As filmmakers, we have had the pleasure to capture an array of marriage ceremonies that vary from couple to couple. In essence though, a wedding is the culmination of a lifelong bond between two individuals. It is an expression of love, commitment, and tradition.
Today we will highlight a few key aspects of a Catholic wedding.
A typical Catholic wedding begins with an opening prayer led by the priest. Here the couple asks for God’s blessings on their wedding day. Next, verses from the Bible are recited. The couple’s close family members usually read these passages. A short sermon on marriage by the priest follows. In the next set of rituals, the congregation—the people at the ceremony—stands to witness the exchange of vows between the couple.
Vows are a key sacrament of the Catholic marriage ceremony. Symbolizing consent, the vows form a covenant among the couple and depict the couple’s commitment to each other. The vows of a Catholic ceremony are typically as follows (see an example here):
Priest: (Name), do you take (name) to be your wife? Do you promise to be true to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love her and honor her all the days of your life?
Groom: I do.
Priest: (Name), do you take (name) to be your husband? Do you promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love him and honor him all the days of your life?
Bride: I do.
Catholic wedding vows may also take the following form:
Groom: I, (name), take you, (name), for my lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Bride: I, (name), take you, (name), for my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
After the bride and groom have exchanged their vows and have said “I do”, the best man will hand the bride’s ring to the priest. The ring will be handed to the groom to place on the bride’s finger after is it blessed by the priest. After a similar set of rituals, the groom’s ring will be handed to the bride and the rings will be exchanged.
Another aspect of the Catholic ceremony is the decision of the couple whether or not to hold Mass. If the ceremony includes Mass everyone shakes hands with their neighbors when the the priest asks for a “sign of peace.” Holy Communion follows. Finally, a concluding prayer is recited and blessings for strength and protection for the couple are sought.
Look out for our next blog post, in which we will take a closer look at the rituals of a traditional Hindu marriage ceremony.