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. unicycle Bee
    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!

  2. panda Bee
    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?

  3. mink Bee
    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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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