The wedding liturgy is the most important part of your wedding day. This is the time when you promise to give yourselves to each other for life. It is more important than the reception, rehearsal dinner, or even what you will wear. It deserves your careful planning so that it is meaningful and memorable.

The Catholic Wedding Ceremony has two forms. Both have a Liturgy of the Word (Readings from Scripture) and Rite of Marriage (Vows). A Nuptial Mass also has a Liturgy of the Eucharist (Communion).

Generally speaking, the Wedding Ceremony has some flexibility to incorporate special cultural traditions. Whatever it is that you would like to include, your celebrant will be best placed to advise you on the appropriate time to incorporate those traditions.

Which form is right for you?

If both families are Catholics, many engaged couples choose the Nuptial Mass as the majority of their guests will be familiar with the Catholic traditions and will go to Communion. In this case, the celebrant must be a Priest and not a Deacon. When one fiancé is not Catholic many of the guests will not be Catholic, or the Catholic fiance is not an active Mass-goer, couples are usually directed to the Wedding Ceremony (without Communion) as they wish to begin their marriage in unity.

How to use this Page

This page is a general guide for planning a wedding. Your celebrant is the best person to answer any questions you have and advise you on parish policies around music, decorations, including non-catholic guests and incorporating important cultural traditions.

One of the most important selections you and your fiance will make is choosing the readings. They set the tone for the ceremony and proclaims God’s love for marriage and to your hopes for the first day of your marriage. Check with your celebrant about which translation to use for the scripture readings as this varies from country to country. Keep in mind, if you have your wedding on a Saturday night or Sunday, you may not be able to choose the readings, but use the readings from the Mass of that Weekend instead. Your celebrant can advise you of this.

The most important selection of the Ceremony is the Vows. These are the words by which the Sacrament of Marriage is conferred and so the Church does not allow a couple to write their own vows but does have some options to choose from in the wording and expressing them.

Use this as a basis for starting the conversation between you and your fiance about planning the wedding. If you can go to your celebrant with some things picked out, they will appreciate the initiative and help you with other details like the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Prayers of the Faithful.

Below is a PDF form for you to print out when planning your liturgy if you prefer working on paper.

The Catholic Wedding Ceremony

Catholic Nuptial Mass