Thursday, April 8, 2010

Helpful Catholic Wedding Tips

As a long-distance bride who’s only able to meet with our presiding clergy four times tops before the wedding day, I’ve been grateful for the great advice and suggestions online at Catholic Wedding Help.

If you’re getting started planning a Catholic ceremony and have questions about readings, music, the processional, or even how to best word your programs, be sure to give this site a look. The Q&A format in many sections is easy to follow, as is the info about differences between a wedding with or without a full mass.

Here, a few of the best tips I’ve picked up so far:

· If you plan to marry in the Catholic Church, be sure to start tracking down copies of the certificates confirming your baptism, communion and confirmation six months in advance. You’ll likely need to contact the churches where these sacraments were performed and arrange to have the copies forwarded to your officiant. Be sure to allow plenty of time.

· The Church often frowns upon “theatrical” wedding music like “Here Comes the Bride” or “The Wedding March.” The preferred Catholic processional is also different than at a Protestant wedding, with the bride and groom entering the church together. Many Catholic churches will agree to the “classic” processional if that’s what the couple prefers, but be sure to talk with your clergy before making decisions about these aspects.

· The Church requires marriage preparation classes for all couples, and often has additional requirements for second marriages. Your clergy or the website for your local diocese should offer lots of information.

· Since Catholic wedding celebrations usually encourage a lot of guest participation, consider fully printing the words to the various prayers, readings and songs in your program. That way, even if your guests aren’t Catholic, they can at least follow along with what’s happening.

Are you planning a Catholic wedding? Have you come across any great resources or planning advice, no matter what your cultural background?

(Photo Credits: Catholic Wedding Help)


  1. I'm going to throw in my 2 cents as a non-catholic who recently attended a catholic mass wedding.

    - Write out even the simplest of prayers. An example of this is the Lord's Prayer. It has a different ending for protestants and can cause confusion!

    - If you are planning on having a full mass, let guests know! Most weddings I have been to run about 20-40 minutes (if in a church)... the last catholic wedding I went to was 2 hours and included a literacy of saints! A note on the out of town welcome letter would have prepared me for a 2 hour service... (although, frankly, I don't think anything could prepare you for 2 hours)

    - Even if most of your guests are catholic, please include a note of customs for your non catholic guests. Things are a little different in a catholic church (as in, although I am confirmed and have had a baptism and communion, I am not allowed to participate in a catholic communion) and it makes them feel included

    That's all I can think of! I'm glad you found such a helpful site!

  2. Great tips! I agree that printing out the prayers will be helpful for non-Catholic guests. We are having a modified Catholic ceremony since our wedding will take place at a winery, but we are still including most of the traditional prayers. And most of our guests will be Hindu, so this could definitely be a recipe for confusion!

  3. Thanks so much for recommending that site- I jumped over there already, and it looks like a good place for info. We are having a bilingual mass, so it could become complicated :)

  4. Those are all helpful tips. We aren't having a catholic wedding but its interesting to see the different requirements and customs that take place.