The informative website, www.foryourmarriage.org, offered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, presents a plethora of information on Church teachings concerning the sacrament of marriage and all that it entails.
Catholic wedding checklist
Twelve months prior to the wedding
• Select a church. Some parishes require one member of the couple to be a registered member.
• Meet with the pastor or deacon to select a wedding date and time, and discuss the parish requirements for a wedding celebration. Many parishes have wardrobe restrictions, including requiring the bride to cover her shoulders during the wedding.
• Choose one of three Rites of Marriage to celebrate: Wedding celebration within a Mass for two Catholics; celebration without Mass, structured around the Liturgy of the Word when a Catholic marries a baptized Christian; and celebration without Mass when a Catholic marries a non-Christian.
Nine months prior to the wedding
• Select readings (traditionally, one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and one from the Gospels) and Prayers of the Faithful from the approved texts.
• Select family members or friends who will be lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and those who will carry the offertory gifts if Mass will be celebrated.
• Meet with parish music director to select sacred music that will be used at the Mass or ceremony.
• Select the bridal party, who will not only be attendants but witnesses of the marriage rite as well. Traditionally, the church prefers the maid of honor and best man to be Catholic.
• Discuss dates to attend premarital classes or a preparation program required by the church and engagement retreats hosted by the diocesan Office of Family Life.
Six months prior to the wedding
• Design or select, and order, wedding invitations to be sent to guests.
• Create your guest list.
Three months prior to the wedding
• Meet with the parish wedding representative or pastor to discuss decoration requirements, which may include placement and size of floral arrangements.
• Discuss seating arrangements for family members.
Two months prior to the wedding
• Finalize the invitations, ceremony details and vows.
• Publish a wedding announcement in the local newspaper and the church bulletin.
• Book a location for the rehearsal dinner.
• Prepare and mail wedding invitations.
Three to four weeks prior to the wedding
• Meet with the parish priest or deacon to discuss last minute details.
• Send rehearsal dinner invitations, if appropriate.
One to two weeks before the wedding
• Touch base with your priest.
Day before the wedding
• Participate, with priest and wedding party, in a rehearsal ceremony.
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