Wedding Dress- Shoulders bare?

I have a friend that’s in trouble. She is Protestant, and she is marrying a Catholic friend of mine. She’s really upset because she has agreed to marry him in a Catholic Church, but she believes that her dress must cover her shoulders. This is starting to become an issue to her, because she has always given when it comes to religion (she goes to the Catholic Student Association with him, she goes to Mass with him instead of a Protestant Church, etc.) This is the one thing she wants, though, is to have her ‘perfect dress’.
Anyway, I’m looking for some documents one way or the other on this one (hopefully to tell her that she can wear a dress without shoulders).

From a pastoral perspective, and with everything that she’s already given up, it seems like it would be okay to let her have a shoulderless dress, but like I said, I’m looking for documentation.

thanks guys.

Attire at Church should be modest and appropriate to the occasion. In general, the Church expects women to wear clothing that covers the shoulders, skirts below the knee, etc. For example, no person is allowed into St. Peter’s in Rome with uncovered shoulders or knees (men and women). This is true of most Catholic churches.

In America, there are priests who will allow dresses without sleeves. They look the other way, so to speak. So, really, it will be up to the individual priest/parish and their dress code. We can spend all day speculating here, but it is not useful because ultimately it will be the priest’s decision.

She needs to talk to him.

As for the “perfect dress” well, she needs to think more long term about her MARRIAGE than her WEDDING.

Also, it is also an option for the groom to obtain a dispensation from canonical form to marry in her church.

Ask the priest, and the parish might even have a parish wedding coordinator that can give her advice.

What some brides do is get the strapless “perfect dress” and wear a shrug or a little jacket or shawl for the ceremony only.

But strapless is really the fashion around here at most of the parishes, so just ask the priest.

There are some ways of solving this problem that many people have done. Wedding dress shops sell small sleevesthat can be attached to the dress. And they are simple enough to make. Sometimes a small sheer wrap can be worn over the dress during the Mass and removed during the reception.

I don’t think there is an “official” documentation on from the Church, at large, on this subject. I do believe that this is one of those things that is up to the individual Pastor.

I know in my diocese, many brides choose to wear strapless dresses, some have wraps or jackets, some do not.

My best advice would be to tell your friend to talk to the priest who will be marrying them, or the the “wedding coordinator” and discuss her concerns.

On a personal note, I have helped out with weddings in a couple of parishes in my diocese, and used to work for a florist, so I have seen it all!! :wink:
One of the things that makes me crazy is seeing a bride in a strapless dress that does not fit correctly or without the proper foundation garment.
They are constantly tugging and pulling, and sometimes even falling out…:eek:!

So anyone who may be or knows a bride-to-be- remember to pick a dress that fits correctly, is flattering to your shape, and wear the proper foundation!!! :smiley:

That goes for the ones that are even more modest in nature. Nothing like seeing a dress that someone has paid gobs of money on and fitting so improperly.

Make sure the bridesmaids are just as fitted too!

You are not going to find a Church document that covers this. The parish might have a document that outlines the rules for a wedding at that parish.

When I got married, Msr. did not allow strapless or spaghetti straps on bridal gowns. My gown had an off the shoulder necklline that was approved so I had bare shoulders but was within the guidelines.

What most brides seem to do is have a jacket or shrug for the ceremony over a strapless or otherwise bare dress that they wear for pictures and the reception. Not exactly modest but it stays within the rules.

This is a very nice bolero jacket

While some might not consider this modest and I kinda agree…I think she can get away with strapless IF the dress covers her chest completely (no cleveage) and she is wearing a veil that drapes over her shoulders a bit like this.

And like someone stated earlier proper undergarments are important I’ve seen a lot of brides pulling up their strapless dress (not classy!)

I was married in St. Peter’s with a strapless gown, but I had a shawl made to wear over my shoulders during the ceremony out of a piece of fabric that I chose. I had it pinned behind my back so it wouldn’t slip off. It wasn’t too expensive and looked pretty. After the ceremony, I just took it off for the reception. That being said, St. Peter’s has a strict dress code. Most churches don’t, so I would just ask.

I don’t think there is official documentation, although it is usually expected that attire worn in church be modest. Having worked as a musician for so many Catholic weddings in more Catholic parishes than I can count within several dioceses, I find that it tends to be up to the pastor of the parish. The majority of the parishes I’ve been in do allow strapless gowns for brides with some variations. Some parishes allow practically anything. Many mention in their wedding forms that the gown be tasteful and modest, but will allow strapless as long as there is no cleavage. Some will not allow the strapless bridesmaid gowns, but will permit strapless bridal gowns as long as the bride wears a veil which will cover the shoulders. There has only been a small handful of parishes in which strapless gowns were not permitted whatsoever. In places where they are not permitted, the brides have usually bought a shrug or something similar to cover their shoulders, since it is difficult finding an affordable gown with any kind of sleeve.

So, it probably would be a good idea for your friend to ask the priest who is marrying them what would be permitted.

I think olny need dress your love wedding dress to wedding that is OK,don’t care others .

She should ask the priest. He may be fine with it. If he’s not perhaps she could simply wear some kind of shawl during the ceremony.

It’s been almost 20 years now that the whole strapless wedding dress thing began.
(I blame Vera Wang for this)

When will this toothpaste tube wedding dress thing ever end? Enough already! Bring back the big poofy sleeves with the “Juliet” cuffs!

Sleeve and Coverage Options- Add sleeves to any strapless gown or choose an elegant cover-up

It’s really a priest-by-priest thing. Mine was strapless. I know the priest at my church used to have a major problem with it, and the wedding guild finally told him that it’s like 90% of dresses you can buy! As long as it is tasteful otherwise, he agreed to let it.

I wore a long veil, and that helped some.

These links should have what you’re looking for.

One. Two.

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