Marriage is one of the the most sacred act ever known to man. Every religion, belief and tradition understands that perfectly, that is why they all treat it with care. The Church regard it a Sacrament worthy of careful consideration, as it is a key to determining the future of our families and societies’s serenity. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops best put it as thus;
"Marriage is never just a "private" issue; it has public significance and public consequences"
So if your engaged and beginning to planning a Catholic Wedding, please do have it first of all at the back of your mind that the act of Marriage is somewhat beyond just you and your partner. So am sure you will have few questions as to the dos and don’ts of the Catholic Wedding, so below are few FAQs to that regards:
Can we have an Outdoor Wedding?
Outdoor Weddings are undoubtedly a beautiful site. Given that marriage is a sacred ritual of the church which entails taking serious vows before God, and God is physically present in the blessed sacrament which is located inside the Church, so it is advisable to wed inside the Catholic church. Despite our desires to make our wedding colorful, which is very good, we should also have it in mind that it is very important that God gets fully involved in it.
Can we take our own Private Vows?
The Catholic Catechism explains that: The Church holds the exchange of consent (Vows) between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.” If consent is lacking there is no marriage. The consent consists in a “human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other”: “I take you to be my wife” – “I take you to be my husband.” This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh.” So the Church do not allow it for couples to write and say their own private vows; there are several versions of the vows that couples could pick from.
Can we choose our own Scripture Readings?
The Church has a list of scripture readings (comprising of the First, second and Gospel Readings) that are specifically recommended for wedding ceremonies. The Church made it so in order to keep the proclamation of faith about Marriage in check at all cost. The priest or deacon gives the couple the list of choices and allows them to choose the ones that resonate with them the most.
Can we choose our own Music?
Wedding is a sacred ceremony, and the liturgical music to be used in it (as well as everything else) should reflect the sacredness of the occasion. If the couple has a special song or music they’d like to use, they should speak to the priest who will be marrying them to make sure the music is appropriate.
Can we choose an Entrance Procession of choice?
Different couples have different views and plans for their wedding entrance/exit processions. Funny enough most couples i have met barely put this into consideration until that wedding day (but it is not a crime). Since the bride and groom are both freely and equally entering the marriage, if they choose, they can walk in together, or meet halfway and proceed down the aisle side-by-side. It all comes down to personal preference.
Can we involve Family and Friends in the Ceremony?
One way to involve family and friends in your religious ceremony is to have them read the prayer of the faithful and the readings. The bride and groom can come up with their special petitions to be read during the prayer of the faithful. Family members can also present the gifts to the altar, and of course, be part of the wedding party (groomsmen, bridesmaids, ring bearer, etc.). Contrary to popular belief, bridal attendants and family and friends taking part in the celebration do not have to be Catholic. They just won’t be able to receive the Eucharist.
Can we incorporate cultural customs?
It depends. As long as the custom isn’t too distracting and is religious-based, it may be allowed. Check with your priest to discuss possible ways to incorporate the custom into your ceremony.
Wedding Gifts and Favors
To help a married couple remember their spiritual union and journey ahead, consider incorporating a religious-themed item as part of their gift. Anything from statues and wall plaques to home decor and a personalized bible make meaningful and unique wedding gifts.
If you’d like to thank your guests for taking part in your special day with a small token, consider passing out religious-themed party favors. Prayer cards, small rosaries, or key rings take up little space and are favors your guests can actually use.
This article was inspired by Laura Magnifico on Catholic Faith Store