One of the really great parts about being Orange County Wedding Photographers is the opportunity to photograph so many different types of weddings. Orange County, as well as Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California, is full of diverse people with different backgrounds and cultures. One type of wedding ceremony and reception that we have had the opportunity to witness on more than one occasion are Catholic Weddings, and all the traditions that come along with them. Three16 Photography honors the Catholic Wedding Ceremony, as well as all Catholic Wedding Traditions throughout the world.
We truly appreciate the opportunities we get when we can witness and be part of their special day. It’s very special. One might wonder about where all the various traditions come from in a Catholic Wedding. So, we thought we would introduce you to a little of history and more modern traditions of the Catholic Wedding.
With so many of today’s weddings becoming more modernized and away from old traditions, much of what takes place in the wedding still stems from those traditions, even if they have been a bit altered for today’s society. With all the various ethnic, cultural and religious affiliates, wedding traditions of the Catholic faith cannot be spared, although it might be the closest to the old traditional ceremonies compared to others.
Starting with some of the older Catholic Wedding Traditions, you have to go back several centuries. Many of these traditions remain as it connects us to the past and to others that have gone before us. Some of the older traditions are considered Spiritual, Ethnic or Historical Traditions.
Spiritually speaking, one such tradition is the placing of flowers at the image of the Virgin Mary and spending a few minutes in prayer together and with her at some point during the ceremony.
Ethnically, the basics of the old traditions are still implemented for the wedding, but one’s culture may adjust those traditions to meet their own, even though they really are the same. For example, in a Hispanic wedding, they will have a blessing and then comes the giving of coins. Celtic families will wear their clan’s colors, while Vietnamese weddings includes the honoring of the ancestors.
Historical traditions are the things we do in the weddings and where their origins came from. Did you know that back in the day, a groom would have to trade his services or give a dowry (payment) to the bride’s father in exchange for marrying his daughter? Therefore, the tradition of giving away one’s daughter for marriage began. Today, most often, the father walks his daughter down the aisle and gives her to her new groom.
Catholic weddings today still maintain many of the old traditions but can come with a twist. Things like the lighting of the unity candle or sand ceremony were only recently introduced to the Catholic wedding. Or perhaps, it’s your own vows, regardless if they are written or simply improvised. These are just a small example, so it is recommended to meet with your priest to see what is allowed and what isn’t.
Some other Catholic Wedding Traditions that take place during the ceremony and/or reception include:
• When is Mass included? Mass is only included in a Catholic wedding where both the groom and the bride are practicing Catholics, and only then are those Catholics attending the wedding are able to take part in the communion. If either the bride or the groom is not of catholic faith, Mass will not be included.
• More often than naught, a Catholic wedding will take place in the church that either the couple or their parents belong to. In the event you wanted to go modern and have an outdoors wedding or at a location other than the church, you will need to get priest’s permission.
• The priest will open the ceremony with an opening hymn. Often, the priest or their musical director will pick the music as they know not to use music that was not written for liturgical prayers, such as “Here Comes the Bride.”
• There is usually a reading from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. These are often read by a family member or a friend.
• The priest will typically read from one of the first four books of the New Testament.
• The Lord’s Prayer will be recited by everyone in unison for all Catholic weddings.
There are much more than these older and newer Catholic Wedding Traditions than what is seen here. Are you still not sure what to include in your ceremony? Put together a list of the items you are considering for your ceremony, and like mentioned above, meet with your deacon or priest and find out what they will allow and what they won’t allow. The church has come a long way over the years and are more accepting today to a younger person’s wants and needs.