Marriage » Step 7: Mass or Ceremony?

Step 7: Mass or Ceremony?


Determine if you will be married in a Mass or ceremony

Should we get married at a Mass or should we have a ceremony?

First, let's understand the difference.  Every celebration of Mass consists of a Liturgy of the Word (entrance rite, readings, homily, general intercessions) and a Liturgy of the Eucharistic (presentation of bread and wine, the Eucharistic Prayer, and Holy Communion).  When a wedding is celebrated at Mass, the rite of marriage takes place after the homily and before the general intercessions; the Liturgy of the Eucharist then follows.  When a wedding is celebrated outside of Mass it is celebrated in a Liturgy of the Word in which the rite of marriage takes place after the homily and before the general intercessions.  The rite concludes with prayers and a blessing.

If one of you is not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church (and so will be unable to share Holy Communion if the wedding is celebrated during Mass), you may want to consider what this means.  Do you want to include something in this celebration in which only one of you will be able to take part?  Who will your guests be?  Is the celebration of the Eucharist the best way to help them to be with you and pray with you at your wedding?  If many of your guests are from outside the Catholic community, you may want to consider celebrating your wedding with the Liturgy of the Word. 

Please Note: If one of you is not a baptized Christian, Church law does not allow the wedding celebration at Mass.

Some people seem to think that a couple is not really married unless the wedding takes place at Mass.  This is simply not true. Discuss your concerns with the staff member with whom you are working and make the decision that will provide the best context for your prayer and celebration.

Select Your Readings
The workbook you receive at the Pre-Cana sessions has the many readings and prayers used most frequently at Catholic marriage celebrations.  The priest or deacon with whom you work will give you a different, more comprehensive workbook for planning your wedding, “Together for Life.”  This booklet provides a step-by-step outline for planning your celebration. You will be asked to spend some time together reading through the many options available to you and making the selections which best express your own sense of your wedding celebration.

Most couples find the selections in this booklet more than adequate; however, you are not limited to the options provided.  If you decide to select from other sources, be sure to discuss this with the priest or deacon helping in your preparations. Scripture readings are always proclaimed during the Liturgy of the Word.  If you select a prayer or reading from some other source, the placement in the liturgy will have to be discussed with the staff member.