For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Wedding Topics

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

Order of a wedding between a Catholic and an unbaptized person

Here is the order of a wedding between a Catholic and an unbaptized person. At the bottom of this page, you'll find some notes for using this chart, as well as links to the order for alternate forms of the Rite of Marriage.

The Order of Celebrating Matrimony Between a Catholic and a Catechumen or a Non-Christian

 

Rite of Reception

Stand

wedding-music

For more about the entrance procession, see "The wedding procession."

Entrance Rite

The assembly stands. The entrance song is sung while the presider (priest or deacon), ministers (e.g., lectors, altar servers), and the wedding party take their places. The Order for Celebrating Matrimony suggests two forms for this (#119): the presider in vestiments proper to the liturgy greet the bridal party at the door of the Church then all enter in procession (the ministers go first, followed by the priest, then the bride and bridegroom, possibly proceeded by their parents and the two witnesses); or the priest and servers go to the place in the sanctuary prepared for the couple or to his chair, ready to greet the couple when they arrive at their place. In both forms, the presider then addresses the couple about the significance of this celbration of Marriage. The Rite of Reception or Entrance Rite may be omitted if circumstances suggest it. Discuss this with your presider.

 

 Greeting

The priest greets the assembly, and the people respond.

 

Liturgy of the Word

Sit

To view reading options, see "Options for the First Reading."

First Reading

The first reading (from the Old Testament) is proclaimed by the lector. At the conclusion of the reading, the lector says, "The Word of the Lord," and the assembly responds, "Thanks be to God."

wedding-music

To view reading options, see "Options for the Responsorial Psalm."

Responsorial Psalm

The cantor or choir sings a psalm, and the assembly sings the response.

To view options for the Second Reading, see "Options for the Second Reading."

Second Reading

The second reading (from a book of the New Testament other than the Gospel) is proclaimed by the lector. At the conclusion of the reading, the lector says, "The Word of the Lord," and the assembly responds, "Thanks be to God."

Stand

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To view options for the Gospel Acclamation, see "Alleluia Verse and Verse Before the Gospel."

Gospel Acclamation

The assembly stands. A cantor leads the assembly in singing the Gospel Acclamation, usually the Alleluia (except during Lent, when another acclamation is used).

To view options for the first reading, see "Options for the Gospel Reading."

Gospel

The priest (or deacon) proclaims the Gospel. At the conclusion, he says, "The Gospel of the Lord," and the assembly responds, "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ." The assembly sits.

Sit

Homily

The priest (or deacon) offers a homily drawn from the Scripture readings. According to the Rite of Marriage, "He speaks about the mystery of Christian marriage, the dignity of wedded love, the grace of the sacrament and the responsibilities of married people, keeping in mind the circumstances of this particular marriage."

 

Celebration of Matrimony

Follow this link for the complete text of the Celebration of Matrimony.

Stand

View the text of the address and statement of intent.

Address and Statement of Intentions

All stand, including the bride and groom and witnesses. The presider asks the couple questions to state their intentions about their freedom of choice, fidelity to each other, and the acceptance and upbringing of children (unless the couple are beyond the child-bearing years). The bride and groom respond to each question separately "I have" or "I am."

View the text of the consent and exchange of vows.

For more information on the vows, see "Catholic Wedding Vows" and "Can we write our own vows?"

Optional wedding music


 

Exchange of Consent

The priest invites the couple to declare their consent to be married, which they do by stating their marriage vows. The Order of Celebrating Matrimony offers four different options for the vows.

After the exchange of vows and the presider receives the couple's consent all present praise God in a brief spoken or sung acclamation.

View the text of the blessing and giving of rings.

Optional wedding music
 

Blessing and Giving of Rings

The presider blesses the wedding rings through prayer and the sprinkling of holy water. The husband places his wife's ring on her finger, and the wife places her husband's ring on his finger. The Order of Celebrating Matrimony provides options for the blessing of the rings as well as the exchange of arras (coins) according to local custom. While not specifed in the ritual text, local custom may include the exchange of a kiss.

For more information, see "The Universal Prayer (general intercessions) at a Catholic wedding."

The Universal Prayer

The Universal Prayer, sometimes referred to as the Prayer of the Faithful or General Intercessions, is read by a lector, cantor, or another designated person. The reader usually offers each intercession ("For ..., we pray to the Lord.") and the assembly responds with an appropriate response, such as, "Lord, hear our prayer."

View the text of the three options for the Nuptial Blessing.

Nuptial Blessing

The presider faces the couple and prays over them. The Rite of Marriage provides three different options for the Nuptial Blessing.

 

Concluding Rite

Optional wedding music

The Lord's Prayer

The assembly prays or sings together the Lord's Prayer (the Our Father).


Optional wedding music

View the text of the four options for the Blessing.

Blessing

The priest prays a solemn blessing over the married couple; the whole assembly participates in the blessing by repeatedly responding, "Amen." Optionally, the blessing may be sung. In some places, the couple is invited to exchange a kiss after the blessing.

 

Dismissal

The priest dismisses the assembly, which responds, "Thanks be to God."

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Recessional

The couple, the bridal party, the ministers, and the priest process out of the church, usually accompanied by a song or instrumental music.

Explanatory notes

  • In the right-hand column, the different parts of the Mass are presented in the order in which they occur, along with a brief explanation (set in italics) of each part.
  • In the left-hand column, you'll find indications of when to sit, stand, or kneel, along with links to more detailed information about that particular part of the liturgy. A musical note wedding-music indicates that music usually accompanies a particular part. A gray musical note Optional wedding music  indicates that music may accompany a particular part of the liturgy (check with your parish music minister).
  • The order presented here is for the United States. The order differs slightly in other countries and regions, depending on adaptations made by local bishops' conferences.

For more information

Order of a Catholic wedding ceremony during Mass
A step-by-step walk through the complete order of the Catholic wedding Mass.

Order of a Catholic wedding ceremony outside Mass
A step-by-step walk through the complete order of a Catholic wedding outside of Mass.

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.

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