Dr. Groomy and I are getting married in the Catholic church. Both of our families are Catholic, we both went to Catholic schools (me: just elementary school, Dr. Groomy: elementary, middle, high school, AND grad school, with a stop at public university for undergrad!), and we both enjoy attending mass together, so it was very important for us to get married in the Church. I am excited for a beautiful wedding mass, but I have to tell you, getting married in the Catholic church does have its own set of pros and cons.
Hello, gorgeous! I can’t wait to get married to Dr. Groomy here.
One of the biggest pros, for me at least, is that we don’t have to write our ceremony from scratch. Our church provides us with a worksheet, options for readings and prayers, and we basically just fill in the blanks. While some people might not like this lack of freedom in writing the ceremony, I love it—truthfully, it’s one less thing for me to do, yet we still get to pick readings and prayers that speak to us as a couple. Best of both worlds, in my opinion. Another big pro? We will not be writing our own vows, but instead choosing from a few different pre-set options. For some of you, this may be a huge con, but I have to be honest: I love the way traditional vows sound and I think it puts a lot less pressure on the bride and groom. I fully plan to write Dr. Groomy a love letter to go with my wedding gift to him, so it’s not as though we won’t share those mushy, handwritten thoughts anyways. And again, I just really love traditional vows—there is just something about them that gets me every time!
One of the biggest cons for me is the music selection and policies of our church. The Cathedral does not allow secular or pre-recorded music, so there will be no fun processional and recessional choices for us (I’ve always had a secret wish to walk back down the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder!). In fact, there will be no change of music at all for some parts of the mass—whatever we choose as the processional song, ALL of us will walk into during that music, the bride included. According to our church’s website, “The Roman rite does not specify a change in music for the entrance of the bride. Since the ritual calls for a single liturgical procession, the same piece you select will be played for the entire wedding processional.” So, we can’t choose one song for the bridesmaids, something else for the parents, etc. etc. Whatever song we choose, we will all be walking in to. In the long run, not a big deal, but I sometimes envy you brides who can pick fun and different songs for each part of the processional and recessional! The music policies at our church are also pretty strict—all weddings are required to have a church organist play and a church cantor sing. If we want someone else to sing or play for us, they must audition on a tape and we have to have it approved by the Cathedral music director.
Although the music policies are strict, I have to say that I have really enjoyed planning my wedding at the Cathedral as a whole thus far. I really love the traditional twist on it all, and the way our church really emphasizes the reasons behind their policies, the music choices, the prayers, the readings, and the entire event. Not only that, but we love the priest we have chosen to perform our ceremony, the parish is very welcoming, and the people who run the wedding programs are very helpful and organized. Another great bonus at our church? They do the wedding programs for you! One more thing I won’t have to worry about. The reason they provide the programs is because they include information on the mass, prayers, and song choices, so that those guests attending our wedding who are not Catholic can still participate in some aspects of the mass. We just fill out a worksheet that includes our bridal party, parents, those we want to remember, and our thank you, and they take care of the rest. Awesome, right? I have seen the programs the church provides and they are simple, elegant, and gorgeous—printed on nice ivory paper with script fonts. If we want to personalize them, I can arrange to pick them up in the month before the wedding to attach a special cover or a ribbon to them. I am still undecided as to whether we will do this or not!
As you can see, our adventures in planning a Catholic ceremony are moving onwards, regardless of the pros and cons…how exciting! Every day it feels more and more real to me. So tell me: are you having a religious ceremony or a secular one? What is the ceremony preparation process like for you?