Nuptial or Wedding Mass

A Nuptial Mass is highly recommended for a marriage when both parties are Catholic. It is allowed if at least one of the parties is Catholic. Since the non-Catholic party (unless Orthodox) may not receive Holy Communion, many pastors discourage a Nuptial Mass unless both may receive. In the special circumstances of pre-marital pregnancy, convalidation of vows after an annulment, while it is not explicitly forbidden it is inappropriate.

A wedding may be celebrated at any season of the year, although during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent couples are asked by the Church to consider the special nature of these times and keep it simple. On Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter, the liturgy of the Sunday with the wedding rites inserted is used. This is also the case whenever marriage is celebrated within a parish Mass on other Sundays. Otherwise, outside of Advent, Lent and Easter, either the Sunday liturgy or the Nuptial Mass may be chosen. Whenever the Nuptial Mass is used, white vestments are worn.

On the following days, however, weddings may not be performed within the Mass: Eastern Triduum (Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday), Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and any solemnity that is a holy day of obligation. In the US, this includes the Assumption, All Saints and the Immaculate Conception. Marriage may take place outside the Mass, however.

The Rites

A Nuptial Mass is the same as any Mass, except that extra rites are added. So, depending on the day (Sunday) or the season (Lent) there may or may not be a Gloria and a Creed. You could, however, add the Gloria for greater solemnity. 

The addition parts of the Nuptial Mass are:

1. After the Homily: the Rite of Marriage, the Consent, and the Blessing and Exchange of Rings.

2. Offertory: Bride and Groom may, but need not, bring the bread and the wine to the altar.

3. Canon: If Eucharistic Prayer 1 (Roman Canon) is used, there is a special Hanc Igitur (Father, accept this offering...).

4. After Our Father, in lieu of the prayer “Deliver us, Lord, …”: the Nuptial Blessing.

5. Communion: the couple may receive under Both Kinds, even if it is not offered generally.

6. Before the Blessing: a personal blessing of the bride and groom from among the options in the ritual.

Other Considerations:

a. Procession, including the wedding party (optional): After the Ministers and the Celebrant(s), the Couple come last. They may be escorted by at least their parents and the 2 witnesses.

b. Readings: There is a wide variety of readings that may be chosen from the Lectionary.

c. Music: It is still a Mass, so there can’t be any secular music (Wedding March, Hawaiian Love Song etc.). You can see what the norms say about each part of the Mass at:  Music in the Mass

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

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