Two Wheels Become One: Musings on a Catholic Ceremony

I wasn’t going to blog about this because I thought it would come across as a really self-involved, irreverent rant. And honestly, I’m not upset about it anymore. But a few readers noticed in my last post that I seemed to be harboring feelings of regret toward our Catholic ceremony, so I should probably just come clean.

First of all, no one forced me to have a Catholic ceremony. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school for nine years and a Jesuit university. The church where we got married is the same parish that I’ve attended my whole life, and it’s attached to my old grade school. When I thought about my wedding ceremony, I didn’t even consider having a secular ceremony—not because I don’t respect them or because my family would have been upset. My brother and several cousins have had really beautiful secular ceremonies, as well as many bees.

The priest we planned on having as our officiant told us late in the game that he would be on sabbatical during out wedding, so a new priest to the parish would be officiating for us. I feel bad saying anything negative about a priest, but I’ll be honest: he didn’t make my wedding day any better. I don’t know if he was actually an angry guy or if that was just his schtick, but he was kind of sarcastic and gruff, and my ceremony was not at all what I pictured it would be. Like Mrs. Coach, I struggled with suppressing the bad memories that flooded me every time I thought about our ceremony, and it’s taken me some time to come to terms with it. I realize now that I was being a wee bit melodramatic, and having things go wrong at your wedding can make for a great story. So I promise I’m not upset about it anymore. Moving on!

We left off at the unity candle. Whoo-friggin-hoo! Mr. Unicycle walked me over, and we each grabbed a taper candle, lit the middle candle with it, and blew it out. You can hear in our video that he asks me “Just light it and blow it out, right?” and I say “Yeah.”


Photos by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

Then the priest got the rings from our Best Man and Maid of Honor and blessed them before we exchanged them.

Mr. Unicycle: Karisa, take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Mrs. Unicycle: Chris, take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Photos by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

My mom read the prayers of the faithful.


Photos by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

The priest said a few final remarks, and then the ceremony was about to end. I’ve mentioned before that I was a little peeved at the rehearsal when the priest refused to say “I now pronounce you husband and wife” and “you may now kiss the bride.” I was worried about it all night and throughout the ceremony. We had asked him and the church coordinator several times to make sure this was said, because it was important to us to have a “traditional” ceremony. Like I said before, I wanted my ceremony to be like the kind you see on TV or in movies, the kind I had performed for my Barbies and Ken dolls time and time again. Well, the priest refused to do it, and at the time I was livid. I didn’t think I was being a bridezilla, because it really shouldn’t be too much to ask, right?

But then I learned that a traditional Catholic ceremony doesn’t include those phrases, so I shouldn’t have gotten married in the church if I wanted to hear them. Mrs. Snow Cone had a similar problem with her Catholic ceremony. So I would just like to say, for future Catholic brides who may become Catholic bridezillas like me: Your priest may or may not say “you may now kiss the bride.” He may even refuse to say it or, like ours, pretend like he’s going to say it and then not say it. So keep this in mind so you’re not stressed out and disappointed at your ceremony.

Is this a big deal in the scheme of things? Hellz naw. But did it sour my wedding ceremony experience and memories? Sadly, yes. For months after my wedding, I couldn’t help feeling sad about how our first kiss went. Why? Because it went like this:

Priest (whispering): You gotta get around the chairs, but first you gotta kiss before you leave.

Mr. Unicycle (chuckling awkwardly): Alright.

Priest: That’s the signal for everybody to know it’s over.

And without further ado, I grabbed Mr. Unicycle and planted one on him.


Photos by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

Everyone clapped awkwardly, and we started our walk back down the aisle (but not before getting around the chairs). I also forgot to smile on my way back down.


Photos by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

And that’s when I thought back on all the other Weddingbee recaps I had read when the bride realizes for the first time that she is finally married. And I, too, realized that I was legit married to Mr. Unicycle. It was an overwhelmingly awesome feeling.

Are you having a Catholic wedding? Would you insist on hearing “You may now kiss the bride?”


Mrs. Unicycle

Chicago, IL
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Hair Trial & Inspiration
Hoppily Ever After: Family Matters
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    dcgirl655, Guest @ 5:45 am

    I’m sorry that you had a hard time coming to terms with your ceremony! That is really touch, but it sounds like you have good perspective now. I didn’t know that they don’t necessarily say “you may now kiss the bride” at a Catholic wedding. I feel like they have at Catholic weddings I have gone to.. now I need to look into this with our priest!

  2. mssquirrel Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 5:47 am

    Yes! I am very worried about this as well. I am also having a Catholic wedding and now I feel like I need to specifically request this. But…like you said, who knows if the priest will actually do it?

  3. Member
    booradley 2467 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:53 am

    I’m having an Episcopalian wedding and both of those phrases aren’t in the Book of Prayer. I’m going to ask the reverend but I’m expecting a no…which makes me a little bummed. I completely understand.

  4. snowcone Member
    snowcone 1141 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:09 am

    As I was reading this, I was like “OMG ME TOO!”

    …. and then I saw the shout-out. 😀

    We can start a Catholic stressed bride club :)

  5. Member
    MaggieL 494 posts, Helper bee @ 6:20 am

    I didn’t realize that we had left this out at our rehearsal…and then I was kind of sad when it didn’t happen during the wedding! I just didn’t even think about it until I realized that it didn’t happen

  6. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:27 am

    Oh my gosh, I commend you for looking cool as a cucumber during that, but I think I (or my church lady mother) would have gone off if there was such an unceremonious end to the ceremony!

    The priests in my [home] church usually say something like “as is customary, let’s celebrate the Mr. and Mrs. ___ with a round of applause” and you get the smooch in there. I swear, it’s always something generally like that.

    Maybe that guy needs a refresher on how to celebrate a sacrament? Bah. Now I’m mad.

  7. Member
    josina 687 posts, Busy bee @ 6:27 am

    Your story reminds me of a good friends wedding 2 years ago – I still remember the priest’s homily because he touched on every controversial subject he could, going on and on against gay marriage and using birth control. I just wish they (priests) would keep it to a joyful celebration about the specific couple, vs. bringing up opinions that many people don’t agree with anymore! I am catholic but was married outside of the church by a reverend and got to write the entire ceremony myself. No surprises at least!

  8. Member
    lolo7835 645 posts, Busy bee @ 6:28 am

    Hmm, this might be a priest/parish thing. We had a full catholic mass, and after our vows our priest pronounce us husband and wife and asked everyone to salute the newly married couple. He did say to just us ‘you may kiss’ as opposed to ‘you may kiss the bride’

    We were announced at the end as i present mr and mrs xyz after the mass was officially concluded as well.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    estella, Guest @ 6:36 am

    My protestant ceremony didn’t include those words as well; it’s not part of the regular service and our pastor didn’t say them. I didn’t realize until afterward that I really missed hearing it.

  10. candy apple Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:42 am

    Ha. I heart you. Our priest said something along the lines of “Allow me to introduce the newly married xx and xx!” And then we kissed and everyone applauded. I am sorry that your priest didn’t do anything like that :( What a bummer!

  11. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 7:10 am

    Oh wow, I can totally understand how upset you were! Our ceremony also wasn’t quite what I wanted or what we discussed. But in the end we were married, so who cares.

  12. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:29 am

    Where do those ending words come from, I wonder, if they’re not elements of either a Catholic or Protestant ceremony (as the comments would indicate)? I’m genuinely curious here.

    I’m sorry your ceremony wasn’t what you imagined, Mrs. Unicycle. Sounds like that pastor is a real bummer, and I’m surprised he hasn’t realized yet that people aren’t too fond of his style of ceremony (assuming he’s led other weddings before). I mean, based on your last post, some of his remarks even seemed inappropriate or lackadaisical for a wedding.

    I suppose we all have those things from our wedding day that we have discomfort remembering instead of fondness, at least at first. I’m looking forward to hearing about your reception, though…based on what I’ve been able to determine of your personality from your posts, I’ll bet it was a blast!

  13. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:25 am

    This post makes me SO thankful that my uncle officiated our Catholic ceremony. He’s a great preacher, and his homily was so personal.

    I specifically did NOT want the “you may now kiss the bride” part, so I’m glad it isn’t part of a Catholic wedding. I dislike the patriarchal implications of a religious official “allowing” my husband to kiss me. I’d prefer more egalitarian wording like, “You may now share your first kiss as husband and wife,” but I generally don’t like when people tell me what to do. haha

  14. Member
    Almost Mrs.P 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:26 am

    I’m having a Catholic wedding and am totally nervous about this now! I’ll have to investigate with our priest.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Sophie78, Guest @ 8:37 am

    I’m Episcopalian and the bride/groom kiss is normally delivered during the sign of peace. Since I get squicked-out about a room full of people watching me kiss, I’m a relieved that it’s handled in a low-key manner.

    Since it was important to you, the priest and coordinator should have given a straight-up answer instead of being passive-ferocious about it. It’s not an unreasonable request. Sorry that it has cast a pall on your wedding day.

  16. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 8:57 am

    I’m not Catholic, nor did I have a religious ceremony, but it seems so unreasonable to me that the pastor couldn’t accommodate such a simple request. I know the end result is the same (and that’s what matters), but I would have been upset, especially given his assurances that the phrases would be included.

  17. Member
    kit_kath 1327 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:01 am

    I’ve basically only been to Catholic weddings (and with my large family there have been many) and I know I’ve heard those classic lines at some of them. Then again some have been really weird, like when the priest spent 20 min saying that the only purpose of marriage was to make children (and the bride and groom didn’t plan on kids anytime soon). Guess you never really know what you’re going to get with a church officiant :/

  18. eagle Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:34 am

    @Mrs. Pony: Catholic Preists can be hard-asses. Because Roman Catholicism is very “by the books” – ie: Rome tells them what to do, they do it…. often times theres no room to bend.

    Unicycle – I love your photos, and your realness in sharing this. We didn’t have a religious wedding, but I honestly feel like announcing the kiss is an important part of the wedding! It wasn’t the “last” thing we did though. Our kiss happened, then clapping, then we did a wine box ceremony… and then a “blessing” and then walked back down the aisle. I always pictured it being kiss – clap – walk.

  19. Member
    jilleeann 409 posts, Helper bee @ 9:49 am

    My Fi’s mom wants us to have a catholic wedding, which makes me sick to my stomach. First, we’d have to convince them to marry us, as I’ve been divorced in the past, which was also annulled. On top of that the priest in Dallas will not preform the marriage if you live together, so we’d probably have to go to ft. worth. I also have a huge problem with someone telling me if I’m worthy of marriage. In general, judgement leaves me angry. I can see how you would be unhappy with your ceremony, and thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  20. Member
    almostmrsj 3593 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:55 am

    Boo. It sucks when things aren’t what you hope they are. Luckily our ceremony was awesome, it was just some other details (and peoples’ attitudes) that bummed me out about our wedding.
    When we had our rehearsal the pastor didn’t do the you can kiss part and I refused to walk back down the aisle – I turned to him and said “When do we kiss?!” I still have his notes written in his program where he has written in big letters “KISS!” So we did get to kiss afterall.

  21. unicycle Member
    unicycle 476 posts, Helper bee @ 10:47 am

    @Mrs. Mink: good point about it being a SACRAMENT. The guy was almost acting like I was rude for using his church for my silly little wedding.

    @Josina: omg are you serious?? If my priest had done that I would have possibly stolen the mic from him. NOT COOL.

    @Mrs. Candy Apple: that would have been good too! Anything would have been better than just whispering to us that we could kiss. Grrr.

    @Mrs. Treasure: Good point! I would have been okay with “you may now kiss each other” or even “Time for the kiss” or SOMETHING. I think what really bothered me was how awkward it looked and felt, and how unceremonious it was, when the kiss is supposed to be the big finish!

  22. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:24 pm

    The “you may kiss the bride” part is such a weird thing to be regulated imo, especially if the kiss is essential for announcing the end of the ceremony. I feel like if they’re not going to say that specifically out loud, they should have a replacement phrase, right?

  23. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:05 pm

    @Mrs. Unicycle: YES! I grew up being told that you celebrate mass; that you celebrate sacraments (okay, maybe not Last Rites).

    Any officiant (or wedding vendor for that matter) who doesn’t get joy out of work that involves love and a new, little family being formed might need to take a break.

  24. Member
    beeberonibri 128 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:31 pm

    Eek! Thanks for bringing this up as I’m having a Catholic ceremony and am expecting to hear those lines!

  25. Member
    peaches13 2130 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:35 pm

    I knew not to expect the “you may now kiss the bride,” having been to lots of Catholic weddings. But every priest does it a little bit differently. Our priest said something like, “You may now exchange a sign of affection as husband and wife,” with a little wink, right after the vows (not at the end of Mass). Whatever.

  26. Member
    mae437 11 posts, Newbee @ 3:14 pm

    That’s so funny because the SAME THING happened to us at our wedding. I actually never even thought about the priest not saying “you may now kiss the bride” because I thought they always did. Of course our priest didn’t. And we actually kissed twice because we missed the first queue and it was an awkward kiss then we had to walk behind the chairs and our priest jokingly said “let’s try that again!” It sucked that we didn’t get that moment but it ended up being funny.

  27. Member
    ConRtist 75 posts, Worker bee @ 8:01 pm

    Our priest said both of the phrases you wanted however I wasn’t happy that he “pronounced us” as I had read that it was not part of the catholic ceremony and why;

    “Another thing we don’t say at Catholic weddings is “I now pronounce you man and wife.” We believe that the couple becomes husband and wife not because the minister declares them to be such, but because they have given their consent and made their vows to each other. The function of the priest or deacon is to preside and witness these vows, not to make the marriage happen”

    Still that was a very small thing and I’m over it

    I am sorry your ceremony wasn’t all you had hoped, however you looked beautiful and had so many people around you who love you. And at the end of the day you now have an amazing husband.

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    abbygaile, Guest @ 10:10 am

    I love the middle pic of you kissing Mr. U!! Looks like it should be in a magazine! :)

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