Catholic weddings: this is what you will experience in a Catholic ceremony

In this article you will see everything you need to celebrate a Catholic wedding or to attend one. Get a pen and some paper!

Do you have to attend your first Catholic wedding and you don’t know how the event will unfold? Or are you getting married and need to see the best Catholic churches or the best receptions to celebrate your big day? Then this is the article for you! 

Catholic weddings are beautiful and they have a lot of symbolic rituals that we are sure you will love.

So if it’s your first Catholic wedding ceremony and you’re seeing church pageantry for the first time, read on! 

After finishing reading this post, you will have a general idea of this event. And we already warn you: you will not stop standing up or singing!

Are we all ready? Well, let’s go!

Photo via Daniel Lopez Perez Photography

When can a Catholic wedding take place?

It can take place as long as both the bride and groom are baptised in the Catholic church and have their certificate of faith and status. On many occasions, one of the spouses isn’t baptised, but can do so in their church before the wedding takes place, since the baptismal certificate is necessary.  

How long does a Catholic wedding usually last?

A Catholic wedding with mass usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, while one without mass usually lasts between 30 and 40 minutes.

The latter are perfect for evening weddings, as they allow the bride and groom to take advantage of the last rays of sun to take photos wearing the wedding dress and suit

Another option is to opt for a wedding with a short mass, which lasts about 40 minutes.

The bride and groom’s entrance, a magical moment

Photo via Bequerul Fotografía

In a Catholic wedding, unlike an Orthodox wedding, the guests wait for the bride and groom inside the church.

The bride’s guests are placed on the left side of the temple while those of the groom are placed on the right. As a general rule, the seats in the first row are reserved for the closest relatives and for those friends who are going to do some of the readings.

The groom is the first to enter with the maid of honour to wait for the bride at the altar. A short time later, the bride enters, accompanied by the best man, capturing all attention. At this moment all the guests stand up. 

The Introductory Rite begins

After the bride and groom arrive at the altar, the ceremony begins with the sign of the cross created by the priest towards the bride and groom, at which point the music plays and the guests, who are still standing, can sing while this happens. A very appropriate hymn for this moment is “Gloria”.

It’s time to sit down for the Liturgy of the Word

After the previous prayer, you take a seat and proceed to read the Old Testament. When you hear the words “The Word of the Lord”, you have to say “Thanks be to God” (if you are a believer).

This will be followed by a psalm, to which you can sing the answer if you know it. Then another reading, which will end with “The Word of the Lord”, again and with the response of “Thanks be to God.”

Now comes the gospel song

It’s a traditional song called Gospel Acclamation, which will be played in the temple and will be followed by a Gospel reading.

To end this reading, the priest will say “The Gospel of the Lord” and if you wish, you can say: “Praised be, Lord Jesus Christ”, like all Catholics.

Photo via Daring Wanderer

Take a seat for the homily

Everyone then takes a seat for a short sermon, called a Homily, on the importance of holding a Catholic wedding ceremony.

Time to exchange the rings!

The official Catholic wedding mass begins, where before the couple exchange the rings and the priest says a prayer for their marriage, the bride and groom receive a series of questions to which they must answer affirmatively.

It is also time to exchange vows, which can be similar to other existing wedding vows or be exclusive to the couple.

The time of the liturgy of the Eucharist

Also known as “Holy Communion” which consists of a symbolic recreation of the Last Supper that Jesus consumed with his disciples before dying.

While the Eucharistic prayer is recited, bread and wine are prepared at the altar and the hymn “Sanctus” is sung.

It’s time to get back on your feet

Because the Lord’s Prayer and the Rite of the Communion begin, at which time Our Father is recited or sung and the priest makes the blessing. 

Eat bread and drink wine!

Photo via Britannica / Bogdan Sonjachnyj

Before the ceremony ends, guests can line up to participate in the drinking of wine and eating of bread. It is a tradition in which all Catholics who are present can participate, so if you do not consider yourself a believer, you can stand silently waiting for others to go up to the altar to receive this sacrament. 

The bride and groom kiss!

Once the entire ceremony is finished, it is time for the guests to leave while the bride and groom sign the marriage certificate. Once this procedure is done, the bride and groom are ready to leave the church, where all their guests are waiting to throw a rain of rice. 

Although, did you know that now there are many alternatives to traditional rice?

The best churches in Spain to celebrate a Catholic wedding: 

We have them, and they are in Spain. Our country doesn’t lack impressive cathedrals in which to say “I do” in a Catholic way!

That is why, below, we are going to undertake a small journey to the most beautiful cathedrals of Spain of all time. 

Iglesia Nueva Son Servera, Mallorca

Photo via Danyel André Wedding Photographer

An unfinished church? It exists, and this is it. It is a building that underwent modifications and was finally left unfinished. In it, typical Neo-Gothic architectural elements, a marked austerity, windows and rose windows stand out, as well as a very personal magic due to the fact that it is open to the sky. A beauty accessed by a small garden! 

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, Galicia

Photo via Hervé Hughes / Gtres

As it is the end of a trip for pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago, it is the most visited Cathedral in Spain. This temple that was built over the tomb of Santiago is Romanesque in style and has a Latin cross floor plan and three naves with elements of Gothic, Baroque, Plateresque and Neoclassical architectural styles. 

Mezquita de Córdoba, Andalusia

Photo via RayPorres Fotografía

One of the most unique cathedrals in Spain is this jewel of Omayyad art. Together with the Alhambra in Granada, it is the greatest example of Islamic architecture in Spain. Its swarm of red and white voussoirs that form arches that support its roofs will leave you speechless.

Catedral de Burgos, Castilla y León

Photo via Xacopedia

It is the only Spanish cathedral that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was built between 1221 and 1765 so other styles join the predominant Gothic style. And inside is the tomb of Cid Campeador! For a most historic wedding! 

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar, Zaragoza

Photo via Fotonazos

The most visited of the two cathedrals in Zaragoza. This is a baroque temple with three naves and four towers. Did you know that in the place where the temple is currently located there was already a Mozarabic church dedicated to St Mary? That is why its origins date back to the 9th century.

Catedral Primada de Toledo

Photo via EasyViajar (Fisfra)

The main cathedral in Spain. This Gothic style temple with French influence has a floor plan formed by five naves, supported by 88 columns and 72 vaults. It has polychrome stained-glass windows from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries and its choir is considered the most impressive of Christianity.

Catedral del Buen Pastor, San Sebastián

Photo via San Sebastián Turismo-Donostia Turismoa, S.A.

This is the largest religious construction in San Sebastián, which presides over the centre of the city and is 75 metres high in the shape of a needle, thus being visible from almost all points of the capital. It was built in ashlar masonry with stones from the quarries of Mount Igueldo. 

Basílica Catedral de San Salvador, Oviedo

Photo via Viajes Camino de Santiago

You don’t know how many relics it contains! Like the well-known Holy Shroud, a piece of linen cloth that covered Jesus Christ’s face at the time of his burial in the tomb. This is a great place to get married with lots of history! 

After the Catholic ceremony…a good feast!

Photo via Weddings and Events by Natalia Ortiz, Photographer: A. Ojeda & R. Ferreiro

Now that you know the development of the religious ceremony and you’ve seen the most beautiful churches to have a Catholic wedding in Spain, it is time to find the venue for the wedding reception.

Check out all these venues and be amazed!

If you are having your Orthodox wedding in the Valencian Community, look at these venues 

If you are having your Orthodox wedding in the Catalonia, look at these venues 

If you are having your Orthodox wedding in the Madrid, look at these venues

If you are having your Orthodox wedding in the Andalusia, look at these venues

If you are having your Orthodox wedding in the Balearic Island, look at these venues

Are you a guest or getting married and want to know more about the rituals of the ceremonies of each religion? Then don’t miss these posts where we talk about the different cultures and traditions that you can find at any wedding.


It’s time to come to Perfect Venue Manager and tell us which region of Spain you are choosing to celebrate your Catholic wedding. We will find the perfect church for you and the best place for your big reception!


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