‘Community weddings’ idea welcomed by priests

Sunday service plan ‘solid and sensible’

An idea for ‘cut price’ community weddings, mooted by a Co. Clare-based priest has been greeted positively in other Irish dioceses.

Following the suggestion by Fr Conor Cunningham of Lisdoonvara in the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora that intending couples facing massive wedding costs could avoid such outlays by making their wedding ceremony part of a Sunday Mass, priests elsewhere have greeted the initiative as good for those who might otherwise postpone their weddings in austerity Ireland.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week on Fr Cunningham’s proposal, Fr John Carroll, Diocesan Communications Officer for Ferns said that, while the diocese does not have weddings on Sundays “any initiative that would assist couples in keeping costs low, we would favour, for example, the use of parish halls or community centres for receptions, less emphasis on limousines, expensive flowers and outfits, photographers and hotel receptions”. Fr Carroll pointed out that, in terms of wedding costs, “the church tends to be the least expensive part of the day”.

Describing the community wedding idea as “solid and sensible”, Fr Fintan Monahan, Diocesan Secretary for Tuam, said Fr Cunningham’s plan was timely, given recent boom-to-bust experienecs in Ireland.

“In my experience,” he said, “in recent years, wedding celebrations have been much more economical and less lavish than at the height of the boom.  Ten years ago it would not have been uncommon to have up to 400 guests at weddings, but with the economic down-turn the numbers in general have greatly decreased and celebrations tend to be much more low-key, although none the less joyful and probably less stressful because of that.”

Fr Monahan added that the Church would always be in favour of integrating the sacraments into the overall celebration of community and parish events “and anything that would help to achieve this would be very laudable”.