Fifteen points for a holy wedding
January 1, 2019 | Wedding guidelines
- The engaged couple are to contact the priest and parish at least six months prior to their desired wedding date.
- Weddings during the regularly scheduled Sunday Masses are legitimate. This encourages greater participation in this sacrament by both the invited guests and the local community.
- Regarding the selection of chants, no. 30 of the Introduction specifies that the music (sung and instrumental) “should be appropriate and should express the faith of the Church, with attention paid to the importance of the Responsorial Psalm within the Liturgy of the Word.”
- An entrance chant (hymn, song, refrain) is prescribed; this may take place after the procession.
- All music in the church building is to be sacred music, including preludes: no ballads, pop, country, etc.
- The entrance procession should, if possible, include a crossbearer to help set a sacred tone for the ceremony.
- The entrance procession must never include children being pulled in a wagon; if children are not old enough to walk unassisted, in an orderly fashion avoiding distraction, they are not old enough for the procession.
- For the entrance procession, the assembly is to stand when the celebrant and ministers enter and remain standing for the entire wedding party.
- The processional music should be the same for everyone in the procession.There should be no change of music for the bride.
- The following are the options for the order of the procession: after seating of any grandparents and parents, the ministers process, followed by the wedding party with bridesmaids and groomsmen together; then:
- groom with parents; bride with parents; or,
- groom, then bride (with father); or,
- bride and groom together.
- The bride and groom are to stand, sit and kneel together with the assembly.
- The use of secular symbols (e.g., the unity candle, unity sands, etc.) are not permitted in Catholic liturgies. Such symbols may be used outside the liturgy, e.g., at the wedding reception.
- There is not to be a “song of peace” as part of the Sign of Peace and before the singing/reciting of the Lamb of God.
- At Mass, if the couple desire to take flowers to Mary, this may be done after the distribution of Holy Communion with a hymn to Mary (understood as the meditation hymn after Communion). At a wedding without Communion, this may be done after the blessing and giving of rings (or after the blessing of arras) with the hymn to Mary in the place of the optional “hymn or canticle of praise” (cf. The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, no. 102).
- Because matrimony is a sacrament of the church, the normal setting for a wedding is where the church gathers to celebrate the sacraments, namely inside a Catholic church. The exception for this would be when there is an outdoor altar that has been blessed and is where the Eucharist is celebrated at least occasionally. Examples of this are the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church in Laurie, or the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg.