Alternate readings/traditions for wedding mass?


Hi Catholic Forum peeps,

This is my first post and I am blessed to have my fiance with me. We’ve just completed our pre-marriage prep with our priest and we’re focused on the ceremony. We were wondering: At your wedding mass, did you use readings that weren’t “typical” for a wedding ceremony? If so, what were they, and how did people react? We all know the ones that are usually used (“Love is patient, Love is kind”, etc, not bad readings of course…) but what were some that you have used that weren’t “typically” read at weddings? Also, was there any part of your ceremony that wasn’t quite “typical”? Nothing out of line with the church, of course; things like a unity candle, unlit candles to represent the openness to children, etc. We’re just putting some feelers out there and are interested what you have done that isn’t “typical” but had a positive impact on your ceremony and those in attendance.

Thank you and God bless!


Unity candles are NOT part of the catholic ceremony. They were invented on a soap opera.

In fact, they distract and take away from the Eucharist. The symbol of unity is the rings. The unity happens at the Eucharist.

I suggest not thinking about trying to do unusual things at a wedding. Stick with the rite. It is beautiful as it is. In fact, following the entrance rite as it is written is when the couple walks in together, NOT dad escorting the bride in. Keep the blusher on until after the vows when the husband moves it back.


You may select Scripture readings for the Conferral of the Sacrament of Marriage from the Lectionary for Ritual Masses, Volume IV, [801-805], 2002.


Hear, hear!

Unity candles (and their local cousins, unity “lamps”) are a joke. In my opinion, they detract from what is actually a very beautiful rite. :frowning:


Tobit 8:4-8, the prayer of Tobiah and Sarah on their wedding night

Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
“My love, get up.
Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us
and to grant us deliverance.”
She got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
And they began to say:

“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”

They said together, “Amen, amen,” and went to bed for the night.


There is no “as is,” because, at the very least, someone will have to determine the music, readings, etc.

Why be hostile to decisions that are perfectly licit (e.g., presenting flowers to Our Lady, unity candle, etc.)???

That’s one of the readings that my wife and I chose. We loved it!


Actually, the unity candle is NOT “perfectly licit”. It’s actually a big detriment to it…the vows are supposed to move right into Liturgy of the Eucharist.

It’s a “hallmark symbol” that is all show, that disturbs the flow of the liturgy, makes everyone a spectator to the couple who “walks, lights a candle, walks”. It’s extremely choppy.

there is “AS IS” because the liturgy and rite is written out.


As 1ke, you can choose any of the readings provided as options in the ritual. None is more “typical” than the other; they are all legitimate options.

This website asserts that this is the full list of options; I don’t know whether it is exactly the list in the current books, but it is at least a useful starting point.

For the record, my nuptial Mass was according to the 1962 Missal, so I had no choice in my readings. They were Ephesians 5:22-33 and Matthew 19:3-6.


I used to assist the Church with weddings. Why is it that I’ve been to ten different parishes that all allow it? Are they all wrong? Do you have a source for this claim?

Otherwise, I don’t want to sound mean, but when it comes to the sacraments, I am inclined to believe the word of numerous Priests over a stranger.


Thank you for this! I just found it on line:thumbsup:

I’m working on a 25th anniversary Church blessing, so this is most helpful!


Just read through the posts on the forum. Have you not seen the bazillion complaint threads or question threads about illicit and abusive practices at mass? Just because these priests allow these practices, does NOT make them right, good, or allowed by the church.

I’m a music director and have played over 215+ weddings with only a handful non-catholic. Many many different priests and deacons. Some allow it, some don’t.

I’ve had to play offensive wagner march. I’ve had to play broadway. Lots of Priests do not see this as a battle they want to fight, or worth making a bridezilla or her mom angry.


The mere history of the practice is enough for it to be excluded by liturgical documents. Not enough for you? How about where it says that no one can add or subtract to the mass?

The unity candle is NOT written into the rite of marriage. It is statement of intentions, vows, rings-- into the prayers of the faithful and Eucharistic Prayer.


This is the same list I posted above, so I will repeat the cautionary note to make sure that this list is still current with the publication of the new liturgical books. I’m not aware that any of the readings changed, but just make sure.


I don’t think the Rite of Marriage has been updated since the late 70s so the readings for Marriage would remain the same, wouldn’t they?


You are most likely right, but I am just saying that I don’t know for sure.


The 2002 Lectionary is the current one.


:thumbsup: Thanks.


I have cantored for Catholic masses in at least 100+ Catholic parishes in my diocese and surrounding dioceses. I have probably sung for about 200 weddings altogether, give or take, in the last 10+ years, including non-Catholic ones. This year I’ve slowed down because I’m pursuing more secular music work in opera and such, so I’ve only done about 10 weddings this year.

In my diocese, it is actually in writing that the unity candle is not allowed. When I was married, the wording was that it wasn’t encouraged, but allowed. A couple years after, it was strictly not permitted and many of the wedding paperwork would actually describe it as such. YET, in some of the parishes, especially in the suburban parishes, the priests allowed it. Why? Most of the time it’s because they don’t want to have a huge blow-up from the bride or the family on both sides. Other times, it’s because the priest just doesn’t think it’s a big deal and because they aren’t “close to the source”, they felt that they wouldn’t get reported and that the diocese would be too busy to worry themselves over something like that.

In a neighboring diocese, I’ve found that it was permitted at every single parish I cantored in. The parishes in that diocese also seem to be much more liberal in what is permitted music-wise. (ie. using secular songs like “Grow Old With Me” as an Offertory piece.) And even in my diocese which tends to be a little more conservative when it comes to music, you still have priests who will allow the Wagner and Mendelssohn wedding marches either because they don’t want the blow-ups as described before, they don’t want to lose money, especially if it is a struggling parish or because they think that since it is not “during the mass”, they’ll let something slide. I once had to sing “All You Need is Love” during the recessional. The music director didn’t want to do it, but the presiding priest gave his permission and the couple held that over the music director. So, guess what we had to do?


I would like to use Tobit’s prayer as a reading if I ever get married.

**And Tobias began to pray, “Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers,
and blessed be thy holy and glorious name for ever.
Let the heavens and all thy creatures bless thee.
Thou madest Adam and gavest him Eve his wife
as a helper and support.
From them the race of mankind has sprung.
Thou didst say, `It is not good that the man should be alone;
let us make a helper for him like himself.’
And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity.
Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.”
And she said with him, “Amen.”
Then they both went to sleep for the night. **
(Tobit 8:5-9)



We were given a list of suggested readings for each reading and then we spent several hours together reading them through and choosing. Our mindset was that our wedding might be the only time some of our guests EVER come inside a church and therefore our wedding MUST be a witness to what we believe and what we’re all about.


:thumbsup: This was something my husband and I considered when planning our liturgy. We took a lot of time choosing the readings from what was provided to us. In the end, we did choose the more well-known readings. They really were just beautiful. Music-wise, we did something “different” than what most couples do. We had the choir we sang in sing for the mass. We asked and was permitted to have the Kyrie and Gloria (not usually used for the nuptial mass). All of the sung mass parts were in Latin, either chanted or was polyphonic sung only by the choir and quietly sung by my husband and I. :). You can hear us, though, in the raw footage of our dvd where my husband wore the lapel mic.

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