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Order of a Catholic wedding Mass

Here is the order of a Catholic wedding ceremony. You'll find some notes for using this chart, as well as alternate forms of the Rite of Marriage (e.g., without Mass), at the bottom of the page.

Order of the Rite for Celebrating Marriage During Mass

 

Introductory Rites

Stand

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For more about the entrance procession, see "The wedding procession."

Entrance Rite

The assembly stands. The entrance hymn is sung while the priest, ministers (e.g., lectors, altar servers), and the wedding party process to the altar. The Rite of Marriage says this about the procession: "If there is a procession to the altar, the ministers go first, followed by the priest, and then the bride and bridegroom. According to local custom, they may be escorted by at least their parents and the two witnesses. Meanwhile, the entrance song is sung" (#20).  When the entrance hymn is finished, the priest leads the assembly in the sign of the cross.

 

Greeting

The priest greets the assembly, and the people respond.

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Gloria

The Gloria is sung, preferably by the whole assembly. (The Gloria is the hymn that begins, "Glory to God in the highest...") Note that the Penitential Act is omitted (see statement from the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship)

View the text of the four options for the Opening Prayer.

Opening Prayer

The priest invites the assembly to pray, then offers one of several possible prayers for the bride and groom. At the conclusion of the prayer, the assembly is seated for the Liturgy of the Word.

 

Liturgy of the Word

Sit

To view reading options, see "Options for the First Reading."

First Reading

The first reading (from the Old Testament) is proclaimed by the lector. At the conclusion of the reading, the lector says, "The Word of the Lord," and the assembly responds, "Thanks be to God."

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To view reading options, see "Options for the Responsorial Psalm."

Responsorial Psalm

The cantor or choir sings a psalm, and the assembly sings the response.

To view reading options, see "Options for the Second Reading."

Second Reading

The second reading (from a book of the New Testament other than the Gospel) is proclaimed by the lector. At the conclusion of the reading, the lector says, "The Word of the Lord," and the assembly responds, "Thanks be to God."

Stand

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To view options for the Gospel Acclamation, see "Alleluia Verse and Verse Before the Gospel."

Gospel Acclamation

The assembly stands. A cantor leads the assembly in singing the Gospel Acclamation, usually the Alleluia (except during Lent, when another acclamation is used).

To view reading options, see "Options for the Gospel Reading."

Gospel

The priest (or deacon) proclaims the Gospel. At the conclusion, he says, "The Gospel of the Lord," and the assembly responds, "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ." The assembly sits.

Sit

Homily

The priest (or deacon) offers a homily drawn from the Scripture readings. According to the Rite of Marriage, "He speaks about the mystery of Christian marriage, the dignity of wedded love, the grace of the sacrament and the responsibilities of married people, keeping in mind the circumstances of this particular marriage."

 

Rite of Marriage

Follow this link for the complete text of the Rite of Marriage.

Stand

View the text of the address and statement of intent.

Address and Statement of Intentions

All stand, including the bride and groom. The priest asks the couple to state their intentions about their freedom of choice, faithfulness to each other, and the acceptance and upbringing of children (unless the couple are beyond the child-bearing years).

View the text of the consent and exchange of vows.

For more information on the vows, see "Catholic Wedding Vows" and "Can we write our own vows?"

Optional wedding music


 

Consent and Exchange of Vows

The priest invites the couple to declare their consent to be married, which they do by stating their marriage vows. The Rite of Marriage offers several different options for the vows.

Although it is not called for by the Rite of Marriage, a brief musical acclamation may be sung after the exchange of vows.

View the text of the blessing and exchange of rings.

Optional wedding music
 

Blessing and Exchange of Rings

The priest blesses the wedding rings. The groom places his wife's ring on her finger, and the bride places her husband's ring on his finger. The Rite of Marriage provides three options for the blessing of the rings.

Although it is not called for by the Rite of Marriage, a brief musical acclamation may be sung after the exchange of vows.

Although it is not called for by the Rite of Marriage, in some places it is customary for the newly married couple to exchange a simple kiss after the exchange of rings, perhaps prompted by the presider stating, "You may now exchange a kiss."

 

Profession of Faith

If the wedding occurs on a Sunday or a solemnity, the assembly recites the Creed ("I believe in one God. . .").

For more information, see "Prayer of the faithful (general intercessions) at a Catholic wedding."

Prayer of the Faithful

The Prayer of the Faithful, or General Intercessions, are read by a lector, cantor, or another designated person. The reader usually offers the prayer ("For . . ., we pray to the Lord.") and the assembly responds to each prayer with an appropriate response, such as, "Lord, hear our prayer."

 

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Sit

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View the text of the three options for the Prayer Over the Gifts.

stand

Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts

The assembly sits and sings the Offertory Song while the altar is prepared and the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar. According to the Rite of Marriage, "other gifts for the needs of the Church or the poor" may also be brought to the altar at this time. The bride and groom, or others from the assembly, may bring these gifts forward. When the priest says, "Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father," the assembly stands.

Optional wedding music

Eucharistic Prayer

The priest prays the Eucharistic prayer (parts of which he may sing). The Roman Missal provides four options for this prayer. During the Eucharistic prayer, the assembly offers three acclamations, which are usually sung:

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Kneel

(after singing the Sanctus)

Sanctus ("Holy, Holy")

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Memorial Acclamation

 Stand

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Great Amen

 

Communion Rite

Optional wedding music

The Lord's Prayer

The assembly prays or sings together the Lord's Prayer (the Our Father).

View the text of the three options for the Nuptial Blessing.

Nuptial Blessing

The presider faces the couple and prays over them. The Rite of Marriage provides three different options for the Nuptial Blessing.

 

Sign of Peace

The presider invites the assembly to offer one another a sign of peace. The newly married couple and people in the assembly exchange a sign of peace (a handshake or kiss, usually accompanied by the words, "Peace be with you") with those immediately around them.

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Kneel

(after singing the "Lamb of God")

Lamb of God

The priest breaks the host (Eucharistic bread) while the assembly sings the "Lamb of God." The assembly usually kneels when the song concludes.

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For information about who may receive communion, see "Can someone who is not Catholic receive communion?"

Communion

The priest (often with the help of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion) distributes the Eucharistic bread and wine to the assembly, beginning with the newly married couple. An appropriate song is usually sung as the assembly proceeds to the altar for communion.

 

Concluding Rite

 Stand


Optional wedding music

View the text of the four options for the Blessing.

Blessing

The priest prays a solemn blessing over the married couple; the whole assembly participates in the blessing by repeatedly responding, "Amen." Optionally, the blessing may be sung. In some places, the couple is invited to exchange a kiss after the blessing.

 

Dismissal

The priest dismisses the assembly, which responds, "Thanks be to God."

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Recessional

The couple, the bridal party, the ministers, and the priest process out of the church, usually accompanied by a song or instrumental music.

Explanatory notes

  • In the right-hand column, the different parts of the Catholic wedding Mass are presented in the order in which they occur, along with a brief explanation (set in italics) of each part.
  • In the left-hand column, you'll find indications of when to sit, stand, or kneel, along with links to more detailed information about that particular part of the liturgy. A musical note wedding-music indicates that music usually accompanies a particular part. A gray musical note Optional wedding music  indicates that music may accompany a particular part of the liturgy, although it is not specifically indicated in the Rite of Marriage (check with your parish music minister).
  • For a more detailed presentation of the Order of Mass (including the text of the prayers and responses), see the link at the end of this page.
  • The order presented here is for the United States. The order differs slightly in other countries and regions, depending on adaptations made by local bishops' conferences.

For more information

Order of a Catholic wedding ceremony outside Mass
A step-by-step walk through the complete order of a Catholic wedding outside of Mass.

Order of a wedding between a Catholic and an unbaptized person
A step-by-step walk through the complete order of a wedding between a Catholic and someone who has not been baptized as a Christian.

Choosing the form of your wedding
As you begin planning your wedding, one of the first things you will discuss with the priest or deacon at your parish is which form of the Rite of Marriage you will use during your wedding. Here are the three basic options.

Other websites

The Order of Mass
A more complete presentation of the Order of Mass, including most prayers and responses, from the United States Conferences of Catholic Bishops.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal
At USCCB.org.

Statement from the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship:
“In the Roman Missal, Third Edition, the rubrics call for the Gloria more frequently than before.
[Most Ritual Masses now] prescribe the Gloria. These Masses are all treated as if they were Feasts, and the Gloria is used for them even when celebrated during Advent or Lent. Thus, for example, Masses for Confirmation, Holy Orders, or Marriage would include the Gloria, even when they occur during Advent or Lent. (It should be noted, though, that Ritual Masses are prohibited on Sundays of Advent and Lent.)”

January 2012 USCCB Committee on Divine Worship

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