Planning Your Catholic Wedding
Creating a Catholic wedding program
Wedding programs can be a great help to your guests—especially those who are not familiar with the Catholic liturgy, which encourages the active participation of everyone. Providing your guests with wedding programs that contain the service music and the assembly's responses can help them celebrate your wedding more fully.
Before you can create your wedding program, you need to know what will happen at your wedding—the order of service, the music selections, the readings, and so on. If you haven't figured out those details yet, consult the wedding planning steps listed in the left menu, and contact your parish for assistance.
Decide whether you want to create the wedding program yourself or with the help of a professional. Here are your options, listed in order from the cheapest (and most work on your part) to the most expensive (and easiest for you):
- If you're fairly handy with a word processor, you can create your own printed wedding programs and photocopy them yourself. Choose this option to save money or to add your own personal touch; for instance, you (or a friend) might use scrapbooking materials and tools to custom-make fancy wedding programs.
- Alternatively, you can purchase blank wedding programs on fancy paper—just stick them in your inkjet printer and go.
- Several online services allow you to upload the text of your wedding program, then choose a design and paper to print it on. The service mails you the printed copies.
- Numerous print vendors will lay out and print your wedding program for you, if you provide the text. Professional printers offer a wide variety of designs on fancy paper.
The point of creating a wedding program, especially when it comes to Catholic weddings, is to help your guests fully participate in the celebration. So rather than approaching the wedding program as a description of the ceremony, think of it as a sort of "script" that guides your guests as they fulfill their role in the celebration. How much detail you provide in that script is up to you. The Church provides no standard format for Catholic wedding programs. However, the Church does provide an "order" for the wedding liturgy that can form the basis of your wedding program. You can find links to pages describing the order of the wedding liturgy in its different forms in the For more information section at the bottom of this page.
Consider whether you want to include the service music. If all the music for your wedding can be found in the parish's hymnal, it would probably be easier to simply refer your guests to the hymnal. If you have chosen a variety of service music not found in the parish hymnal, though, you may want to include the music in your program. You can do this by scanning the music into your computer and then dropping it into the layout, or manually pasting a photocopy of the music into your master program before making copies of it. Be sure to secure reprint permission from the music publishers; your parish will be able to help you do this.
Find templates for Catholic wedding program at these links:
For more information
Use the following detailed descriptions of the wedding liturgy in order to create an even more detailed wedding program than the samples provided above:
The Order of Mass from the Roman Missal, Third Edition
From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is the complete order of Mass, including responses from the assembly. This would be a useful resource if you want to provide a very detailed wedding program, including all the parts of the Mass. See also the link below to get a summary of all the people's responses.
The People's Parts in the Order of Mass
From the USCCB. This document provides all of the people's responses during Mass, comparing the "old" responses to the "new" responses to be used after November 27, 2011. This is a useful document if you want to provide some or all of the assembly's responses in your program.
The Order of
At Catholic-Resources.org. An overview of the order of the Mass, including texts spoken by the assembly. You can draw on this resource if you want to develop a detailed program to encourage greater participation in your wedding Mass.
The following books all contain chapters on creating a Catholic wedding program, in addition to other wedding planning information.
Still one of the best Catholic wedding planning resources available, Celebrating Marriage is written by experts in the Catholic liturgy to help couples use sound liturgical and pastoral principles to make their wedding a more prayerful, celebratory experience for everyone involved. Chapter titles include "Age Old Traditions and Timely Advice," "The Ceremony: The Wedding Liturgy," "The Readings: The Lectionary for Marriage," "The Music for the Wedding Liturgy," "The Environment for the Wedding Liturgy." The appendices include "Preparing a Printed Program for the Wedding" and the text of the "Blessing of an Engaged Couple." 134 pages.
The Catholic Wedding Book: A Complete Guidebook for Brides, Grooms, and their Parents by Molly K. Hans and Fr. William C. Graham
Includes two sample wedding programs. From the publisher: "Easy reading for Catholics of all ages, The Catholic Wedding Book provides practical advice for planning a wedding liturgy and the text of all official forms, readings and prayers approved by the Church--everything you need to make your wedding joyful and meaningful." 245 pages.