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Catholic Inspired Wedding Ceremony Script for Modern Couples

A contemporary Catholic wedding ceremony script for modern couples who choose to marry outside the Church. This religious wedding script is loosely based on Catholicism's The Rite of Marriage, The Roman Ritual, and follows the usual order of service, including suggestions for scripture readings and songs, prayers and blessings, an exchange of wedding vows, a statement of intention, pronouncement, and more. Use this sample template as-is or modify to suit your needs. Written by ordained AMM Minister Paul Tedesco.

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

 

This script follows the usual order of service for Catholic weddings, and includes all of the usual components, other than the celebration of the Eucharist (communion). Various options to personalize the script, such as Suggestions for Catholic wedding songs, scripture readings & psalms from the Bible, use of music, intercessory prayers, etc., are included. 

 

From the author:

This Catholic Wedding Ceremony Script is intended for a couple wherein one or both consider themselves Catholic and desire a contemporary Catholic-inspired wedding, but are marrying outside the Catholic church.  It is designed for those for whom their faith is real and important to them, and who wish to celebrate it in a more creative form than the traditional ritual.  This format may be celebrated in a church, or in a suitable alternate setting, for example, a flowered garden, or the beach. 

 

RING WARMING PRAYER

  • Optional: If so desired, prior to the beginning of the ceremony and with musical accompaniment, the couple’s rings, attached to a small pillow or suitable alternative, are passed from one guest to another throughout the church/ alternate gathering site.
  • As each guest receives it, they hold it while quietly praying for God’s blessing of the couple and their marriage. A predetermined friend or family member will supervise, row by row, as the rings make their way through the congregation.
  • The Officiant should make the guests aware of what they are about to do beforehand, and its prayerful nature.

ENTRANCE RITE

  • With appropriate instrumental musical accompaniment, the wedding party processes in a dignified manner from the church vestibule to the altar/alternate center front. Recognizing the importance all parents have played in getting the bride and groom to this day, an alternative procession will involve all of them as well.
  1. The Officiant processes (from the vestibule/ rear) to the altar/ front.
  2. The Bridal Party processes (from the vestibule/ rear) to the altar/ front, one couple at a time, arm in arm, to the altar/alternate front, lining up side by side (Bridesmaids and Maid/Matron of Honor on one side, Groomsmen and Best Man on the other) in front of the altar/front, facing the guests.
  3. Ring bearer and Flower girl process (from the vestibule) to their pre-arranged places.
  4. Groom processes (from the vestibule/rear) to the altar/alternate front center, escorted by both parents (or other suitable escorts as appropriate), facing the guests.
  5. Bride processes (from the vestibule/rear) to the altar/alternate front center, escorted by both parents (or other suitable escorts as appropriate), facing the guests.
  6. The parents (other suitable escorts) move to their seats as they reach the front.
  7. The Officiant stands before the Bridal Party, momentarily facing the guests.


SIGN OF THE CROSS & WELCOME

Officiant and the Guests

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 (Partner A) and (Partner B) as they begin their married life.

Officiant to guests

So here we are. You made it. Tux’s and gowns, dinners, music, guests, hotel, honeymoon trip... everything’s done and ready. And so, for the next half-hour, let’s focus, all of us, on here...now...Jesus.  

  • Allow for a moment of quiet prayer.

RENEWAL OF BAPTISM 

  • The Officiant solicits the dates of the bride’s and groom’s baptisms beforehand. If a baptism font is available near the altar, it should be filled with warm water beforehand. If not available in an alternate setting, a dignified large glass/crystal bowl should be prepared in a place prominence near the center.

Officiant to guests and the couple

As we begin, I want to take all of us, each of you (looking at the couple), back to two important days. One was [give date of first baptism], the day (Partner A) was baptized. The other was [give date of second baptism], the day (Partner B) was baptized.  

(Partner A's Parents' Names) brought a tiny girl named (Partner A) to church, because they wanted her to be part of the church, part of something bigger. They wanted her to know Jesus Christ. They wanted her to be eternal.

(Partner B's Parents' Names) brought their baby boy, (Partner B) to a church because they wanted the same thing for him, to begin a lifelong, and thereafter, walk with Jesus.

You, (Partner A and Partner B) are only here because they brought you there first. So, (Partner A and Partner B), as a reminder of those two all-important days, I will now bless you with water from this baptismal font, just as a priest (minister/ other as appropriate for each) once poured it over you on the day when Jesus Christ first said,“You’re mine, and from now on, I’m yours.”

  • The Officiant, using his cupped hand, pours water from the baptism font/bowl onto the foreheads of the Bride and the Groom.

OPENING PRAYER 

Officiant

Now let us pray... (Partner A) and (Partner B), the Church shares your joy and warmly welcomes you, together with your families and friends, as today, in the presence of God, you establish between yourselves a lifelong partnership. May the Lord hear you. May he send you help and protect you. May he grant your hearts' desires, and fulfill every one of your prayers, through Christ our Lord.

Guests

Amen.

  • The Officiant invites the guests to be seated; Chairs or specified seating should be provided for all in the wedding party, with chairs in place in the sanctuary/front, facing the guests, for the Bride and Groom on one side, and the Best Man and Maid/Matron of honor on the other.

SCRIPTURE READINGS

  • It is appropriate and preferable that the couple, beforehand, choose readings from Sacred Scripture that convey what they believe God is saying to and about them and their marriage.
  • There should 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, beforehand, choose ‘readers’ for the first and second readings, who should proclaim them from the church’s pulpit or lectern, or from a place of prominence in an alternative setting. The Gospel should be proclaimed by the Officiant, also from the church’s pulpit or lectern, or from a place of prominence in an alternative setting.

+ 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.

Guests

Thanks be to God.

RESPONSPORIAL PSALM

  • If sung, musicians will lead the guests in sung response at the end of each verse. If read by a chosen Reader, they will invite the guests 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.

Guests

Thanks be to God.

ALLELUIA VERSE 

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

Guests

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

  • The Officiant should invite the guests to be seated.

HOMILY

  • Optional: If the Officiant desires and is qualified, they 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 and QUESTIONING BEFORE CONSENT 

  • The Officiant should invite the wedding party to stand and resume their places facing the Officiant/guests before the altar/alternate front center, the Bride and Groom in the center, flanked by the Best Man/Maid-Matron of Honor, and the Bridesmaids/Groomsmen on either side.

Officiant to the couple 

(Partner A) and (Partner B), you have come together so that in the presence of myself and this community, your intention to enter into Marriage may be strengthened by the Lord with a sacred seal. Christ abundantly blesses the love that binds you. He enriches and strengthens those he has already consecrated by Baptism, that they may be faithful to each other forever, and assume all the responsibilities of married life. And so, in the presence of myself and your guests, I ask you to state your intentions.

STATEMENT OF INTENTIONS

Officiant to the couple 

(Partner A) and (Partner B), have you come here to enter into Marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?

Partner A and Partner B

(Answering individually) I have.

Officiant to the couple 

Are you prepared, as you follow the path of your Marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?

Partner A and Partner B

(Answering individually) I am.

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

Officiant to the couple 

Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up in the love of Jesus Christ?

Partner A and Partner B

(Answering individually) I am.

Officiant to guests

  • Optional: This Community Vow, spoken to the guests, is optional.

Do you promise to support this couple, encourage their marriage and witness their lives together?

Guests

We do! 

Officiant to the couple 

Since it is your intention to enter the covenant of marriage, turn to each other, join your right hands and declare your consent before God and his assembled 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 each line.

Partner A to Partner B

I, (Partner A), take you, (Partner B), to be my husband/ spouse. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you, all the days of my life.

Partner B to partner A

I, (Partner B), take you, (Partner A), to be my wife/ spouse. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to 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

May the Lord in his kindness strengthen the consent you have declared before us, and bless you every day of your life together. What God has joined, no one should 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 to the couple

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

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

Partner A to Partner B

(Partner B), take this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

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

Partner B to Partner A

(Partner A), take this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Officiant

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

You may kiss your spouse.

  • 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/lectern or a place of prominence in an alternative setting. The Officiant invites all to stand.

Officiant to guests and the couple 

We’ve listened to God’s word. Now, we ask God to listen to us as we pray, together, for those who need our prayer...At the end of each petition, please respond together, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Reader

For the church everywhere, that it will be a vibrant witness to God being with us, always and everywhere, let us pray to the Lord.

Guests

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For peace and unity in our country, and among countries, let us pray to the Lord.

Guests

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For people who are lonely, that they will find what’s missing, let us pray to the Lord.

Guests

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For (Partner A) and (Partner B), that they will have God’s help at every moment of their marriage, the constant support of family and friends, (the rich blessing of children), and good health, let us pray to the Lord.

Guests

Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader

For the deceased loved ones in (Partner A's) and (Partner B's) hearts, [Recite these names now -- names of favored deceased should be prepared beforehand], all of whom would have wanted to be here today... may they rest forever in God’s hands, let us pray to the Lord.

Guests

Lord, hear our prayer.

Officiant

Almighty God, we lean on You, we depend on You, we trust You. We ask all of this, through Christ, our Lord.

Guests

Amen.

UNITY CANDLE LIGHTING 

  • Optional: If the couple desires, a large candle should be prepared beforehand at a place of prominence in the sanctuary/alternate front. Lighted tapers may be received by the couple from the parents if desired, then the newly-married couple simultaneously light the Unity Candle, then take their seats.
  • It is preferable that appropriate instrumental/other music be played/sung throughout.
  • Alternatively, guests may be invited to take part by handing out candles and having guests pass the flame from one to another until everyone is holding a lit candle. The final guest would then transfer the flame to the couple, or to the parents to transfer to the couple, to light their unity candle.

+ For more instruction and sample wording: 

How to Perform a Unity Candle Ceremony (for Wedding Officiants)

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Officiant to guests and the couple

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

Officiant and guests, couple

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

  • The Officiant should invite the newly-married couple to bow their heads).

Officiant

Psalm 43 says, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”We pray the nuptial blessing together now, praying that (Partner A) and (Partner B) will put the same trust they have in each other, in the God who gave them to each other, and entrust their life together, beginning today, to Him.

  • The Officiant then invites the guests to extend their hands towards the newly-married couple, and the Best Man/Maid-Matron of Honor to place a hand on the Bride’s/Groom’s shoulder, as the Officiant extends her/his hands directly over the couple.

Officiant

Lord, you created us in your own image, and made us to be joined to each other, a union of bodies and hearts. You made the union of a married couple an image of your eternal covenant with us. Stretch out your hands now, and bless (Partner A) and (Partner B).

Grant that as they begin their marriage, they will become one in heart and mind, as witnesses to your presence in their marriage. Help them to create a home together (and give them children to be formed by the gospel).

Give your blessing to (Partner A), your daughter, so that she may be a good wife (and mother), generous and kind, faithful in love for her husband. Give your blessing to (Partner B), your son, so that he may be a good husband (and father), generous and kind, faithful in love for his wife.

We all ask this through Christ our Lord.

Guests

Amen.

INTRODUCTION OF COUPLE

Officiant to guests

And it is now my pleasure to introduce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. (Married name of Couple - Appellation as preferred by couple).

  • Guests applaud.

CLOSING PRAYER & BLESSING OF THE GUESTS

Officiant

Now let us pray…Lord, in your love you unite us with one another and with you. Make (Partner A) and (Partner B) one in love for each other, always and forever, through Christ our Lord.

Guests

Amen.

Officiant to guests and the couple

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

Guests

Amen.

RECESSIONAL

  • To the accompaniment of appropriate music, the newlyweds turn and process to the rear of the church/alternate setting, 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.

 

This script has been lightly edited from the original.

 

Find creative & alternative ideas for unity ceremonies and rituals here: 

 

 

 

Additional note 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. 

 

 

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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