In Catholicism, the Sacrament of Matrimony is an exciting time for everyone involved, and it’s important for couples. Know the rites, the order of arrival and departure, and the details of the Catholic Church’s wedding itinerary.
Each religious act is distinct in the protocol or the various stories, and holy arts, that reach the altar. It is possible to follow the Catholic Church’s mandatory formalities to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony while still having the wedding of your dreams, with the essence of you.
The introductory procession
In a Catholic ceremony, the altar is set up. The groom has the right side all to himself. It includes godparents and godmothers, as well as parents and family members.
When the groom arrives at the altar, he takes a seat on the right side, in front of the benches, to greet the other members of the procession and await the bride. The mother or companion, if present, follows him a few steps until the procession concludes.
The bride is on the left, surrounded by godparents, parents, and loved ones. The bride’s mother and groom’s father, if applicable, will stand on the left side of the aisle until the bride enters.
After the bride arrives with her father (or whoever she chooses to accompany her), they will face the altar, where the couple’s long-awaited meeting will take place. The bride’s escort, usually her father, walks to the left side, staying with her mother, while the groom’s father walks to the right.
The godfathers and godmothers sit in the church’s first rows of pews. Both parents can sit in the pews if the church is small or in chairs positioned at the altar if the space allows for this configuration.
Order of Catholic Ceremony Rituals
The Catholic Church attaches great importance to the Sacrament of Matrimony and values the tradition of the script for the celebration of Catholic marriage as required by the protocol. It is one of the best-known ceremonies and, therefore, follows a script with rituals established and reproduced by Catholic couples worldwide.
When the bride arrives near the altar, the groom goes to her. The brides escort (usually the father) leaves and goes to the left side. The couple greets each other and approaches the altar.
The priest makes an opening greeting, pronouncing the date and reason for the meeting of everyone there. He also announces the couple’s names.
Then the celebrant welcomes the couple and begins the wedding ritual with the sign of the cross” and a prayer. Some guest or godfather/godmother does the first reading.
The psalms for Catholic marriage are important and are part of the ceremony stage. At this time, a psalm is sung called Responsorial; the chosen psalm is linked to the first reading.
The main purpose of marriage celebrations is to meditate on what has been read and heard and to reflect on the sacrament of marriage. All standing to acclaim the Holy Gospel. The priest reads the Gospel.
When the priest already knows the couple during the sermon, he can give a more personal and personalized speech. Then the priest approaches the couple and, among other words, says that “Christ blesses conjugal love.”
The celebrant asks direct questions for the couple to confirm and express their free and spontaneous will to marry, pledge of fidelity, and willingness to have children. Both parents are standing at this hour.
Here are a few words about your dispositions of fidelity, acceptance, and education of children. The time has come when the bride and groom express their consent: “…I promise to be faithful to you, to love you and to respect you, in joy and sadness, in health and sickness, all the days of our life.”
The couple joins hands, facing each other, to make the famous vows of eternal love, following the priest’s guidance. The priest makes the blessing confirming the commitment of both and says the phrase, “What God has joined, man does not separate,” which represents the couple’s bond alliance entry. The page or maid of honor gives the pair of jewels to the priest. The couple exchanges rings.
Prayer time is usually read by a church-going reader. At the end of each sentence, everyone responds. The couple kneels in front of the priest to receive another blessing each. Everyone prays the Our Father prayer.
The priest greets the couple’s parents and says a few words. The Hail Mary is said as the Final Blessing.
The couple and the godparents sign the marriage term. At a religious wedding, you need two witnesses. In a religious marriage with civil effect, the signature of four people is required. The couple can greet their parents and take their family photos at the altar.
Then, it is followed by the kiss of the newlyweds. The priest authorizes the kiss and announces that they are officially married from this moment on and declares the couple as husband and wife.” The groom can kiss the bride and seal the pact made by the bride and groom.”
Wedding Mass: Specific ritual
The universal celebration of the Catholic Church is the Mass. In it, the faithful receive the blessing, say the prayers, receive the Eucharist, make the offertory and sing Catholic songs according to each stage of the rite. The moment is very important to emphasize the communion between Catholics and God. However, couples have the free choice of a wedding with or without a Mass.
We have already explained the script of a Catholic wedding without Mass, in detail, in the previous topic. The difference between the celebration with Mass is the possibility of a second reading and communion for all present. With this, the duration is longer, about an hour and a half.
There is the entrance procession, the priest’s greeting and welcome, the word’s liturgy with the first reading, and the responsorial psalm. Then, a second reading is performed by a guest or godfather/godmother. The marriage rite follows tradition until the exchange of rings. Afterward, it is time for communion for all who wish to receive communion through the Host. The priest resumes with the final blessing, the greetings, and the signing of the term.
Moments accompanied by music.
Knowing the order of rituals, including each step, is necessary to assist couples in choosing Catholic wedding songs. It is one of the items that can be adapted to your taste and personality. Remember that the Catholic Church does not allow any song here. It is common sense to select religious songs or not, but that respectfully portrays the feelings of love and union that the ceremony invokes.
- Choose songs for: Music that precedes the beginning of the ceremony, to welcome the guests, but it is not mandatory; Music for the entrance of godfathers and godmothers;
- Music for the entrance of the mother of the bride with the father of the groom;
- Music for the groom’s entrance (with his mother); Music for the entrance of the florist(s);
- Music for the bride’s entrance. The classic is the Wedding March, which can currently be combined with other music if desired;
- Music for the entrance of the alliances;
- Music for Eucharistic Communion (if it is a Catholic wedding with Mass);
- Music for the time of signing the marriage agreement;
- Music for the exit.
After being elected, check with the parish leader if the selection can be allowed (or if there is any music that is not in agreement), and leave everything right with the ceremonial as well. Besides, of course, send the list to the band or choir participating in the celebration.
Knowing marriage protocols in the Catholic Church is essential for couples to know which ones will be included in the ceremony and which ones they can adapt. Rituals are symbolic acts; they involve a set of practices enshrined in religious traditions and customs. Blessing the relationship according to the couple’s beliefs shows the importance of this sacrament for the new family that is formed, showing the vows and promises of love of their own free will.