Weddings and the Sunday Obligation

It’s very common nowadays for couples to hold their wedding on a Saturday afternoon – in my current parish, 1:30pm is the standard time.

A question that I often pose to couples when I am doing marriage preparation is: How will you make provision for your Sunday obligation? You will have your wedding, party into the wee hours, get some rest, and then (usually) depart for your honeymoon sometime the next day. Will you also go to Sunday Mass?

It appears that, in spite of the months of planning that go into every aspect of the weekend, few couples prepare also to include Sunday Mass. And it is a pity. Are they ultimately starting off their marriage on the wrong foot?

In my diocese, priests are given the faculty to dispense from the Sunday obligation in individual cases. If a couple were to request this from me, I would very likely grant it – if for no other reason than the fact that they actually included it in their planning! But I cannot recall any case where a couple requested to be dispensed.

I suppose that Saturday has long been the preferred day for weddings. Are there any “old-timers” out there who got married on a Saturday and then went to Mass the next day? I wonder if this problem is not really all that new. In any case, I would encourage brother priests, wedding planners, marriage preparation couples/mentors, and any others to address it in their respective areas of work.

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