Thursday, May 14, 2009

catholic wedding checklist

I found this Catholic wedding preparation list from The Knot and I have to say that I don't know that I find it all that helpful. I've revampted it for my own purposes:

12+ Months Before (depending on your personal timeline)
□ Pick wedding date and time preferences. Start thinking about what type of ceremony you want and how you can add personal elements into the day.

□ Choose a location and officiant. For us this meant going to other churches to see different priests in action. We visited the local arch diocese's website, made a list of the relevant churches in our area, and if possible, checked out their website, then attended a Sunday mass in order to get a sense of the space, the congregation, and the priest before deciding on the one that suited us best as a couple and represented an equal compromise between both our needs.

□ Explore your church's marriage requirements and start collecting required documents and ask priest about intermarriage requirements.

9-11 Months Before
□ Meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony structure and marriage requirements. Your priest may want to help you to choose readings and blessings for the ceremony. Basic structure: 1 old testament reading, 1 new testament, one gospel. We found a selection guide online that we selected made a preliminary selection from (still to be approved by the priest). This was a difficult process for us because many of the readings really upset me or were too focused on the relationship with God or fearing God that it made both of us uncomfortable in terms of our non-Catholic guest contingent. Also, potential way to individualize your ceremony, our priest has agreed to add an additional reading by Khalil Gibran, into the ceremony. From what I gather, after speaking with 2 priests on the issue, many priests will allow you to add a pre-approved non-religious reading to the ceremony, as long as it is respectful of the Catholic traditions and suitably sacred in nature.

□ Begin Pre-Cana, the premarital preparation program required by the Church. Some priests are very particular about this being done early on. Luckily for us, this is not the case with the priest who will marry us in Oct. We were only able to attend the course offered in Aug.

□ Choose your bridal party members.

6-8 Months Before
□ Start creating save the date cards, invitations, programs, and place cards.

□ Choose ceremonial music. There are several resources online for this. However, given the Catholic church's staunch position on the music played during your ceremony, it might be best just to discuss this with your priest or the church musician. Although I'm not thrilled with this aspect, the priest has agreed to let me have whatever music we want, so long as it's respectful of the religious nature of the ceremony, so I must bite my tongue and appreciate his willingness to negotiate and be understanding.

3-4 Months Before
□ Decide who will be reading during the ceremony.

□ Consider decoration needs, such as flowers and candles. This is something we still have to consider, but it's important to find out what is allowed in your church. Some churches perform more than one ceremony a day and actually provide the flowers or prefer that other arrangements are made. Plus, if you think your flower girl will be scattering rose petals while you walk down the aisle, think again. Most churches are not fond of the practice.

□ Book a rehearsal-dinner site and finalize your guest list.

2 Months Before
□ Create ceremony programs. It helps to have programs so your non-Catholic guests will understand the rich spirituality and symbolism of a Catholic wedding.

□ Contact your church about posting Banns (a notice of your intention to wed).

□ Mail invitations.

3-4 Weeks Before
□ Have a final meeting with your priest.

□ Finalize vows, readings, and other special ceremony details.

□ Send rehearsal dinner invitations.

1-2 Weeks Before
□ Touch base with your priest.

Day Before
□ Rehearse the ceremony.

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