Wedding Stuff Part 1: Church Ceremony

Happy Wednesday, everyone, I hope all are doing well!  I’m not going to lie – I’m still basking in the official engagement phase and loving it.  I never thought I was a jewelry kind of person since at most I wear earrings occasionally, but I’m now finding out – yes, yes I am!  I totally have “pretty shiny object” syndrome these days.

So I think I might have mentioned this before, but B and I were raised Catholics and want to get married in a Catholic church.  There’s been a lot of stuff I’m learning on how a Catholic wedding works, and I wanted to share some of my findings based on the past couple of months:

1) BYOP?! – B and I go to this one church in our neighborhood but we’re not registered parishioners.  I emailed them and asked if our tentative date was free, to which they replied yes, but we’d have to bring our own priest.  This initially caught me off-guard, though I’ve learned some friends had to do the same thing.  Thankfully, this wasn’t too challenging to figure out, since a family member is a priest and he graciously accepted to officiate.

2) Pre-Cana classes and weekend retreat – I was aware that B and I had to take a weekend class where Catholic couples go to discuss about preparing for a marriage.  Based on feedback from my friends, it seems like a positive experience since it helps get the conversations going about raising kids, finances, addictions (if any), and other things that probably should be discussed before marrying, but might not be.  However, I have since learned that we have to take two different classes – a Pre-Cana class which is an all day Saturday meeting, and a weekend retreat (Friday night – Sunday).  B’s concern was that the timing of these retreats is during football season, but one pursed-lips glance from me and he’s quick to say “just kidding.” lol

3) Sacraments records – we need updated baptismal, communion, and confirmation records, as the updated baptismal record in particular verifies that we haven’t been married in the church yet (if we have, then it needs to be officially annulled, which can take some time).  It’s easier for B since he grew up in the same area since he was -9 months old and all of his sacraments took place from one church, but it is a bit more challenging for me since I lived everywhere.  This has been a little costlier than anticipated due to the calls and shipping charges, though I’m thoroughly impressed with how organized this process is.

4) Organist – the church has an organist and, though it’s not like I’m homies with any organists to ask, anyway, this was a bit costlier than anticipated.  I have seen him perform at Mass, though, and think he’s wonderful.

Budget-wise, I put an uneducated budget of less than a thousand for the ceremony, since I knew how much it was to reserve the church and added pew decorations, handouts, the weekend retreat, etc.  However, the actual costs are now 1.5 times that amount without pew decorations and handouts, which makes me slightly concerned about what else I under-budgeted for the wedding.  I’ll have to figure out how to make the decorations and handouts more economical (I’m actually thinking they’re not all that necessary since I planned to put the schedule on our wedding website, but I’m getting some feedback that there should be something tangible, especially for guests that might not have internet access beforehand).

I’ll do a budget breakdown at the end, and I admit our overall wedding budget makes me slightly anxious when I see the numbers creep up.  However, B and I are on the same page at least about what’s important and what’s not, and thankfully our families are playing a hands-on role which I am all too grateful for, which I’ll delve into in future posts.

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32 thoughts on “Wedding Stuff Part 1: Church Ceremony

  1. Interesting that you need to bring your own priest! We were also married in the Catholic church and remember all these details well…especially trying to track down my sacrament records (from the Anglican church) which alk happened on the other side of the country. Good luck!

    • I agree about the sacrament records, I’m just relieved most of it is done with. Thanks for stopping by and your well wishes, Catherine!

  2. BYOP! I like it! In fact, sounds like it works out in your favor since you’ve got an in. =).

    You might get some of the church expenses back from your marriage license. For us, if we had done pre-Cana, the state of FL would have charged us less for our marriage license. (Insert rant about the lack of separation of church and state here.). But either way, ask about it, since it could mean saving $50 or $100 if you just have to get a form filled out saying you went.

    • Haha, BYOP was the first thing to come to my head when they told me that, but you’re right, it worked out well (plus I like the personal factor of having someone we know). That’s good to know about getting a possible kickback with the marriage license, thanks for the tip (though I agree, there should be a separation).

  3. We didn’t get married at our church, but we asked our pastor to come and marry us and we did have a church-like ceremony with hymn music and Bible reading, etc. It’s important to have faith and value similar to your spouse, so you can be on the same page to build a life together.

    • I agree about sharing the same values and being on the same page – we’re not the most regular church-goers, but it would be meaningful for us (and our families) to continue with the sacraments. P.S. So sorry I haven’t written back, but I will soon! Thanks so much for the tip on the coordinator, I have a coordinator friend so I’m going to see if he knows anyone. Will write soon! 🙂

    • Thank you!! Truth be told, I haven’t signed up for it – I start to feel overwhelmed when I visit the sites. Thankfully, my mom is super girly and enjoys that stuff, so she’s been helping me tremendously with most of the details. 🙂

      • That’s good cause those reminders are crazy! Also, my wife is starting to get into design and did our programs, invitations, and thank you cards, so if your friend falls through, feel free to reach out!

      • Thanks so much for thinking of me, Roger! I’ll post about it in the future, but my friend is helping me out tremendously, I’m so excited about it!

    • Ooh, thanks for the tip, Shannon! I’m meeting with my friend today about the invitations (and hopefully she can at least give me the been-friends-forever discount), so I was also going to ask her about the handouts, table numbers, etc. I’ll definitely keep your contact in mind if she is unable to, though, thanks so much. 🙂

    • Agreed about saving money wherever we can, like flowers, decorations, dress, etc. We’re keeping it pretty mellow and fun, since I’d rather have a house!

  4. That’s an interesting breakdown, and I’d never seen the process of a Catholic church wedding.

    We still have our wedding budget spreadsheet. Shoot me an email if you’d like to have it for cost comparison/benchmarking purposes.

  5. I love the BYOP! Too funny! I grew up Catholic (though I don’t practice anymore), but have only been to one Catholic wedding. It’s long compared to the ones where it’s s simple ceremony. But the plus is it’s very traditional and a pretty ceremony. And there’s wine…can you order real wine instead of the grape juice? 🙂

    • I know, that was the first thing to pop in my head when she told me that! I think we’re going to just have a ceremony and no Mass – we have a lot of non-Catholics, so we mostly just want to focus on the wedding part. LOL about real wine!

    • Haha, glad I got a laugh out of you! Yeah, we’re both pretty much on the same page about a lot of stuff, so it makes things so easier!

  6. Wow your plans sound so exciting! This weekend retreat sounds very interesting! It’s great to read that B is up for that as much as you are 🙂 Can’t wait to read the next installment!

    • Thank you! It’s a lot more work than I anticipated, but it’s fun and thankfully I have a lot of people helping me out. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  7. BYOP, love it! Bf is catholic, I’m not. What our wedding ceremony would look like…your guess is as good as mine 😉 All the little stuff adds up I’m sure, but you guys will budget it out and do fine.

    • We’re not very regular church goers, but since we’ve received our Sacraments and we’ll probably raise our kids Catholic, we figured it made the most sense. I’m definitely trying to cut down (or eliminate) the little stuff!

  8. We’re learning that about wedding planning, too….it’s ALWAYS more than you budget for! I think we may skip the program/handout, but ours is all at one site for the ceremony/reception. If we did get them, we’d find a free but pretty template and just print them ourselves.

    • We’re definitely going low-budge on the items we don’t really care about (mostly because they’re wasteful, like the schedule – does anyone really keep those things??). It will be exciting to hear how your planning goes! 🙂

  9. Hey Anna! I think the reception will be a lot easier to get creative with than the church wedding part. There’s a ton of ways you can save money ranging from not printing out receipts to making your own centerpieces. You will find lots of way to cut costs and still have a beautiful wedding! Congrats again, friend!

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