Preparing Your Wedding Liturgy
The Liturgical Year & Calendar
Preparing your Wedding Liturgy
The Church celebrates each year the preparation for and the birth of Jesus in the season of Advent–Christmas and his saving Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into glory during Lent-Triduum-Easter season. Also each year the Church celebrates the memory of saints.
The Liturgical Calendar
& your Wedding Date
This annual cycle of liturgical celebrations can have an impact on the wedding liturgy and the texts which are used. Liturgical celebrations have a hierarchy of importance (e.g. Christmas Day is more important than a Thursday in July). The amount of impact will vary according of the importance of the celebration.
Days on which weddings cannot be celebrated
Weddings may not be celebrated on Good Friday or Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday).
Days on which wedding may be celebrated but the texts of the day must be used
On some days where there is a major feast, such as St Peter and St Paul, the readings and other texts of the day take precedence over the Marriage texts. It is possible to replace one of the readings with one from those for Marriage.
These days include:
- The Easter Triduum (namely Maundy Thursday, Easter Sunday)
- Christmas Day, the Epiphany, the Ascension, Pentecost
- Sundays in seasons of Advent, Lent and Easter
- Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, the Octave of Easter, All Souls
- Solemnities: St Joseph (19/3), Annunciation (25/3), Corpus Christi, Birth of St John the Baptist (24/6), St Peter & St Paul (29/6), Assumption (15/8), All Saints (1/11), Immaculate Conception (8/12)
- The Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church, the Patronal Solemnity
Many of these days have moveable dates and so it is worth check the current liturgical calendar. However many occur on days when people are less likely to get married.
It is not unknown for a wedding to take place at a regular Sunday Mass. When this happens the texts of the Sunday Mass (readings and prayers) are used (this includes Sundays of Christmas and Ordinary Time). When the wedding Mass is not at a regular parish Mass: on the Sundays of Christmas and Ordinary Time the full Marriage texts may be used; on the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter the texts of the day take precedence.
Celebrations of weddings should be in tune with the seasons of the liturgical year. At its simplest this might mean that a wedding celebrated in the Christmas season might include a Christmas carol. In a similar way a wedding in the Easter season might be more festive in decoration and music.
Weddings in Lent
The days of the Lenten season have a penitential character and this should inform any liturgical celebrations, including weddings. This will affect the decoration in the Church and the choice of music.
When a wedding is celebrated in Lent the Alleluia at the Gospel Acclamation is replaced by a phrase such as 'Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory.’ However at a celebration of Matrimony within Mass the Gloria is still sung.