Preparing Your Marriage Liturgy

Your wedding ceremony is challenging and exciting to plan.  These guidelines are offered to each couple preparing for marriage in the Diocese of Scranton.  They provide both an outline and a starting point for your preparation process.

Unlike a civil ceremony, your wedding is a RELIGIOUS CELEBRATION.  The Christian community celebrates in faith your commitment and love for one another as well as God’s love for us.

The framework of the Roman Catholic Order of Celebrating Matrimony helps you to prepare a religious celebration that expresses the dimensions of your love. You will want to discuss the possible selections with the parish musician and priest/deacon who will preside (and preach) at your marriage.  Their experience can be very helpful to you.

The wedding ceremony is not a performance for passive spectators.  It is a COMMUNITY CELEBRATION and should involve your guests as active participants.  Well-prepared congregational singing invites everyone to participate.       Individuals should be selected to participate at appropriate times, for instance, by proclaiming the Scripture readings, in the presentation of the gifts (wine, hosts…), etc.

There are three forms of the marriage ceremony:

  1. Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass
  2. Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass
  3. Order of Celebrating Matrimony between a Catholic and a Catechumen or a Non-Christian

When two Catholics are married, the ceremony would normally take place within Mass.  The marriage of a Catholic and a baptized person of another church, or a Catholic and a person who is not baptized, will normally take place without Mass.  The decision of the form of celebration for your marriage should be made in consultation with the priest.

On certain days of the liturgical year that have great solemnity (e.g. Easter, Christmas, holy days), the Nuptial Mass is not permitted or appropriate.  In that case, Matrimony is celebrated within the Mass of the day.

Final approval for your liturgical selections will be given by the parish musician and priest/deacon who will preside (and preach) at your marriage.  Please make regular contact with these parish representatives throughout your ceremony planning.

Click here for the liturgical guidelines for Matrimony.

Here is a collection of related articles from a great resource for all the stages of married life,, sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: