Hello! This is my first time posting here, nice to “meet” you all.
I was brought up a Hindu but going through RCIA at the moment with the hope of being baptised into the Catholic church this coming Easter. My fiance is Catholic (from a Catholic family). We are both very private people and want a very tiny wedding later next year with only our parents and siblings present.
My question is: would a wedding this small be very unusual and/or inappropriate for a Catholic church? If it would be possible, what are the “essential parts” of a Catholic wedding? Ideally I would like just gospel readings, the homily and marriage rite, without music (partly as I don’t want my parents, who are not Catholic and know very little about Catholic traditions, to feel uncomfortable). Are hymns and the responsorial psalm really necessary?
It’s possible to have a private wedding and it’s possible to have a wedding ceremony without mass, in which case it’s a short wedding liturgy. Ask at the church you go to and they’ll tell you the details.
Hi there. First, congratulations on deciding to bless your marriage in the church. After 10 years of civil marriage, my husband and I had a small private Catholic wedding in the chapel. It is possible.
But don’t forgo the whole mass. My family was there with all a couple friends who were all protestant. Just tell Father the situation before hand and ask him to explain to everyone how they can simply get a “blessing” rather than recieving communion.
If your family sees how important your religion is to you and how you respect it, they will respect you too and not make a big deal out of your Catholic ceremony.
You can have as small a wedding as you want, provided you have the priest and two witnesses. I wouldn’t pass up the Mass, as it is a very special Mass to bless you and your new husband, but you can have a Mass with no music at all.
of course. there is no requirement whatever about the number of attendants other than the required witnesses, nor the number of guests, nor is the exchange of vows required to occur during Mass. As long as the rite of the sacrament is conducted and witnessed properly according to the laws of the Church, all else is cultural baggage and personal preference of the parties involved. If one spouse’s family is not Catholic it is much preferable that there NOT be a nuptial Mass, as by definition half the guest list will be excluded from participation in communion. There is no requirement for any music whatever, but if you are having a liturgy of the Word, that includes a responsorial psalm, but it need not be sung or chanted, it can be read. If the guests are not Christian that is all the more reason not to get married in the context of a Mass.
Thank you all so much for your replies - I really appreciate it. I feel a lot better knowing that it doesn’t sound completely crazy! I will speak to my parents and see how they feel about Mass being included in the ceremony.
Two witnesses, a priest, the exchange of vows and rings, and inside a Catholic Church building, are the essential elements of a Catholic wedding. Everything else is up to you and your fiance to decide.
(Which is why I am always startled to see messages from people saying that they “had to” get married Las Vegas style because they “couldn’t afford” a Catholic wedding. Believe me, we are waaaay cheaper.)
Thanks jmcrae - I was also concerned about the expense, so it is reassuring to know that the costly things are optional extras rather than necessities.
Also, are there any regulations/guidance as to what to wear for a Catholic wedding? I am not keen on a traditional wedding dress and would prefer something simple that I could wear again (such as a knee-length coloured dress, obviously reasonably modest with shoulders covered etc). Would this be acceptable?
I even know of a young woman and man who got married in matching t-shirts and jeans one time, in the Rectory, with two witnesses. As far as I know, they are still doing just fine - they have six children, now.
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