Church Wedding

My name is Miss Beanstalk and I’m Catholic. I know it’s not polite to talk about these things, but because I am planning a wedding, I feel that it is only necessary (especially since I am about to dive deeper into the topic). Growing up, I would say religion was always a part of my life, even though I classify myself as more of a spiritual, private practitioner. I have been baptized, confirmed and attended Catholic school from middle school on. The University I went to for undergrad was even a Catholic institution. However, I didn’t choose the school based on it’s religious affiliation (that was an added bonus in my eyes), I went there because it was a good local private school near home, which meant I could commute! Oh, and sister Beanstalk was going there!

My parents are an interfaith couple—my mom is Catholic and my dad is Protestant. They were married in the Catholic church and I grew up thinking that I wanted that, too. Mr. Beanstalk was raised Christian, but doesn’t really believe in any higher power. This has never affected our relationship though, we are who we are and love each other regardless. I know if I wanted to, he would marry me in a beautiful church with a full Catholic mass because he would do anything for me. But as soon as we got engaged, I realized I wanted something different. I wanted to be married outside. An outdoor ceremony just seemed more us, and I wanted the wedding to reflect who we are as a couple.

Even after we booked our venue, I struggled with our choice. I loved our ceremony site, but I wondered if I was doing something wrong by not marrying in the Catholic church. My parents didn’t mind where the ceremony was, so this was more of a personal dilemma I was dealing with.

I spoke with my mom and she encouraged me to seek out churches near our venue and see what was required to wed in them. I did this and found quite a few churches. However, the process to wed in any one of them was quite extensive, especially since we live out of state and don’t have a church where we attend mass regularly. Oh, and then there was the small factor about Mr. Beanstalk not being Catholic. It just seemed way more complicated than either of us had planned (and not something we wanted to try and tackle from thousands of miles away). So ultimately we decided against a church wedding. However, I am glad that I went on my quest for answers because in doing so, I became even more convinced that a garden ceremony felt more natural for us.

Looking back, I think what made me hold on to the idea of marrying in a house of worship was my childhood preconceived notion that couples married in churches. Period. And in order for it to be real, it had to be done there (no ifs, ands, or buts about it). I soon realized these were silly thoughts. No matter where we got married it would be real, and at the end of the day we would be husband and wife, and that is what truly is important! So I erased any regret or thoughts I had about a church wedding from my mind and decided to focus my energy on what the wedding really is all about: us!

Did anyone else struggle with religion and where to wed?


Mrs. Beanstalk

Boston/Delray Beach
Wedding Date:
October 2012
Hot. Now.
Love Under the Moon: Say Cheese!
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  1. Member
    rpalao 26 posts, Newbee @ 5:31 am

    I am in the same boat, kind of. My fiance and I are both 25 and are getting married in Sept 2013. I was raised Catholic and he Christian. This wasn’t a personal issue for me but for my family. They are all strict catholics and want me to marry in a Catholic church. However, the same as you, we realized how difficult this would be because we are not the same religion. I felt torn because we had already booked a garden ceremony at our venue and just felt that it was perfect. Until….my family started to drop comments. But in the end i decided to stay true to what we wanted and felt that a garden ceremony would be best and provide that emotional intimate wedding feel that we want. We recently attended a Catholic wedding with a full mass and it just reassured that it wasn’t for us! Our ceremony will include religious aspects to it though because it is still very important to us. But i’m glad that i’ve finally come to a decision about this and im glad you have too!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Kathleen, Guest @ 5:33 am

    Completely understand. My parents are divorced and were both raised Catholic. My father attends regularly and would be considered a “die-hard” and my mother has not attended church in over a decade except for weddings, funerals, and an occasional holiday.
    I was baptized Catholic, did confirmation and all my sacraments like clockwork. I was like you. I considered myself “spiritual and private”. When I moved out of my dad’s I didn’t attend church for about five years until I met with a few friends at their church within walking distance at my new place. I now attend a Free Methodist church and feel VERY at home there.
    When my FI and I started dating he began to attend church there (he was also raised Catholic). I told him multiple times he didn’t have to attend if he didn’t like it, but 2 years later he is still going and the lead pastor of the church will be marrying us OUTSIDE at a garden in the next town over.
    Church has become a very important part of our lives, but your marriage is no more real inside the church than outside in a garden or park as long as GOD is involved. He will play a huge role in our ceremony :)
    My father objected to the wedding ceremony at first, stating unless we were married in a Catholic church it would not be recognized by the diocese of Cleveland.
    At this point I think he is just happy I am back to regularly attending church :)
    BEST OF LUCK TO YOU! Follow your guts, your heart, and what God tells you. He doesn’t get it wrong, so you won’t either.

  3. Member
    debeachgirl 543 posts, Busy bee @ 5:35 am

    Another Catholic girl here. I actually wanted a small outdoor wedding with close friends and family possibly even destination (def destination if I was sticking with January). FI on the other hand wanted the full Catholic wedding. He want to Catholic school through middle school and was an alter boy.

    While this means the wedding is a bit bigger than I thought I wanted and we have all the Catholic hoops to jump through. I have come on board and I am happy about it. We joined the church and try to go a bit more often now (we still aren’t close to regulars) and that is nice.

    This way we can stay close to home in the church where I had all my Sacraments, which is nice. Some days I still dream about that outdoor wedding, but I know this will make the grandparents super happy which is an added bonus.

  4. Member
    NVACat 349 posts, Helper bee @ 5:47 am

    We have the opposite situation where my fiance was raised Catholic and I am not. It was important to me that we were married outside and to him that it was religious.

    Luckally we were able to find a catholic “Priest” from an organization that has women “priests” and gay “priests” (he’s even married!). While it wont be recognized by the Catholic church and its a been struggle to explain to my baptist Grandma, we are both getting what we want and I think it will be a beautiful ceremony

  5. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:52 am

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. We’re both Catholic, so getting married in the Church seemed like a no-brainer. Mr. T and I have some difficulty with the Church because we feel like it can be so judgmental sometimes, especially when it comes to its views on marriage, so I definitely thought about whether we were making the right decision getting married in the Church. But Catholicism is such a big part of our background and culture, that I think it’s the most appropriate choice for us. I’m glad you at least gave it some thought because that’s the most important thing!

  6. Member
    lolo7835 645 posts, Busy bee @ 5:53 am

    While the Mr. and I are both Catholic-we both kind of wanted the outdoor ceremony. But it was super super important to both our parents. Since we didn’t really have strong feelings about it, it was easier to make them happy.

    It’s actually had a very positive affect on our church life. I did put my foot down on what church and priest we had-our officiant was one I’ve known since I was 16 and he knows us both really well. Both of us being catholic made the process easier, and I did like saying the same vows and having a similar ceremony to our parents/grandparents/great grandparents. It was a nice way to continue the tradition.

  7. Member
    Brielle 10151 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 6:22 am

    As a very strong Christian, I always presumed that I would have a big, formal, church wedding with all of the trimmings. However, I, like you, later began thinking that it would be beautiful to be married outside in a gorgeous setting.

    After my DH (who is a pastor) and I found a spectacular venue that offered not only a beautiful ballroom for our reception but also a stunning, outdoor, terrace for our ceremony, we decided there was no reason that we could not have a big, church wedding, performed by my pastor, complete with Scripture readings, music, and the celebration of Holy Communion — outdoors! (Because we are Protestant, we obviously had greater flexibility with this.) The only snag we almost hit was that our videographer later told me he had been expecting “a typical, 30-minute max, garden wedding” — not our full-blown, one-hour-and-ten-minute ceremony, and he was very glad that he had brought enough tape to capture it all!

    The one other issue I encountered involved my invitation wording. I always strive to follow the rules of etiquette; however, when the very kind and extremely knowledgeable ladies at the upscale, stationery boutique where I purchased my invitations gently attempted to correct me for using the “… request the honour of your presence …” language on my beautiful, engraved wedding invitations, because I was not being married “in a house of worship,” I chose to disregard this counsel and use this language anyway. Afterall, God created the heavens and the earth, and His Word says that He inhabits the praises of His people, and where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is also! If God’s Holy presence lives in His children, and if His presence also extends beyond facilities of bricks-and-mortar that were built by humans, there is no reason that I could have my big church wedding outside! :)

  8. Member
    nifty_geek 22 posts, Newbee @ 6:39 am

    I know exactly where you’re coming from. My fiance is Salvation Army (his parents are extremely devout) and I was raised Catholic (went to catholic school, wore the cute jumpers, was an alter server, the works). I always assumed that when I married, we would have a catholic ceremony performed by a preist. When we were looking at venues for the ceremony, we both fell in love with a small Anglican church camp/conference center about an hour away from our home town.

    We looked into having a catholic ceremony at the camp (it does have a consecrated chapel) but the things that we would have to go through to get married in a non-catholic church to a non-catholic man was just too much. We decided to have a Salvation Army major perform our ceremony. I stuggled with this decision for a long, long time, but I’ve finally become ok with it. It helps that my fiance knows the Major really, really well, and that he is really fantastic to deal with. :)

    My mom keeps making the joke that we should have a United pastor, so we could be a catholic girl marrying a salvation army guy in an anglican church by a united pastor, and no one would be left out. Haha. :)

  9. Member
    Beltacular 51 posts, Worker bee @ 7:31 am

    My fiance and I are both Catholic, but opted for a non religious ceremony. Neither of us have been to church in over 6 months, and haven’t been regular attendants since college. We had some family members (mainly his mother) who were saddened by the decision, but we stuck to our guns with what we wanted. We just felt that it would be bit of a lie to get married in the Church when neither of us are particularly involved anymore.

  10. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:46 am

    I can sort of relate, but more from the opposite perspective. My husband-elect is Lutheran, whereas I am a non-church-raised atheist. His first inclination was to get married in a Lutheran ceremony in a Lutheran church, and his family assumed we would be selecting passages from the Bible to include in our ceremony. This all made me very uncomfortable as someone who has never felt at home in a church, so we’ve had to reach compromises with each other and with our families.

    In the end, my fiance realized that he didn’t really want a religious ceremony but only assumed that’s how things were done, and he decided that he wanted the ceremony to be more personal and less religious. He even suggested that we have a friend marry us instead of a pastor, which is one of the wedding elements he is most excited about now.

    What’s interesting to me is how many of my family and my parents’ friends have been happily married for so many years and have very different religious perspectives and backgrounds. I think it actually feeds the relationship a little to come into it with different perspectives because if you are essentially the same person, you cannot challenge each other to grow as people. I definitely think my relationship with my fiance is stronger for it.

  11. Member
    RapunzelRapunzel 812 posts, Busy bee @ 7:52 am

    Firstly, I definitely think there should be lots of posts about religion on wedding websites! It’s an important–and complicated–part of the wedding day for many couples, whether they’re religious or not, and am glad you wrote about this!!

    Secondly, bravo for having a wedding that felt right for you. As for us, we’re actually in the opposite of your situation! I’m very religious (studying to be a pastor) and my fiance is not (believes in God but doesn’t attend church or identify as religious) and we originally planned to have an outdoor wedding, but, mainly because of money and our big guest list, are now ending up getting married at my home church! See, since I had grown up in the church, I also thought all weddings happened in the church: and I thought if I had a church wedding I wouldn’t be “special”. But even though I never imagined getting married there, I now realize it really was where we were meant to get married all along.

  12. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:12 am

    Surprisingly I went through this some years ago, I struggled trying to concile my personal belief with the religion I was raised in.
    One of the things I regreted was not bein able to have the kind of wedding everyone I know has, but when my time came and I was faces with the option of having a religious ceremony regardless of my (our) personal beliefs, we decided against it, cause it wouldn’t feel true to us, and it bein imoortant ro us is the key of it all.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Christina, Guest @ 12:11 pm

    My DH and I are both Catholic and it was important to us to be married in the church, so that’s what we did. I respect and appreciate your choice to really think it through and decide what is best for you and your fiance. I feel like too many people have the Catholic mass only to keep parents/grandparents happy, and that takes something away from it. If a Catholic marriage (according to the traditions of the church) isn’t what you believe in or what holds meaning for you, then why go through the motions?

  14. castle Member
    castle 1191 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:45 pm

    I went through the same exact thing. I felt guilty, thought about changing my mind, talked to a Priest but ultimately decided that our original plan was the right one. We got married outside by a former priest who is pro marraige equality. It was perfect for us. Thanks for sharing this because there are a lot of people who have been through the same thing!

  15. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 7:21 pm

    Hmmm… Catholic and Protestant are both Christian sects. Never heard of a Catholic and a Protestant being called “interfaith”.

  16. Member
    miss.sarah 49 posts, Newbee @ 6:52 pm

    I’m glad to hear so many others have struggled with religion and the ceremony location…I don’t feel so alone now! I guess everyone’s situation is different – we actually wanted our ceremony in a church, but aren’t church-goers (private-spiritual sums us up perfectly). Most major events in our lives have been in church, and we felt our wedding should be the same.

    Our minister has been amazing – we had to do some extra work at the start with him, but it has been well worth it. Having the ceremony in the church has become more of a journey than just planning the ceremony, which has been so wonderful.

  17. coyote Member
    coyote 1960 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:43 pm

    I can 100% relate Beanstalk… In fact I wrote a post about the same topic! I was raised Catholic and always assumed that I would get married in the Church. Mr. Coyote, however, is atheist. Because he is an amazing man he said he would do what he needed to do to marry me in a Church if that is what I desired, but I knew it made him uncomfortable so we chose to have our ceremony at our venue. I definitely struggled with our choice, but now that it’s over I don’t regret it one bit!

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