“Ask a Priest: Can a Non-Virgin Wear White at Her Wedding?”

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Q: I have seen everyone using white dresses for weddings, yet when a woman is not pure (virgin), can she marry dressed in white? I just feel it is not the most adequate thing to do, since one should be honest with oneself. If I had one encounter with an ex-boyfriend and now am civilly married to another man, what color can I wear in a Church wedding? There are many opinions about the topic, and I do not want to disrespect God if it is not proper to wear white. Thanks. – L.G.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Your question shows a degree of delicacy and honesty in your thinking.

That is a good sign, and probably part and parcel of your apparent desire to have your marriage convalidated (“blessed”) by the Church.

As for a white wedding dress: The Church has no rules on this topic. The dress, in any case, should be modest.

A woman is under no obligation to broadcast to the world that she isn’t a virgin when she goes up the aisle. That is ultimately a private matter between her and God and possibly her husband-to-be. That is why solid preparation before a wedding should include a good confession.

In any case, convalidation ceremonies tend to be more low-key events. Maybe the attire can be appropriately discreet, too.

The best thing would be to contact your pastor. He could explain the steps for a convalidation.

In the meantime, try to live separate from your partner if possible, or at least live as brother and sister.

It would help to intensify your prayer life, too, so that you and he can help each other grow in holiness.


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