For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Catholic Wedding Q&A

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

Can we use non-Scriptural readings in our Catholic wedding?

Some engaged couples consider supplying their own readings for their wedding: a favorite poem, the lyrics from a significant song, excerpts from a novel, and so on. Usually the couple reason that a non-Scriptural reading of their own choosing is just as meaningful to them as one from the Bible, if not more so. Although such readings may be meaningful to the couple, the Church does not allow non-Scriptural readings to substitute for the readings supplied by The Order for Celebrating Matrimony or the Lectionary for Mass.

Why not? Well, for starters, a Catholic wedding is a celebration of the whole faith community, so it makes sense to choose readings that belong to the whole faith community, not just the couple. More importantly, though, in a Catholic wedding the couple and the whole Church recognize that it is ultimately the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, who seals the covenant that the couple make (Catechism #1624). So at a Catholic wedding, God should be at the top of the guest list. One of the many ways that God is present at the wedding is through the reading of the Scriptures—the Word of God. The Church believes that it is Christ himself who speaks when the Scriptures are read (Catechism #1088).

Other texts may have special meaning for you as a couple; you might even hear God speaking to you through them. Even so, it is through the Scriptures that God has chosen to speak to all believers for the sake of their salvation (Catechism #105-108).

So think of the Scriptures as a way for Christ to speak to you —and your guests— in a special way on your wedding day. That doesn't mean you have to ditch your other readings; consider including them in the printed program, or reading them sometime during the reception.

For more information

Choosing Scripture readings
Unless you are celebrating your wedding on a Sunday or on a holy day of obligation, you have the option of choosing the Scripture readings for your wedding. Read about how to choose readings for your wedding, link to a list of readings provided by The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, and find useful resources for your lectors (readers).

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