way. :shrug: I guess you’re going to get that in most of the big cities. Can only imagine what it costs to get married in New York City…or London…or Tokyo…

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