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Traditional Catholic Wedding Ceremony Script

A traditional Catholic wedding ceremony script based on Catholicism's The Rite of Marriage, The Roman Ritual, and The Order of Celebrating Marriage. This religious wedding script contains all the usual components of the Catholic marriage rite (except communion), including scripture readings, prayers and blessings, an exchange of wedding vows, a statement of intention, pronouncement, and more. written by AMM Minister Paul Tedesco.

This traditional wedding ceremony script is written by AMM Minister Paul Tedesco and is based on Catholicism’s The Rite of Marriage, The Roman Ritual, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. 

 

This script follows a traditional order of service, and includes all of the usual components of a Catholic marriage, other than the celebration of the Eucharist (communion). Various options for inclusion (e.g., Suggestions for Catholic wedding songs and scripture readings, use of music, intercessory prayers, etc.) are included. 

 

From the author:

This traditional Catholic Wedding Ceremony Script is intended for a couple wherein one or both consider themselves Catholic and desire a Catholic-inspired wedding, but are marrying outside the Catholic church. It is designed for those for whom their faith and tradition are still real and important to them, and who wish to celebrate it in a form with which they are familiar and which resonates in a personal way.

 


ENTRANCE RITE

  • With appropriate instrumental musical accompaniment, the wedding party processes in a dignified manner from the church vestibule to the main altar.
  1. The mother of the groom, then the mother of the bride, are escorted from the vestibule to their seats.
  2. The Officiant processes from the sacristy to the front of the aisle before the altar
  3. followed by the groom, best man and groomsmen, who line up in order facing the center aisle, all facing the congregation. The Officiant should invite the congregation to stand.
  4. The bridesmaids slowly process to the front altar and line up in order on the opposite side of the groom, best man, and groomsmen.
  5. Ring bearer and flower girl process to their pre-arranged places.
  6. Maid/Matron of honor processes to the altar next to the bridesmaids.
  7. Bride processes to the altar, escorted by her father (or alternative escort), who, when arriving at the front, places her hand inside that of the groom.  
  8. The father / alternate then moves to his pre-arranged place.
  9. The entire wedding party faces the altar and Officiant.

SIGN OF THE CROSS & WELCOME

Officiant and Congregation 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

  • The Officiant welcomes the guests, reminding them that God is present and anxious to bless N. and N. as they begin their married life.

OPENING PRAYER 

Officiant to Congregation 

Now, let us pray… Father, you have made the bond of marriage a holy mystery, a symbol of Christ’s love for his Church. Hear our prayers for N. and N. With faith in you and in each other, they pledge their love today. May their lives always bear witness to the reality of that love.  

We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Congregation 

Amen.

The Officiant invites the congregation to be seated; Chairs or specified seating should be provided for all in the wedding party, facing the altar.

SCRIPTURE READINGS

  • It is appropriate and preferable that the couple choose readings from Sacred Scripture that convey what they believe God is saying to and about them and their marriage to each other. This should be done well before the wedding day.
  • There will be a First Reading, followed by (ideally) a sung Responsorial Psalm; a Second Reading, followed by (ideally) a sung ‘Alleluia’ verse; and a Gospel Reading.  
  • It is preferred that the couple, well beforehand, choose ‘readers’ for the first and second readings, who should proclaim them from the church’s pulpit or lectern.  
  • The Gospel should be proclaimed by the Officiant, also from the church’s pulpit or lectern.

+ Recommendations for choosing readers, as well as appropriate options for all Scripture readings, can be found here, as provided by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria: 

Selections of Readings for Weddings

FIRST SCRIPTURE READING

Reader 

A reading from the Book of _____________________.

  • The reader reads the chosen scripture. One suggestion, often popular among bridal couples, is the "Song of Songs," sometimes also called the "Song of Solomon," 2:8 -10, 14, 16a; 8:6 -7a, though the couple can choose any First Reading they'd like from the link above

Reader

(After proclaiming the reading)  The Word of the Lord.

Congregation

Thanks be to God.

RESPONSPORIAL PSALM

  • If sung, musicians will lead the congregation in sung response at the end of each verse.
  • If read by a chosen Reader, he/ she will invite the congregation to respond with the designated response at the end of each verse.

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING

Reader

A reading from the Book of _____________________.

  • The reader reads the chosen scripture. One popular suggestion is 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a, though the couple can choose any Second Reading they'd like from the link above

Reader

(After proclaiming the reading)  The Word of the Lord.

Congregation

Thanks be to God.

ALLELUIA VERSE 

  • The Officiant should invite the congregation to stand; If sung, musicians will lead the congregation in sung verse. If read, the Reader will invite the congregation to respond with the designated verse.


GOSPEL

Officiant

A reading from the Gospel according to _____________________.

  • The officiant reads the chosen scripture. One popular suggestion is Matthew 22:35-40, though the couple can choose any Gospel reading they'd like

Officiant

(After proclaiming the reading)  The Gospel of the Lord.

Congregation

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

  • The Officiant should invite the congregation to be seated.

HOMILY

  • The Homily is optional. 
  • If the Officiant desires and is qualified, he / she may preach a brief homily elucidating God’s word in the day’s chosen scripture readings, making clear connections to the institution of marriage, the lives of the bride and groom, and God’s and the church’s place therein.

INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS & QUESTIONING BEFORE CONSENT

  • The Officiant should invite the wedding party to stand and resume their places before the altar, with the bride and groom in the center facing the Officiant, who faces the congregation.

Officiant

My dear friends, you have come together in this church so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church’s minister, and this community. Christ abundantly blesses this love. He has already consecrated you in baptism and now he enriches and strengthens you so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity.

And so, in the presence of the Church, I ask you to state your intentions.

STATEMENT OF INTENTIONS

Officiant 

N. and N., have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?

Bride and Groom 

(Answering individually) I do.

Officiant 

Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?

Bride and Groom

(Answering individually) I will.

  • The following question may be omitted if, for example, the couple is advanced in years.

Officiant

Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?

Bride and Groom

(Answering individually) I will.

Officiant  

Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your right hands, and declare your consent before God and his Church.

  • The Officiant will lead the groom, and then the bride, in declaring their consent.  The Officiant should lead them with a few words at a time, allowing them to repeat after her/ him.

Groom to the Bride

I, N., take you, N., to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

Bride to the Groom 

I, N., take you, N., to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

RECEPTION OF THE CONSENT

  • Officiant places his hand over their joined hands to symbolically seal their consent.

Officiant

You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, we must not divide. Amen.

BLESSING AND EXCHANGE OF RINGS / PRONOUNCEMENT

  • The Officiant will receive the rings in the palm of his hands, typically from the Best Man. Care should be taken beforehand to ensure careful transmission of the rings from the Ring Bearer to the Best Man to Officiant.

Officiant

May the Lord bless these rings which you give to each other as the sign of your love and fidelity. Amen.

  • The Officiant gives the bride’s ring to the groom to place on her ring finger, leading him in the words of exchange.

Groom to Bride

N., take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

  • The Officiant gives the groom’s ring to the bride to place on his ring finger, leading her in the words of exchange.

Bride to Groom 

N., take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Officiant to the couple

On behalf of God and his Church, I now pronounce you husband and wife.  

Officiant to the Groom

You may kiss the bride.

  • Optional:  This may be an appropriate time for a musical interlude, either sung or instrumental. The bridal couple may be invited to sit.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

It is preferred that a reader be chosen beforehand to proclaim the intercessions, from the pulpit or lectern.

  • The Officiant invites all to stand.

Officiant 

Now that we have heard God’s word in the Bible and felt his presence in this exchange of vows, let us present to God the Father these petitions for people in the world today. At the end of each petition, please respond “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Reader

For church leaders everywhere, that they may lead us to a deeper faith in God and a stronger love for others, let us pray to the Lord.

Congregation

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For all leaders of government, that they may be effective in achieving peace and eliminating poverty, let us pray to the Lord.

Congregation

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For married persons, that they may continue to give, be able to forgive and find happiness deepen with the passing of each day, let us pray to the Lord.

Congregation

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For N. and N., now beginning their life together, that they may have divine assistance at every moment, the constant support of friends, (the rich blessing of children), a warm love reaching out to others, and good health until a ripe old age, let us pray to the Lord.

Congregation

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For those who are sick, lonely, discouraged or oppressed, that they may be strengthened by God’s help and aided by us, let us pray to the Lord.

Congregation 

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For those who have died, especially the relatives and friends of N. and N., and of all present for this wedding, let us pray to the Lord.

Congregation

Lord, hear our prayer.

Officiant

God our Father, your Son taught us to ask, to seek and to knock. We have just done so, confident that you will look on our needs and faith, and grant these requests, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Congregation

Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Officiant

Now, together, let us pray the Lord’s prayer.

Officiant and Congregation 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

NUPTIAL BLESSING

Officiant

My friends, let us turn to the Lord and pray that he will bless with his grace this woman, N., now married in Christ to this man, N., and unite in love the couple he has joined in this holy bond.

  • The Officiant should invite the couple to kneel before him on a kneeler or kneeling pillows, prepared beforehand, and extend his hands over them in prayer.

Officiant

Father, by your power you have made everything out of nothing. In the beginning you created the universe and made mankind in your own likeness. You have man the constant help of woman, so that man and woman should no longer be two, but one flesh, and you teach us that what you have united may never be divided.

Father, you have made the union of man and wife so holy a mystery that it symbolizes the marriage of Christ and his Church.  By your plan man and woman are united, and married life has been established as the one blessing that was not forfeited by original sin or washed away in the flood.

Look with love upon this woman, your daughter, now joined to her husband in marriage. She asks your blessing. Give her the grace of love and peace. May she always follow the example of the holy women whose praises are sung in the scriptures. May her husband put his trust in her and recognize that she is his equal and the heir with him to the life of grace. May he always honor her and love her as Christ loves his bride, the Church.

Father, keep them always true to your commandments. Keep them faithful in marriage and let them be living examples of Christian life. Give them the strength which comes from the gospel so that they may be witnesses of Christ to others. (Optional: Bless them with children and help them to be good parents.  May the live to see their children’s children). And, after a happy old age, grant them fullness of life with the saints in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Congregation

Amen.

INTRODUCTION OF COUPLE

Officiant

And it is now my pleasure to introduce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. N. 

  • The Officiant should invite the couple to momentarily turn and face the congregation together, then after the applause, face the altar.

CLOSING PRAYER AND BLESSING

Officiant

Now let us pray… Lord, in your love you unite us with one another and with you. Now make N. and N. one in love for each other, always and forever, through Christ our Lord.

Congregation

Amen.

Officiant

And may Almighty God bless us, (making the Sign of the Cross) the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Congregation

Amen.

RECESSIONAL

  • To the accompaniment of appropriate music, the bride and groom turn and process to the rear of the church, followed by the Groomsmen and Bridesmaids, each processing arm in arm as a couple, then the Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor, and finally the Officiant.
  • Ceremony ends.

 

Additional notes from the author:

 

  • It is preferable that music throughout the ceremony be of an appropriate religious nature, rather than secular music. For assistance in choosing appropriate Catholic wedding music, please see this resource from Oregon Catholic Press. 

 

  • The entire as-is Catholic marriage ritual, as approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic Seemay be found for review here: The Order of Celebrating Matrimony. 

 

 

ORIGINAL WEDDING SCRIPT BY PAUL TEDESCO.

 

Paul is a former priest / pastor, and administrator at a human services organization, holding a Master of Divinity degree. He has been a weekly columnist for The Catholic Spirit, a contributor to The National Catholic Reporter, and an invited headline guest on ABC 20/20 and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation radio network.

 

Paul is now happily retired, and spends much of his time writing in a variety of national forums and at Paul Tedesco, Author. He was ordained by American Marriage Ministries in 2021.

 


 

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