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Ideas for Catholic Wedding Readings

Mar29

There are four Catholic wedding readings that typically comprise a Catholic wedding ceremony. The first reading (from the Old Testament), a Responsorial Psalm, the second reading (from the New Testament), and a fourth reading from the Gospel. Here is the typical order of the Catholic wedding readings within the ceremony, starting after the seating of the families, the wedding processional, and the entrance of the bride:

First, an Opening Prayer is usually given by the priest.

The First Reading typically comes from the Catholic book The Rite of Marriage. Here are a few options:

  1. Genesis 1:26-28, 31: “God created man and woman.”
  2. Genesis 2:18-24: “The two of them became one body.”
  3. Proverbs 31: 10-13: “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
  4. Tobit 8:5-7: “Allow us to live together to a happy old age.”
  5. Genesis 24: “In his love for Rebekah, Isaac found solace after the death of his mother."
  6. Tobit 7: “May the Lord of heaven prosper you both. May he grant you mercy and peace.”
  7. Sirach 26: “Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.”
  8. Jeremiah 31: “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”

 

In Catholic Wedding Traditions, the Responsorial Psalm is typically recited by a cantor, or song leader. The cantor sings the verses, then leads the assembly in the response (which is typically the title of the psalm). Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Psalm 33:12, 18, 20-21, 22: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.”
  2. Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9: “I will bless the Lord at all times.”
  3. Psalm 103: “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
  4. Psalm 128: “Happy are those who fear the Lord.”
  5. Psalm 145: “The Lord is compassionate to all his creatures.”
  6. Psalm 148: “Let us praise the name of the Lord.”

 

The Second Reading is then given from the New Testament. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Romans 8: “What will separate us from the love of Christ?"
  2. 1 Corinthians: “Your body is the temple of the “Holy Spirit;” If I do not have love, I am nothing.”
  3. Philippians 4:4-9: “The God of peace will be with you.”
  4. Colossians 3:12-17: “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.”
  5. 1 John 4:7-12: “Love in deed and in truth.”
  6. Revelation 19:5-9: “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

 

The Gospel Reading is usually given by the priest. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Matthew 5:1-12: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
  2. Matthew 19:3-6: “What God has united, man must not separate.”
  3. Mark 10: 6-9: “They are no long two, but one flesh.”
  4. John 15: 12-16: “This is my commandment: love one another.”

 

Next comes the Homily, which is typically a short sermon or word given from the prist. The homily is followed by the exchange of Catholic Wedding Vows, followed by the Blessing and Exchange of Rings. After the rings are exchanged, there is a Lighting of the Unity Candle, usually accompanied by a song.

Finally, there is the Concluding Rite. Usually the Lord's Prayer, the Assembly joins together to recite this prayer, led by the priest. A final blessing is given, and the ressional begins.

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How to Choose your Wedding Ceremony Readings and Wedding Vows

Feb01

One of the best ways to personalize your wedding and have a unique wedding ceremony is to present special readings, often given by close friends, family members, or parents. Here are some tips on choosing your wedding ceremony readings:

  • Choose text from a favorite song, novel, or poem that captures your relationship. If you don't feel comfortable speaking the wedding ceremony readings yourself, you can have a member of the bridal party (or the wedding officiant) read them.
  • Look up quotes online, or in a book of quotes, that express what you want to say. Then, in the vein of that quote, continue to expound on its meaning in your own words, and why it is relevant to you and your future spouse.
  • Write your own wedding ceremony vows. When writing your vows, it is important to write them as if you are speaking only to your future husband or wife, and not write them as a performance for your wedding guests. The vows should be expressed genuinely, straightforwardly, and honestly.
  • When writing vows, remember to express not only how you feel about the other person, but also how you intend to commit your life to them and make them happy. Some people write wedding vows that simply include how the other person makes them feel, or what they like about that person. Remember that the purpose of wedding vows is to proclaim your love and commitment to that person.

 


Choosing Your Wedding Ceremony Readings

Jan25

One of the most significant ways to personalize your wedding—and particularly, your ceremony—is to choose wedding ceremony readings that are meaningful to you. Here are a few ideas to consider when choosing passages:

Are you a literary person? If so, you have a wealth of material to choose from. Start by thinking about your favorite quotes. Do they express how you feel about each other? Or, do they make some sort of large statement about the world and your commitment to each other? Do they inspire you? If you are having trouble deciding on a passage, you can even look up quotes online, and then try to find the context in which they were spoken (or written). Sometimes, you will find some great passages that surround the famous quote (that people are not as familiar with but will enjoy hearing).

If you are not particularly fond of books, Shakespeare or poetry, then perhaps think of your favorite songs and consider reading the lyrics, if they are appropriate to your relationship. Perhaps you both have a song that really captures the time when you first met, or expresses the way you feel about each other. Lyrics are poetry, just as much as Shakespeare. Make sure that the song you choose is meaningful to both of you, and worthy to be read on your big day.

Are you spiritual? If your relationship is grounded in a certain religion, then choosing a quote from a sacred text may be the perfect option for wedding ceremony readings. Most religious and/or spiritual books have plenty to say about unconditional love, often the basis for a lasting marriage.

If you are bilingual, you could read a text in your native language. The nuances of language are endless, and a text in one language can have a different feel when translated to another. If you choose to do this (and there are people at your wedding who do not speak the language), it is a good idea to either read the passage in English afterward, or to print it in your program as a reference. Your guests will want to know what was said! In a 2011 wedding in Long Beach, CA, most of the attendants were Chinese, but many were also American. The parents of the bride and groom each read some passages, first in Chinese and then in English. It was very special, and everyone understood and could relate to what was said. This was a great way to incorporate Chinese wedding ceremony traditions (namely, the reverence given to the wisdom of elders and parents) at an otherwise Western wedding.

Write your own readings and/or wedding ceremony vows. This is perhaps the most difficult of all of the options, but completely worth the undertaking. You do not have to be the best writer, or the most eloquent person. Just write simple statements that capture how you feel about the person and how you intend to make them happy. You can always have a writer friend look over your work to make sure your writing flows!


Maid of Honor Responsibilities: 5 Essentials

Dec24

When you've been asked to be maid of honor at someone's wedding, you may not know what exactly will be expected of you. Your maid of honor responsibilities will begin long before the big day; but with the right attitude and the right team of bridesmaids, your maid of honor experience will be one you'll never forget. Read on to learn more about what your maid of honor responsibilities include.

  1. Bring the bridesmaids together. With most bridal parties, the people chosen are from different stages, or aspects, of the bride and groom’s lives. Sometimes, they live in different cities or states (or even countries), and have perhaps never even met each other. Therefore, someone needs to be in charge of coordinating with everyone, and this usually falls under the maid of honor responsibilities. Get a list of email addresses and phone numbers of each bridesmaid and send it out, and help coordinate everyone’s schedules (who live in proximity to each other) in order to go shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses. Figure out times that work with everyone’s schedules for key pre-wedding events such as showers, bachelorette parties, and accessories shopping. If you are not a detail-oriented, organized person, this will pose some difficulty. Ask for some help, but make it a point to do your best.
  2. Help with the logistics of the bridal shower. Some consider the bridal shower as one of the maid of honor duties, but it should not necessarily fall on her shoulders. Sometimes, the mother of the bride, or the mother of the groom, wants to throw the shower; sometimes it is a close older friend (someone who is like a second mother to the bride). Depending on your age, you may not have the proper space for throwing something as large as a shower, so do not feel obligated. However, do help in whatever ways you can. Another great option is having each bridesmaid bring a dish or dessert so that the expense, cooking and food preparation does not fall on one person’s shoulders.
  3. Plan the bachelorette party. First, find out exactly what the bride wants for her bachelorette party. Does she want a wild night out, or an intimate time in? If it is the latter, plan an evening of pedicures and wine. If she wants a night on the town, make reservations for dinner and figure out where to go dancing!
  4. Plan a speech. Maid of Honor Speeches are a special part of the reception. This is your chance to put into words how happy you are for the new couple, and to verbally share in their joy. This is also an opportunity to emphasize how special the bride is to you. You have been chosen as the maid of honor because you are a sister (or like a sister) to her. You will undoubtedly have some special memories to share, and funny stories to make everyone laugh. Your enthusiasm should be contagious. Set the tone and excitement for the festivities with your speech!
  5. Be an extension of the bride. This is perhaps the most important of the maid of honor responsibilities. You are the second pair of eyes and ears for the bride. When the whole celebration is over, you are the person she will go to in order to get all of your feedback. (The bride simply cannot take in every little detail, but will want to hear about everything afterwards!) She will want to know about interesting conversations you heard, the coffee bar that she did not get a chance to try, and the funny thing that happened on the dance floor that she missed. If you need to, write everything down!

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10 Ideas for Bridal Party Gifts

Dec21

Bridal party gifts are important because they show appreciation to the people who help plan and make your day special. Without your bridal party, your wedding wouldn’t be the same. Here are a few gift ideas that are certain to bring pleasure to your bridal party:

  1. Accessories to complement the bridesmaids dress. This depends on whether you want your bridesmaids to decide which earrings, necklace, hairpieces or shoes to wear on the wedding day. If you would like them all wearing the same earrings or shoes, for example, you could find the exact pieces you like and purchase these as your bridesmaids gifts. It is important to let them know what your plan is beforehand though, so your bridesmaids don’t go looking for jewelry and shoes on their own. Also, make it clear that you are paying for these things.
  2. General accessories. Earrings, scarves, and necklaces make excellent bridal party gifts, partly because you can choose things that accentuate or complement your bridesmaids’ personal style without buying a difficult-to-fit clothing item like a shirt or sweater. The season or theme of your wedding could also dictate what type of accessories you purchase.
  3. Stationery. Stationery always makes an excellent gift, and writing letters is a lost art. If you are on a budget, you can find adorable stationery sets at discount stores. Be patient and check a few different places. You can also add special calligraphy pens, if you want, or cute rubber stamps. You could also buy a stamp with each of your bridesmaids’ custom-embossed initials on it, with which to seal their letters. This is the sort of gift people do not think to purchase for themselves, but would love using!
  4. Scented Candles. This goes without saying. Candles almost always bring pleasure to any girl. Make sure that no one in your party is allergic—or opposed—to scented candles. (Otherwise, there are plenty of lovely soy candles on the market.)
  5. Gift cards to a favorite store or coffee shop. If you know that your friend frequents a particular coffee shop, or that she loves popping into a certain department store, get her a gift card. That way, she can pick exactly what she likes!

Groomsmen gifts tend to be a little more difficult, partly because small gifts like candles or earrings usually don’t work. Here are a few ideas:

  1. CD or DVD/blu-ray. If you know your groomsman’s tastes in movies or music, getting him a blu-ray or CD is perfect. You could also consider ordering a subscription to an online movie rental service, if he doesn’t already have one.
  2. Movie Tickets. He will most certainly use them at some point.
  3. Subscription to a magazine or publication. Does your groomsman like to read? If so, get him a year-long subscription to a favorite music, movie, sports, or political publication.
  4. Tickets to a concert or sports game. Depending on your price range, this is a fantastic gift idea because it is something you can actually do together!
  5. Gift card to a favorite food place. If you know that he often eats lunch at a Mexican place near his workplace, get him a gift card!

 

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Wedding Toast Advice

Dec13

The best wedding speeches are short, genuine, and often make everyone laugh—including the bride and groom. Here are a few things to consider when writing wedding toasts.

Father of the Bride Speech

  • Thank the guests.
    Also, acknowledge them for all of their support and friendship over the years. You might even thank them for the involvement in the lives of the bride and groom. Remember that you are toasting the guests for their support as well as toasting the couple.
  • Share a Childhood Memory.
    The best Father of the Bride wedding toasts usually depict one good memory of the bride's childhood or teen years. Remember, this is not the time to ramble on about the millions of memories you have, as the audience will get bored. Rather, choose a memory that says something about your daughter and your relationship with her. For example, if she is an athlete, tell a story about how competitive she was when she was a little girl in soccer. Or if she loves to travel, tell a story about the family vacation to Rome that you took when she was twelve. Then, relate that story to the future marriage. For example, encourage the groom to remember his bride's love of getting on an airplane—or to watch out anytime the couple competes in sports! Note: this can also present an opportunity to make people laugh.
  • Keep it Short and Genuine.
    The best wedding toasts are usually short and to the point. The speech may be sentimental, but don't overdo it. A little reflection is nice, but remember to wrap it up so that you can get the party started.


Best Man Speech

  • Make Them Laugh.
    You do not have to be a gifted comedian to generate some laughs; simply sharing a funny memory or story is sufficient! Just make sure that you do not include anything that would embarrass or offend anyone (if you are not sure, then run it by someone you trust to have good judgement).
  • Be Positive and Supportive.
    You might even mention that your friend or brother is marrying a great girl. Or, let the girl know that she got a loyal guy. Be genuine about what you say, but try to acknowledge positive aspects of either party.


Maid of Honor Speech

  • Thank the guests and encourage them to have fun.
    The more energetic the speech, the more the energy will transfer to the guests, and the better the reception will be.
  • Tell a Story.
    Story-telling is one of the best ways to begin a speech, and also to break the ice. If you are a sister or dear friend of the bride, you no doubt have a wealth of material to draw from!
  • Be Supportive and Enthusiastic.
    This is a time to celebrate and share in your friend's joy. Emphasize how happy you are for the couple and that you are excited for their future together. (If you are not very happy with your friend's choice of spouse, it is important to address this before the wedding day, not the day of!)

 

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How to Include Your Siblings in Your Wedding

Sep22

Your siblings have been with you from day one, and you’ll want to recognize them on your wedding day. The most common honors are making them Groomsmen, Best Man, Bridesmaids, and Maid or Maids of Honor. Those are wonderful ideas, but sometimes they aren’t feasible, or you still have “openings” among your siblings. Here are a couple ideas to make your wedding a true family affair.

Groomsmen almost always serve as ushers, but if you have a lot of brothers you can always add extras. (You can also have one of your brothers hand out programs.) That’s a simple way to include the guys, but there are other, creative options. Readings are smart ways to include the women and men, provided they’re keen on the idea—some people are uncomfortable speaking in front of crowds. Give this “job” to older siblings who love poetry or have something special in mind to recite on your big day.

If you’ve got a singer in your clan, they can perform a song or two for the occasion. This can be tricky if they’re not “American Idol” material, and works best if you still have a DJ or band. On a similar note, a sibling can play you a song on the guitar, violin, even harp. For little ones who’ve been studying piano, a “concert” in your honor can be one of the sweetest gifts you’ll receive. Always make sure that young children are comfortable in front of a crowd, and don’t push them if they back out at the last minute. Flower girls and ring bearers are common roles for very young siblings; once again, don’t pressure them into taking on the responsibility.

Since it’s not always practical to make far-away siblings bridesmaids or groomsmen, you can ask them to read (clear any material with your clergyperson ahead of time). Remember, too, that family like to feel involved, and feel free to ask siblings who live out of town to help with such projects as the guest list or your wedding web site. If you’re going back to where your siblings live for your wedding, have them throw a pre-wedding party at their home or, if they’ve got room, house a few of your guests.

For any sibling who doesn’t have a lot of free time, ask them to make special toast Your brother or sister can practice a short, 5-minute-maximum speech in their spare time, and it’s a wonderful way to let them know how special their words are on the biggest day of your life.

Read more: The Top 5 Causes of Wedding-Related Family Drama, the Bridesman or the Man of Honor and How to Include Underage Bridesmaids


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