How to Choose Readings for Your Catholic Wedding


Wedding ring placed on bible page

In every catholic wedding ceremony, there has to be a reading of the scripture. It is the proclamation of the word of God and the faith of the church in marriage. There are several options of scriptures from the bible from which the couple is free to choose.

So, how do you choose readings for your catholic wedding? The readings for a Catholic wedding have to come from the bible. The couple has several options to choose from in the old testament and the new testament. The couple will choose a single scripture from each section and one verse from the book of psalms for the responsorial psalm. Choose the verse that best speaks about marriage or has a beautiful message to the bride or groom.

Catholic wedding readings are very important; they form part of the sacrament of marriage and a way of showing God’s presence in the marriage. It is difficult to skip one of the readings during the wedding ceremony. Read on for more information on how couples choose their catholic wedding readings and the various options available for the couple.

Choosing Readings for Your Catholic Wedding

Choosing the readings is an important part of planning the wedding. The church already has made some selection of scriptures from the bible that couples can choose from. The priest or deacon will invite you to choose the scriptures reading for the wedding.

The selections from the bible are read during the liturgy of the word. A catholic wedding usually includes three readings and one responsorial psalm. A responsorial psalm is a scripture from the book of Psalms that is usually sung by the song leader and the guests. The couple will choose one verse from the old testament, the new testament, and the gospel. They are also allowed to choose the responsorial psalm.

When choosing the readings, the couple has to check the insight the verse offers into the marriage. The bible verses are the word of God; hence, the message they carry is directly from God. When the scripture has some relatable insights about marriage, it feels like God is directly speaking about that marriage. When choosing the wedding readings, it is important to take into account the massage those particular verses have regarding marriage.

However, it is not compulsory that the scriptures speak about marriage directly. The scripture can have a message for the spouse or even the guests. Since a spouse is not allowed to write their own vows in a catholic wedding, choosing the readings may help in showing their love to the spouse. You can pick a scripture with a touching message to your spouse.

Substituting the bible scripture with secular messages is not allowed. The catholic church does not allow a spouse to change the words of the scriptures or substitute them with a different message. When planning the wedding, the couple will consult the priest on numerous occasions, and the priest or deacon will make it clear to them that there is no alternative to the bible scriptures.

Substituting the readings with secular messages is an idea that no catholic wedding officiant will entertain. If one has a poem or a few nice words they would love their spouse to hear, they can use other options. They can print the poem or message on the back of the wedding program or the invitation cards. They can also say the poem or message to their spouse during the wedding reception.

The Catholic wedding reading can change to specific bible scriptures depending on the day the wedding is being held. If the wedding is on a Sunday or on a holy day of obligation, the wedding readings shall be provided for by the Lectionary for Mass. A lectionary for Mass is a book that contains a collection of scripture readings to be used on a given day or occasion.

If your wedding falls on some specific days or events, then the priest or deacon will choose the readings for your wedding. The Lectionary for Mass must be used on these days; Sundays of advent, Lent and Easter, on Solemites, on the days within the Octave of Easter, on all Souls’ day, on Ash Wednesday, and during the Holy Week. You can hold your wedding on any day except for Good Friday and Holy Saturday during Triduum.

The reason why the church provides different scriptures for certain days is that the whole church is observing a special occasion. Hence, the readings will carry a message regarding that particular occasion. Sometimes the church will decline to hold a wedding on particular days or time to avoid scheduling conflicts. If you want to pick your own wedding readings, then you have to check the days to ensure that your wedding day does fall on a special occasion.

When picking the reading, one of the first things to consider is that the scripture is personal to you and your spouse. The scripture needs to be speaking to you as an individual; there should be a personal connection between you and the scripture. Go through all the scriptures provided and pick the one that sums you as a couple up. Think about the things you have in common with your spouse and compare them with the bible scriptures.

Take your time when selecting the wedding readings. Do not rush into picking the bible scriptures; take your time to go through each one of the scriptures and discuss them with your spouse. Rushing into picking the wedding readings will make you miss out on vital information about marriage and love. Careful deliberations will ensure you learn some valuable lessons on marriage and pick out great scriptures that portray your love for your spouse.

You should also pray about the decision on the readings. These scriptures are a way of God speaking to you. God is passing a message through the scriptures to you; hence, it is important to pray will selecting your wedding readings. Praying will help you to reflect on the meanings of the scriptures to your life, especially your upcoming marriage. Pray to God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in making the correct decision.

Picking the wedding readings should be an exercise for you and your spouse. You may disagree on the first try on which of the scriptures to pick but doing it together makes it easier to come to the same conclusion quicker. When choosing the scriptures, take some time to discuss what the scriptures mean to you and compare your preferences. In the end, select the scriptures that add values and spirituality to your marriage.

The wedding readings can sometimes be difficult to understand. Some have direct meanings, while others have deeper meanings that need a keen eye to see. Do not just go for the popular wedding readings that seem to pop up in every single wedding. Go through all the scriptures, take time to analyze each one of them even if they have little connection to marriage. In the end, you will come out with some of the best scriptures that many couples seem to avoid by choosing the much popular readings.

After picking the wedding readings, you will have to choose a person or people who will proclaim the scripture readings during the wedding ceremony. The responsorial psalm is led by the song leader, so you have to pick readers for the first, second, and gospel readings. The readers should know that they are performing a real ministry of presence and communion. Therefore, you should pick a person who understands what they are supposed to do.

You can pick readers from the list of people who will be present for the wedding ceremony. You can pick one of your witnesses, a family member, or a friend. The readers will practice the readings during the wedding rehearsals for those without formal training to be a lector. The readers will read from the lectionary and not from a sheet of paper or prepared notes.

Catholic Wedding Readings

The catholic wedding readings come from selected bible scriptures in the old testament, the new testament, the gospel, and the responsorial psalm. These wedding readings are separated into four parts in the wedding program. They are the first reading, the responsorial psalm, the second reading, and the gospel reading.

First Reading

The first reading is from the old testament bible. The following are options of scriptures available for the couple. There are three scriptures from the book of Genesis. Genesis 1:26-28, 31 covers the creation of man and women and the authority from God given to them to go ahead and multiply. Genesis 2:18-24 states that man should not live alone; hence, the woman was created as a helper, and the two of them become one. Genesis 24:48-51, 58-67 covers the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah.

The book of Tobit also provides three scriptures for the spouses to choose from. Tobit 7:6-14 states that God grants the marriage to prosper and grants you peace and mercy. Tobit 8:4b-8 proclaims that a married couple lives together to a happy old age. Tobit 8:5-7 also talks about a married couple living happily into their old age.

The books of Proverbs, Sirach, Song of Songs/Solomon, and Jeremiah each provide a single scripture for the couple to choose their wedding reading. Proverbs 31-10-13, 19-12, 30-31 speak about the values of a good wife. Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16 talks about the happiness of a husband who has a good wife and the importance of a virtuous wife in a home. Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16; 8:6-7, which speaks about the beauty of the wife. Jeremiah 31:31-32a. 33-34a talks about the covenant God entered into with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

Responsorial Psalm

Options for the responsorial psalm for a catholic wedding reading come from the book of Psalms. They are not read but sung by the song leader. The song leader sings the chosen scripture, and the assembly sings the verse in response. The couple has seven options from the books of Psalms.

Psalm 33:12, 18, 20-21, 22 references how the earth is full of goodness from God. Psalm 43:2-3, 4-5, 6-7. 8-9, which talks about praising the Lord at all times. Psalm 103:1-2, 8, 13, 17-18 speaks about how merciful and kind God is and forgives all our sins.

Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-7, 7-8, 9 talks about the blessings of a man who obeys the Lord’s commands. Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-6ac, 6a states that blessed are those who fear the Lord. Psalm 145:8-9, 10, 15, 17-18 speaks about how God is compassionate and gracious and is slow to anger. Psalm 148:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-13ab, 13c-14a, which talks about praising the name of the Lord.

Second Reading

The second reading scriptures come to the new testament bible. The couple has several options from the new testament to picking a verse for their second reading. The book of Romans provides three scriptures for the couple. Romans 8:31-35, 37-39 asks the question, what will separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 12:1-2. 9-18 speaks about living sacrifices. Offering your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Romans 15:1b-3a, 5-7, 13, talks about us being nice and welcoming to our neighbors.

The Books of 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and 1 John provide two scriptures for the couple to choose. 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20 talks about sexual immorality and states that the body is a temple of the spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:8 states that if I do not find love, I gain nothing. Ephesians 4:1-6 speaks about the unity in the body of Christ; one body and one spirit. Ephesians 5:2, 21-33 talks about the love of the husbands to their wives. 1 John 3:18-14 talks about love in deed and in truth and 1 John 4:7-12 states that God is love.

The books of Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and Revelations each provide scripture for a catholic wedding reading. Philippians 4:4-9 states that we should not be anxious and the God of peace is with us. Colossians 3:12-17 talks about forgiveness and love as a bond of perfection. Hebrews 13:1-4a, 5-6b states that marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed is kept pure. 1 Peter 3:1-9 tells us to be sympathetic and loving towards one another. Revelation 19:1, 5-9 states that blessed are those who have been called to the wedding of the Lamb.

Gospel Reading

The gospel reading is the last reading at the wedding ceremony. The bible scriptures for the gospel reading are also from the new testament bible. The book of Matthew proves five scripture options for the reading. The book of John provides for scriptures, and the book of Mark provides one scripture.

Matthew 5:1-12 states that we should rejoice and be glad because the rewards shall be great in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 states that you are the light of the world. Matthew 7:21, 24-29, is the parable about the wise man who builds his house on the rock. Matthew 19:3-6 talks about divorce, stating that what God has joined together, let man not separate. Matthew 11:35-40 talks about the greatest commandment.

Mark 10:6-9 also talks about marriage, emphasizing the unity between man and woman to become one. John 2:1-11 is about the first miracle performed by Jesus by changing water into wine at a wedding ceremony. John 15:9-12 states that we should remain in Christ’s love. John 15:12-16 talks about how we should love one another. John 17:20-26 states that we may be brought to perfection in complete unity.

These scriptures are many and require time to go through and understand. It is important to set enough time for you to go through all the scriptures to understand them. You will only pick three scriptures for the readings but reading all of them gives you more knowledge or marriage and also improves your spirituality. Feel free to indulge the priest or deacon in the selection process. It can be a daunting task to go through all these scriptures while also planning other aspects of your wedding. Just take it easy and never give no matter how hard it gets.

Final Word

Catholic wedding readings are important in a wedding ceremony, playing a huge part in ensuring that the marriage is valid. You are encouraged to choose your readings for your wedding ceremony while consulting the priest or deacon on issues that may not be clear to you or your spouse. It is important to take your time and go through all the scriptures available together with your spouse, making it easier to choose the reading that will be beneficial to both of you.

The scriptures provided by the church speak mostly on love, marriage, and happiness. Some may have little connection to marriage but have a good message for the couple and their wedding guests. Go through all the scriptures and make a shortlist of your favorite verses. Discuss the shortlist with your priest or deacon before making the final decision. The readings will support you on your day and for the rest of your marriage.

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