Prayers for wedding liturgy - help!

Hi, I am in the process of planning my wedding, which is now less than three months away. Although I am close with another priest, I asked my parish priest to preside. I am struggling because I am very devoted to and interested in the liturgy, and had hoped to be very involved in planning the wedding liturgy, as the USCCB recommends.

I had read through the full liturgy, with all the options for prayers and the nuptial blessing, and selected, with my fiance, those that we found most beautiful, but when we met with the priest we were told that there were no options - there were only the prayers the Church gave and we would have no role in selecting any of them. I am deeply saddened by this and unhappy whenever I think of the conversation.

I have (nearly) decided to talk to the priest again, and express how saddened I am that I cannot have a role in selecting the prayers and blessing. But how do I approach this charitably? What do I say?

Thank you especially to anyone who has been in a similar situation. God Bless.

I’m confused. Where did you get the idea that laypersons have a right to change the liturgy to their liking? :confused: Even at a nuptial mass?

The liturgy is… the liturgy. There are rubrics. Certain things can’t be removed, and nothing should be added. You have options in a few areas, but I have the impression from your post that you thought you could actually have choices of prayers and important parts of the mass.

Listen to and trust your priest. He knows what he is doing and what you can and cannot change.

This might be out of context because I’m from Canada, but I just looked at the Archdiocesan prep guide here and yes there is a list of set prayers you can choose from for the liturgy which include the opening prayer, declaration of consent, blessing of the rings, exchange of rings, general intercessions preface of the Eucharistic prayer, nuptial blessing, prayer after communion and the final blessing. You cannot make up your own but you can choose from the valid approved ones which I presume is what you have done.

My suggestion would be to talk to your close priest friends and ask his advice. It may be that your parish priest is following a diocesan norm that hasn’t been corrected by the ordinary.

P.S. good on you for choosing looking at the Prayers! Some of the default ones are pretty fluffy and dry.

If by prayers, you mean the readings…you certainly can select them.
Our priest let us submit the prayer intentions in advance for him to approve or disapprove as well. He did not offer us to “choose” anything else.
So, we let him handle the liturgy.
It was great, and we felt, tailored to our special situation.
I hope it works out for you…and I hope that you can come to an understanding of the priest’s position.
Best not to speculate.
May God bless your marriage!

Thank you to all who have replied thus far and for your thoughtful answers and encouragement.

Dshix: the USCCB’s website as well as most Diocesan guides out there do recommend that, as ministers of the sacrament, the bride and groom, with guidance from their priest, select a number of the prayers. Marchelli listed them; it is the same in Canada and the US. To put this in context - if it were solely up to me I would be celebrating the sacrament of marriage under the Tridentine form. Because the Church now does have so many options, I had hoped to be able to select the prayers that are most similar to those that the Church employed for so many centuries.

Ah, I understand. And you are saying that the priest does not understand/know about your ability to select certain prayers, per the USCCB website?

If I were you, I’d print out the relevant pages and have show them to him.

Having read the last post…
I would think it would easier to find a different priest to be the celebrant than it would be to think I should tell the priest he doesn’t know what he’s doing…
just sayin…
That will appear to be disrespectful, and in the end, not productive.

Just tread lightly… I wish you all the best, and many happy, holy years together.

I see the options there on the USCCB site. I wonder why it states “will probably invite you to choose”?
For many couples, choosing the Scripture readings turns out to be one of the highlights of planning their Catholic wedding. Read on to find out why, and to get the complete texts of the readings suggested by the Rite of Marriage.

Unless your wedding falls on certain days, your parish will probably invite you to choose the Scripture readings for your wedding. The part of the Catholic wedding ceremony during which selections from the Bible are read and sung is called the Liturgy of the Word; it usually includes four parts:

*] The first reading, taken from the Old Testament
*] The responsorial psalm, taken from the Book of Psalms and usually sung by a song leader and the assembly
*] The second reading, taken from the New Testament
*] The Gospel reading, taken from one of the four Gospels

Choose qualified readers (lectors) to proclaim the Word of God
Decide when music will be used in the wedding liturgy
Choose songs, hymns, and other music
Choose from two versions of the vows

[- See more at:](“ See more at:”)

Did you specifically say ‘prayers’? Because this may simply be a misunderstanding.

When I read your post I immediately thought ‘since when do we get to choose the prayers?’ We get to choose the readings, not the prayers, except the Prayers of the Faithful (General Intercessions).

As others have experience, just on this thread, a misunderstanding could have occurred based on the words used in your request. I would make clear in a polite manner what you are talking about.

That being said there is this statement on the website: will probably invite you to choose.

The word probably is NOT a command on the priest’s part and gives him the right to say no and it appears he does not need to offer you an explanation.

Is this a pastoral approach on the priest’s part? Not in my opinion, especially when so many couples could care less what is said at their wedding. Is it within his right to be insensitive and stubborn? Yes.

If after you attempt to discuss this with him one more time and he still says no, you will have to think of the options you have.

My husband and I are in the process of getting our civil wedding convalidated and will do so in the next month or two. Our Priest gave us a booklet with a selection of readings that we can choose from.

He also gave us some other “homework” to do before selecting the readings. We are to write down (separately) our 3 most favorite memories of our times together. We are then to sit down and discuss what we came up with. THEN we should select the readings together, selecting those that speak to us the most in our relationship. Once we do that we will meet with our Priest again and discuss all of this with him to help him prepare his Homily for our wedding.

I would talk to him again and speak from your heart about wanting to be involved in the selection process and how much it means to you spiritually (also clarifying whether or not there was a misunderstanding).

Good luck, congratulations and God Bless!

When my wife and I got married in November, we were given options for the readings. All else was chosen by the priest (the holiest man I have ever met). We were given no other options whatsoever; except for music; but even that had to fall within certain guidelines and meet the approval of the priest.

My advice to you is to trust your priest and choose from whatever options he gives you. I am going to assume that he is not fresh out of the seminary, and this is not his first wedding. He will likely choose what is best for you.

REMEMBER: The priest is a servant of the Liturgy. NOT it’s master. Trust him… he knows what he’s doing.

Well said, my friend!

God bless you and yours!

It may be as others indicated that there is mis-communication in terms. Another poster indicated what you are allowed in most cases to choose, There are different forms of the various prayers in the rite that the priest will often, but does not have to let the couple have a choice in choosing. I encourage the couple to read and pray together in choosing the readings and the prayer options, however, other don’t want to mess with such thing and have a set formula.
Ask the priest that you understood that in some instances that the couple can select certain options for their wedding, he will either hold to what he said or clear up the misunderstanding.
Dcn Frank

The couple is generally asked to choose readings. Different priests may or may not invite the couple to choose specific prayers where there are options. Ditto for a funeral. At one family funeral, I asked the priest to use Eucharistic Prayer A; not only did he not use it, his response to that request was, “Are you telling me how to celebrate Mass?” Maybe he was having a bad day, but that was hardly a pastorally sensitive reply to a politely-expressed request. But I accepted it as his prerogative. Maybe the priest in the OP also has very firm preferences on options other than the readings and music.

Choosing the Eucharistic Prayer is always the prerogative of the priest. It is commonly encouraged for the couple to choose among various other options for the wedding, however, including, but not limited to the readings.

We looked at the options for readings, too, and chose the ones that meant the most to us. When I told my mom what we had picked, I said, “We went with this one for the first reading,” “Yup, Dad and I had that one at our wedding,” “We picked this for the Psalm”, “Yup, we had that one too,” “We picked this second reading”, “I’m not sure what we chose, but maybe we had that one,” - seems Scripture choices run in families :slight_smile:

As far as I know, there has yet to be a booklet published for couples with the revised prayers for Nuptial Masses. Although there are options, they seem to not be as accessible to couples as they were prior to the Roman Missal Revision (Third Edition). Additionally, being a fan of the liturgy does not entitle one to choose the prayers. Although it would be nice and pastoral on the part of the priest to share those decisions with you, he is not mandated to do so and may not trust many couples, especially with the amount of bad practices entering ceremonies (looking at you, unity candle).

I am getting married in September and, having been the liturgist for youth masses at our parish and go-to MC for parish events, have had the opportunity to work with my pastor on planning many Masses. I expect my wedding will be no different. I help my pastor to read the congregation at hand (usually a sub-set of youth, but in this case my fiance and my families), prepare or choose the readings as per the rubrics, prepare the Universal Prayers, and, if he asks, help make the decisions about prayers where there are options. Although I am one of the two minister of Holy Matrimony, he will still be the Minister of the Mass in which it takes place, and I must defer to him if he chooses.

When my husband and I married, we were allowed to select the readings used at Mass. We were also allowed to write our own vows, provided they contained the usual: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish, till death do us part.

We added a vow to help each other grow in our Catholic faith. I don’t know of anybody else who’s done that, but the priest sure didn’t have a problem with it! (And we will celebrate our 25th anniversary this year!)

In the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in California, it is common practice for couples to select their own readings and certain prayers, including the Prayers for the Entrance Rite; Opening Prayer; Prayers of the Faithful; Prayers from the Catholic Rite of Marriage; Prayers for the Liturgy of the Eucharist; and Prayers from the Concluding Rite, from the book “Together for Life” by Joseph M. Champlin. In my specific parish, my wife and I run the Sponsor Couple program, one component of which is helping the engaged couple select their options from the aforementioned book. There is a complementary book regarding funeral Masses that is also commonly used within our diocese.

That said, this may not be the usual practice in either the diocese or church of the OP. We have found that working with couples through their selections deepens their understanding and commitment to the Holy Mass and we are pleased to see our couples, now married, often at Sunday Mass and Holy Days.

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