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Catholic Wedding Readings for Your Ceremony (& How to Include Them)

Published Friday, Aug. 19th, 2022

There are several reasons you may choose to add a traditional Catholic reading to your wedding ceremony. The first, of course, is because you yourself are Catholic and want your ceremony to reflect your beliefs and values. 


Religious readings are a simple way to infuse a wedding ceremony with familiar ritual and symbolism, even when it is held in a setting outside the church. Gardens, backyards, and other venues are transformed into sacred spaces through the delivery of these powerful verses.


But these passages aren’t only for practicing Catholics. You might include Biblical scripture in your ceremony as a way to honor the beliefs of family members, such as parents or grandparents, who have supported your relationship over the years. 


Related: Wedding Ceremony Tips: How to Compromise with Religious Relatives, for Non-Religious Couples


Adding a single reading at the start of an otherwise non-religious ceremony can be a fairly easy way to compromise with deeply religious relatives when you and your partner share different spiritual views. 


Traditional Biblical readings can also make perfect additions to interfaith or interdenominational Christian weddings, in order to celebrate the views of a Catholic partner. In these cases, you can add readings and traditions from both faiths throughout the ceremony, to create a custom experience that entertains and welcomes all guests.


Traditional Catholic weddings usually include three scripture readings, delivered by the officiant, following the welcome and opening prayer: 


  • The first reading is most commonly taken from the Old Testament 
  • The second reading is regularly taken from the New Testament
  • The third reading is usually taken from one of the four Gospels


These readings are chosen by the couple and their officiant to honor their views on the principles and blessings of marriage, and the role that faith places in the couple’s life. You’ll find some of the most common readings included below. 


For a full Catholic wedding ceremony script head here: 




a man and woman kissing on the wedding day, the man is facing away from the camera and the woman is facing forward, smiling



Catholic Wedding Readings from the Old Testament 


  • Genesis 2:18-24 

(New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, NRSVCE)


18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man[a] there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,


“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,[b]
    for out of Man[c] this one was taken.”


24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.



  • Tobit 8:4b-8



4 When the parents[a] had gone out and shut the door of the room, Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah,[b] “Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.” 5 So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias[c] began by saying,


“Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors,
    and blessed is your name in all generations forever.
Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you forever.
6 You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve
    as a helper and support.
    From the two of them the human race has sprung.
You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone;
    let us make a helper for him like himself.’
7 I now am taking this kinswoman of mine,
    not because of lust,
    but with sincerity.
Grant that she and I may find mercy
    and that we may grow old together.”

8 And they both said, “Amen, Amen.”



  • Song of Songs 2:8 -10, 14, 16a; 8:6 -7a 



The voice of my beloved!
    Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle
    or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
    behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
    looking through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away;

14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
    in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
    let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.

16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
    he pastures his flock among the lilies.

6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
    passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
    a raging flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
    neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
    all the wealth of one’s house,
    it would be utterly scorned.

Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16 B8

Happy is the husband of a good wife;
    the number of his days will be doubled.
2 A loyal wife brings joy to her husband,
    and he will complete his years in peace.
3 A good wife is a great blessing;
    she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.
4 Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
    and at all times his face is cheerful.



Close up photo of a brightly colored wedding bouquet in pinks and yellows, with two wedding rings sitting on the blossoms


Catholic Wedding Readings from the New Testament 


  • Romans 8:31-35



31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.[a] 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?



  • Ephesians 4:1-6



4 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.



  • Colossians 3:12 -17



12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord[a] has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ[b] dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.[c] 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.



  • 1 John 3:18-24



18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.



This photo shows the festive receiving line at the end of a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are kissing, with friends and family lined up on either side of them to form an aisle


Catholic Wedding Readings from the Gospel


  • Matthew 5:13-16



13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.



  • John 15:9-12



9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.


12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.



  • John 15:12-16



12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants[a] any longer, because the servant[b] does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.


These standard scripture readings have been compiled from Church-approved wedding resources, including the Selection of Readings for Weddings, presented by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, in Peoria, Illinois. Follow this link for a full list of these and other commonly used readings.



Browse all Wedding Readings


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‘Interfaith’ and ‘interspiritual’ weddings sound similar… But what do these words really mean, and how are they different? Learn more: An Intro to Interfaith & Interspiritual Wedding Ceremonies



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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