The Princess Bride is my favorite movie. When I was younger we had it on Beta Max. And then one day Beta Max became obsolete and replaced by VHS and I could no longer watch The Princess Bride whenever I wanted. It sucked.
Anyway, this post isn’t about my favorite movies. It is yet again about the wedding. Bride brain…bride brain…bride braaaiiiin!!! Imagine I said that like a bride zombie, because really that’s what I’ve become.
Getting married in the Catholic Church was a given. Mr. S and I both grew up Catholic and have received all of our sacraments to date. Plus, I really like the tradition of getting married in church and repeating the vows that have married so many generations before us. So it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Riiiiighhhtt…
To be married in the Catholic Church, one must be “a Catholic in good standing.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but considering Mr. S and I didn’t attend church on a regular basis, weren’t officially part of any parish, and have been living together in sin, I felt there was a good chance that we were actually “Catholics in very bad standing.” Throw into the mix that we are having our reception in Brooklyn and want the church to be relatively close to our reception location. This criterion pretty much narrowed the options down to one church. One.
I emailed the church rectory asking if they allowed non-parishioners to wed there, and the priest himself replied back saying that he does make exceptions. Allelujia! He added that before meeting we should attend mass at the church to see if we like the look and acoustics. The look and acoustics? They seemed like pretty odd details for a priest to point out, but I agreed that attending mass made sense.
I’ve seen lots of churches in my life of all different types, and I’ve never been in one where I said, “Ugh, gross.” Needless to say, I didn’t have any strong feelings about what the church should look like as long as there was an aisle for me to walk down. Maybe my low expectations contributed to my reaction, but when we walked into St. C, I got the feeling…similar to what a bride feels when she finds the dress, I had a feeling of this is the church where we are going to get married.
The church is on the smaller side, which I love. I grew up attending a larger church where it felt like half the church was empty most weekends. St. C is done in a gothic style with dark wood, columns, and large stained glass windows throughout and behind the altar. This was a HUGE bonus to me. I was never a fan of saying my vows directly under a crucifix of a dying Jesus, but resigned myself to this fate since that’s how most churches decorate their altar. But with stained glass windows…I could already picture us being bathed in colored sunlight as we stood at the altar professing our everlasting love.* Princess Buttercup, eat your heart out.
My anxiety levels were up when we arrived the following week for our meeting with Father E — this church was seemingly perfect for our wedding and what if he refused us for all the reasons that make us bad Catholics in bad standing?! We didn’t even have a good excuse! Maybe we tell him that yes we live together, but we sleep in two separate twin beds? My dad goes to mass everyday…does that count for anything? Yes, I actually entertained all of these options, but in the end I decided that we couldn’t lie to a priest. My co-worker had the best advice: Don’t lie, but don’t embellish either.
It turns out we had nothing to worry about. Father E is quite possibly the hippest priest I’ve ever met. He took great pride in telling us how he conducts his weddings so that the bride and groom get the perfect photo ops and was totally understanding about the co-habitating part, noting that rent in NYC is expensive. Preach on Father, preach on! He even used curse words and the middle finger when telling us stories of his childhood. Mr. S and I were shocked! After the fantastic storytelling, Father E took down our information, asked us to provide baptismal certificates, and gave us information on Pre-Cana. He let us know that once Pre-Cana is complete, we could discuss further logistics of the day.
That pretty much sealed the deal. Up until this point, we were planning an elaborate party: reception venue, catering, flowers, music, etc. Now that we actually found someone to marry us, our little shindig is officially a wedding!
* Reality check – that sunlight bit probably won’t happen as we are getting married on a December evening. We will probably be holding flashlights up there.