US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Readers share their best and worst wedding stories

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In our September Sounding Board, we asked readers to tell us about their wacky and wonderful wedding stories. Here's what they had to say.

The best thing about having weddings at regular Sunday Masses would be . . .

Knowing that the parish community supports the couple’s commitment.

That the church could use this time to preach on the holiness of marriage.

Reconnecting the couple to the parish family.

Everyone would feel a part of the occasion and would be able to wish the couple well.

It might encourage some other couples to do the same.

Spreading the message that marriage is a sacrament that involves the whole community, not just the couple.

The couple doesn’t have to plan the music or book a church.

The impact and witness for the entire parish community.

Nothing. There are already too many other things happening at Sunday Mass.

Saving money for the couple and not having to spend time with invitations.

When thinking about the best Catholic wedding I’ve attended, the thing that most stands out is . . .

How simple, tasteful, joyful, and beautiful it was.

The homily, which was directed to the couple and their life together as husband and wife.

A collection taken for young, single moms with whom the bride worked.

The importance of the community’s support for the couple marrying.

The active participation of friends and family who don’t usually attend Mass.

The couple and their parents were part of the processional.

The couple greeted their guests at the door as they came in. It set such a joyful tone.

Seeing the couple receive the Eucharist.

The priest asked all married couples to take hands and silently renew their vows after the bride and groom did theirs.

The recitation of the vows.

One thing I’d change about the way Catholic couples get married today is . . .

To have the wedding take place at a regular Mass.

I’d make it less of a production and show more reverence for the sacrament.

I’d like to see five percent of what is spent on the entire affair given to a local shelter or St. Vincent de Paul society.

Eliminate gaudy or inappropriate gowns and dresses.

A service project added to the couple’s marriage preparation.

To do away with the pressure to get married in the church.

The enormous amount of money that’s usually spent on clothes, limos, and flowers.

Spend more time on preparing for the marriage than on the wedding, especially the reception.

Have the celebrant include a warm welcome for guests who may not be Catholic, Christian, or even belong to a faith tradition.

Get rid of the huge entourages of bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, etc.

The strangest or most inappropriate thing I have seen at a Catholic wedding is . . .

Readers proclaiming the word of God from a piece of paper taken out of their suit pocket.

A couple who each had children having a “vow exchange” between each adult and their new spouse’s children.

The deacon giving a lecture on birth control.

The couple and their wedding party arriving on motorcycles and dressed in leather.

An offering to the fertility goddess after Communion, replete with an overwrought “Ave Maria.”

The couple using the theme to “Twilight” as the entrance processional.

A photographer leaning on the altar for a better shot.

Pairing the wedding with the baptism of the couple’s child.

The groom keeling over from being so intoxicated the night before.

A priest trying to kiss the bride.

A priest who talked a lot about divorce in his homily.

Dogs in the wedding party.

Very revealing attire on the bride and the bridesmaids.

Too many people taking pictures.

The song “Having My Baby” was included in the prelude.

Family and friends transforming the church into a space that looks more appropriate for high school prom.

The bride attempting to sing to the groom after the vows were exchanged.

General comments

Weddings, baptisms, and first communions should be private affairs for family and friends.

Sacraments should be celebrated with the community and for the community of believers. Likewise funerals.

If we want Catholic couples to marry in the church, we need to do a better job of catechizing people about it.

Weddings are too important to stuff into Sunday Mass. Sunday Mass is too important to be packed with other things.

There’s technically no such thing as a “private Mass.” Any Mass is a celebration of the whole church.

A wedding should be special for the two getting married and it should be done at a special Mass just for them.

My new wife and I were eucharistic ministers at our wedding as an outward sign that our marriage was about more than us. Our marriage connects us to our community.

I think most parishes should have a wedding planner with the appropriate credentials to help the wedding go smoothly.

I think the idea of simple weddings at Mass are perfect for modern couples.

I believe the wedding should reflect the wishes of the bride and groom, but should also honor the suggestions of the parents who may be paying the bill.

The whole sense of marriage as a sacrament, covenant, or promise has been reduced to how much money the bridal store or company can make.