Planning your Catholic wedding: A checklist
Congratulations on your engagement! Your parish will be happy to help you plan your wedding. This website can help, too, by giving you an idea of what to expect. Use this step-by-step checklist as a guide to planning your Catholic wedding:
- Are you ready for marriage?
- Can you be married in the Catholic Church?
- The engagement: A time of spiritual preparation
- Blessing your engagement
- Marriage preparation requirements
- Pre-marriage inventories
- Marriage preparation programs
- Natural Family Planning (NFP)
- Who will preside at the wedding?
- 'Catholic wedding priest' ads
- Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass
- Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass
- Order of Celebrating Matrimony between a Catholic and a Catechumen or a Non-Christian
- Review your options for the readings
- Choose qualified readers (lectors) to proclaim the Word of God
- What is God saying to you in the readings?
- The text of the readings suggested by the Order of Celebrating Matrimony
- Work with your parish music minister
- Three criteria for choosing Catholic wedding music
- Find musicians
- Decide when music will be used in the wedding liturgy
- Choose songs, hymns, and other music
- Can we write our own Catholic wedding vows?
- Before the vows: Stating your intentions
- Choose from two versions of the vows
- Decide whether to memorize the vows
- Decide whether to have a song or acclamation after the vows
- Bride and Groom
- The wedding party
- Lectors (readers)
- Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
- Gift bearers
- Altar servers
- Flower girls and ring bearers
- Greeting the guests
- Greeting the assembly
- The wedding procession
- Prayer of the Faithful
- Prayers and blessings
- Unity candle
- Prayer before the Virgin Mary
- Plan your wedding first
- Decide who will create and print your Catholic wedding programs
- Create a wedding program that encourages participation
- Don't forget the service music
- Catholic wedding program templates
For more information
Look here if you have specific questions that aren't covered in the planning section.
Look here for an index of topics covered on Catholic Wedding Help.
This website deserves a bookmark for its wealth of marriage-building tools: blogs, daily marriage tips, personal stories, videos, marriage inventories, and links to resources in your area, just to name a few. And it's sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops' pastoral initiative on marriage.
The Catholic Wedding Book: A Complete Guidebook for Brides, Grooms, and their Parents by Molly K. Hans and Fr. William C. Graham
"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."
Together for Life by Fr. Joseph M. Champlin
The classic Catholic wedding planning booklet: all the prayers, blessings, and scriptural texts with commentaries, at a really inexpensive price. Includes a four-page planning worksheet.
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."
Handbook of Church Music for Weddings by Mary Beth Kunde Anderson and David Anderson (©2007, 47 pages, Liturgy Training Publications)
Although this book was written for those in the Church who work with couples planning their wedding, couples may find it useful for what its publisher describes as "...an extensive list of congregational psalms, acclamations, hymns and songs." Order it from Amazon by clicking on the title above.
Your Catholic Wedding: A Complete Planbook by Rev. Chris Aridas (197 pages, ©2000, Crossroad Publishing)
A thorough guide to planning your Catholic wedding; according to the publisher, it provides "the entire liturgical rite with options, practical details of church arrangements, an insightful commentary, and valuable checklists." Examples of chapter titles include:
The only Spanish-English bilingual edition of the Catholic marriage rite available in the United States
Christ on Your Guest List by Renee de Burgh
Like many wedding planning workbooks, this one helps couples plan the details of their engagement period and wedding day with checklists and worksheets and exercises. Unlike other wedding planning workbooks, however, this one approaches all those details through the lens of Catholic faith. The authors repeatedly challenge couples to ask, "What's really important in all this?" So, for example, they not only provide practical guidance and tools for creating a guest list, but also include a "letter" from Jesus encouraging parents of the bride and groom to focus on welcoming guests in prayer. Quotes and anecdotes extend and illustrate the theme of each section. Chapter titles include "Budgeting for Matrimony, not Mater-Money"; "Free from Human Expectations: Etiquette, Feelings, and Other Rough Waters"; and "Parties." From the publisher: "Instead of the "perfect" day, let's plan the Christ-centered day. Grooms and Brides can say good-bye to etiquette, -zilla's, must-have's, perfection and debt. Embrace your dignity as an engaged couple and learn communication, unity, and decision-making skills that not only will help you center all the details on Christ, but also will prepare you for marriage. This book is not intended to replace any portion of the Pre-Cana preparations required of engaged couples seeking the sacrament of Matrimony. Many Pre-Cana instructors provide ample resources for couples to plan the wedding ceremony; this book aims at planning everything else." 196 pages.