Wedding Help / No Family


Hi -

Please help with something that’s causing me alot of pain (it’s unreal - it hurts so bad)…

I have FINALLY found a very nice man, who actually goes to church, and has never been married and has no kids. He’s very sweet. We’re both 35 and getting married this year.


It’s always been important to me to have a husband who also shares the Catholic faith. However, my sister got married about 6 years ago to a man who is an off-shoot of United Methodist - who does not go to church. They were married in the Catholic church - it was a total farce…I now wish I said something against this marriage; they now have a 2 year old son, and her husband refuses to allow the child to be baptized - and will not allow his wife or son to set foot in a Catholic church.

Anyway…I’m “EXPECTED” to have my sister as Matron of Honor, and her son as ring-bearer. I don’t want this…

And - my father, as soon as he learned I was invited to dinner at my fiance’s family’s house on Christmas Eve, insisted he go to church at 4 on Christmas Eve (that was my punishment). I don’t know what’s going on…but if my father can’t wait to go to church with me at 10 am on Christmas Day…well, I don’t feel loved or important to him, and don’t really want him to give me away. (My mom died when I was 8 - very unexpectedly - and I haven’t really had anyone to advoacte for me ever.)

What should I do? Can I still have a wedding in the Catholic church without my family being there? Or, should I just pretend that everything is OK???

  • TK


of course you can get married in the Church, even if your family is not there.


What does your future husband think about this? Whatever the situation with your father or sister may be, you should definitely be in agreement with him in any matters concerning your wedding.


You are 35 years old. I’m not sure I understand exactly how your father’s choice of a Mass time is somehow “punishment” for you.

I’m also unsure why you do not want your family to attend your wedding. I think it would be a mistake to exclude them, unless they are violent or abusive.

If you do not want your sister as an honor attendant, then do not ask her to be one. Same for the nephew as ringbearer. If you do not want your father to walk you down the aisle, choose to have a Catholic procession where you and your fiance walk together.

You are 35 and about to be married. You must overcome what you perceive to be things that are “expected” of you by your family. You are about to form your own family.

I suggest you and your fiance plan the wedding together under the guidance of your priest and not seek counsel from your family.

Resolve whatever family conflicts you have outside the context of wedding planning.


What she said! :thumbsup:


There is much more to this story that can be posted. Go talk to a Priest or a Catholic Counselor about your situation. Wherever you are registered, you have the right to make an appointment with your parish priest to discuss your angst before the wedding.
This thread of posts will not give you the satisfaction of resolution!:thumbsup:



There is a great new website by the bishops called

This is one of the articles regarding family of origin. plus
The entire site is worth exploring in helping your form a new family with your fiance. It helps to have your family in accord when you are marrying, however, there are techniques to help your growing family accept one another.

The best thing to do, is for you and your fiance to pray on it. Pray together and pray often. And marrying in the church is a prayer it itself, because you are inviting Jesus to be present in your marriage every day. Some families take this vow more seriously than others. I think you will be one of those. You are in my prayers.


plan your own wedding with witnesses of your choice, in the Catholic Church, and send out announcements later, with the invitation to the reception at a later date.

that is one option.

another is to plan your wedding, consult with the priest during your marriage preparation about who constitutes suitable witnesses (you may be surprised who is allowed to serve in this capacity) and if he says your sister cannot serve, she can still be matron of honor, but another woman in the bridal party who is suitable will be the official witness whose name appears on the sacramental record.

if your wedding takes place during Mass it is a public liturgy of the Church and no one can be “banned” from attending, but that does not mean they need to have an engraved invitation.

if you feel by marrying in the Church you yourself will be participating in a farce, by no means even consider it, but get the pastoral counselling you need before taking such a step.

we have discussed this family on other recent threads, haven’t we. At the age of 35, if you are still under your father’s dominatino to this extent, counselling from a competent professional is indicated.


I’m not sure what you’re saying here. I have never seen anything anywhere about who may or may not be a witness at the wedding. I know even when I got married 32 years ago I was only asked their names, nothing about them.

In fact, a wedding was celebrated in our parish last Friday and the priest didn’t know who the witnesses were going to be until Thursday night at the rehearsal.


You mentioned that your fiance does attend church but did not say whether he is Catholic or not. Is this an issue? Is he willing to convert? Keep in mind it will take some time and education for him to convert via RCIA. I believe the priest expects (but not mandatory) that he will convert asap and that your children will be raised as Catholics in order to be married in the Catholic Church. I know also there are also pre-marital classes for you both to attend before the marriage. My parish asks for a minimum of 6 months in advance before the date.

Enjoy the process, be happy about your upcoming marriage and try not to get too upset about the rest of the family…everything will fall into place.


I thought witness was a legal requirement, not from the Church. ???


Witnesses are required by both the State & the Church. Even if you are in a situation where the legal marriage has already been celebrated the Church still requires 2 witnesses.


** When a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, must the non-Catholic promise to raise the children in the Catholic faith?**

T**he non-Catholic spouse does not have to promise*** to have the children raised Catholic. The Catholic spouse must promise to do all that he or she can to have the children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. *


While the Catholic must promise to do everything in his/her power to raise the children Catholic, there should be no expectation that the non-Catholic party will convert to Catholicism. In fact, I would run from a priest who expected that the non-Catholic would convert ASAP. Conversion must be that, conversion. It’s a process that takes its own time an can not be imposed.


My parents were married in the Catholic Church in 1956. My mother is Baptist. Even back then she was not “made” to convert. However, they did make her sign some statement saying she would raise us Catholic. She did, and we did. We also attended her church growing up as well.

Of course that is not done anymore.


Thanks for the correction everyone. :wink: I’m just going by my own experience and the conversations with my husband, myself and our priest almost 20 years ago. It was not forced but we talked about him converting and also raising the children Catholic.


Not in some states, Illinois being one of them. The Church requires it, but not the state.

For TigerKitty- You are 35, hon. You need to find a counselor and fast. Call Catholic Charities, and if they don’t answer right away, keep after them.


Hmm, I can’t speak for the OP, but are you guys sure this is not a misunderstanding? Maybe she is venting those subconscious vibes we get in normal interaction with other people, and she is making them obvious here for comment.

For example, the “expectation” of a matron…I felt that pressure from several girls and although I had no issue knowing I would make the decision, it is still something to think about when you are planning to talk to x person or plan x event.

I wanted a wedding party that would reflect my feeling of matrimony and my values. Only a couple people were not practicing Catholic, and those two people are both considering Catholicism. I felt very happy knowing everyone in our wedding party would be conservative with the alcohol and reverent during the ceremony.

To the OP: remember that everyone you choose to be in the ceremony will be an integral part of your ceremony. I had to realize this and change a lot in my party. You can’t choose people to save face because they will be with you in all the planning, all the pictures, all the parties. Guests will want to talk to them and look up to them for an example on how to proceed (aka get drunk and dance on tables or be more civil.)


Just to concur here… I was married in Illinois in 2005… state did not require witnesses but the Church did… I had to get permission for my 14 yo dd to be a witness since she hadn’t been confirmed yet, which was a requirement. Since she went to Catholic schools and knew the priest very well, he said OK because she understood the role as witness for our marriage.

My priest also offered to marry dh and myself a couple days early since my family and my dh’s family were causing so much stress. We seriously considered it because of our totally insane relations.

You can get married without family, but you do need to consider what this will do to your relationship with your family… they will be pretty mad and most likely treat you and your spouse pretty badly. If I were you, I would invite them but your witnesses/best man/maid or matron of honor are your choice… but they will need to be confirmed in the Catholic Church. To get around my family acting the same, I actually had our kids as witnesses and in the wedding party. My excuse was we wanted immediate family involvement only. Of course my sons were 18 and 15 and my dd was a month from her 14th bday and step dd was 10 yo at the time… so the 18 yo and the 14 yo signed as witnesses for us as they were the oldest boy and oldest girl.

You are an adult… or as my sister said the night before her wedding, “What are you going to do about it? Ground me?”

You can always let your family know that you wouldn’t want to stress them by making them be in the wedding since you are sure you will need alot of help.

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