Skip to main content

Post content has been hidden

To unblock this content, please click here

A
Just Said Yes November 2023

Catholic Church - Why is this process so difficult????

Angela, on April 19, 2023 at 3:03 PM Posted in Wedding Ceremony 1 17

Hi all! I was hoping to see if anyone could share their experience with me about preparing for their wedding in the Catholic Church. My issue is not the requirements that they have but how unresponsive and very unhelpful they have been through this whole process. I am trying to be very polite with all the people that I have been dealing with, but they seem to really not care about helping with the process. After finally finding a church that I though was responsive during the initially orientation phase, once the process started, I felt like I got dupped into committing to a venue that doesn't value my time or efforts either. I was given a list of things I needed to do, and every time I try and get in contact with someone, I get the "oh I'll contact you tomorrow or next week" and I hear nothing or I get radio silence. I was told I needed to do 6 month marriage preparation along with the weekend retreat, but I asked my wedding church venue and they told me contact the archdiocese, I contacted archdiocese and they told me contact my home church, I contacted my home church and they had no idea because I hadn't had a meeting with the priest that is marrying us yet. I understand that marriage is a sacrament and whatever, but I'm really getting fed up with the chaotic process they have and how unreachable they are.

Let me know if anyone has had a similar experience or do I need to be more of an asshole to get things done.

17 Comments

Latest activity by LM, on August 26, 2023 at 9:00 AM
  • LM
    Expert December 2022
    LM ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    Make a sit-down appointment with your Officiant and your partner. Don't convey that you're "fed up" or they can deny you during your interview.

    • Reply
  • FirstTimeMOB
    October 2018
    FirstTimeMOB ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    It sounds like you aren't familiar with the way the Catholic Church views wedding planning. You mention that you 'finally found a church'...making it sound like 'finding' a venue. Catholic churches are not venues you shop for - you are expected to marry at your home church...where you are registered and regularly attending. That's why the Diocese is telling you to talk to your home church about preparations.

    It's not common to find a church that will let a non-parishioner book and hold a wedding. Churches will tend more to assist families who are registered members.

    • Reply
  • LM
    Expert December 2022
    LM ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    I don't agree. Churches would love new members and one way is when couples look to get married. Granted the OP is clearly immature in business, threatening to "be an a**hole" to get other people on her timeline. But, OP will learn how old school bureaucracy really runs-- via paper and when they're available.

    OP, we just had Easter. People have been busy. Attend a Mass and read a bulletin to see what that Church is about.

    • Reply
  • FirstTimeMOB
    October 2018
    FirstTimeMOB ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    My response was only meant to show the process. The OP refers to the church as a venue...not a place that the couple would join and be a part of the community to bless their marriage. The couple needs to 'join' the church as registered members and as you suggest, read bulletins and attend mass. Then will get the support they seek for wedding planning.

    Many Catholic churches require a one-year waiting period for weddings, so the planning and normal pre-cana process can be scheduled and the couple continues as part of the church community.

    • Reply
  • LM
    Expert December 2022
    LM ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    I agree with you there, you don't shop for a Church likes it's a regular venue.

    I'm part of a very large diocese in NY (1-2 million registered). At our initial meeting, my spouse and I were told we were not required to be registered, though we had been weekly parishioners for past 2 years. Would we have been treated differently if we were brand new? Who knows. Our diocese asks to be contacted 6 months before wedding, not any earlier. I am unsure what other events other than pre-Cana would occur in these 6 months, but I doubt it's to prove you are worthy. That is determined at the interview, and diocesan review. If the Catholic Church marries couples who are Catholic and non-Christian they must account for persons practicing their faith in multiple ways. But, I ultimately can't speak for the Church. OP must have a sit-down and seriously reflect if this is what they both want as a family.

    • Reply
  • Erin
    Super May 2022
    Erin ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I really do have to agree with FirstTimeMOB here. They can probably tell that you view them as more of a "venue" than as a community where you are beginning your marriage and are not taking your calls or emails seriously. It might seem unfair, but as PP said, the Catholic Church takes the sacrament of marriage very, VERY seriously and 99% of the time, the expectation is that you are doing it at your current "home church," unless you need it to do it at another because you're moving, want to do it at the church you grew up in, etc. I can speak from experience as I got married in the Catholic Church. The one my husband and I got married at had a lot of meaning to us as it's the home of the Young Adult Group that we met through, but also importantly, both of us were members (him for his whole life, and me for about 4 years at the time of our engagement). At the first meeting with the head wedding coordinator, we were given a large packet with pretty much all the info we would need. One thing I still remember from it is that they had the fees the couple needed to pay the church for use of their grounds very clearly listed in the packet. They had different amounts for members and non-members - it was a $1,000 difference for non-members and they made it clear to everyone that they pore over their books to check if you're actually a member. That was one of the ways they really tried to discourage non-members from getting married there for non-serious reasons like how pretty the church is (ours gets lots of compliments for it's architecture), wanting the specific location of town for proximity to the reception, etc etc. I even remember the coordinators coming to speak at our "Meet & Greet" gathering in the Young Adult Group right when I had just decided to start regularly attending and they strongly advised that if we saw ourselves making that church our home as adults to register now because "that will be very important if you get engaged and decide you want to get married here."

    As it looks like you have only 7 months ago, you'll need to stick with this one and show a great deal of patience. I agree with LM that they could deny you at your interview if they sense you're fed up. Make an appointment with the priest that's marrying you, get in touch with your home church to make them well aware of where you are having your wedding and how far you are in the process, ask them to prepare and give you your certificates of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation, then gather up all paper work and the fee/donation that your wedding church requires and get it into them early as a gesture of good faith and respect for letting you and your future spouse use their facilities. As both PPs said, I'd also recommend putting in some time at their Masses and events and grabbing weekly bulletins when you can so that your faces are more visible to them. Also agree with LM that Easter is SUPER BUSY for them, so definitely allow for some grace as they recover and ease back into a slower pace (many times weddings are not the only thing the head coordinator does for the church).

    • Reply
  • A
    Just Said Yes November 2023
    Angela ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    Thanks for all the responses first off. So that's the thing, I'm not delusional in thinking everything requires an immediate response. I'm talking about a handful friendly emails and phone calls since January and only just hearing back literally only this past week. And even then I was given an appointment for a phone call that was not kept. Erin you stated you got a huge packet of things, but I got 1 paper that had little to no information on where to get started with anything. It was more of a list of what I need to turn in. As soon as we were given our wedding date and time approval, I paid that same day, and that was the last I heard. I know my post makes me sound rude but it's a little discouraging when it is radio silence from their end for almost 4 full months. I get everyone is busy, I've work in the service industry and I know how many people have unrealistic expectations. I would never demand an immediate answer, but I 100% do not think I am wrong for being frustrated when I've waited nearly 4 months for 1 response to marriage sacrament related questions. I would have been fine if I got an answer within the month.

    I'll admit that I do look at the Church as more of a venue, but I am trying to actively take part in the process of the sacrament and I am being ignored. My fiancé and I both grew up in the Catholic Church so I know the importance of marriage as a sacrament, but no one can tell me where I need to start.

    • Reply
  • LM
    Expert December 2022
    LM ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    They told you the basic 3 requirements: proof of prior sacraments, donation/ payment, Pre-Canaan classes. Pre-Canaan classes aren't on a set calendar especially with couples marrying on different dates, so you will have to wait while the diocese coordinates a budget, schedule, and teacher for you and other couples from other churches. They'll call you and let you know the date of the first class and where. This will not be during the regular 9-5 workday so don't worry. When I got married during the pandemic, there was no in-class learning, so we took an asynchronous online course approved by the diocese. If you are both already Confirmed, then there are no additional classes. Closer to date, you will have other meeting(s) about the ceremony schedule (uniform), readings (your choice), and music (your choice). I was given a book where I chose the words/ readings for 14 parts of the ceremony.

    If you want to further get in a Godly state of mind, attend weekly Mass with your FI, attend confession. If you want to set yourselves in a marriage state of mind, consider secular couples counseling. You can select someone who prefers to work on a Spiritual framework. Pre-Canaan classes will most likely be with other couples so may not be as private. Any other decisions about decor will be handled by your Florist closer to wedding date (drop-off and pick-up times).

    • Reply
  • W
    Dedicated June 2022
    Whitney ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I think if they don't respect you or your time, that speaks volumes. Not sure what else you need to know.

    • Reply
  • MrsC
    Devoted June 2023
    MrsC ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I am Roman Catholic and though I'm not planning a "first wedding", but a Catholic convalidation of my current marriage (I needed a prior marriage annulled), I hope I can help. I looked on the Archdiocesan website and there are clear steps in marriage preparation. Step 1. is to contact the church - most churches require that a year in advance. If you need copies of Sacramental records, contact the church where you received them: Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation. Step 2 is to meet with the parish priest or deacon who will guide you through the next steps of completing paperwork such as "marital inventory" - a personalized profile of your relationship, any Pre-Cana marriage prep courses required, any other paperwork required, liturgy options (Nuptial Mass etc.). You will be meeting with the priest several times to complete all the requirements to be sure you both understand Matrimony as a Sacrament. And of course you'll be guided through the church "rules" regarding costs, music, flowers, readings, etc. I suggest that you go onto your diocese's website and search marriage preparation - all this info should be there. I understand that people "church shop" as they would a venue, however, preferences will be given to local parishioners. You do not necessarily have to be a "member" of the parish, but if you actively attend and participate there, it should be no problem. Also the cost of using the church is typically less for parishioners.

    • Reply
  • M
    Beginner July 2023
    MJ ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I'm sorry you have had that experience in your wedding preparations. I will share, if you allow, my experience so you can see that it is not that bad everywhere.

    I am moving here and am joining my fiancé's parish. As soon as we got engaged, we had a meeting with the parish priest, we went through all the requirements and the paperwork that is needed by the diocese, and we set up a schedule of appointments for our marriage preparation with him. During the first meeting we also decided on our liturgy, church schola (the choir), church flowers contact, scheduled the rehearsal, and other details that are needed for the actual nuptial mass. After our first meeting, we asked him to bless my engagement ring and he did!

    I don't know, maybe your parish is understaffed, and things don't run as fast as you would expect. I think the other posters have given you good advice as to what to do or expect. The only other thing I could advise is pray, pray so that you can find the right person at the parish that guides you through the process so you can have the wedding you've been dreaming about.

    • Reply
  • MrsC
    Devoted June 2023
    MrsC ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    You need to start with the priest/pastor/officiant. Schedule a meeting ASAP. For more info as to what to expect, go onto your diocese website - look for wedding preparation, usual under the Marriage Tribunal heading. Make sure the priest knows that you plan to be an active parishioner, and not just "church shopping".

    • Reply
  • Jenhandlady
    Savvy September 2023
    Jenhandlady ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I hope you're making headway. The Catholic Church can be interesting to navigate as I was raised Catholic, but we are choosing for an outdoor ceremony for a variety of reasons. Reach out to the Priest/Pastor you originally met with. Express your concerns in a polite and professional manner and just let them know you don't know how this all works. You need the ins/outs, dos/don'ts and each diocese can be very different. Some even have restrictions on your gown like no sleeveless or spaghetti straps.

    I also agree, for a church, you wouldn't go "shopping", but that may just be the term you used for ease, which of course I get. They want people to be active and participate in things that interest them and I think that goes with any denomination.

    • Reply
  • M
    Mrs. ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I've seen people here say the Catholic church is not a "venue." We are Catholic, my daughter has been baptized, made her First Holy Communion and Confirmation. We have been faithful church-goers our entire lives and did our best to instill our faith in our children, The Church has acted like a venue from the beginning of this process, charging $1,500 to get married there. We checked with a few other Catholic churches in the area and found the same cost. A friend of ours is on an advisory board with our Bishop. When he asked why the Church makes it so difficult for people to get married, (believe me, the cost is only ONE of the MANY frustrations we have experienced), his response was that they pay a lot of money for everything else in the wedding, why not the church? Because Bishop, it's not a venue. It's the place we have worshipped and supported in many ways, including financially, for the past 35 years since we moved to this area. I am so extremely disappointed in this experience and I'm sad to say that my daughter has been very affected by this. For those that say the steps are clear, contact the church first... she did that. She was told she would get a call from a coordinator. That call never came. She made several calls and sent several emails to find out what the next steps were. Only after I spoke to someone was she contacted and told the coordinator never contacted her because they don't have one right now. My daughter and her fiance aren't the only ones we know experiencing difficulties getting married in the Catholic church. We have friends, who go to different churches in our area, whose children have experienced problems as well. At a time when so many are turning away from the Church, they should be doing everything possible to welcome these new, young families in.

    • Reply
  • LM
    Expert December 2022
    LM ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment
    Sorry you're frustrated, but nothing is free. The electricity and air conditioning companies must get paid to run during the Ceremony. Your daughter's musicians, priest, and marriage coordinators need to be paid, too because of federal Labor laws. If you decide to pay the usage fee, maybe these Churches will be able to recruit and hire a teacher with that money.
    • Reply
  • MrsC
    Devoted June 2023
    MrsC ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment
    Thank you for pointing that out. Catholic Churches, like everything else, must pay their bills. And in some smaller parishes, like mine, the weekly collections don't quite meet expenses. Plus which, the organist, cantor and any other musicians are paid separately for their time. And good church organists are becoming rare. Ours gets $250/ wedding, funeral. I usually sing weddings and funerals for friends and family for nothing, otherwise a wedding is $100.
    • Reply
  • LM
    Expert December 2022
    LM ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment
    I think some couples (and parents) are in their planning anxieties and think too much on what others can do for them for the wedding. But, consider how will the Church be part of your life in your marriage? Many a times, I've prayed for my relationship in my Church with my community. Each Sunday is a stable constancy of spiritual reflection for us both separately and as a family. I am thankful for this.


    Mrs. C, thank you for contributing your skills and talents to your congregation. My wedding day was rather surreal up until the point of the soloist singing during our marriage certificate signing. It was then that everything settled and I teared up as many others caught in the swell of song and life's celebration.
    • Reply

You voted for . Add a comment 👇

×

Related articles

WeddingWire celebrates love ...and so does everyone on our site! Learn more

Groups

WeddingWire article topics