Original Version of the Catholic Wedding Celebration Guidelines
This is the original unabridged version of the official Catholic Wedding Celebration Guidelines issued by the Cebu Archdiocese.
Place of Wedding Celebration
- Parish Church
- Parish Community Chapel
- The local policy prohibits celebration of weddings in the following:
- School Chapels
- Underwater / Mid-air
- Gardens and Parks
- House of Formation
- Oratories of Religious Congregations
- The time element given to the parish priest for the wedding preparation should be at least two months before the wedding.
- The entrance procession can take several forms. The customs of the bride being escorted by her father, nor another significant male relative and “given away” originated in an early practice where this gesture actually mean the “transfer of ownership” of the bride from the father to the husband. While many consider this “traditional” from desirable, couples should be encouraged to consider the other forms for the procession, which may appropriately signify the action of two adults freely pledging themselves in marriage.
- The groom and his parents as well as the bride and her parents may be part of the entrance procession, along with other ministers of the liturgy.
- No one specially the ring bearer and flower girls has not made their first communion can take part in the entourage. Witnesses (Sponsors) must be practicing Catholics and should be in good standing in their respective parishes.
- An opening hymn may be sung by all as a fitting way to gather the assembly for the celebration.
- The wedding liturgy may take place on any day of the year with certain exceptions. Though the wedding liturgy is not prohibited during the seasons of Advent and Lent, these are more subdued seasons and other times of the year are appropriate for the festive nature of a wedding. Marriage is never allowed during Holy Week. Parish activities may also restrict certain dates and times.
Liturgy of the Word
- The Lectionary for the Rite of Marriage provides a variety of scripture readings for use at weddings. Selecting the scripture readings can be done by the couple with careful reflection and discussions guided by the officiating priest. The choices of the scriptures are limited to the Lectionary.
- Only official lectors and psalmists are allowed to read the readings. Members of the choir are allowed to do the Psalm for as long as they are trained psalmists of the Archdiocese. In all masses this role must be upheld and respected by refraining from arbitrary giving of assignment to non-lectors especially at weddings. (Guidelines for the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Cebu #B 15)
- The Lectionary should be used for the proclamation of all the scriptures, not loose sheets or program booklets. The Gospel Book may be used for the proclamation of the Gospel.
- The Lectionary provides several choices for Responsorial Psalms. The psalm ought to be sung, with the assembly joining in the antiphon. The psalm may not be substituted by any other song.
- The Lectors and Psalmist are to wear prescribed robe for the Liturgical celebration.
- By tradition, the function of proclaimation of the readings, a Deacon or in his absence, a priest other than the celebrant should announce the Gospel (cf. GIRM 2000 #59)
- No commentators and commentaries are allowed except by the presiding priest.
The Rite of Marriage
- The Rite of Marriage includes the statement of intent and the exchange of vows and rings. The Rite of Marriage provides the forms to be used. Individual couples are prohibited from composing their own vows or reword the formula provided for the Rite of Marriage as approved in the Archdiocese.
- There is to be no unity candle or bible blessing or any other extraneous rites added. Only the Rite of Marriage in the Philippines is to be used as approved in the Archdiocese.
- Yugal is a symbol of the bonds of love (ref. Hosea). Therefore, these should be cords made of either fibers or synthetic materials. These should not be made of coins or of rosaries. Coins should be loose and placed only in a pouch not in cages.
- The General Intercession concludes the Rite of Marriage. These Intentions should follow the same order as the Intercession at a Regular Sunday; Eucharist; the Church, the world, those in need, those intentions for this assembly, for the soul of the dead especially related to the couple. While it is the role of the deacon to proclaim the intercessions should not be long. It has to have a maximum of 5 intentions.
- If the Creed is required it is to be recited after the General Intercession.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
- There should be no offertory procession when a sacrament or another rite is celebrated within the mass. This is also prohibited because it takes away the importance of the bridal procession, the nuptial procession and recession.
- To signify the participation of the Sacrament of Marriage in the mass two candles are lit, one at the right and the one at the left side of the couple. (Cf. Marriage rite for the Philippines). This is done during the singing of the Sanctus.
- After which, the friends of the couple lay a white veil on the shoulders of the groom and head of the bride; of preferred, the veil of the bride may be laid across the groom’s shoulders.
- The cord will be placed in the form of an 8 over the shoulders of both. Choir can repeat Sanctus until this rite is done.
- The veil and the cord may be removed during the Lamb of God or after the final admonition.
- The couple may receive communion under both species. The communion of the bride and groom will be given by the priest only. It is forbidden for them to give communion to each other.
- Nuptial and final blessings should be done by the presiding priest only.
- Music is a very important part of the wedding liturgy. Music is a form of prayer that allows the community to more fully participate in the wedding.
- The suitability of texts sung at the wedding liturgy is an important consideration. The Christian concept of “love” is characterized by commitment and fidelity, supported by love of Christ. Popular love songs often stress only the couple and exclude God’s role in a marriage. These songs would be more appropriately preformed at the wedding reception. Only sacred music is allowed to be sung during the wedding and within the Church building.
- Secular and popular music (love songs from the hit parade) is not allowed during the liturgy and within the church building.
- The music should also suit the place in the rite and the liturgy season.
Photographers / Videographers
- Photographers and videographers are not allowed in the Sanctuary during the service but should keep to the side aisles, behind the pew line.
- Professional photographers and those videotaping should be appropriately dressed and are asked not to move around during the liturgy.
- During the processional and recessional, photographs may be taken from the pews by anyone in the assembly.
- No cameras of any kind are allowed in the sanctuary during the service.
- Video cameras should be stationary. A tripod may be set up.
- No taping of cord to the floor is allowed. No tape on wood is allowed. No taping to the tile is allowed.
- Movement by the photographer / videographer should not distract from the ceremony.
- No extra lights are to be brought into the Church without previous arrangement with the Parish Priest.
- Wedding coordinators, photographers and videographers must be licensed by the Commission on Worship.
- The members of the entourage are to consider the sacredness of the whole wedding liturgy. Thus, they should wear appropriate attire for the said occasion.
- The bride’s dress and that of the entourage should be to designed as to cover especially the shoulders and the back. Dresses should be below the knees and should have no slits.
Missalet / Booklet
- No missalets are to be used during the Liturgy. Only official liturgical books are to be used.
Flowers and Candles
- The Church is usually decorated according to the liturgical season of the year.
- Pew candle lamps are not allowed.
- Moderation should be practiced. The Altar and the Lectern should always stand out with dignity.
- No Arcs and Canopies may be placed in the Sanctuary or entrance of the Church.
Rice, Bird Seed, Confetti, Balloons, Flower Petals
- The use of rice, bird seed, confetti, flowers and petals are forbidden in any Catholic Church and Church grounds in the Archdiocese. It is also forbidden to use or do any other rites and symbols related to fertility.
- Releasing of doves, balloons, butterflies and bubbles during or after the ceremony inside or outside the Church is also not allowed.