How Long Should a Catholic Wedding Last?


Catholic bride and groom in front of priest at wedding

The wedding program determines the time taken in a wedding ceremony; the more items there are in the program, the longer the wedding ceremony. The length of a wedding ceremony will also depend on the tradition or religion; some will take only a few minutes while others could take several days. Proper planning will ensure that the wedding ceremony lasts not very long, causing the guests to get bored and start leaving early instead of enjoying the ceremony.

So, how long should a catholic wedding last? A catholic wedding should last not more than an hour. The length of a catholic wedding depends on the type of wedding ceremony the couple wants. A wedding ceremony held inside Mass will take almost an hour, while the one held outside of Mass only takes close to thirty minutes. A couple should pick the correct wedding ceremony to suit their wedding program.

When planning the wedding program, the couple wants a seamless program moving from one event to the other without any problems. Read on for more information on how long catholic weddings should take and the length of a catholic wedding ceremony held inside Mass.

Length of a Catholic Wedding

In the catholic church, a couple has two choices on the type of wedding ceremony. For a couple, who are both baptized Catholics, they can have a wedding ceremony inside Mass. This type of wedding ceremony usually lasts close to an hour. Only baptized Catholics can celebrate their wedding inside of Mass.

If only one of the two is a baptized catholic, the couple will have a wedding ceremony outside of Mass. This type of wedding ceremony is known as the rite of marriage ceremony. It is popular among interfaith couples and couples that want a very short wedding ceremony. It usually lasts only thirty minutes or less.

In a catholic wedding ceremony, there are specific events that determine the length of the wedding. The first event is the bible reading session. The priest or deacon shall read at least three gospel scriptures. The priest or deacon can invite a friend, family member, or religious clergy of the non-Catholic spouse to read part of the gospel.

Another event is the exchange of vows and rings. Depending on how prepared the bride and groom are, this event does not take much time. If the couple has memorized their vows well and has no trouble saying them, it can only take five minutes. The priest or deacon will help the couple to say their vows if they cannot fully remember them or get overwhelmed by emotions.

Another crucial part of the event is prayers and blessings. The priest or deacon will say the prayer of the faithful, nuptial blessings, and final prayers. Depending on the wedding ceremony, prayers and blessing can be the last event in a wedding ceremony outside of Mass. If it is inside of Mass, then communion will be the final event.

Receiving communion is an event that is only present in the wedding ceremony inside of Mass. The priest will say or sing the Eucharistic prayer; the couple will then kneel or approach the altar where the priest will invite the guest to say a silent prayer for the couple.

The priest will then distribute the communion to the couple and their guests. This event will take close to twenty minutes, depending on the number of guests at the wedding. 

If a couple wants a short wedding ceremony, they should choose the wedding ceremony outside of mass. The events do not take long; hence, more time can be allocated to the wedding ceremony.

The couple should plan their wedding program to perfection; the wedding programs should align properly. Leaving a vast gap of time in between programs may lead to boredom among the guests.

The couple should also consult with the priest or deacon while arranging the wedding program. The priest will advise you on the correct wedding ceremony. Involving the priest in setting the wedding programs allows the church to know the time allocated to events that usually take up a lot of time, like receiving communion.

If it is an interfaith wedding, sometimes, the non-Catholic spouse wants to have some traditions from their religion incorporated into the wedding ceremony. If the priest or deacon allows it, the wedding ceremony will go past the half-hour mark.

Most people will opt for a rite of marriage ceremony because it is short and saves time. Therefore, it’s up to you to determine how long your Catholic wedding will last.

How Long Does a Catholic Wedding Mass Last?

A traditional catholic wedding ceremony is the one held inside of mass. It is for baptized catholic couples, but sometimes a priest can allow interfaith couples to have one under specific conditions. A catholic wedding mass takes up to an hour, lasting longer than a wedding ceremony held outside of Mass.

The same events occur during the marriage ceremony, with only one change to the program. The only difference between a wedding ceremony held inside Mass and the one held outside of Mass is the communion. Only baptized Catholics are allowed to receive communion; hence, most interfaith weddings happen outside of mass.

In a catholic mass service, it is common for the congregation to receive communion. The baptized Catholics will line up to receive their communion from the priest one by one. Hence, in a wedding ceremony held inside of Mass, the couple, together with their guest, may receive communion.

A catholic wedding mass will last longer than a rite of marriage ceremony, primarily because of the time taken to receive Holy communion. It is an event that usually takes close to twenty minutes, depending on the number of guests. If the number of guests to receive communion together with the married couple is high, then the wedding might even go past the one-hour mark.

Baptized Catholic couples prefer to have a catholic wedding mass because they receive communion for the first time as a married couple. However, a catholic couple doesn’t need to have their wedding ceremony inside of Mass. If they want to save on time, they can choose to have their wedding ceremony outside of Mass. Consultation with your priest or deacon on which ceremony suits you is critical.

The Eucharistic prayer and receiving communion is an important event in a Catholic mass. A Catholic couple should try and have a catholic wedding mass. It does not take longer than thirty minutes; hence, the couple can invest thirty minutes more into their wedding program. Receiving communion as a married couple is a blessing and a good starting point for a healthy marriage.

Final Word

The length of a wedding ceremony depends on how long a couple wants to celebrate their union. The Catholic church offers two ceremonies for couples to choose from when they decide to have a catholic wedding.

For Catholic couples, a Catholic wedding mass is the best option for them and their guests. For interfaith couples and couples not that much into religion, a rite of marriage ceremony is their best option.

The priest and deacon will advise interfaith couples and couples who do not want to receive communion to plan for a rite or marriage ceremony. It does not take long, and they will not be subjected to traditions they are not familiar with.

The couple needs to consult the priest or deacon on the type of wedding ceremony they should have, making it easier to plan their wedding program effectively.

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