Advice for readings for our wedding


We are new to this forum.

We are to be married in late September and are currently considering readings and general content for the service. We are wishing to have a traditional wedding as part of a mass with direct family being present.

We would request your advise in regards to reading and psalms as our families are a typical spread of todays society ie some follow the Catholic faith and some do not. It is for this reason that we are looking for a broard spectrum of reading to be able to choose from in addition to the traditional readings people commonly chose from.

Thank you in advance for your help and suggestions as we are starting to panic a little.

Claire & Simon

If you’re afraid of offending your honored guests, then there’s not much I can say. You’ll have to fall back on the stereotyped selections like 1 Corinthians 13. Your church representative will have a booklet with suggested readings. Keep in mind that some people may be offended by readings that refer to faithfulness, because they have cheated; others by the permanence of the marital bond, because they are divorced; others by the whole concept of woman being made for man or that wives should be “submissive” and so on.

Beyond 1 Corinthians 13 I suggest something from Romans 8, 1 Peter 3, etc.

When we got married, we were given a booklet to select which readings, psalms, vows choices, etc. we would use. I’m not sure if its like that with every parish, but we were only given a few options for each reading. Any suggestions given here might not even be an option to use for you :shrug:

My favorite reading at our wedding was the “Love is patient, love is kind”… etc. one from Corintheans. I can’t see how that could offend anyone.

Claire and Simon,

I recommend that since you want a traditional wedding, that you use the Scripture texts that have traditionally been used for centuries. I would also recommend that you have a Traditional Latin Mass for your wedding as well.

Here are the traditional Scripture readings:

Ephesians 5:22-33
Psalm 127:3
Matthew 19:3-6

I would look over the bottom of this site which explains the Traditional Rite of Marriage:

And, if you would like additional information on marriage as preparation for your wedding, along with additional resources, I would see this material as well:

My advice is to pick the readings that best reflect YOU as a couple and your shared Catholic faith… Your wedding mass is sacrament, you are not having a wedding mass in the Catholic Church to appeal to other faiths, this isn’t the occasion to do that.

Like someone already mentioned, the wedding coordinator or the parish office should be able to provide you with a booklet to help plan your wedding. The readings suggested in that book are wonderful options.

I pray that you experience less panic and more joy and anticipation for your upcoming wedding. The wedding mass is so beautiful, I hope you don’t sacrifice parts of it to appeal to other faiths amongst your guests.

We too are getting married at the end of September, and we also have many different types of people joining us at the Mass, some Catholic, lots of Lutherans or non-practicing.

What we came to realize is that anyone can find fault in a verse if they’re looking for it. It’s your wedding, so pick verses that resonate with you. You can’t always focus on not offending others. It’s the Word of God, you can’t go wrong.

The only thing we chose, is not to pick any readings from Books that are not in the Lutheran Bibles.

My parish gave my husband and me a booklet with suggested readings and we just chose from that. It never crossed my mind that any of them might offend some guests. I personally wouldn’t worry too much about it. If they are going to be offended by something in the Bible verse, they have much bigger problems than should be dealt with by you at your wedding. Also, they know they are coming to a Catholic wedding, so the are probably going to hear some Catholic beliefs. I had athiests at my wedding, and they had a great time. Many of them said they didn’t even bother paying attention to the readings anyway. :rolleyes:
How, specifically, do you think they will be offended? The Bible verses in the booklet I was given mostly talked about love and faithfullness, hardly controversial topics.

Hello Claire-

I love how you started your request with “We”. If ‘he’ is as much into “we” as you are, you will have a wonderful life together.

After 15 years I cannot remember what our scriptures were other than the “Love is patient, love is kind”… etc. one from Corinthians that Blenderx mentioned. Don’t tell my wife because I am sure remembers what they were.

I work for the Church and often am responsible for picking reading for special Masses like 1st Communion and Confirmation. I never worry about what people will think about them. Go over them with the priest and be happy with them. God’s Word resonates differently with everyone and some people are not even paying attention. Then you can worry about the really big things like the cake and flowers. :smiley:

Best of luck and blessings to both of you as your new lives truly begin.

Ask to see a lectionary with selections for nuptial Masses. (You can use these for a wedding without a Mass, too, of course.)

Nobody but a narcissist goes to a Catholic wedding and expects Jesus Christ to be washed out of it. Don’t even try to whitewash that. It can’t be done, and it shouldn’t. Besides, many (if not most) non-believers agree with Mark Twain: There has been only one Christian. They caught him and crucified him–early. If you restrict yourself to what the Lord has to say that can be heard by any person of good will, you will find there is plenty.

The truth is that most of Scriptures offend no person of good will. People don’t like doing what Scriptures say, but they find it pretty hard to quarrel with 90% of the theory. If you stay away from the 10% that requires a more complicated explanation to those outside the faith than what a homily allows for–like what submission means in marriage or the conditions under which civil divorce is permissible–you will still find a lot that the Holy Spirit has to say about marriage, its joys, its demands, and perhaps what marriage means to everyone present. Even if you just choose “what does love ask of us?” as your theme, you will find some very deep and demanding words in Scriptures.

----more advanced considerations:

A lot of Catholics do not realize that the Liturgy of the Word ideally has a clear connection between the readings, or at least between the Hebrew Scripture, the Psalm, and the Gospel. Allow me to explain.

Go into a Sunday missal and read the Psalm, particularly the response. Then read the Gospel. Do you see where the response anticipated a main theme in the Gospel? Now go back to the first reading. Do you see where there is a theme or image from the Gospel in the first reading?

In the Liturgy of the Word, when the readings are chosen by a liturgist instead of an uninformed layperson, there is normally this progression: The first reading is a sort of a foreshadowing of what will come in fullness in the Gospel. Then, in the responsorial psalm, the people sing out a kind of a “ooo! ooo! We see what’s coming! Praise God!” This is a song of recognition of what the Holy Spirit is getting at, the direction that the Word is going. Then, in the Gospel the message comes through in its fullness.

Therefore, I’d choose the Gospel reading, then a first reading that speaks to the theme of the Gospel or an image of marriage relevant to the theme, then the psalm and response that connect the two. The connection in the second reading does not need to be obvious: it could serve as a reinforcement, a broadening, or a contrast of the theme.

By the way, when we got married, we had a wedding booklet that included “A Road Map to a Catholic Wedding” in which we explained that not a few non-Catholics feel like they’re taking a test covering a class they’ve never attended when they go to a Catholic church. We explained that the sit/stand/kneel events would be clearly marked in the booklet, that it was OK to sit when everyone else was kneeling (no promises if you stand and block someone else’s view) and so on. We had Mass, so we also explained what was going on in the various parts of the Mass and the wedding ceremony and the business about having to be Catholic to go to Holy Communion. We even told people how to find the bathrooms, and that it was OK to leave Mass and come back.

We got wildly enthusiastic response from the booklet, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. If you have the resources to do something like that, I highly recommend it.

This was the Gospel we chose, although most lists of readings for a nuptial Mass don’t include it: They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:33-38

The church provides an officiall list of options for a wedding mass. Same thing for a funeral mass. It would not be withing the liturgical rules of the church to select one from outside of that list. Same goes for a funeral mass. If everyone picked whatever reading they wanted, you could really end up with some weird results. Trust the church, don’t think you know better.

You can’t re-write your vows, but a priest can approve Mass readings from outside the list given specificaly for nuptial Masses. Having said that, there are a LOT of readings on that list. It is the best first place to look, and I’d fully expect that the couple will find something very suitable there.

Another place to look is to find a Gospel passage you think is suitable and to look to see what other readings come up with it in the lectionary. The choices of the professionals were done very carefully, and are generally much to be preferred over a layperson’s…meaning, even if you were allowed to choose, you’d have a hard time doing a better job.

I don’t know what the rubrics have to say about who can approve readings for for a special Mass that aren’t an official selection for that type of Mass, although I’ve known many priests and bishops to do it, particularly for weddings, funerals, or jubilee-type Masses, or for a wedding that will not include Mass. You could probably ask Benedictgal over on the Liturgy and Sacraments forum. She is a wealth of information, and she knows what she’s talking about. If you want to know what the rules say, ask her. She’ll not only tell you the rule; she’ll tell you where she got her answer.

I agree with the advice to pick readings that are meaningful to you. My husband and I did that, and I’m sure some people were surprised at our choice of readings, but they reflected what we believe about marriage.

  • Our first reading was from Tobit 8: 4b-8 (some of our family is Protestant and Tobit isn’t included in Protestant Bibles)
  • the Psalm 128 (we have family/friends who don’t see marriage as a natural place for children)
  • second reading was Ephesians 5:2a, 21-33 (a lot of people at our wedding probably were shocked that we chose this, but I insisted! I love the imagery of Christ’s marriage to the Church!)
  • Gospel was the Wedding at Cana - John 2:1-11 (not too much to get offended at here, though our deacon did chant the Gospel, which I’m sure was very new to a lot of our guests)

We also had the Exhortation before Marriage read by our deacon after the homily, just before the vows. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, as it beautifully expresses marriage and the importance, seriousness and astounding beauty that is found in this vocation. Here is a copy of it

Best of luck to you in your planning! Remember, make sure that you are true to yourself, your future spouse, and the Lord when choosing the final details of your ceremony, because it is the union of these three that is created and celebrated at your wedding.

Thankyou all so much for all your much needed advice and suggestions,
also for all your well wishes. :slight_smile:

We didn’t realise we’d get such a fantastic response and we are currently
checking the details provided.

I’ll post again with an update once we have decided on which readings are most suitable for.

Best wishes and thankyou all again

Claire & Simon

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