Couples commonly integrate their faith and cultural traditions into their wedding day. Doing so creates a solid foundation for beginning a new chapter in their lives. Catholic wedding celebrations, for example, often consist of a mass followed with a reception. Wedding guests who don’t share the same religion may not know how nuptial masses are conducted. Furthermore, Catholic weddings do not necessarily follow a “standard” program, so each offers its own nuances. Without careful planning, some guests might end up confused or not realize the solemnity of the event. As such, we recommend crafting a Catholic wedding program to help guide your visitors. Here’s a quick rundown of how you can do that!
Quick Guide to Planning a Catholic Wedding Program
- Plan Your Wedding
- Inform Guests about Call-and-Response Interactions
- Explain Your Chosen Readings
- Give Meaning to the Rite of Marriage
- Help Guests Experience the Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Pay Homage to the Virgin Mother of God
- Design and Print Your Catholic Wedding Program
Plan Your Wedding
Weddings, in general, require a lot of planning. Before you know what to include in the program in order to inform your guests, you’ll need to plan. Here’s a basic list of things to consider when planning your wedding.
- The order of service
- Featured musical selections (if you intend to include music)
- Other traditions
Most couples consult with their parish for assistance with planning. It’s especially important to do this with Catholic weddings because ceremonies will vary based on whether both people getting married are Catholic or of mixed religions, baptized or unbaptized, whether they want to include mass, and so on. It can help to find templates online as a starting point to help get an idea of which traditions or services to include in your Catholic wedding.
Inform Guests about Call-and-Response Interactions
Catholic weddings, like mass itself, call on those in attendance to participate, literally. The call-and-response nature of many Catholic weddings can confuse guests if they don’t know what to expect. Normally, the priest reminds everyone of when to stand, when to take a seat, or what the responses will be. However, he might occasionally forget that there are people who need guidance to carry on with the celebration. Your Catholic wedding program can play a vital role here.
For example, before the priest comes in, everyone typically stands and keeps standing until the bride comes in for the mass to start. In the program, take note of the specific portions of the mass such as the first reading, where everyone must stand again and respond before sitting.
Explain Your Chosen Readings
When the priest preaches your chosen readings, not all of your guests may understand the context behind the Word and why it is important for you as a couple. If possible, include the Word of your chosen readings on your program and share why it matters to your union.
Give Meaning to the Rite of Marriage
Catholic weddings often integrate various rites and symbols into the celebration for the purpose of paying homage. For example, couples commonly say vows, hold a crucifix, exchange arras, and incorporate important readings into the ceremony. Interestingly, Use your Catholic wedding program to keep your guests informed. In the program, you can list and give meaning to each rite or symbol and share the significance of each to the union.
Help Guests Experience the Liturgy of the Eucharist
Catholic couples primarily choose to celebrate their union within the context of the mass to experience the holiness of the liturgy of the Eucharist. People often assume that mass serves as merely a ritualistic or a symbolic tradition. Fortunately, you can let your guests partake and experience the Eucharist, which will give your guests the holy presence. Use your Catholic wedding program to ensure your guests understand the Eucharist and know who can receive it.
Pay Homage to the Virgin Mother of God
Integrating a moment of honor for Mary is a common tradition for Catholic weddings. By honoring Mary, the mother of Jesus, Catholic couples thank her for her role in making worldly salvation possible. To do this during a Catholic wedding, the couple brings a bouquet of flowers to Mother Mary and sings a prayer.
Design and Print Your Catholic Wedding Program
Guests will need to hold the Catholic wedding program in their hands, which means you must design and print it. Or, depending on your budget, you might hire someone to do this for you. As mentioned earlier, you can find templates online to help get you started.
We hope that this quick guide helps you with crafting a Catholic wedding program that allows everyone to take part and understand your faith as a couple. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!