Stellar Guest Guide #1: Catholic Weddings

May 16, 2013    |    By +
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Wedding-Thumbnail3Sometimes we get invited to an event and have no idea what to expect or what is expected of us. We’ve all been there; confused, bumbling and ultimately embarrassed. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m doing a whole series on weddings so that no matter what kind of wedding you get invited to, you’ll show up like a pro. Let’s start with Catholic wedding guest etiquette. What’s going to happen? What are you supposed to wear? Will anything weird go on that I have to participate in? Read on and get rid of your wedding attendee jitters.

The Gift:

For devout Catholics, religious-based wedding gifts are quite popular like crucifixes and bibles.

That’s great, but you’re not religious and you feel weird getting a religious gift, right? In that case, a softer purchase of angel candle holders or etched vases are great options.

If that’s still too much, find out if they have a registry. You can look them up using our easy wedding registry finder. If it’s on their registry, it’s fair game.

And, when all else fails, you can write a check. But don’t give cash! Envelopes get lost in the shuffle and a check is a lot less expensive to replace.


Time is of the essence!

These ceremonies can go on for a long time, like more than an hour, so be prepared to sit for a while. Bring a cardigan or jacket in case you get cold and save yourself some discomfort by taking a potty break before the ceremony!

Mind your manners!

Because the ceremony is being performed in the church, a sense of reverence must be maintained due to the presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. So, though this probably goes without saying, chewing gum, talking on cell phones, texting, and anything else thought to be irreverent is forbidden.

Don’t get up to receive communion at the mass!

Another thing to be aware of when you attend a mass is that Catholics ask those who don’t have the same beliefs to refrain from receiving Communion. It’s not that Catholics want to offend people, but they hold their beliefs in communion sacred. Communion is when everyone gets up to receive the body and blood of Christ (wine and bread).

Don’t throw rice!

Remember how it used to be a thing to throw rice at Catholic weddings? Well, leave your rice at home because that tradition is no more. It has gone by the wayside for several reasons. Guests have gotten rice in their eyes and ears, causing injuries, and people have slipped and fallen on rice on the church steps. But bubbles and other fun, Eco friendly confetti might be passed out for guests to toss in a photo.

There you have it! It’s your easy guide to surviving a Catholic wedding with savoir faire. I hope that you feel better about being a guest and can have some fun now. Remember that weddings are celebrations after all.

Stay tuned for more wedding guest etiquette.

And, if you want to go rogue and buy a wedding gift without consulting their registry or their traditions…see all of our favorite wedding gifts!


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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.