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The Wedding Service: Engaged Encounter Marriage Preparation

The Wedding Service

Your Parish Priest will want to have several meetings with you so that you can discuss the more formal and legal aspect of getting married, as well as the actual wedding service itself. Here are a few pointers to help you in your marriage preparation, particularly preparing your Wedding Service.

The form of service

Discuss the form of Service with the Priest. There are several options:

  • Wedding Service with hymns and Scripture Readings,
  • Nuptial Mass (Wedding Service within Mass),
  • Wedding Service without Mass, but with Holy Communion.


A useful book can be purchased that can help you prepare the Wedding Service:

“Your Wedding in the Catholic Church”; R. Gallagher & Fr J Trenchard; obtainable from: Redemptorist Publications. ISBN-13: 978- 0852314418. Website: http://www.rpbooks.co.uk/


Music is also important. Because of this, make sure the hymns are those people know. If you require an Organist, you will need his/her contact details so that you can discuss the music.

Many couples provide a booklet to help their family and friends to follow the service, and to give the words of the hymns as this makes the service easy to follow and allows everyone to participate.


You can also discuss with the Priest practicalities such as:

  • Flowers: Most Churches have flower arrangers, so you will need the contact details of the person in charge
  • Fees: Because these vary from Parish to Parish it is a good idea to discuss fees with your Parish Priest.
  • Confetti: preferably bio-degradable, or edible by birds so the church grounds and environment remain clean and attractive
  • Photography: whether flash, video, or lights can be used
  • Hire of the Church Hall: hire charge, caretaker, etc.
  • Rehearsal: When and who should be present, etc.

Preparing for the ceremony

In the wedding ceremony, there are four things you will be required to state publicly that you are:

  • Are marrying freely, without any undue influence.
  • Have a reasonable understanding of what is involved in Christian Marriage.
  • Are entering into a lifelong commitment, with all its ups and downs.
  • Open to life (children) as this is of the essence of Marriage.

The Readings

The Readings are very important. In them God speaks to us, so they should reflect your idea of the meaning of love and marriage.

A selection of readings is given below. You have these options:

  • An Old Testament Reading, a Psalm, and a Gospel Reading
  • A New Testament Reading, a Psalm, and a Gospel Reading
  • An Old and a New Testament Reading, a Psalm and Gospel

The Priest proclaims the Gospel. Because the other Readings, the Psalm, and the Bidding Prayers (Intercessions), are usually read by members of the family or by friends, readers should be well-prepared, and understand the need to make sure that everyone in the congregation can hear and understand what is said.

You will have spent a lot of time discussing guest lists, wedding dresses, catering arrangements, and the honeymoon so we are sure you will also want to spend a lot of time on this important part of your Wedding Day:

Scripture Readings Suitable for Weddings

Old Testament Readings (first reading) with Psalm

1. Genesis 1: verses 26-28, & verse 31: God loves and cares for man and woman and blesses their love for each other. Psalm 32

2. Genesis 2: v 18-24: Man and Woman complement each other, each helps to fulfil the other. Psalm 148

3. Genesis 28 v 48-51 & 58-67: God’s guidance in bringing His people together and how the couple’s mutual love helps them in times of difficulty. Psalm 144

4. Tobit 7: v 6-14 (shorter form v 8-15): Marriage is part of God’s plan and is blessed by Him. Psalm 32

5. Tobit 8: v 4-8: Tobit and Sarah pray together at the beginning of their marriage. Psalm 102

6. Song of Songs 2: v8-10, 14,16 and 8: v 6-7: A wonderful expression of the love of husband and wife. Psalm 127

7. Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 26: v 1-4, 13, 16: A husband gives a list of the positive qualities of the woman he loves. Psalm 33

8. Jeremiah 3: v 31-34: The relationship of God with his people is one of Covenanted love. So too is the relationship of marriage. Psalm 111

New Testament readings (second reading)

1. Revelation (Apocalypse) 19: 1. 5-9: The new relationship between God and His people is likened to a wedding feast. Psalm 148

2. Romans 8: v 31-35 and 37-39: Christ’s love for us was so strong that it overcame death. The love between a married couple blessed by God should overcome all difficulties.

3. Romans 12: v 1-2 & 9-18: Married love is not closed in but spreads out to those around.

4. 1 Corinthians 6: v 13-15, 17: Marriage calls for faithfulness: a love faithful and exclusive.

5. 1 Corinthians 12: v 31 and 13 v 1-8: This passage expresses what true love should be.

6. Ephesians 5: v 2, and v 21-23: Christ’s love for his bride, the Church, is given as a model (a sign) of the way husbands and wives should love each other.

7. Colossians 3: v 12-17: Love in practice: love and forgiveness within a couple relationship and also within a community.

8. 1 Peter: v 1-8: This passage is not about one person dominating the other: rather it is about the need for mutual respect & understanding.

9. 1 John 3: v 18-24: Love is about truthfulness, openness and trust.

10. 1 John 4: v 7-12: This passage can help a reflection on how God’s love will shape our lives.

Gospel Readings

1. Matthew 5: 1-2: This is a blueprint for true Christian life: of how to live happily as man and wife.

2. Matthew 5: v 13-16: Marriage must grow and develop and so become a sign of hope and love to the world.

3. Matthew 7: 21 and 24-29: Good preparation for marriage and true love will provide the foundation for lasting happiness, even when difficulties come along.

4. Matthew 19: 3-6: God brings man and wife together, and will keep them as one all the days of their life.

5. Matthew 22: v 35-40: Marriage involves the gift of learning to love unselfishly.

6. John 2: 1-11: Jesus works his first great sign by working a miracle at a wedding. Marriage should be a sign of God’s power and love

7. John 15: v 9-12: True love in Marriage will bring forth true joy and happiness.

8. John 15: v 12-16: We all have a call (a vocation) from God. Marriage is a vocation.

9. John 17: v 20-26: A prayer that, over the years, husband and wife may grow together in their marriage.


Natural Family Planning

Couple to Couple League – https://ccli.org/

Billings Life: https://billings.life/en/

Billings Family Life Centre London: http://www.whatclinic.com/doctors/uk/london/london-w-district/city-of-westminster/billings-family-life-centre-london


“Making the Most of Your Church Wedding”: by Ally Barrett. SPCK Publishing (16 Jan. 2014) Paperback. ISBN-13: 978- 0281070718

“The Five Love Languages”: by Gary Chapman, Published by Moody Press; First edition (20 Feb. 2015) ISBN-13: 978- 0802412706

“Fighting for Your Marriage”: A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-Seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce, by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, Susan L. Blumberg Published by Jossey Bass; 3rd Revised edition (18 May 2010) Paperback. ISBN-13: 978- 0470485910