Catholic Wedding Q&A
What happens during a Catholic wedding?
What happens during a Catholic wedding depends in part on what form the wedding takes. See the links below for more information about choosing the form of your wedding, as well as for detailed descriptions of the order of a Catholic wedding in its various forms.
If you celebrate your wedding within a Mass, you can expect all of the elements of a typical Sunday Mass. The Celebration of Matrimony, which includes the exchange of consent (vows) and the exchange of rings, occurs immediately after the homily. In addition, the Mass includes several prayers and blessings for the bride and groom.
If you celebrate your wedding without Mass, the wedding will begin with the liturgy of the word (Scripture readings), followed by a homily and the Celebration of Matrimony. The Universal Prayer (general intercessions or prayers of the faithful) follow, and the ceremony concludes with a blessing of the couple.
Whichever form you choose, the height of a Catholic wedding occurs when the couple exchanges consent to be married. The effects of the sacrament of matrimony are described beautifully by the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society."The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love." (1639)