Catholic weddings are rich in history but are more than just a few Bible readings and an officiating priest. If you're new to the religious scripts, it's easy to become lost in translation with so many faith-based rituals and subtleties. Fortunately, we are here to help break down the crucial components of a catholic wedding program's rituals and traditions. You'll know what to expect when you sit in that pew, whether you're a bride-to-be or a wedding guest; here is everything you need to know about a catholic wedding and answers to the most frequently asked questions at the end. So, let's begin.
The processional determines the order of sequence: The groom and best man are the first to enter the Church from the side. The bridesmaids and groomsmen go up the aisle together, followed by the maid of honor, who enters alone. Last, the bride and groom (or another male family member) make their grand entry.
According to Stephanie Calis (author of "The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner" and a former professional speaker for Catholic Youth), the couple might also enter the Church with their wedding party and the minister without their parents. "These are historic Church customs that highlight the importance of the bride and groom's roles in the ritual," Calis explains. Regardless of the couple's choices, processional possibilities are all ethically neutral and a question of preference.
The priest welcomes the visitors and encourages everyone to sing an introductory hymn (or song), "Gloria." When the ceremony is finished, the priest will give an opening prayer for the newlyweds. The assembly stays standing from the processional through the song and opening prayer. They may take their seats when the priest completes his prayers.
The Liturgy of the Word consists of numerous readings from the Bible; the passages are selected by the priest or the couple, their close friends, or family members. It usually begins with the reading of an Old Testament chapter. Couples frequently choose a reading of Genesis, which tells the account of Adam and Eve's creation. Following that, the cantor and the entire congregation will speak or sing from the Book of Psalms.
Responsorial psalms are the congregation's answer to God's word, with the cantor singing the verses and the community responding (essentially the chorus). Following this, a friend or family member will read from the New Testament, and the priest will recite a portion from one of the Gospels. Following the readings is the sermon, in which the priest reflects on the texts pertaining to marriage. The congregation only stands for the gospel and sits for all other readings.
These are the promises. They act as a declaration of purpose and permission by each entity undergoing marriage ceremonies. The couple can remember and repeat the vows aloud, read the vows from a book, or have the priest read them and answer with "I do." The language used varies from Church to Church, although they all follow a similar pattern. Some priests may enable couples to make their vows or modify the usual ones. The congregation will remain standing during the Rite of Marriage, or vow exchange, and subsequent ring ceremony.
Following the vows, the rings will be exchanged and blessed as symbols of love and faithfulness by the priest. The ceremony will be completed when partners slide the ring onto their newlywed spouse's ring finger. The priest may ask the couple to kiss here, at the sign of peace, or at the end of the ceremony. The wedding coin exchange, known as Las arras matrimoniales, is another tradition practiced in many Catholic wedding programs worldwide.
If the couple chooses to have a nuptial mass, this is the point at which the wedding service begins to resemble a Sunday mass. This starts with preparing the altar for the Eucharistic Liturgy, or communion. Notable family members or close friends may be chosen in advance to help in the offertory or present bread and wine to the priest.
These gestures accompany an offertory song, and a collection, or basket for monetary gifts, is carried around the congregation. Following that, the priest will say the Eucharistic prayers. The Liturgy of the Eucharist consists of the priest saying the required words of the Church over the bread and wine (known as the consecration), which Catholics believe becomes Christ's flesh and blood. The congregation may sit for their offerings but kneel during the Eucharistic prayers.
The entire congregation stands and sings the Lord's Prayer together. The newlyweds will kneel before the altar to receive the priest's nuptial blessing. The congregation may participate in quiet prayer and bestow their blessings on the pair. The wedding party and guests then share a peace sign by shaking hands and saying, "Peace be with you."
Communion, also known as the Eucharist, commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus broke bread with his apostles before his death. Guests will leave their seats and form a queue in front of the priest to receive bread and wine. This tradition is only available to Catholics.
Non-Catholic visitors or those who are not ready to receive may step forward for a blessing, arms crossed over their chests, or opt to remain seated [or kneeling] and silently offer good thoughts or prayers for the newlyweds. Lining up in front of the priest with your arms crossed indicates that you cannot receive the consecration but can accept a blessing, avoiding confusion.
The guests will rise while the priest recites the last prayer or concluding ceremony and blesses the new union and the congregation. The marriage license may be signed at this time. However, this depends on the couple's choices. The priest will then dismiss the gathering.
The recessional, or exit from the ceremony, begins with the newlyweds and bridal party and proceeds in the reverse sequence of the processional. The recessional may occasionally include the ministers, typically performing to a song chosen by the couple. A wedding reception, or cocktail hour, will naturally begin soon after.
Here are a few answers to the most commonly asked questions, but feel free to modify and adapt them to your wedding needs!
A typical Catholic wedding ceremony involves a total mass and communion, which can last up to an hour. Some couples choose a Rite of the Marriage ceremony (which does not contain a liturgy). It can take up to 45 minutes.
A Catholic church is required for a genuinely Catholic wedding. Many dioceses need marriages in a physical church because they are "settings created for worship and prayer" that assure Jesus Christ's genuine presence. Some couples may prefer their wedding outdoors or at another destination, although exceptions are rare and far between.
You may create your program using a word document or by going to Canva.com for a more complex design. You may also utilize a VistaPrint service, which will raise your costs. Remember that printing in black and white is less expensive, so if you want to save money for other areas, you can use a completely black and white application. Remember that this is primarily to assist your guests in the Liturgy.
Suppose you are entirely DIYing your program and want to keep your expenses low. In that case, you can typically get your programs printed at an office supply store. You may also find numerous types of paper at the store. The cost may vary depending on the form you pick and whether you print in color or black and white.
Your Catholic wedding program should include information to assist your guests in worshiping alongside you. Because not all guests will be Catholic, having this will help them comprehend what is going on during your mass!
The first page is simple; you may put a photo of yourself on it or list your names. You should include:
On the next page, it is customary to list the names of essential persons in your wedding, such as parents, attendants, and celebrants. You should mention the following people: the Parents of the Bride, the Parents of the Groom, your Maid of Honor, your Best Man, the Bridesmaids, the Groomsmen, the Ushers, the Flower Girl/Ring Bearer, the Personal Attendant, and any Priests who will be presiding throughout your service.
Begin listing the mass order on the following page:
Feel free to condense the list and merge necessary things to conserve space. It will be better to provide a list of your program's music and reading citations.
Whether you are anticipating non-Catholic guests at your wedding, it is a good idea to check in with your priest at your wedding rehearsal and ask him if he usually makes a statement about communion. Many priests have already planned to inform people about the connection and who should receive it. It is also a good idea to explain briefly in your software to avoid misunderstanding. You can either take the text below or create something similar in your own words:
"As Catholics, we have the faith that the bread and wine served was converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, our Lord and Savior. We ask all Catholics in good standing with the Church to come forward and receive. If you are not Catholic or do not desire to accept, you may come forward with your arms folded across your chest for a blessing or simply sit."
At the end of your overview of the mass, include reception information so that guests know where your reception will be located. Fill in any additional required data, such as if you will have a receiving line when the reception begins, and so on. You may also opt to provide your visitors with a brief letter of thanks.
Although it was not strictly essential, we wanted to promote full participation in our mass by including the words to the congregational songs in our program. It's optional, but it's a lovely touch if you want to encourage folks to sing along with you! We took this decision since we didn't know what the song number would be and tried to make it simple for our visitors!
BridalFusion.com hopes you've got some inspiration for your program from this post, and we congratulate you on your upcoming nuptials!