WEDDINGS AND CULTURE: CATHOLICISM

Sep 3, 2021 | Without category | 0 comments

Catholic weddings are rich with customs and traditions that go beyond the religious ceremony. If you’re unfamiliar with these customs, they can seem a little unusual from an outsider’s perspective, so we’ve put together a guide to explain the culture and traditions of a Catholic wedding.

 

What makes a Catholic wedding?

To have a truly Catholic wedding, you’ll need to get married in a Catholic Church.

 

Catholic wedding procession

A Catholic wedding begins with the procession of the wedding party, starting with the groom and best man, followed by bridesmaids and groomsmen, and ending with the bride, escorted by her father.

 

Spanish wedding procession

For a Spanish wedding, this procession may be different, as traditionally there are no bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Instead, the guests will seat themselves when they arrive – typically 15-30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. Once seated, the groom and the godmother will enter and wait next to the altar for the arrival of the bride.

After a few minutes, the bride will enter holding the right arm of the best man, who is usually her brother or father.

Traditionally, the pages and young bridesmaids (i.e. flower girls and ring bearers) will enter after the bride. But in modern weddings, many brides opt for these members of the procession to go before her, especially if they have appointed bridesmaids, who tend to follow behind her in the procession.

 

Catholic wedding ceremony

The priest will greet the guests and open the ceremony with a hymn and a prayer. Then begins The Liturgy of the Word, where the priest and family members will read passages from the Old Testament, followed by responsorial psalms from the Book of Psalms.

Finally, a friend or family member will read from the New Testament, and the priest will recite a Gospel passage. Following the readings, there will be reflections from the priest.

The couple will then exchange their vows and their rings. The couple may then choose to have a nuptial mass, which is similar to a Sunday mass. The congregation will recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Sign of Peace. Catholics may then take the Holy Communion.

The guests will then say a final prayer, the couple will receive a blessing, and then the marriage license is signed.

A woman with a microphone speaking in a church

Can I have a Catholic wedding ceremony in Spain?

 

There are several ways that you can get married in a Catholic Church in Spain:

  • If you are a Spanish native.
  • If you have lived in Spain for 2 years continuously prior to getting married.
  • If you are not native to Spain, then you can get married in a Catholic Church if at least one of the couple is Catholic and neither have previously been divorced.

Take a look at our Spanish wedding checklist to see what you need to get married in a Catholic Church in Spain.

 

Catholic wedding traditions in Catalonia

 

Traditions vary between areas, and Catalonia is rich with culture and customs of its own.

 

Best man reads the bride a verse

 

One of the most precious traditions of Catalan weddings is the custom for the best man to read a verse to the bride while handing her the natural bridal bouquet with which she will attend the wedding. This verse will have been written by the best man himself.

The reading of the verse is usually carried out before the ceremony, in the place where the bride has prepared for the day. It will take place once she is ready, wearing her wedding dress and surrounded by her closest relatives and friends.

The verses usually have an emotional touch and speak of an anecdote related to the love story of the couple or with memories shared by family and friends, in which the bride is the protagonist.

A groom placing a wedding ring on a bride’s finger

Wedding ring finger

 

In many cultures, the engagement ring and wedding ring will both be worn on the left hand. However, in Spanish culture, some women will wear their engagement ring on their left hand, but the wedding ring on the right hand.

In Catalonia, this Spanish tradition is not followed, and both rings will be worn on the left hand, as with most other cultures.

 

Offering eggs to the Poor Clares

 

In many regions of Spain, it is tradition to bring eggs to the Poor Clares, nuns of the Order of Saint Clare. In doing so, it is hoped that the weather is good on the wedding day.

 

Wearing a mantilla

 

For very traditional Catholic weddings, a mantilla will be worn by women in the bridal party for the big day.

A mantilla is a traditional Spanish veil that is worn over the head and shoulders. It is often worn over a high comb called a peineta. The colour of this veil will depend on the marital status of the woman. Married women will wear a black mantilla, while single women will wear a white or ivory one.

 

How can Make It Happen BCN help?

 

Whether you would like a traditional Catholic wedding or need help planning an interfaith wedding with multiple ceremonies, our wedding planner Natalia can help you out!

At the start of your wedding journey, Natalia will spend time discussing how you and your partner envision your big day to ensure that your wedding encapsulates both your values.

Get in touch with us; we would love to hear more about your plans and how we could help support your dream wedding day! 

Talk to you soon, weddingmates!
Hugs and kisses.

Photo Credits:
All images: Liven Photography


If you are considering planning a destination wedding or elopement in Spain, Make It Happen BCN are here to help. A dedicated and experienced wedding and events planning service based in Barcelona. Talk to meFollow us on Instagram for more inspiration every week.

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I am Natalia, your luxury wedding planner in Barcelona, a down-to-earth girl who has one distinctive quirk: I love weddings. We will work side-by-side. I will listen to you and offer you the help you need, whether the details of your dream wedding are already set in stone, or you need a comprehensive plan for the event.