In helping engaged couples plan their wedding liturgies, the intersection of the Eucharist with a non-Catholic groom or bride is always a troubling point. I say this not because it becomes a bone of contention between couple and Church–that’s a rarity in my experience. The trouble is being confronted with the fruits of Christian disunity. Many Catholics, even those marginally tied to the Church, often approach the sacrament of Marriage with a desire to celebrate the Eucharist as part of their ritual. This is a good thing.
Many “ecumenical” couples share a deep faith in Christ, yet that often intensifies the situation in which Catholics cannot share the Eucharist with other believers.
Over the years, I’ve worked with priests who have had either an open practice, a closed one (discouraging the celebration of Mass outright) or a more creative one. One of the ideas of the latter category:
When belief is strong and the Catholic spouse-to-be and family are deeply devoted, I would suggest a Mass of Thanksgiving before or after the wedding for the couple and Catholic family. In one parish, the pastor suggested this for the Saturday morning of the wedding. It worked well, I thought, to include the parish daily Mass community, the bride’s Catholic family, and the groom’s family, too. It is possible to include a blessing for an engaged couple. In fact, I think this would be a good general suggestion for any time during the engagement period. Why should the celebration of marital love be limited to just one Mass?