Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Everything You Need To Know About Getting Married During Lent

If you're Christian, you know that today is Ash Wednesday starts the Lenten season. You're supposed to use this as a time of reflection, and end Lent as a better person, a better Christian. To help you aid in your betterment, you're asked to sacrifice. For couples getting married, that means you sacrifice decorations. Yup, there's no decorating during Lent. Didn't know that? That's why we wrote this Everything You Need To Know About Getting Married During Lent post.

If you're picking your wedding date, and planning on getting married in a church, be sure to check to see if it's during Lent. Many churches will NOT allow you to decorate at all during the Lenten season, so keep that in mind -- and read this post from about it.

On Ash Wednesday, and all Fridays during Lent, Christians abstain meat and serve meatless meals for dinner; on the holiest days of the Lenten season, you are asked to fast; and during the 40 days, most Christians will give up something extremely enjoyable to them.

For me, it's chocolate; for that guy in 40 Days and 40 Nights, it was sex; for couples, it's decorating the church.

Everything You Need To Know About Getting Married During Lent

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A few years ago, I was out with my friend Nicole, blabbering about weddings, and she brought up no decorating during Lent. She had a friend who planned her wedding and church ceremony, all blind to the fact that her wedding was happening during Lent. And that meant no decorations at the church.

No white tulle pew bows. No flowers adorning the alter. Nope, nada, zippo, zilch.

On one hand, it sure saves a lot of money. Having a bow on every pew and a runner down the aisle can get expensive. So getting married during Lent eliminates those costs (and since it's a church mandated order, it stops you from looking cheap).

But, on the other hand, it might make your photos inside the church a little lackluster.

Pete and I planned a summer wedding, so this wasn't something we had to keep in mind, but it is just one small aspect of the wedding to think about that you didn't think you had to think about when the planning process started. That there are a ton of those sort of things.

And, think about this before you pick a date.

Ash Wednesday, Easter, and the Lenten season change each year. This year, it starts on February 22. Next year, it's Valetines Day. If you're planning a 2025 or 2026 wedding, check a calendar first.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when getting married during Lent, so let's chat about those.

What days during Lent can you get married?

The church will allow you to get married during Lent. The exceptions, though, are Good Friday and Holy Saturday (the Friday and Saturday before Easter). 

It's not a rule, per say, that you can't get married on Easter Sunday, but it is regarded as one of the holiest days in the church. So there's a very high chance that a priest won't allow an Easter Sunday wedding.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many churches will do Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings. So, if you're hoping for a Friday wedding, you may have to host it earlier than usual.

Can your wedding have a full Catholic mass during Lent?

You're going to want to check with your particular church on this, but some Catholic churches will not allow a full mass for your wedding if it's during Lent. This is to minimize the amount of celebrating you can do during the season.

Some churches will do a full Catholic mass but will skip the wine so you can have a "sober" mass. Personally, I don't agree with this because the wine is meant to be the blood of Christ, but the law was passed in Rome in the 1990's. And since I'm not getting remarried, and not in Rome for sure, my disagreement is naught. 

Can you have singing at your wedding during Lent?

This is another one that is up to the discretion of your church.

Some churches say that you can't have a full celebration during Lent. And celebrating includes singing. So the church may say that you can get married, but there cannot be any singing.

That's actually not just reserved to weddings. If you're planning a funeral during Lent, the church will say the funeral must take place with minimal fanfare, which means no singing.

One of the most important things for me was to have Ave Maria sang at our wedding. It was my grandma's favorite church song, and my parents had it sang (sung?) during their wedding ceremony. So it was important for me to have it sang (sung?) during our wedding.

A lack of singing would definitely have had me change our wedding date.

If singing during the ceremony isn't that important to you, then you don't have to worry about this.

What meals can you serve if you're getting married during Lent?

Getting married during Lent means that you may have to change your wedding menu.

For Christians, there's no meat on Friday. So if you're having a Saturday wedding, with a Friday rehearsal dinner, you want to make sure you're offering meatless options. And if you're having a Friday wedding, you want to keep this in mind for your wedding menu.

Maybe you don't observe Lent, so you're not worried about vegetarian dinners, but some of your guests will be. And you don't want them to feel uncomfortable -- or hungry.

You want to make sure that these meatless meals are also actually vegetarian. Soup sounds vegetarian, but many soups are made with beef or chicken broth, so Christians can't eat them.

Double and triple check with your caterer before choosing your menu.

BRIDAL BABBLE: What small detail did you not realize until after you were engaged? Let us know in the comments.


  1. To answer your question... how much work it is to actually plan a wedding. My husband & I were married 9 years ago and when I started looking at venues, decor, cakes, etc., I quickly realized that since it was a second marriage for us both, that we were much better off in just flying to the Bahamas and getting married. WAY cheaper and WAY less mental stress. I highly suggest it.
    :) gwingal

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Lisa -- this really isn't something you necessarily think about when planning a Catholic wedding. When my husband and I were married in January 2013, we were fortunate in that the church was still decorated for the Christmas season. Fortunately, most Catholic churches are gorgeous as it is and don't require much decorating, but it gives you something to think about!

    So nice to meet a fellow Catholic blogger! I just followed you on FB and would love to have you stop by Living Like Martha sometime!


  3. I was born and raised Catholic but never knew about the no decorations in the church rule. Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, have a great week and have a Happy Holiday.

  4. Wow! I had no idea either! i'm presbyterian, so we don't really "participate" in Lent like Catholics do -- this is VERY good to know! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMatters

  5. We were married during Lent 28 years ago and the church was very strict. However they did allow us to have one large tall pedestal arrangement near the altar. We made sure our bouquets were really large and beautiful, and honestly, no one seemed to notice. We also had lots of flowers at the reception. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope to see you again this week!