Inviting non-catholics to participate in wedding liturgy


Hey everyone - getting married this August!!! (three exclamation points means I’m excited :slight_smile:

My fiance and I are both catholic and the wedding will be a full nuptial mass. However, as I’m a relatively recent convert, most of my family and many friends are either protestant or not christian at all.

I’m putting together the program and I’d like to include as much as I can to help people who aren’t familiar with the liturgy to participate. This will possibly the first time that many of my family have even set foot in a catholic church, so it’s a great opportunity to introduce people to some of what we do.

I was thinking it might be nice to have very short instructions at some points in the program. For example, perhaps adjacent to the entry for the psalm, I have “please join the cantor during the refrain.”

Does anyone know of any examples or templates that I can take a look at to get some ideas? I might be interested in including some explanatory text if it can be done concisely and tactfully.



Congratulations!!! Can you tell I’m happy for you?

I think it’s a great idea to include as much as you can about the Mass to make it easier for them. If allowed, you may want to include all of the readings, prayers and responses, along with a reminder that communion is not open to non-Catholics. I know I was always lost at wedding masses. I’d try to follow in the missal and didn’t have a clue. It shouldn’t be too hard to make it up step by step and word for word yourself. Your program may end up being a little on the long side including the words for the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, etc but what a blessing to your guests to be able to participate fully with you.


I did the same thing when I got married. My husband and I are both Catholic, from Catholic families, but we had extended family and friends who were not Catholic. I made the program myself. I was sure to include, in a prominent place, the Church’s guidelines for receiving Communion. If you’d like, PM me with your address, and I’ll send you a copy of the program from our wedding.


We made up long (er) programs for the wedding, and put explanations/what to do when in them. If you have any big masses coming up, look at the program after- they usually have sit/stand/sing etc examples you can use for ideas and wording.

We also had our pastor “invite” people to do things “Please stand for the reading of the Gospel,” “Now we kneel for the XYZ” etc. As well as a “Communion is offered to those who are actively practicing Catholics” etc. We chose to omit the sign of peace, as 90% of our attendees were not Catholic, and we didn’t want to mess with trying to explain it, among other things!

We had this GREAT young priest, newly ordained, who almost tangled the incense in his vestments ROTFL. It was a great wedding!


Disagree with this…

I’ve played over 165 weddings. One of them put every single prayer, reading, response in the program including explanation boxes…and everyone was buried in the program because they didn’t want to lose their place.

The readings are meant to be proclaimed. Even non-Catholics can understand what is being said there.

I do like music lyrics, posture instructions, participation instructions, and explanation boxes are all helpful. The responses would be helpful too.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit