Son is finally questions


The reason I came to this board around a year and half ago was that my son’s longtime girlfriend is Catholic. Well, this past weekend they officially got engaged. The wedding is going to be in a Catholic church. My son is a non-Catholic Christian. He is not it RCIA so he will still be a non-Catholic next summer when they get married. However, I expect him to become Catholic at some point in the future.

At any rate. I have never been to a wedding in a Catholic church.

What will be the major differences between the wedding ceremony and a typical non-Catholic Christian wedding ceremony (Baptist, Methodist…)?

Are the bride and groom restricted on things like music that is played, decorations and so forth?

Is it true that there will be an open bar at the reception? :smile:

Anyway, we are excited to have a daughter in law join our family.


A Catholic wedding can either have Mass included, or not.

The suggested arrangement is to not have a Mass if one of the parties is not Catholic.

Music selections are from sacred music, rather than secular. Readings are selected from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and one of the Gospel accounts.

In general, Catholic weddings are a bit longer than Protestant ones, when there is Mass a little longer still.

Decorating depends on the timing of the wedding in the liturgical year (different for Easter or Advent, for example).

I think her Dad will be the one making the call on the open bar.

Congratulations – may your tribe increase,
Deacon Christopher


Catholics do have specific wedding vow options to choose from. Writing your own vows isn’t a thing, or at least not something that can replace the Catholic vows. I do not know all the ins and outs, they may still be able to have a place to say their own words. Best ask the deacon or priest who will celebrate.

(Don’t worry, they’re not swearing allegiance to the Pope or to the Church, it’s still the typical wedding vow formula.)

Technically, there is nothing in the liturgy about the bride walking down the aisle. Traditionally both are already up front at the start. That said, I’ve seen the bride come down the aisle at Catholic weddings so…

And congrats on getting a new daughter!


Typically it’s the same except with a mass. Music tends to be what the organist can play. The bride and groom sometimes sit in the sanctuary. The bride and groom might lay a bouquet at a statue of Mary. I’ve been to both, and the big difference is one is a mass and one is not. Some Catholic weddings aren’t even masses.

Regarding an open bar: that’s more based on the region you’re in than Catholicism. In my experiences, New York weddings are always open bar, wherin when I grew up in Texas it was a cash bar w free beer maybe. It’s up to whoever is paying for the wedding.


You can have your own vows in addition to the proper vows.


Not so sure this is true.


To add to what I said, I think having it said during a mass would be the biggest difference. I had my marriage convalidated in a small ceremony not during mass, and that’s basically just a marriage ceremony without mass. I don’t think it would look much different in form.


I have not been to many non-Catholic weddings. I have been to many Catholic ceremonies and never have I been to one that the bride did not walk down the isle including my own.


That question was just me being silly. I grew up Baptist and the thought of having alcohol of any kind at a wedding reception was unheard of.


I just wanted to say that this part of your post simply jumped out at me! What an open minded and loving thing to do! God bless you!

I read a few of your posts and clearly you are intellectually curious, what a blessing!

For the wedding, I would ask if there is going to be a Mass or not. At Mass, when we receive Holy Communion it’s not just symbolic bread. We believe it’s the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. So beautiful and everything else in our faith pales in comparison. That’s why it’s so precious.

If it is not a Mass, there will be readings from scripture, Psalms, the Gospel. The priest will give a short homily (talk/sermon), there will be an exchange of vows, blessing of the rings and blessing of the couple. Mix that with music and that’s it. Hope this helps a little.

Praying for you and your family. Please pray for me too. Thank you.


There is no option for that in the wedding ceremony. That it may have happened somewhere does not mean it’s an option.

As for the option of using your own vows, they would have to be vetted by the Marriage Tribunal to be sure that there is nothing in them that would render the marriage invalid. Best to stick with the ones the Church composed.



If you are in the US, our Council of Bishops has a very good website to explain everything (at least everything Emily Post does not cover :slight_smile: )


No, this is not true.

You could write something you wish to say at the reception to your spouse, but, we don’t tinker with Liturgy.


Ditto. Every Catholic woman in my mother’s huge family walked down the aisle, and so did I.


The new Rite of Marriage has made a change.

This video talks about it:


I can’t predict what they will do but the non-mass option tends to work better with a non-Catholic spouse from a non-Catholic family.

The readings and vows are pretty prescribed. Walking down the aisle and being given away by her father would be fine.

As for music anything liturgical would be fine. At our wedding we had 2 typically Catholic hyms and 2 more evangelical ones.


Had to chuckle at that one


I’m really glad we didn’t seem to have any issues getting our priest to say a Mass when I married a Presbyterian. I had no idea it was considered so unusual as it seems to be.

I daresay if someone had told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t have a Mass, I probably would have called the whole wedding off. I don’t recall any discussion about it lasting longer than 2 minutes. The priest might have asked my husband something like “Are you comfortable with having a Mass?” to which husband said, “Sure, it’s fine.”


Well it’s not vows per say, but at my wedding we could say a few things to each other. So I misspoke. The vows themselves were liturgical.


Since he will be a non-Catholic groom, the wedding will MOST LIKELY NOT be a wedding mass. So it will most likely be very similar to a Methodist wedding.

As far as restrictions on music, decorations, etc… it kind of depends on the parish in regards to what is permitted vs what isn’t. But the point is, both music and decorations must be appropriate for Church.

In regards to open bar… that has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. The majority of Catholic wedding receptions are not in the parish hall, so open bar vs cash bar will depend on their budget, and most likely not any religious views.

God bless and congrats.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit