When two converts marry

My boyfriend and I are getting very serious about discerning marriage, to the point that he’s shopping for an engagement ring. He’s an absolutely wonderful man and a faithful Catholic, and we’re well-suited to each other. The thought of marrying him fills me with deep joy; I can’t imagine a better person with whom to share in the Sacrament of Matrimony.

When I think about our wedding liturgy itself, however, I’m slightly anxious. We’re both converts (2017 and 2018 Easter receptions) and the only Catholics in our families. His extended family generally views Catholicism with a reserved skepticism, aside from a few relatives who are prone to speaking candidly about their disapproval. They’re ultimately kind people who love him dearly, however, and they would probably attend the wedding.

Since the only guests who could receive communion at the wedding would be our still-modest circle of Catholic friends (and because of his family’s feelings about the Eucharist), it seems to make the most sense to be married outside Mass. Even that presents challenges, however: how would we find enough lectors? What happens if half or more of the guests stay silent during the responses? What if our wedding party were to consist entirely of non-Catholics?

Some of these discussions could be had with our pastor if/when the time comes, but I was wondering in the meantime if anyone had encountered a similar problem or had any advice.

You could certainly have a marriage ceremony within a Liturgy of the Word. You really don’t need more than one reader, but a non-Catholic Christian could do a reading. It happens all the time at weddings and funerals.

There is no requirement that anyone in your wedding party be Catholic. We had only our two witnesses, neither of whom was Catholic; Father never asked their religion. The prenuptial documents our diocese uses have no question pertaining to the religion of anyone but the bride & groom.

The Bishops of the US have a great website just for you!


A lot is going to depend on your pastor’s attitude towards this situation. I can tell you that my wedding was not chockablock with Catholics; pretty much just me, my mother, and about a half dozen aunts, uncles and friends. We managed to scare up two lectors (that’s all you need) and our pastor was happy to have a Mass even though my husband and most of his family weren’t Catholic. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but I now realize the pastor was a lot more open to the idea of a Mass in that situation than some others would be. I often pray for his soul because of that and a couple similar ways in which he made it quite easy for us to be married. Some of the stuff I read on here and on the web suggests that it’s not always that easy.

For questions like this, I often advise finding a wedding site as well and asking this question on one of their boards. With that said, I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can from a non-Catholic point of view.

That’s your choice, and your marriage would still be a sacrament. That is what my wife and I did. Neither of us wanted something in our wedding that myself and my family would be mere observers while her and her family participated. With that said**** I’m not Catholic. It’s my belief that many Priests will advise, or in some cases require, communion when two Catholic get married.

I think that was covered upthread.

It is what it is, it’s something that’s probably going to happen. We (non-Catholics) probably won’t participate at all. No responses…we’ll sit when everyone sits, stand when everyone stands, but most of us will sit when you kneel and won’t participate in responses.

Doesn’t matter, as long as you’re good with the aesthetics of it. We won’t kneel, go through the communion line together, etc… I only mention that as I’ve heard some complain that they don’t like when the whole wedding party doesn’t “participate” fully.

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