Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Big Fat Catholic Wedding: Part VIII - "The Rules"

Even before I was engaged, I had heard this rumor that Catholic churches have a lot of "rules" about weddings. Speaking from my experience, those rumors are totally true.

 Let me share with you just a sampling of the rules I was given by Prince of Peace:

  • The bridal suite and groom's parlor may not be used prior to 1 hour before the ceremony begins.
  • All belongings must be removed from the bridal suite and groom's parlor before the start of the Ceremony.
  • Photographers must remain out of view of the congregation.
  • Picture taking after the ceremony is limited to 20 minutes immediately following the wedding.
  • Videographers must remain stationary.
  • Artificial flowers are not permitted inside the Church or Chapel at any time.
  • Flower petals (real or artificial) may not be thrown or dropped at any time.
  • Rice/birdseed/confetti/flower petals may not under any circumstances be thrown on church grounds.
  • No aisle runners allowed.
  • No pre-recorded music is allowed.
  • A Prince of Peace cantor and accompanist must be used (and paid), regardless of what other musicians will be at the Ceremony.
  • A friend of the bride or groom may sing in addition to the Prince of Peace cantor, but not instead of the PoP cantor. Guest singers must be approved by the Associate Director of Worship, and fees will be charged for any rehearsals the guest singer requires with the PoP musicians.
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen are limited to 7 each in the Church, or 3 each in the Chapel.
  • Flower girls and ring bears must be at least 7 years of age.
  • No receiving lines.
  • Non-church wedding coordinators are not allowed to assist you.
Sheesh, huh? That being said, it seems like these rules are made to be broken. I know we broke quite a few:
  • My flower girls were 2 and 4, neither of which is anywhere near 7 years old.
  • I had 6 bridesmaids, Jeff had 5 groomsmen. The limit was 3. 
  • We didn't empty out the bride and groom rooms until after the Ceremony, and the coordinator was perfectly okay with it.
  • My photographer moved up and down the side aisles. I'm sure the congregation could see her. The coordinator told her it was okay.
  • We spent about 25 minutes taking formal photos. No one said anything when we hit the 20-minute limit.
Some of the rules I totally understand. Others I just don't get. I'm sure they have reasons behind all of these things, but it does seem a bit excessive. I totally agree with protecting the sacred quality of the Sacrament of marriage and preserving liturgical integrity, but why can't we have an aisle runner?

Does your church have any crazy rules about weddings?

This concludes the "My Big Fat Catholic Wedding"series. Please let me know if you have any questions!

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