Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.

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Geekluv Posts : 11 Registered: 12/9/09
Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 12:54 AM

My FH and I have hit a minor crossroads with wedding planning. Here's the deal, my family is very traditional catholic. My brother used to be a World Harvest Minister but resigned his position due to church politics and is now attends a christian church without specific denomination. He has written several books on religion and has very defined views of what is and is not a marriage under God. I'm Quaker, meaning if my FH and I say vows and ask God to bless it, it is a marriage no matter where we are as God is everywhere.

FH is essentially agnostic for the time being, he believes there is a God but he doesn't know what role to believe in and I don't feel I should force anything on him, especially because he feels that religion is the cause of many conflicts and he's quite right. His family is nonpracticing Christian.

So basically I'm willing to get married anywhere and I don't even need an officiant, just witnesses (Friends {Quakers} are allowed different wedding certificates that have the bride and groom sign with witnesses from the church instead of an officiant, but I can go with officiant too as I'm not marrying a Fellow Friend). FH is in love with the idea of an outdoor wedding. My family is throwing a shi* fit at the idea of such an "unholy union" because it goes against Catholic codes. His family is okay with whatever.

I just don't want perpetual hostility on my family's part because one aspect of our lives don't mesh. My non-confrontational and passivist views are not helping too much, as I'm willing to go along with their beliefs, but I want future hubby to be happy too.

Any ideas? Who should be the officiant. Should I have an officiant? Where should we get married?

I'd like to share my union and celebrate it with my family and friends. No conflict, no debate on if it's legit or not.

Love isn't hopeless. Look, maybe I'm no expert on the subject, but there was one time I got it right. - Homer Simpson @}----

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 10:38 AM Go to message in response to: Geekluv

Dear Geek,

My first suggestion is to discuss your situation with other Friends in whom you have trust. I understand that you don't have formal clergy, but there's got to be someone who is older, wiser and has your trust.

Talk it over with that person. See what they say. Talk it over with several Friends, perhaps, in a group and ask their opinion. That will help clarify your own action plan.

About your family: They have as much right to be Catholic as you have to be a Friend. If they don't like your wedding and your marriage, tell them to go pound sand. If you feel at all comfortable with the parish priest at your family's church, make an appt with that person and ask for guidance on how to deal with your family, from a Catholic perspective. There are many "cool" priests out there who would be supportive of your situation. Get someone like that on your side.

"I just don't want perpetual hostility on my family's part "

The only way to guarantee no perpetual hostility is to do it their way. That means you would hate yourself for caving in to religious beliefs that you do not hold. Which is better? Hating yourself or them hating you? I vote for being true to yourself. If they develop hostility, that's their issue, not yours.

Besides, from what I understand these days, the Catholics make marriage candidates go through a fairly rigorous pre-Cana routine. As you and FH do not hold Catholic beliefs, you would get bounced right out of the gate. It is, literally, not possible for someone to have a Catholic wedding unless they successfully pass the pre-Cana classes. (I am not Catholic and invite clarification or correction from those who are.)

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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 1:31 PM Go to message in response to: Geekluv

Aunt is absolutely right on all counts. YOU are not Catholic; your FH is not Catholic. Therefore, there's no reason to have a Catholic wedding--in fact, that would be really hypocritical and, as your family knows that you are not Catholic, how could they accept your getting married with Catholic vows (knowing that you would not believe a word that you are saying)?

If they pull the "We're not coming to the wedding unless---" number, just tell them sweetly, "We're so sorry--we'll miss you." That usually shuts them right up.

The best thing you can do is to refuse to engage in this discussion with them. Make your own plans, have the wedding your way. What they do about it is up to them. If they wish to have "eternal hostility," that's their choice. You don't have to engage.
myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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karebeartg Posts : 831 Registered: 6/25/08
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 2:22 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I agree with Myra and AOTB. You shouldn't have a Catholic wedding because your family wants you to and, honestly, as a Catholic, I'd rather you didn't. I don't mean that as a criticism of you at all, but rather as a criticism of your family attempting to pressure you into participating in a sacrament that doesn't have meaning to you. In Catholicism, marriage is one of the seven sacraments (baptism, reconcilation, first communion, etc, etc) and thus is a really important ceremony. While I have limited to no issues with one partner choosing to accomodate another by having a Catholic ceremony where either the bride or groom is Catholic, I feel like it's totally different if neither party is Catholic.

That being said, I do want to clarify AOTB's Pre-Cana information slightly. People can and do marry in the Catholic church where only one party is Catholic. Generally speaking though, they don't have the full hour Catholic mass, but rather just the Liturgy of the Word. (Aka, they don't have communion.)

I think how strenuous Pre-Cana is depends on where you get married and who is marrying you. DH and I got married by college priest. He helped us plan the ceremony, but didn't actually counsel us. Instead, we met with a Jesuit Priest we knew from school. He gave us a "compatibility quiz" and spent about 20 minutes going over it with us. We also attended a retreat weekend. It was...long...but I don't think you could fail it unless you spoke up. We put up and shut up when we didn't agree with things at the retreat.

ANYWAY, that's all somewhat off topic. I agree that AOTB is right on about getting a priest on your side. Since you grew up Catholic, do you have a childhood priest you could talk to? If not, can I suggest finding one of the Priests who serves a local college? I've found them to generally be open minded and happy to talk about issues like this. He may have some advice for you.

In the end, you shouldn't be forced to do something that doesn't have meaning for you at your ceremony and your FH shouldn't be uncomfortable.

 

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 5:26 PM Go to message in response to: karebeartg

Dear KB,

"(baptism, reconcilation, first communion, etc, etc)"

Every communion, not just the first one, is a sacrament. I'm sure you know that, but I thought I'd point it out for those who might not.

"That being said, I do want to clarify AOTB's Pre-Cana information slightly. People can and do marry in the Catholic church where only one party is Catholic."

True, and I appreciate the clarification. A mixed Catholic/non-Catholic couple can marry in the Catholic Church, but I do not believe they would permit a Church wedding where neither of the two are Catholic.

I attended such a wedding a couple of years ago. The bride, a Catholic, received Communion. Her new husband received a blessing similar to the blessing any non-Catholic would receive at the altar rail. I have received such a blessing myself, many times, as I have attended many Catholic masses and usually go forward for the blessing.

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jeaniebelle87 Posts : 137 Registered: 11/23/07
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 9:48 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I also come from a large Catholic family. In my experience, you might find a priest willing to perform the ceremony, but the likelihood of that happening is very slim considering neither you nor your FH are practicing Catholics. I highly doubt it would be possible, and you should know that it is also quite rare to find a Catholic priest willing to perform a marriage ceremony in any venue that is not a Catholic Church. I understand you want to make your family happy, but this probably isn't a feasible way to do it. However, if you and your FH are amenable to it, you may be able to find a priest understanding of your situation with your family to bless your marriage. That might make your family more comfortable, and is much more likely to be possible. Plus, then you will probably only have to meet with the priest once or twice, rather than having to do the whole pre-Cana course most Catholic Churches require (although, the course FH and I are taking is excellent, and is less about Catholicism than about what it takes to make a marriage work, and it's done with a married couple facilitating, rather than a priest, and is something I highly recommend!).
Anyways, hope that is helpful! Good luck!

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Geekluv Posts : 11 Registered: 12/9/09
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 10:11 PM Go to message in response to: karebeartg

Thank you so much, I really value all of your opinions and they have helped me greatly. I am also very relieved that no one seemed judgemental at all. I asked this question elsewhere and got bombarded with "well your family is right you both need to convert."

FH and I are going to have a sit down talk about it this weekend to figure it all out and then we are going to stick to the plan no matter what.

You are very right, it would not be fair to anyone to have a catholic wedding as we are not catholics.

Also, the Priest that was around for my childhood up until I chose not to be confirmed was a wonderful man and would have been on board, but he has passed away.

Love isn't hopeless. Look, maybe I'm no expert on the subject, but there was one time I got it right. - Homer Simpson @}----

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Ceremony help officiant/location? Caution, loaded with religion.
Posted: Dec 11, 2009 9:53 AM Go to message in response to: Geekluv

As far as the religious aspect goes, your family will get over it...eventually. I assume that they know that you are a Quaker, correct? If that's the case, it shouldn't come as a surprise to them that you want a Quaker wedding rather than a Catholic one. Their drama right now is simply that - drama designed to guilt-trip you into doing what they think is right.

Stick to your guns. As neither you nor your FH is Catholic, it would be inappropriate for you to be married in a Catholic ceremony. In fact, I highly doubt that a priest would perform the ceremony for two non-Catholics. If you really feel like you need to pacify your family, speak to a priest about the whole thing. He'll tell you that he is not allowed to perform the sacrament of marriage for two non-Catholics. Furthermore, as a Catholic married in a Catholic ceremony, I had to vow to continue as a practicing Catholic and to raise my children Catholic. As a non-Catholic marrying me in a Catholic ceremony, DH had to vow to support me in these duties. As neither of you can/will make these promises, no Catholic priest should agree to marry you.

About your question of whether or not you should have an officiant, it may not be required by your religion, but I'd be willing to bet that it is required by your state to make your marriage legal. I would look into the legal requirements in your state before making a decision. Since you have no clergy, it might be a nice option to have a fellow Quaker certified to perform your marriage (if that's allowed in your state) - he/she can fulfill the legal requirements. Or you can find a non-denominational officiant willing to incorporate your traditions into the ceremony.

DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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