Stages of the Wedding Ceremony

... to help couple plan wedding ceremony, when priest is unavailable for a rehearsal ...

With the declining number of priests, your celebrant may be unable to attend an actual rehearsal the evening before..
In that case the order of service provided below lets the couple envision the various stages of the ceremony..


Before the Bride arrives:

• Groom and best man (and groomsman) take their places, in front pew, right-hand side.

• Groom’s family and friends are seated (mainly) in the right-hand pews; Bride’s on left-hand.

• Best Man has the rings and he (or celebrant) has the Marriage Registration Form ready.


Start of the Ceremony

Bridal party (page-boy, flower-girl, bridesmaids) process singly, to front left-side of church

• Bride and her patron (her father or another) process to front, where greeted by the Groom

• Bride and groom are seated, while priest welcomes all present.

• Priest will ask them to stand, to declare that there’s no legal impediment to the marriage.

• If Unity Candle is being used, couple will now light a candle each (helped by priest).


Prayers, Readings and Homily

Priest leads the opening prayers. Then...

• First Reader will be called forward to the lectern, to read the selected portion.

• Responsorial Psalm will be read (or preferably sung)

• Second Reading (if chosen) will now be done.

• Alleluia-verse can be read or sung

• Gospel will be read by the priest, followed by a brief homily

The Wedding-Vows (all standing)

Three Questions: about the meaning of marriage are answered by the couple (“Yes”).

Vows: At the priest’s invitation, the couple make their Wedding-Vows, in the form they have chosen.

Rings: Priest blesses the wedding-rings and hands a ring to the Groom, to place it on Bride’s finger...

Groom to Bride: “Please wear this ring, as a sign of our faithful love, in the name of the Father, etc.”

Bride to Groom: “Please wear this ring, as a sign of our faithful love, in the name of the Father, etc.”
(Bride and Groom may embrace, allowing the guests to applaud).

Candle: Couple go up to the altar, to jointly light the Unity Candle (helped by priest or server). Bride and Groom return to their seats.

Rest of the Liturgy (if the wedding is within a Mass)

Prayers of the Faithful are read. (Priest invites the readers to the lectern for this. The readers come up together and afterwards return together to their seats.)

Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer follow as usual (If wedding is within a Mass)

The Our Father is said by the priest and congregation, then:

The Nuptial Blessing over the couple (who shall be kneeling to receive it).

The Sign of Peace is exchanged by Bride and Groom, and then with their family and friends.

Holy Communion: All kneel in preparation for Holy Communion. Priest brings it to the couple, in both forms.

• All sit while a hymn is sung, or a reflection is read.

Final prayers and blessing, led by the priest.

Signing the Marriage Registration

The Form is signed by the couple, the priest and the witnesses (Bridesmaid, Best Man).

• After some photographs, the couple lead procession out of the church (Groom walks on right, Bride on left)