The war for the perfect wedding - Catholic Courier

The war for the perfect wedding

Since we’re getting into bride season, I feel obligated to mention the gigantic elephant on the wedding altar: the tension between engaged couples and the priests or deacons who are marrying them.

Truthfully, I can see both sides.

I have coffee with my deacon friend every month, and I hear how demanding and annoying and insensitive SOME of these brides (and grooms) are, how little they know about the Catholic faith and the sacraments (like, say, marriage), and how many decide on a church based on how well the stained-glass windows will go with the bridesmaid dresses.

If the violet in 11th Station of the Cross won’t blend with the coral strapless gowns, better drive uptown to a stations-less church.

And I get the bride’s side: "Why do I have to tell this man I hardly know whether or not my fiance and I are sleeping together? It’s none of his business.

"And all these forms. … It’s like I’m applying for social security or something. No, worse! The government process doesn’t even require weekly interrogations with a grumpy old guy or a weekend in the basement of a church with a bunch of strangers who lied on their applications, saying that they absolutely do not live together."

Ah. The Catholic Web site to the rescue!

Recently Christine B. Whelan, an Iowa-based professor and the author of BustedHalo’s popular "Pure Sex, Pure Love" column, has joined forces via iChat with Paulist Father Eric Andrews, who has over 15 years of wedding experience.

Whelan speaks from the bride’s perspective: Why can’t you get married on the beach? Why is the priest being such a jerk? Why do we have to talk about sex during pre-Cana? And Father Andrews responds from the other side of the culture war, with much humility and humor, I might add.

The video series offers a refreshing, informative and insightful angle to the common potholes that engaged couples fall into as they prepare for the most important day of their life (save their funeral). The playful banter between Whelan and Father Andrews educates young adults on some very important subjects in an interesting, creative and entertaining way.

Whelan and Father Andrews welcome your questions and thoughts. If you are a young adult getting married and have a question about planning your wedding, e-mail your question to them or record a short video with your question and send it to

Therese Borchard is a columnist for Catholic News Service.

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