Vanity Free Wedding

Hi all,

So, my darling proposed :thumbsup: right after he told me he wanted to be a Catholic :extrahappy::extrahappy::extrahappy:. Here’s my question: I cannot abide the idea of having a huge vanity pageant wedding. We don’t want it, we can’t afford to pay cash for it, and we aren’t willing to go into debt for it. Is it possible to have a “Catholic elopement”? That is, can we just have a small ceremony with our parents, siblings, and children, as opposed to the whole deal with the processional and the giant dress? We’ll still do all the marriage prep, but we don’t want to do the $20k shindig. We don’t really even want to do a $1k shindig. We just want to get married. Thoughts?


what you describe is NOT elopement, it is a celebration of the sacrament of matrimony as it should be. Elopement would be going to city hall, illicit and invalid. NONE of the extravaganza promoted on the bridezilla reality TV shows has anything remotely to do with the Catholic view of marriage.

You sound a lot more sensible than most engaged couples nowadays :slight_smile:

The wedding you describe sounds like the one my cousin had. They had a Nuptial Mass that only close family and a couple friends came to, then a small reception at my grandma’s house. Nothing wrong with that.

I know I already said this in another thread, but congratulations! :smiley:

It sounds like the OP and her fiancé want to have a marriage, not just a wedding :smiley:

I think that this is approaching things in the right spirit. The sacrament and their love of each other is what matters, and that can be done on a very modest scale indeed, just as the Eucharist at a said weekday Mass on an ordinary day is every bit as valid (and is Jesus real and in person in either one) as at a full-blown papal Mass with a full choir doing Gregorian chant and with a pipe organ at Easter.

I can think of fewer things I’d want to go in hock for than spending $20k for a one-day blowout. Heck in the spirit of support of their humility I’d gladly cantor for them for free if they were in my area (but then as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for :smiley: )

Oh and congratulations, may you have a happy lifetime together!

I just wanted to say congrats on both parts…marriage and your future husband becoming catholic! :thumbsup:

There is no need to blow a lot of cash on a wedding. Spend within your means. Congrats.!

Sure. You can have a nuptial Mass, and your closest family and friends. You just need a priest and two witnesses (I think only one needs to be Catholic, I may be mistaken about this, though.) You also need a marriage license and attendance at whatever prenuptial counseling/training your parish requires.

You don’t need: wedding gown/wedding veil, tuxedo, flowers, organist, reception, cake, photographer, silly favors, live music and an expensive venue. You don’t need three hundred guests (many of whom you don’t even know.)

Your version of a wedding (vanity-free, as you put it) makes a lot more sense on many fronts (spiritual, emotional, and financial) than the Hollywood-style extravaganzas most brides-to-be expect as an entitlement nowadays. Nobody in my acquaintance has 700 “close” relatives and friends who chow down food at a rate of fifty bucks a head!

Your good upbringing shows, and it is a credit to your prudence and common sense. And as such, you are making a far better start than many couples who ought to exercise even a tenth of what you are demonstrating! And that bodes very, very well for your new life together.


Congrats to both of you and a prayer for your impending marriage, sounds like you’re getting off to a good start.:thumbsup:

I see you are a convert yourself. I can understand the desire for a sort of “elopement” if you want a Nuptial Mass but are not looking forward to dealing with the topic of closed communion with any non-Catholic family. Do you think you will have your wedding before or after your fiance’s conversion?

I wonder if it’s licit to go out of your way to have a Nuptial Mass far away in another diocese in order to avoid offending anyone by not inviting them or by inviting them but telling them they should not receive the Eucharist. Cradle Catholics with Catholic families may not understand the turmoil you might be facing if your family makeup is at all like mine. It would be so much less stressful to say “Well, we’re getting married 1,000 miles away, sorry.”

But, being a recent convert and having been married for several years before my conversion, I have no idea if that’s an option or if it’s frowned upon etc.

edited to add: Congratulations! :slight_smile:

edited again: I saw the word “elopement” and instantly thought “far away” but I see that’s not quite what you were asking. …I’ll just leave the rest here anyway just in case.

I know my church offers a “no frills” wedding. You get married at a Sunday mass. The music and decor is everything that normally would be there. They add in the sacrament of marriage to the regular mass for you. No cost.

I can understand a preference for a Nuptial Mass but there is the option of the Rite of Marriage outside Mass. May be an option if the bridegroom won’t have been received into the Church and not able to receive Communion and/or the majority of your guests couldn’t receive Communion.

Simple weddings are a good thing. Talk w/ your priest about it.


Of course you can have a small ceremony. We had our Nuptual Mass in church, on a Saturday afternoon (the usual for our parish). Family & close friends only, and a small reception. No giant dress, either. :wink:

There are many different options available for you and your finance. The best thing for you to do is to talk to your parish priest or deacon. You can have a simple nuptial mass, you only need 2 witnesses, there is no minimum amount of guests needed, a nice stipend for your celebrant would be in order too. Let me tell you what we did, before my wife’s entrance into the Church, and my reversion to the Church, we were married in a Presbyterian church, and found out during RCIA that our marriage wasn’t valid, so before she was to be received into the Church, we had to have our marriage convalidated. Essentially we had to be married again in the Chuch. We chose to do it on Holy Saturday morning, after her RCIA retreat. We invited our parents and children, and our RCIA class to witness the event. We had it in our cathedral chapel, in front of our family and classmates, and the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. we had a scripture reading, vows, blessing of the rings, nuptial blessing and that was it. It was as simple as you can get, The RCIA catechist who is our deacon, was the celebrant, his wife read the scripture reading, from the Song of Songs,(which i highly recommend for any wedding). Today, we joke we have been married twice, and celebrate both days. But thats just me.

Congratulations on both accounts! I had a friend who had a very small (30 people) Saturday morning wedding. She got a beautiful floral dress of the rack at Nordstrom. They got married and the group all went out to champagne brunch after. I think the whole thing cost about $750. Sure wish I had done it that way.

Per Paschale Solemnitatis 75, isn’t the celebration of marriages forbidden on Holy Saturday? Did your convalidation happen before 1988?

I’m not sure if it was different for us because it was a convalidation, but when we had ours done it was my wife and me and our witnesses and the deacon. Five people alone in the church in the evening after work. It wasn’t even a mass, just the vows with the deacon.

When we were married in the civil ceremony before I came back to the church, we went to the jop with about a half dozen people and that was it. We had a small reception the day after and spent less than $200.

It is very possible to have a no-frills wedding. I do not understand the concept of spending so much $$ on a big wedding at all.

You’re situation sounds unusual. The sacraments should not be celebrated on Holy Saturday. Plus, on Holy Saturday the Blessed Sacrament should not be in a tabernacle in a public place.

you are right on one account, and looking back, i do remember now that the tabernacle was open and vacant. as far as the actual convalidation, i guess i don’t know all the answers to the legality of it. I will have to check with my priest or my deacon. thank you for the info. I do remember though that all rcia candidates had their first reconciliation that day as well. I think i will also contact the diocese and find out if there is any dispensation given by the Bishop or the usccb.

I don’t think you need to take those steps since it doesn’t have any effect on your marriage one way or the other.

Reconciliation and Anointing of the sick are allowed on Holy Saturday.

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