For couples planning a Catholic wedding

Wedding Topics

Together in God's Love Catholic marriage preparation program

Choosing readers (lectors) for your Catholic wedding

Who will proclaim the Scripture readings during your wedding ceremony? The priest or deacon who witnesses your marriage will proclaim the Gospel reading. The responsorial psalm is usually led by a cantor (song leader), or simply recited by a reader if a cantor is unavailable.

That leaves you to find readers (also called lectors) for the first and second readings. Here are some tips for choosing your readers:

  • Keep in mind that whoever you choose will be doing more than just "reading"; that person will be proclaiming the Word of God. James M. Schellman summarizes the implications of this sacred task perfectly: "Above all, the readers must understand and believe that they are performing a real ministry of presence and communion. They must accept that the Lord is active and present to the assembly through their proclamation, that the Lord longs to speak and be heard in the biblical word they enunciate. It is a word for this assembly, here and now, and each of its members is called to hear and respond to that word..." (See the full article in America magazine at the link below.)
  • Because the role of reader is a sacred task, you will probably want to choose a person of faith as your reader. Ideally, that person will also be a good public speaker. The Church has this to say about readers at weddings: "The proclamation of the Word of God is to be made by suitable and prepared lectors. They can be chosen from among those present, especially witnesses, family members, friends, but it does not seem appropriate for the bride and groom to be lectors. In fact, they are the primary receivers of the proclaimed Word of God" (Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage #68).
  • The readers should be willing to prepare for their role by practicing the readings, even before the wedding rehearsal. At the wedding rehearsal, they should practice the reading with the sound system on. For readers who have not received formal training to be a lector, "Proclaiming Tips for Lectors" by Denise C. Thompson offers some excellent background and practical advice, as does "The Lector at Mass," an official guide from the U.S. Catholic bishops (see links below).
  • If you can't find suitable readers among your friends and family, the staff at your parish should be able to recommend good, trained lectors who you could ask to read at your wedding. Some parishes require the use of formally trained lectors at weddings.
  • Finally, the readers should read from the lectionary, not a sheet of paper or notes. The priest or deacon witnessing your marriage can help you locate your readings in the lectionary.

For more information

Choosing Scripture readings
Unless you are celebrating your wedding on a Sunday or on a holy day of obligation, you have the option of choosing the Scripture readings for your wedding.

A list of wedding readings provided by the Rite of Marriage

Other websites

Proclaiming Tips for Lectors
If you are asking someone who is not a trained lector to read at your wedding, you should consider directing them to this excellent practical resource from an experienced lector, Denise C. Thompson.

The Ministry of Lector
If you are asking someone who is not a trained lector to read at your wedding, you should consider directing them to this excellent practical resource. Theologian Peter P. Kenny offers a brief introduction on what it means to be a lector; some background points on what it means to read within the liturgy; and concrete techniques for public reading.

The Ministry of the Lector James M. Schellman opens up the spiritual dimension of the ministry of the lector in this excellent reflection piece.

Biblical Words Pronunciation Guide
Provides a phonetic pronunciation guide for hard-to-pronounce biblical words, plus a .wav file that will play the pronunciation for you.

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