This is the second in a series of posts: “Tips for a Less-Stress, Meaningful Wedding.” Please add your own advice!
You’ve Probably Forgotten: Guests will leave your wedding with feelings, experiences, and thoughts. That’s because your wedding will communicate a message to your guests. What message will it be? Maybe you’re thinking they’ll judge whether you’re rich or broke…gorgeous or not…classy or tasteless. But is that all that your wedding will say?
What Will You Teach? When planning our wedding, Dan and I realized that our wedding would be an opportunity to teach. We wanted to teach about…
- the beauty of marriage and the Mass.
- the uniqueness of masculinity & femininity.
- the centrality of God in marriage.
- marriage as a Sacrament, not simply a contract.
- marriage as a commitment to self-sacrificing love.
Dare to Be Different. As we met to plan our wedding, we opted for non-Hollywood procession style, which Christine smartly mentioned in a comment: “The bride and groom are invited to walk up the aisle together, because it shows a commitment being equally made by the bride and groom.” Yes, like everything else, the Catholic Church has a Rite of Marriage, and this is the procession listed as the norm! We loved it.
Something(s) Borrowed. As we processed up the aisle together, Dan carried a chalice given to him (while he was discerning priesthood), which had belonged to a Maryknoll priest relative. For Dan, this chalice signified his willingness as the groom – emulating Christ – to shed blood for his bride. Our Mass celebrant used this chalice to hold the Precious Blood of Christ.
I carried a handkerchief my mom used in her wedding. With it, I held a crucifix given to Dan. Made of olive wood, the crufix contains four stone relics, one each from The Upper Room, The Rock of Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mount Calvary, and Christ’s Tomb. (The relics were obtained by the Franciscans, the custodians of the Holy Land.)
So that the meaning wouldn’t be lost, our Maid of Honor and Best Man gave a short welcome and explanation before the wedding began.
You May Now Kiss the Crucifix. A few of you might have heard this ritual before: When Dan and I exchanged vows, we were holding onto the crucifix I carried up the aisle. Before kissing one another, we kissed this crucifix. Now, we begin every day by kissing this crucifix, then kissing each other. In times of difficulty, we turn to God with this crucifix. Read more about this ritual here. We strongly recommend it! It means so much to daily renew our love for each other and God.
Christ-Centered. To meet our ‘teaching goals,’ we also requested that…
- bells & incense be used.
- the Gospel be accompanied by candlebearers.
- we sit to the side during Mass, not in the middle.
- the two of us use the communion rail.
These simple choices made a big impact on those present at our wedding. Many people made it a point to tell us how beautiful and touching the wedding was, and how much they appreciated its clarity of focus. But the best comment by far came from the parish sacristan, a sweet Texan lady:
I loved how it was Christ-centered, not y’all-centered!
What will your wedding teach? If you take advantage of the opportunity, it can remind everyone present what marriage is all about.