Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wedding Planning Rots Your Brain

Concerned Bride writes:

My wedding is coming up this September. We've found a Catholic Church and a priest to marry us. Problem? I am planning from 2500 miles away so did most of my booking via phone and email and just called priests that the church recommended (they don't have a resident priest) and said okay after chatting with the first one on the phone. 

We went and met with him when my fiance and I were home over Christmas. He is extremely old. He even made a few jokes about passing away before our wedding. Would it be inappropriate for me to get in touch with the coordinator at the church and see if there is any kind of backup plan in case our priest does, in fact, pass away close to our wedding? I imagine all the paperwork with the archdiocese will have his name on it so I'm not sure if that would be an issue...

This is a new one. Really, brides will find the silliest things to worry about when planning their weddings. I remember spending more than one sleepless night just terrified that I'd made the wrong decision when I ordered my dress in ivory instead of diamond white. I'm not exaggerating. Weddings do crazy things to people.

But calling the church to make contingency plans in case the priest dies is overboard. If his age is the only factor making you nervous, I'm going to go ahead and give you permission to move on to worrying about whether the table linens will match the bridesmaids' shoes.

Really, a 42 year-old priest could get hit by a bus next week. A 92 year old priest could live to 102 without getting so much as a head cold. Age has less to do with dying than we like to think it does. In the unfortunate event that your priest does pass away before your wedding, I'm sure there will be another priest in the area willing to fill in on short notice. In fact, my guess is it will be a lot easier to find a replacement for a priest than it would for say a photographer or DJ. Oops. Did I just stress you out again?


  1. My officiant DID die just before my wedding. The church just gave me another officiant.

    I was considerably more concerned for his family and the loss to our congregation, as he was a deacon - a very good one.

  2. How about, "Is there a plan in place in the event the priest is not available for the ceremony?"

    What is the big deal, what if the priest is out of town for an emergency? There may not be death involved for there to be an emergency. If it helps the bride to know that the church is able to offer an alternate officiant in the event her priest is unavailable, there's no harm in asking. Just because the reason she wants to know may be overboard doesn't mean the question itself is ludicrous.

    It's not a big deal, though, unless this guy is really running his own private church as a solo performer. Then you have problems.

  3. I am Concerned Bride... I definitely didn't word this right at all, which made me come across totally crazy! I think anon got it right up there. if we had been going with a conventional church, priests have backups. I think I was concerned in case anything happens (yes not just death, that just got the wheels turning), as this church doesn't have a priest/weekly masses. Thanks for the reality check - I promise this has been the only thing I have "stressed" about.

  4. Wait, wait, wait.... a Catholic Church without a Priest or weekly Masses (notice the capital M)? That sounds more like a chapel than a Church. Most RC Churches have Mass once a day and have not only one Priest available but 2 or 3. But that's really beside the point.
    My fiance and I just met with the deacon for the last time before our marriage. As long as all your paperwork is good with the diocese it doesn't really matter who confers marriage upon you two, just as it didn't matter what priest or deacon conferred your first communion.
    If your diocese is anything like mine then the staff at your chosen Church will bend over backwards to find you a competent deacon or priest to confer the rite of marriage upon you in the rare chance that the priest passes (I knew a priest who smoked cigarettes in the back of the Sacristy well past his retirement).
    Say what you will about the Roman Catholic Church but don't ever tell me that they'll deny you a Sacrament when you're earned it.

  5. Sorry, I forgot the C in Communion.