Traditional elements of Catholic wedding include readings rituals from the Bible and the presence of an officiating priest. Still, these wedding ceremonies involve much more than just those two elements alone. If you are not familiar with religious scripts, it is easy to get a little bit confused in translation because there are so many wedding rituals and complexities that are based on different faiths.
Fortunately, there are certain elements that you’ll see over and over again, so we’ve enlisted the assistance of a Catholic wedding expert to help us dissect those important components. When you take a seat in that pew at the wedding, whether you are the future bride or a wedding guest at the wedding celebration, you will be fully aware of what to anticipate.
Continue reading to learn the most important aspects of a Catholic wedding event.
The Priest’s Greeting
Following the completion of the opening hymn (or song), which is typical “Gloria,” the priest will give an opening prayer for the newlyweds. The priest will then greet the wedding guests and encourage all of the guests to participate in singing an opening hymn (or song). The procession is followed by a hymn and an opening prayer, all of which are performed while everyone in attendance remains standing. After the priest has finished speaking, everyone should feel free to take a seat.
The vows are as follows. They are meant to serve as a declaration of intent as well as consent by each entity that is undergoing the marriage rites. It is possible for the pair to commit the vows to memory and then recite them to one another, read the vows from the book, or have the priest read them while the couple responds with “I do.” While the precise wording may change from one church to the next, the overall structure is typically the same. There are some priests who will let couples make their own vows or allow them to add a few lines to the ones that have traditionally been used. The gathering will remain standing during the entirety of the Rite of Marriage, also known as the exchanging of vows, as well as the subsequent ring ceremony.
Following the recitation of the vows, the rings will be traded, and the priest will bless them as a sign of the couple’s love and commitment to one another. The ceremony will be considered complete once both partners have placed their respective rings on the ring finger of their newlywed partner. The priest could invite the couple to exchange a kiss here, during the sign of peace, or at the completion of the ceremony. The giving and receiving of wedding coins, also known as las arras matrimoniales, is another regional ritual.
This is the point in the ritual where the nuptial mass if the couple has chosen to have one, begins to feel more like a traditional Sunday mass. The first step is to get the altar ready for the Eucharist, or the Liturgy of the Eucharist. An offertory, or the offering of gifts of bread and wine to the priest, is a ritual that can be performed by a member of the church or by a special family member or close friend who has been selected in advance.
During these procedures, a basket for monetary gifts is passed around the crowd as an offertory song is sung. The Eucharistic prayers will then be spoken by the priest. In the Eucharistic Liturgy, the bread and wine are consecrated by the priest while he prays in the official language of the Christian church (called the consecration). To Catholics, this is the moment when Jesus’ flesh and blood are truly present. The crowd will kneel for the Eucharistic prayers but may sit during the gift presentation.
Lord’s Prayer and Peace Sign
Everyone in attendance rises to their feet and joins in reciting or singing the Lord’s Prayer together in unison. After that, the newlyweds would get down on their knees in front of the altar to receive the priest’s blessing on their marriage. The group may choose to say a prayer in silence while also offering their own blessings to the newlyweds. After that, the wedding party and guests give each other a gesture of peace by shaking hands and saying, “Peace be with you.”
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Frequently asked questions
What is involved in a Catholic wedding?
Three biblical readings, the exchanging of vows and rings, the Prayer of the Faithful, the blessing of the marriage, prayers, and suitable music are all included in the service. Tradition and liturgy play significant roles in the Roman Catholic wedding ceremony.
Who walks down the aisle, and in what order is Catholic?
Starting with the guests who will stand the furthest away from the bride and groom, the bridesmaids and groomsmen move down the aisle in pairs, with the groomsman on the right and the bridesmaid on the left. The two split ways when they get to the end of the aisle.
How long is a typical Catholic wedding?
A conventional Catholic wedding service lasts up to an hour and includes a full mass and communion. Some couples decide against having a mass and only have a Rite of the Marriage ceremony. It may go on for 30 to 45 minutes.
How many bridesmaids are in a Catholic wedding?
You only need 3 bridesmaids for the Catholic church wedding, despite the fact that many upcoming brides receive extra bridesmaids since they have a large family or numerous friends.