Updated: Sep 18, 2020
December 28th, 2018 - Toast Photography
Catholic weddings are very special and spiritual. The marriage means that together, the couple vow a sacrament and become something more than themselves under the eyes of God. Marriage is all in God's plan. They are different from the average outdoor or hotel wedding. The ceremony is officiated by a priest or deacon after several months or years of spiritual counseling. The guidance and mentor ship is preparing you for a successful marriage.
My husband and I had a traditional Catholic mass at Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas in the 1700's historical operational church. It was a beautiful experience that I will always remember when I see a painted mural in a doctor's office or a sculpture in a gift shop. It warms my heart to know that I actually got married there in that historical Catholic chapel!!
It's a blissful feeling. Not everyone qualifies to get married there, and we felt very honored. We had to do so much to get married in that mission. There was lots of time and money spent, and rigid rules that I had to follow but it was worth it! Thousands of couples since the 1700's had done the same before me. It's a little piece of our history as well as San Antonio's history that I can visit on the weekends if I'd like. (Some more of my photos are on the blog!) It was my dream wedding for sure.
It's helpful to note that, because several brides desire having an outdoor wedding with a full on Catholic deacon or priest, they've created a market for priests to detach themselves from the norm and offer to officiate Catholic themed weddings outside of the church, which is a controversy in of itself. It also caters to those families that are sensitive to their religion and would like to see some spirituality in the wedding. As your planner, we will seek out the perfect priest, deacon, or officiant that will meet your needs.
So what are the rules to getting married in the church? Read below to get an idea of what this kind of ceremony looks like!
First thing: Most people know, Catholic church will not marry two people if they are both homosexual, non Catholic or of kinship. They will marry a couple if one of you is a practicing Catholic and has earned all of their sacraments and have documents to prove such. The sacraments are 1) Baptism 2)Eucharist 3) Confirmation
Yes, a Catholic person can marry a non-Catholic, but it will not count as a full sacrament. And yes, a divorcee can marry in the church. These circumstances has to be considered an exception and has to be blessed by the church priest or deacon. The non-Catholic must vow that their future children will be raised in good faith.
Catholic churches recommend that after getting engaged, you notify the church and meet with your home parrish church priest. It is the priest that will be determining if you are allowed to get married in the church. 12 months is recommended by most, but I've seen some churches recommend working with your priest for 2 years and others say 6 months. It really depends on your church and your priest or deacon. After announcing your engagement, your church will them set you up with a number of marriage preparation tasks. So get your to do list out if you are even thinking about having a traditional Catholic church wedding!
1. Obtain the documents. You will need proof that one or both of you have been baptized by a Catholic church. They also have had to earned their sacrament for the Holy Communion and provide the necessary official documents have have been signed by the priest.
2. Take the compatibility tests. These tests aren't meant to make or break the couple, but to help find areas in the relationship that are weak and should be strengthened. It brings up topics that you've might not have discussed with your partner about like child rearing, sex, finances, and unhealthy habits.
3. Sponsor couple meetings. Couples with successful marriages are wonderful examples of how God can help bring your life together throughout the years. Your priest will recommend to you a fitting couple who is eager to help the new generation of husbands and wives. You will discuss the nitty gritty of home and family life, expectations of being a spouse, having children, infidelity, etc.
4. Plan the ceremony. Would you like to have a ceremony or a full on hour long mass? Would you prefer a priest or a deacon? You will have to plan the entire liturgy, a processional and recessional, as well as the readings and the music. It is a good idea to get with your planner and the music director and select a few piano or organ pieces that they offer frequently. If you do not like the selection, ask if they allow a third party musician to perform one that you have in mind once you've done research. They might have to bring their own organ or piano, as that comes with a liability issue.
5. Because marriage is governed by state law, you will still need to obtain and present the marriage license. In Bexar county, the marriage license is $88 cash only! They do not accept cards or checks. You'll also need to bring a form of ID via your driver's license, military ID or Passport. You'll also need your social security number (you dont have to bring the actual card). Here's the address:
Paul Elizondo Tower 101 W. Nueva, Suite 120. San Antonio, TX 78205.
Hours: Monday - Friday. 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Do not put off getting this license! Texas puts your wedding on hold for 3 days for anyone who wishes to change their mind before making it official. It can be purchased as early as 90 days out. If you purchase before then, your license will expire and your wedding will be invalid-no one will be able to marry you legally. So be careful about scheduling this day around holidays.
6. Church Fees, Music director fees, priest fees, they all add up. It's good to ask for a pricing chart to see what you have to buy in addition to the pianist and church coordinator. These fees vary by church and by priest.
St. Paul declared: "The two shall become one flesh"
7. Catholic wedding traditions: It's mainly originated from different cultures. The Arras Ceremony is the collection of 13 coins from a loved one that will be presented to the groom and then blessed during the ceremony and it will represent the fortunes that will bless them financially in their marriage.
The Lasso Ceremony is one where the groom and the bride will kneel before the church and a loved one will present a decorative lasso rosary to signify the union and bond that God has bestowed upon them. The Lasso is weaved into a number 8 and placed on the shoulders of the bride and groom.
Blessing the rings is another tradition where the entire wedding party gets to hold onto the rings, whisper a prayer or blessing, and pass along until it reached everyone in the wedding before being placed on each other's finger.
Presenting the roses to Mary is another tradition where the Bride and Groom will walk to Mary's statue and present the roses to Mary and St. Joseph, then together they will kneel to pray.
Religious weddings require attention to detail, knowledge about the requirements, and even more rules than the government! But it's worth it and your wedding will be blessed the way you wanted it to.
Getting Married in San Antonio? Let's chat, I'd love to help!
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