Christian Catholic Wedding Traditions - Catholic Weddings

When I wrote about Christian wedding traditions I mentioned that Catholic wedding traditions is a bit different from what is common with other Christian doctrines.

So in this article I'll be discussing the wedding traditions of the Catholic Church.

Catholic's wedding traditions are all embedded in what they call rite of marriage. But in practice the traditions or what is allowed and/or required for a Catholic wedding varies from one parish to another. But there are some traditions that seem non-negotiable. And they are:

Catholic wedding traditions
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  • The couple to-be must collect, fill out and sign a form that states certain agreements between them.

  • The intending couple must attend a 3 months marriage class in the parish that aims to help them decide once and for all if they are indeed suited for each other and truly ready to get married. The class also prepares them for their new life together and they are given tools believed to be able to help the couple in their new life.

  • A bulletin is sent out about the couple's pending marriage; placed somewhere in their villages or where they are well known. This is so that everyone who knows them is aware of their upcoming wedding so that if there's any reason why the couple cannot be together the church can be alerted.

  • The Catholic Church encourages openness and if after a wedding it comes to their notice that a mate has kept an important information from his or her mate that could have influenced the decision of the mate against the marriage the marriage will be annulled.

  • It's very important to the Catholic Church that the two people getting married must be old enough, must be truly free to get married and give their consent freely without being forced or influenced; must not be related to each other and must both be mentally capable of understanding what marriage is all about and making the decision to get married.

  • A Catholic marriage cannot be dissolved at least not through divorce. A marriage mate is only free when his or her husband passes away. Well, except it can be proven that a marriage mate was deceitful and therefore marrying him or her wasn't based on an informed decision. Then the marriage will be annulled. Meaning the marriage never happened. And their reason for this is that a marriage is a covenant that cannot be dissolved not even through a divorce.

  • Since the Catholic Church doesn't allow for the dissolving of marriage, they require couples to-be to take as much time as possible to prepare for the marriage.

  • A Catholic wedding must be witnessed by a priest or deacon and at least two other witnesses.

  • The Catholic Church does not tolerate lateness to the wedding ceremony because according to them it demonstrates lack of respect for the importance of the ceremony, the priest and everyone who contributed their time preparing for the wedding and making themselves available for the ceremony.

  • The priest puts a wedding rosary over the couple as they kneel to receive Holy Communion during the wedding ceremony. This according to the church means that if the couple prays with the rosary every night their marriage will endure.

  • A Catholic member who leaves his or her spouse will be stopped from receiving Holy Communion. And he or she will no longer be recognized as a Catholic member.

  • The Catholic Church doesn't wed a pregnant bride. If a bride gets pregnant before the wedding, the wedding will have to wait till the bride puts to bed.

Other Catholic Wedding Traditions

During the planning of a Catholic wedding the priest though not bound to, allows the intending couple to add other traditions to the wedding ceremony as long as it doesn't conflict with what the Catholic Church believes about marriage; though sometimes they adjust some traditions to accommodate what the couple wants. Among such traditions are:

  • The Catholic rite directs that the bride and groom walk into the parish together on the day of the ceremony as a sign that they are equal partners. However, the Catholic Church allows the couple to adjust this if they want to either having the groom walk in with his parents followed by the bride with her parents or father. The bride entering with her father is believed to symbolize a transfer of property from the father to the groom who has paid the bride price. And also a transfer of authority to the groom.

  • The bride's wearing of the veil is said to mean modesty and chastity. However a bride wearing a veil is not a tradition of the Catholic Church but they are not against the bride wearing a veil either.

  • The lighting of Unity Candle in Catholic marriage celebration is said to be a way the couple uses to express their unity.

  • The couple jumping over the handle of a broom is said to represent the start of the new life of the two families becoming one.

  • The presentation of flowers to Mary is said to be a sign of devotion to the Virgin Mary.

  • The groom seeing the bride before the wedding is bad luck. The Catholic Church does not have this believe. In fact they allow the couple if they want to, to have a private time together for prayer and reflection before the ceremony begins.

When a Catholic Member is Marrying a Non-Catholic Member

The Catholic Church allows interfaith marriage when the following conditions are met:

  • The couple must first in front of witnesses sign an agreement that the Catholic member will do his or her best to remain an active Catholic member and all their children must be raised as Catholics. And if the non Catholic member demands that he or she remains with his or her religion, the Catholic member must agree to this too and everything will be contained in the agreement they will fill. This agreement signed by both of them can be used in a court of law should one of them later in the future go against what they've agreed upon.

    However, once the children raised as Catholics are between the ages of 14 and 16 they can choose their own religion.

  • The Catholic member must get permission to marry the non catholic from his or her church.

  • They can have a Catholic wedding ceremony where the Catholic rite of marriage will be celebrated. However the non Catholic member cannot receive Holy Communion.

For the exact Catholic wedding traditions of your parish, please check with your parish.

If I omitted some Catholic wedding traditions you're aware of, please reach me with it and I'll be glad to include it here.

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