Catholic Wedding Q&A
Do we have to celebrate Mass during our Catholic wedding?
No. The Church encourages couples to celebrate the sacrament of marriage within the Mass, especially if both people are Catholic, but sometimes it makes more sense to celebrate without a Mass. In fact, The Order of Celebrating Matrimony contains options for doing so. Celebrating a Catholic wedding without Mass is advised when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic (The Order of Celebrating Matrimony #36). This is in part because the person who is not Catholic will not be able to receive the Eucharist except in extreme cases (Canon 844 § 3). When a Catholic marries a person who has not been baptized, the order of celebrating marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptized person is used.
The expectation, however, is that a wedding between two Catholics will normally take place within the Mass (The Order of Celebrating Matrimony #29). In marriage, two people pledge to give all of themselves to one another forever. This mutual self-giving is strengthened through God's grace, which was poured out in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage together with the Sacrament of the Eucharist is a good way to remember the essential connection between the marriage covenant and the New Covenant established in Jesus Christ.
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Choosing the form of your wedding
As you begin planning your wedding, one of the first things you will discuss with the priest or deacon at your parish is which form of the Rite of Marriage you will use during your wedding. Here are the three basic options.