The Roman Catholic Ceremony
A Catholic wedding ceremony has many traditions; the order and content of the service depends on which Rite of Marriage the couple have chosen.
The Rite of Marriage During Mass is usually adopted when both partners are Catholic. Holy Communion is offered to the bride, groom and all Catholics in the congregation. The vows form part of the Mass and are inserted into the liturgy after scripture readings. The Rite of Marriage Outside Mass is more common when one party is a non-Catholic or when the couple wish to have a shorter ceremony
- Upon entering the church, Catholic guests will make the sign of the cross and perhaps genuflect (bend the knee) as a mark of respect. Guests of other denominations and faiths aren't expected to follow suit.
- The bride, on the arm of her father (or other appointed male), proceeds down the aisle to the groom and priest.
- Alternatively, the guests assemble in the church porch to greet the couple as they arrive. The bride and groom then walk with the priest down the aisle towards the altar, followed by the guests.
- The bride and groom will exchange vows and then the priest will bless the ring(s) before being exchanged.
- The priest says a prayer and the couple are invited to seal their union with a kiss, unless they have chosen to have a Mass, in which case they will kiss once Mass has been said.
- After the final blessing, the bride, groom and wedding party move to the sacristy to make the civil declaration and sign the register. Finally, the newly married couple proceed out of the church.