Monday, June 6, 2011

Random Wedding Observations- 7 QuickTakes

1. Byzantine Catholic marriage ceremonies are super superb. First of all- there are no choices regarding the readings. Wives will submit to their husbands, and husbands will love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding at Cana at the bidding of His mother the Theotokos. 

2. All the prayers are beautiful- here are my favorite ones- said after the priest takes the crowns off the heads of the bride and groom:  May you be magnified, 0 Bridegroom, like Abraham, and be blessed like Isaac and be fruitful like Jacob as you go in peace, fulfilling in righteousness the Commandments of God. And you, 0 Bride, may you be magnified like Sarah and rejoice like Rebecca and be fruitful like Rachel, rejoicing in your own husband and observing the limits of the law, for so God is well pleased."

3. During this prayer, the priest removes the Crowns from the newlyweds’ heads praying: “O God, our God, Who when You were present in Cana of Galilee blessed the marriage there, bless also these Your servants who have been joined together by Your providence in the fellowship of Marriage; bless their comings in and their goings out; make their lives fruitful for good; take their Crowns unto Your kingdom and preserve them blameless, guileless and unstained unto the ages of ages. Amen."

4. I made a total of 8 boutonnieres, 10 bouquets, 6 wrist corsages, 24 simple pew bouquets and 16 table arrangments. I volunteered to do this. Yes, I am an adrenaline junkie- flowers cannot be done well ahead of time. I think they turned out pretty well. For those curious, I used white roses, purple mini calla lilies and white/pink mini calla lilies. I could only do this because husband took Friday off work at the hospital so I could be free to do the flowers.

5. My pedicure and haircut never happened. So, I went on a search for the impossible- closed toe party shoes with a 2-inch wedge heel or less. These don't exist. So, I bought sandals and had a do-it-yourself pedicure at midnight before the wedding day. And- my hair ended up in a pony tail. It is what it is.

6. There was a lot of volunteer and semi-volunteer help with this wedding. Cheers to all who supported the sacrament of marriage by helping them have a wonderful Liturgy and party! As crazy and tiring as it is, a sacramental marriage is to be celebrated- and if it were in the old days, it would be a week long celebration.

7. Random complaints: Groom- don't invite 3 tables of strict Evangelical co-workers who say they will not come into the church to witness the wedding (because it is Catholic). They didn't come to the reception at all, and 3 tables were empty. That was a little sad spot. Another random complaint- ring bearer boy sitting with my little kids- please stop tormenting my 4 and 2 year olds through this 2 hour long church service. They are trying to keep it together. Don't encourage the baby to tear up the 4 year old's flower, and don't take the baby's headband. I was actually amazed that the little ones did such a good job...and the baby waved at everybody as we made the recessional.  Also- most people- thank you for having a good time and showing that people can drink and dance and still be dignified. To a small few- you gave me good material to talk with my big girls about modesty and drinking and losing respect of others.

In any case, we ask God to grant the new husband and wife many blessed years in health and happiness!


  1. Whew, weddings exhaust me. I like your last note! :-)

  2. Sad, but true--DH has never been to a Byzantine wedding. Even our own.

    [I really need to write up why we HAD to be married in the Roman church, it's an interesting story! (Back then, I was more "Roman" than I am now and wanted the wedding that I had imagined since I was a little girl.) But that's not why we were married in a Roman church.]

    We have seen one that was videotaped, but the bride and groom talked through the entire liturgy. And she fixed her makeup!

    And this annoys me:
    Groom- don't invite 3 tables of strict Evangelical co-workers who say they will not come into the church to witness the wedding (because it is Catholic). They didn't come to the reception at all, and 3 tables were empty. That was a little sad spot.
    Good friends of DH's parents wouldn't come to our ceremony b/c they are Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't understand what's so scandalous about attending a major life event that happens to be in a church. It's not as though anyone would be trying to convert them to Catholicism.

  3. Louise- yes, it was exhausting...maybe girl #1 can stop having nightmares now (bride shows up in black pant suit, the cake falls, etc, etc)

    Rabbit- sounds like an interesting history of yours!

    About bride and groom not taking the actual ceremony seriously- I am sad for them...first of all because it is beautiful & interesting, but also because we need this strong stuff to get through the hard I will try and be "magnified like Sarah" even though I am pushing forty

  4. What a wonderful gift to the couple for all your hard work. The Byzantine weddings seem to be a kind for priests because the couples now a days pick their own vows and a don't seem to need the
    Church for anything other just having a venue.

  5. Marcia Marcia Marcia- nope- no choices here! In any case- there are so many decisions to be made about the party and clothes and stuff- the ceremony is on 'auto-pilot'- a good one, but automatic nonetheless...the only thing that wasn't Byzantine was the harp

  6. How did a musical instrument get into the church? I thought that was a major no-no.

  7. Priest's Wife,
    Do Byzantine Catholic weddings have vows and does the sacrament of marriage take place during the Divine Liturgy or before? I've never been to a Byzantine wedding and probably will never have the opportunity, but I'm curious.

  8. Rabbit- It's not such a big no-no... ;) so rebellious, allowing a harp in church!

    Alice- Sometimes, the Divine Liturgy doesn't take place at a wedding, but we had one during this wedding - I think the order was....betrothal, vows, crowning, readings, Liturgy of Eucharist...yikes...I had better have father-husband help me out for the proper order- maybe tomorrow I'll write more in a general way about the service...vows are said with bride and groom bowed over the Gospel book and with hands on book...

  9. I was blessed to be at this, the real wedding of the century!

    Some readers might enjoy hearing priest wife's priest husband, who has an excellent voice, chanting prayers at the wedding.

    (and preoteasa, if you prefer not to have this on you tube, say the word and I'll take it down.)

  10. Baron Mucki- you can tell it is at the beginning...many people like to be fashionably late to a two hour service

  11. Preoteasa,

    it would seem that the groom's friends are rather rude!! Surely they would have indicated that they would not be attending the ceremony or reception —— unless RSVPs are no longer fashionable.

    I certainly respect that someone may not attend a ceremony for religious reasons (consider if one were to be invited to the installation of a heretical hierarch with his boyfriend and former wife assisting), but not to give notice of a refusal is uncharitable (causing significant embarrassment to the groom).

    For interest, the old form of the Roman Rite also had a fixed form, and also long prayers for the couple, and a blessing of the bride (that she may have many children).

    But Rabbit, not only have they musical instruments, they also have pews!!!


  12. You made me recall my own wedding day, in which I got up _extremely _early, git a big cup of coffee and made up the wedding flowers. Grant you I had never done this before...but I enjoyed it and they turned out well. I did have that little bit of butterflies though, cause it was do it once and done, no going back!

  13. Oooh, he does have an excellent voice!

    About the harp--ahhh, see, I'd been told that there were never to be musical instruments in church. I was surprised to see the harp mentioned.

  14. Bear- Yes, it was very rude for them not to come to the recption- they did rsvp that they would come to the party. I assume they had second thoughts because of the alcohol that would be served and the dancing (mostly folk). I think it is problematic to invite co-workers because there wasn't a spiritual any case, there was food left over that we are enjoying today!

  15. Bear said... But Rabbit, not only have they musical instruments, they also have pews!!!

    LOL!!!! I am Byzantine also! Ruthenian Rite. We have pews too ;-) (I posted my last comment before I read yours) But I've only been practicing as a ByzCath for about 3 years. In my very limited Byz life, I've always heard that instruments aren't allowed in church.

    As for alcohol being a reason that the coworkers might not have attended (in priest's wife's recent comment)--I'm sorry, that's silly. I'm not a huge drinker, but not a teetotaler either. Do people like these coworkers not attend country fairs where alcohol is sold? Concerts or sporting events where beer is SUPER prevalent? Alcohol is a part of American culture, not to mention even a larger one in Europe. It's fine if you choose not to partake, but to exclude yourself from things because it's there...just ridiculous.*

    *Unless, of course, you're a recovering alcoholic who doesn't feel like they can handle being near the temptation. THAT is 100% understandable.

  16. I loved our Byzantine ceremony...even if plenty of family and friends did not see the need for a 2+ hour ceremony and didn't understand. As we are going on 4 years of marriage now, I am starting to understand just how much grace is necessary to have a happy and successful marriage! Good thing it IS a sacrament and we Catholics make a BIG deal out of it. Thanks for posting some of the prayers. It's nice to be reminded of some of these beautiful old prayers!

  17. P.S. I thought drinking alcohol was a personal decision. It's perfectly fine if you choose not to drink it but it's not grounds for judging others who do. Certainly not a reason to not attend such an important event in a friend's life! That is really sad to me.

  18. This was interesting to read! I've never been to a Byzantine wedding. Actually, I've never even been to a Roman rite wedding- dh and I were both atheists when we married (we converted together) and so we were married at the courthouse under less than ideal circumstances.

  19. Katie- I hopped over to your blog (now I need coq au vin) to see if you got married in the Church...I couldn't tell. Marriage is something that 'heals at the root' so your courthouse wedding could be turned sacramental in no time. email me if you want to talk or if you want me to bust down the gatekeepers door at your parish---and it does not need to be expensive

  20. Interesting and enjoyable observations and followup comments. We were married in a presbyterian church but had our marriage blessed by two catholic priests many years later (after we became Roman Catholics). Thanks be to God.

  21. Priest's Wife,
    In the Byzantine Church does one have to have one's marriage blessed if one converts after marriage? In the Latin Church, a valid marriage becomes a sacramental marriage as soon as both spouses are baptized. There is no special blessing required because we believe that their is no valid marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman that is not also a sacramental marriage.

  22. Alice- Our dogma is the same as the Latin rite because our final authority comes from Rome just as the Latin rite. But let's say that 2 baptised & married Lutherans become Byzantine rite Catholic, they can choose to have a blessing, but it is not necessary. I believe a legal townhall wedding would need an actual marriage ceremony however to be sacramental.

  23. Priest's Wife--can two people who were married in the Roman Church get a Byzantine blessing? ;-) I think that would be pretty cool. Although, I'm guessing no, in our case. Which I still need to write about.

    (feel free to answer this next question in another post or something)
    Also...if "our final authority comes from Rome" why are married priests allowed in the Byzantine Rite ONLY if they were ordained abroad? In that case, not all authority is from Rome. the rule because of the vast majority of Roman Catholics and the tiny minority of foreign-ordained Eastern Rite priests in this country? Is it because it wouldn't be "fair" to allow US-ordained men of the Eastern Rite to be married when their Roman counterparts can't? I've never been able to find a clear answer to this...

  24. Rabbit- whoa- serious questions! :)

    It wouldn't be a blessing because you already have a Catholic marriage- but this is what my husband might do if you were his parishioners- for 'pastoral reasons' and to welcome you as Byzantine Catholics, he could do the portions of the wedding like prayers and maybe even 'crown' you two- the words might need to be changed a bit- this could be done at an anniversary. Come on over for a vacation and my husband will pray for hours for you ;)

  25. Rabbit- The reason why there aren't a lot of married Byzantine Catholic priests in the US is a sad holdover when Bishop John Ireland and others convinced the Vatican to not allow Eastern Catholic men to be ordained priest in the US (it was so bad that even men from the old country married and ordained priest were not allowed to come serve in the US- they 'lent' us celibate Roman-rite bi-ritual priests)- this lead to the formation of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)---it is much better now, our traditions are being respected- I believe for Ruthenian Catholics, it is done on a 'case by case' basis -which I am fine with- gotta check out those future priest's wives! ;)

  26. I like that idea, actually, the crowning and the prayers part. It does sound very welcoming. Ahh, I really have to write the "story" because if I even hint at something here, it's going to be confusing not to know ALL of it.

    That's very interesting--and thanks for the answer! So it boils down to discrimination. Lovely. At least things are better now...

  27. Your husband would really do a crowning for an anniversary? That's awesome! Perhaps that will be an option for me and my husband in some distant future. My husband has a great love for the Eastern Churches, and he talked for a long time before we married about formally changing Ritual Churches, in which case we would have been married Byzantine-style. Our Roman wedding was lovely, but I think we are both still sad that there was no crowning.


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