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Ideas for Catholic Wedding Readings


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.

Read more:

How to Choose your Wedding Ceremony Readings and Wedding Vows


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.


How to Find the Right Wedding Ceremony Officiant


Along with your groom and your wedding party, your wedding ceremony officiant plays an integral part of the biggest day of your life. It's important to do your homework and feel comfortable with the person marrying you, and that he or she knows you as a couple. This way, your wedding ceremony has a more personal feel. But how do you decide on an officiant?

  • You first need to determine if you are having a religious or secular wedding. If you are getting married in a church, you do not necessarily need to be married by a clergyman, priest, or pastor, but a church or local Justices of the Peace should be able to recommend a good wedding ceremony officiant. (Personal recommendations are always preferred).
  • Meet with him or her in person and remember to ask important questions. Some questions that may be applicable: Can we write our own wedding vows? Can others participate in the wedding ceremony (such as friends or family who are not religious?) What is the nature of the address you typically prepare (it is highly scriptural, formal, or casual?) Do you focus on wedding ceremony traditions such as communion or the lighting of candles? Or do you allow some flexibility as far as readings and/or music?
  • Get an idea of his or her personal speaking style. Ideally, it would be best to attend a gathering that this particular wedding ceremony officiant does to get an idea of his speaking skills. If this isn’t possible, make sure to ask for references and other recommendations. Remember to go with your gut instinct about a person.
  • Also, try to speak with at least three potential officiants before making your final decision.


Choosing Your Wedding Ceremony Readings


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!

Are Live Video Feeds the Wave of the Future for Weddings?


As much as we want all of our loved ones with us at our weddings, the reality is that some just won't be able to make it, because of health, finances or scheduling.

To make sure your big day is not missed by anyone, would you consider a live video feed of your ceremony?  Check out this article on the burgeoning trend:

"Each close-up of the bride and groom as well as the soundtrack’s fading out during the address mimicked the shifting attention I would have experienced had I been sitting in the garden with the other guests.

"The effect of watching the wedding on the computer was much closer to the experience of actually being present than watching a typical wedding video, which is a formulaic highlighted treatment of a ritual." (via The Smart Set)

Since we already have live feed proposals, is this the natural next step?  Is it something you would consider?

Advice on Booking the Right Ceremony Site


One of the first items on any wedding checklist -- right after you’ve said “yes” and picked the date -- is searching ceremony sites.

It's not as simple as calling up your local church, and even if you know where you will marry there is still plenty to consider:

  • If the location is available on your wedding date
  • How to handle the fee or donation
  • Site rules regarding decorations, officiants, scripts and more

Read about booking your ceremony site here.

Processional 101: Understanding the Order Down the Aisle


If you’re worried about your wedding processional order, relax.  Your clergyman will most likely guide you through it during the rehearsal. If you have a planner, he or she will also help you with the drill. However, we’ve listed a few tips to get you started on the road to wedded bliss.

Christian Ceremonies.
For a Christian ceremony, the Best Man, Groom, and Minister enter from the side, then stand at the altar. The Groomsmen enter the house of worship next, either alone or accompanying the Bridesmaids.  Should you have an uneven amount of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, two guys can escort one woman. In some cases, the Groomsmen walk down first, followed by the Bridesmaids, in pairs.

Once the Groomsmen and Bridesmaids are at the altar, any other attendants, such as ring bearer or flower child, walk down the aisle. After they take their place at the altar, the bride is escorted down the aisle by her father, or another escort of choice. The bride should be on the left. Once at the altar, the father leaves his bride and takes a seat.

In many Protestant wedding ceremonies, the bride’s escort waits at the front of the altar until the minister says “Who gives this woman in marriage?” Many people do not use this tradition anymore, finding it out of date or even sexist. Once everyone is together, tradition calls for the bride to be on the left side of the groom. The custom dates back to medieval times, when the groom had to keep his sword hand free in case he needed to defend his betrothed’s honor.

Jewish Ceremonies.
In a Jewish wedding ceremony, the Groomsmen walk down the aisle first, in pairs. They are followed by the Best Man. The Groom and his parents are next, and then the Bridesmaids. The bride is escorted by both sets of parents.

If you are having a secular wedding, you can change the order as much as you’d like, but clear it with the minister. Many couples like to have both sets of parents walk them down the aisle, no matter their faith, and some brides like to walk down by themselves. It’s your big day, so live out your dream.

Looking for more culturally-specific wedding planning help?

Pre-Ceremony Wedding Pictures


Nowadays, many couples are nixing the “bad luck” curse and opting to take wedding photographs before the ceremony. The reasons are plentiful, and as long as you’re not superstitious, it’s something to consider.

Read the article here including pros and cons, how it may affect your photographer's bill, and more!

Why We're Integrating the Unity Sand Ritual into Our Ceremony


Celebrity weddings and glamorous bridal magazines are a lot of fun, but nothing’s more helpful than learning how real brides plan their big day.

Meet OWD's Real Brides: real OurWeddingDay.com Brides-to-be sharing their experiences.  It’s not about the “right” way to plan; it’s about each bride planning the wedding that’s right for her.

Sam from Sudbury, Ontario writes:

My fiancé and I are not really big church-goers, but we are having our ceremony in a church simply for tradition and for our families. So when we were asked if we were going to perform the unity candle part of the ceremony, we decided not to.

Instead we are opting to try the unity sand ceremony. This way we can have our wedding colors come out in another part of our ceremony and also have our families take part in it. We are going to have our mother’s bring up our family sand colors and my fiancé's dad will be escorting them down the aisle. We really liked this idea to have them all take part and also it will be a nice souvenir from our big day for us to be able to treasure.