Wedding Ceremony

Catholic Wedding Overview

(  )  indicates optional

General Details

As one is facing the altar,

  • as the wedding party is processing down the aisle, women are on the left, men on the right.
  • the bride’s side is on the left.
    • Grandparents and parents of the bride will sit in the 2nd pew on the left.
    • Bride’s maids will sit in the 1st pew on the left.
  • the groom’s side on the right.
    • Grandparents and parents of the groom will sit in the 2nd pew on the right.
    • Groom’s men will sit in the 1st pew on the right.


A time when music is played as preparation of the audience for the ceremony’s beginning.

(Seating of Grandparents)

Seat the bride’s grandparents first, followed by the groom’s.

(Seating of Parents)

The groom’s mother (and father) is seated first while the bride’s mother is always seated last, signaling the ceremony is about to start. Brothers of the married couple typically seat their mothers. If unavailable, the head usher can do it.

Entrance Rite

  • Procession of Bridal Party (a song is included here, preferably an instrumental w/o words)
  • Procession of the Bride  (a  song is included here, preferably an instrumental w/o words)
  • Welcome
  • Gloria
  • Opening Prayer

Liturgy of the Word

  • First Reading
  • Responsorial Psalm  (sung rather than spoken).  “Please respond at the refrain.”
  • Second Reading
  • Gospel Acclamation  (sung)
  • Gospel   [Deacon or Priest reads]
  • Homily

Rite of Marriage

  • Statement of Commitment
  • Exchange of Vows
  • (Lighting of the Unity Candle – a SHORT song [2 verses] may be included here; preferably instrumental music)
  • Prayers of the Faithful: “Please respond, ‘Lord, hear our prayer.’ “
  • Lord’s Prayer

Concluding Rite

  • Nuptial Blessing
  • Final Blessing
  • (Recessional – instrumental music only)

The Detailed View

Readings & Intercessions

Please find 1-3 lectors.  Since it is a Catholic wedding the readers need to be Catholic, that is a practicing Catholic in good standing that is familiar with Mass.  “In good standing” means that the lector is attending weekly Mass, and neither civilly married outside the Church nor cohabitating.  It should not be someone’s first time to lectoring.  If you cannot find a lector, let the presider of the ceremony know.The lectors(s) do the 1st Reading, Psalm (if the cantor doesn’t do it), 2nd Reading, & General Intercessions.  The deacon/priest reads the Gospel.

Examples of Reading Choices:




If there are any particular people you want to pray for during the General Intercessions please let the presider know during the rehearsal.  Special intercessions are not mandatory.  But one could include deceased family members, the sick, special causes (military, organizations), etc…


Musicians are up to you to find. Music should be classy and “churchy”.  No country western songs. Classical music is okay. Music must always be “live” and never a recording.  The pastor (not the presider) of where the ceremony is to be held has ultimate approval over questionable music and the ceremony as a whole.

Local Musicians for Catholic Weddings

NameWorship SiteEmail AddressPhone Number

Lisa Gronstal St. Patrick 402-515-3019
Kendra (& Bob) Stephany Corpus Christi/Holy Family 712-322-2065



Wedding between two Catholics:  A Mass is expected.Wedding between a Catholic & non-Catholic:  A wedding with Mass is an option, but in this case it is generally considered more appropriate to not have a Mass.  See “unity candle” below.

Civil License:  DO NOT forget to get your civil marriage license a week before the wedding day.  Bring it to the rehearsal.  If there is no civil license to complete, there can be no wedding.

Videos / Photos:  Videographers & photographers during the wedding are permitted, however, they are to be discreet and as unnoticeable as possible. They are not allowed into the sanctuary, that is, not past the pew closest to the altar.  Unfortunately, they are often too intrusive.  They need to talk with the presider prior to the liturgy.  Pictures are okay, but with respectful discretion rather than paparazzi zeal.

Unity Candles:  Unity candles are not technically a part of the Catholic wedding.  Unity candles began appearing within Protestant weddings as a way to extend the length of the ceremony.  Unity candles began creeping into Catholic weddings as Catholics more and more began marrying non-Catholic Christians.  It is up to the pastor (not the presider) of the church where the wedding is to occur to decide about the use of a unity candle.  As far as I am concerned, a unity candle can be used for weddings at St. Patrick’s; because it is a devotion and the connotation of light to the grace of God is mentioned throughout the bible.

Sand:  Sand and the mixing of sand is ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED and not scriptural.  In fact, the bible talks about “a house built on sand will not stand” (Mt 7:24-29).  So don’t even ask about using sand.

Reconciliation:  Couples are not to forget about the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Marriage.  If Fr. Glen is doing the wedding rehearsal, the engaged couple IS EXPECTED to show up the DAY BEFORE THE REHEARSAL to do Reconciliation.  All in the wedding party are encouraged to use the Sacrament, too.

Location:  Catholics must get married at a church.  Permission can be granted to have the wedding at a non-Catholic church.  Generic wedding chapels, backyards, rental halls, county courthouses, the beach, and the like are NOT permitted for Catholics.  Catholic MUST be married in a church for the wedding to be a valid sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

Vows:  Vows must be those of the Catholic Marriage rite.  Writing personal vows is prohibited.  Such sentiments can be expressed later at the reception.

Liturgy:  First and foremost a Catholic wedding is the Church’s liturgy and not the personal property of the engaged.  Church rules must be followed.