The Wedding Ritual: Above All it is a Worship Service

A wedding is a time when Christians gather to praise God who has called a man and a woman together in Holy Matrimony. As in any worship service, the ceremony should be planned with great care. We offer these guidelines to assist you in this careful and prayerful planning of your wedding day.

 

Catholic weddings are both the couple’s day and the Church’s day. The Wedding Ceremony is uniquely personal because of each couple’s distinctive approach in celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage. As Liturgy, the wedding ceremony should embody and proclaim Christian faith and call the Christian assembly to worship.

 

In planning your wedding ceremony, great care should be taken to creatively blend the intensity of your love for each other and the richness of the Catholic liturgy. This can be best accomplished if the priest, the musicians and the couple work closely together in assembling your Wedding Ritual.

 

In order to assist you in choosing the various options allowed during a Marriage liturgy (i.e., readings, marriage vows, prayers to the Blessed Virgin, etc.), you will receive a book entitled “Together for Life”. This book contains all the readings, prayers, and blessings that may be used for your wedding. In the back of this book are a few checklists which you may find helpful in planning your Wedding Liturgy. You are encouraged to choose your selections so that your liturgy may best reflect the relationship that the two of you have built with each other.

 

The Sacrament of Marriage, whether at Mass or at a Scripture Service, is celebrated after the reading of the Gospel and the Homily. Please keep in mind that all liturgical celebrations in the Church are first and foremost acts of worship to God our Creator, through the Son, in union with the Holy Spirit. Secondly, the Marriage Rite celebrated in the Church accomplishes a work commanded by God, namely, the union of man and woman in the Holy Bond of Matrimony.

 

Music

Our Director of Music Ministry will assist you in selecting music for your Wedding Liturgy. Approximately 1 to 3 months prior to your wedding, you should contact the Director of Music Ministry to set up a consultation to go through the attached document and make final musical determinations. Please see the attached document for assistance in selecting music.

 

The Director of Music Ministry is the primary musician for parish celebrations and is capable of singing and playing for your wedding. If, however, you desire to have any outside musicians collaborate for your wedding (as a vocalist, instrumentalist, or organist), you must first obtain the approval of the Director of Music. When securing outside musicians, it is important to make sure that you have at least one person who can play the organ/piano and a cantor (vocalist) who can lead the assembly in song. It is possible that one musician can sing and play, but it is necessary to have the instrumental and vocal music leadership represented. Visiting organists and vocalists must have a thorough knowledge of Catholic liturgy and music in order to properly integrate the music into your Wedding Liturgy.

 

The stipend for the Director of Music Ministry as the primary musician includes consultation on the selection of music, the execution of the music during the wedding ceremony, 10-15 minutes of prelude music, 5-10 minutes of postlude music, and up to 30 minutes on the wedding date reserved for rehearsal with outside musicians. These stipends are due to the Ministry Center office one week prior to your wedding. If visiting musicians will be collaborating with our Director of Music and require more than 30 minutes of rehearsal, there is also an hourly rate for this additional rehearsal time. If you have a visiting organist providing the music for your wedding, there will be a bench fee of $125 paid to the Director of Music Ministry above and beyond any stipends charged by the visiting organist. This is to ensure the presence of the Director of Music Ministry at your Wedding Liturgy to help with equipment and address any other questions or issues. The Director of Music Ministry can assist you with the contracting of other professional musicians (violin, trumpet, flute, etc.). Non-parish musicians establish their own stipend schedules.

 

Order of Service

If you are planning an Order of Service for your Wedding, most of the information can be taken from “Together for Life”. Other information used for the worship booklet can be taken from this section.

 

You can print the program yourself on your computer or have it printed at a quick copy center. You can find samples of Wedding Orders of Service and many styles of covers on the Internet. Here is a sample outline to assist you designing your Wedding Order of Service:

Entrance Procession (List Hymn and perhaps order of procession)
Gloria
Opening Prayer  
Old Testament Reading (List Scripture and Reader)
Responsorial Psalm (List Hymn)
New Testament Reading (List Scripture and Reader)
Gospel Acclamation (List Hymn)
Gospel (List Scripture)
Exchange of Consent or Wedding Vows  
Blessing of Rings  
Prayer of the Faithful (List Reader)
Presentation of Gifts (List Hymn and Presenters)
Prayer over Gifts
Eucharistic Prayer  
Memorial Acclamation  
Lord’s Prayer  
Nuptial Blessing  
Sign of Peace  
Reception of Eucharist  (List Hymn)
Prayer after Communion
Prayer or Hymn to Our Blessed Mother  (List Hymn)
Final Blessing
Presentation of the Couple  
Recessional  (List Hymn)