Overview of the Rite of Marriage

When approaching the altar, everyone should bow before going to their designated place.

The groom and best man will enter from the sacristy, and proceed to the designated place at the end of the aisle as groom's parents approach (Unless the groom and best man are processing in).

The groom's parents will enter the second pew on their right (All of the groom's family should be standing on the same side, in the pews, looking at the procession), remain standing and turn to watch the procession.

The bride's parents will enter the second pew on the left (This would include the option of them both, or the father, processing her in together, or separately, as in the diagrams), remain standing and turn to watch the procession.

The bridesmaids will enter the first pew on the left; the groomsmen will enter the first pew on the right when it is time to be seated.

The ring bearer/flower girl(s) should sit with their parents if they are younger than seven years old; otherwise, they will walk around the front pew (depending on which side of the family) and enter into the far side of the second pew.

The maid/matron of honor will stand next to where the bride will be at the bottom of the steps (This will allow her to help the bride with her train, her veil, and take her flowers from her etc.), the best man will already be up front with the groom (Unless he walks up with the maid of honor).

When the bride approaches the front aisle, her father will (if he has escorted the bride, and possibly the mother) shake hands with the groom and remove blusher veil from bride's face. At this time the bride's father will go to his pew (second pew on his left). Once the bride and groom are in place, the bride will hand her flowers to the maid of honor.

After the opening prayers, the readings will take place (One or two readings (by a practicing Catholic), and the psalm is sung). From this point, the priest/deacon will direct the ceremony.

After the homily, the priest will ask the bridal couple to stand. At this time, the maid/matron of honor and best man step forward to witness, the consent, vows, and exchange of rings.

The General Intercessions may be read by a practicing Catholic or the priest. (In the case of the Rite of Marriage outside of Mass, next would be the Lord's Prayer, Nuptial Blessing, flowers to the Blessed Virgin, and Final Blessing).

The Mass continues with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Offertory, Consecration, Lord's Prayer, Nuptial Blessing, Sign of Peace, and Communion. After Holy Communion, the couple may visit the Blessed Mother with flowers. Upon their return to the front of the sanctuary steps they will stand in front the sanctuary. The entire wedding party will then be invited to join the bride and groom. The couples will return to their places and the maid of honor will hand the bridal bouquet back to the bride.

The priest gives the Final Blessing, introduces the married couple, and the recessional begins.

Immediately upon leaving the nave, the wedding party, parents, grandparents etc. proceed back into the nave and start taking pictures (45 min.) The couple proceed to the sanctuary for the signing of the marriage license. They, with the priest, will all sign the marriage license at the altar, if the bridal couple is not already civilly married. This happens immediately following the wedding. Usually the first pictures are taken with the priest/deacon.