Crafting the Ceremony

In the past year, I’ve been to two amazingly beautiful non-religious ceremonies. I loved how personal they were. Having a non-religious ceremony can open the door to so many possibilities where the couple’s love can really shine through. I’ve seen it done through non-traditional readings, song choices and vows.

In the Catholic Church, you just don’t have as many options. You need to pick a reading from the old testament, a reading from the new testament, a reading from the gospel, and Catholic hymns. The one place we have been able to personalize is in the prayers of the faithful. Because we have to choose from approved lists, it makes for less personalization. I don’t want this to sound negative against the Catholic Church, because we chose to get married in the Church knowing this. Having our ceremony in the church was our top priority and meant more to us than having the option of total personalization. It actually means a lot to me to follow my Church’s traditions and repeat the same vows that many others have used before. I don’t want to take the ceremony lightly. While I want the ceremony to be about our faith, I want it to also represent us as a couple.

When it came time to choose the reading from the Old Testament, I struggled with many of the readings in the Old Testament related to men and women. I ended up finding a reading from the book of Ruth.

This one really spoke to me. When you first read it, you would think it is about a couple, but it is actually the story of Ruth. Ruth and her sister in-law both lost their husbands. Their mother in-law, Naomi, tells them to go on with their lives—she tells them to go back to their families and remarry. But Ruth decides to stay with her mother in law and helps support her. Although it is not a reading related to a couple’s love, I think it fits perfectly for a wedding, as we also want to showcase our love for family. We’re joining both of our families on the day we wed. Even though Ruth’s husband was gone, she still saw Naomi as her family and wouldn’t leave her side.

A reading from the book of Ruth 1:16-17

Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you, For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but death parts you from me.

Our reading from the New Testament was an obvious choice. I’ve heard many people say it’s over used and such an obvious choice, but I just love it. I always knew we’d have the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians read at our wedding. I think the passage just embodies the meaning of love.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 12:31-13:8a

Love is patient, love is kind.

It is not jealous, is not pompous,

it is not inflated, it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing

but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

The word of the Lord.

For our gospel reading, we chose a piece from the book of Mark. I chose this reading because the emphasis of two people joining together. It seems appropriate for a wedding reading.

A reading from the book of Mark 10: 6-9

Jesus said to those around him:

“From the beginning of creation,

‘God made them male and female.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother,

and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.’

So they are no longer two,

but one flesh.

Therefore, what God has joined together,

let no one separate.”

Last came the prayers of the faithful. I’ve heard that some churches have guidelines on what should be said during these, but we weren’t given any guidelines through our church. We chose this area to make things a little more personal. We wanted to include a prayer for our marriage, a prayer for our friends who also are preparing for marriage, a prayer for our parents, a prayer for friends and family who couldn’t make it and those who attended, and a final prayer which sort of thanks everyone for their love and support.

Prayer’ of the Faithful

– We pray that the love of Mr. and Mrs. Starfish may grow deeper each day and may that love strengthen and comfort them on their journey through life together. That they and all married couples may always cherish their special love by being each others best friends and partners, we pray to the Lord.

All: Lord hear our prayer.

– For those preparing to wed, we pray to the Lord.

All: Lord hear our prayer.

-For the parents of Mr. and Mrs. Starfish whose examples and guidance have formed the foundation upon which they will build their life together, we pray to the Lord.

All: Lord hear our prayer.

– For all those unable to attend today but are with us in spirit, we pray. For the safe return of everyone who has traveled to be here today, we pray to the Lord.

All: Lord hear our prayer.

-For the family and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Starfish, we thank them for their help, support and kindness in helping them prepare for their special day. We pray to the Lord.

All: Lord hear our prayer.

Did you spend a lot of time finding the right words for your ceremony? Were your readings religious or did you do something completely personal to you?


Mrs. Starfish

Wedding Date:
October 2010
Our Bridal Party
Gallery of the Day

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  1. Member
    OttawaBride2011 4510 posts, Honey bee @ 1:19 pm

    I absolutely love what you’ve written for the prayers of the faithful! It’s beautiful! I might just have to steal some of your ideas :)

  2. Member
    Violachap 677 posts, Busy bee @ 1:37 pm

    We’re doing the readings from Ruth and 1 Corinthians too! I read the passage in Ruth years ago and it struck a strong “family” tone with me as well, so I was determined to have it! :)

  3. starfish Member
    starfish 1902 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:51 pm

    @OttawaBride2011: Thanks, Although, I actually found many of these through other brides. I wish I could credit them, but I just kind of saved them throughout the planning process.
    @Violachap: They are definitely my two favorites! They are both perfect for weddings :)

  4. Member
    dddd89 497 posts, Helper bee @ 1:54 pm

    I just read that book with the Catholic readings after meeting with our priest! I found a gospel reading that said “you are the salt of the earth”. I thought that would be cool because FI is a chef.

  5. Member
    Miss Taco Night 241 posts, Helper bee @ 2:04 pm

    We just received the “Together for Life” booklet from our priest, and I was struggling to find a passage from the Old Testament that I liked too. Hope you don’t mind if I borrow Ruth, I love that one!

    I think your prayers of the faithful are beautiful and heartfelt, that’s the area of personalization I’m most looking forward to as well. Your ceremony will be lovely :)

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Casey, Guest @ 2:36 pm

    My fiance is Catholic, and I am in the process of converting. Coming from a very free-spirited household, it is really hard for me to think of having a traditional Catholic wedding with so many constraints.
    I know that our wedding will be about our faith, but I think that God’s love can be in Shakespeare and Pablo Neruda and in a hundred other poets as well.
    You seem to be integrating your desire for creativity in with your desire for a traditional Catholic wedding, but I’m not sure I can. Any advice?

  7. Member
    pamplemousse 378 posts, Helper bee @ 3:11 pm

    the passage in ruth is so perfect! it also reminds me that i need to be more attentive to my mother-in-law. haha.

    i’ve only been to one non-religious wedding and i’m only speaking about this specific wedding, not all non-religious ceremonies in general–i felt like something was missing. there wasn’t a message and it was about 15 minutes long. so to me, the religious aspects of a marriage give a ceremony structure.

  8. starfish Member
    starfish 1902 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:11 pm

    @Casey: I think you really need to read between the lines and find a passage that works for you. I do wish the church would let people be a bit more creative. I read through many passages to find the ones that really spoke to me. Have you tried looking through any yet? I also think the prayers of the faithful is the best place for personalization as you can write your own. I wish I had better advice for you. My family has a mix of traditionalists and creatives, so I spent a lot of time trying to find the right words with meaning for us. Some churchs are more open than others, have yu found where you are getting married yet?
    @Miss Taco Night: We never got that book, even though we went through pre-cana. The pre-cana church assumed our church would give it to us an vice versa. I think it would have been helpful.
    @dddd89: That fits perfect!
    @pamplemousse: I think it depends on the couple and how they order it. Both of the ones we went to still had structure, but weer deeply personal.

  9. Member
    IvyClimb 2612 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:58 pm

    We used that verse from Ruth. We repeated the phrase “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay” as we placed our wedding rings on each others’ fingers. Love it. I also love that verse from Corinthians, though we ended up choosing one from Song of Solomon for our second scripture reading (we’re pseudo-Baptist evangelical non-denominational Protestant mutts, so we had no restrictions on Old Testament/New Testament.)

  10. earrings Member
    earrings 2611 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:05 pm

    I love that reading from Ruth. We almost picked the reading from Corinthians, but now we have decided to use a passage from Song of Solomon.

  11. Member
    beth1125 328 posts, Helper bee @ 5:25 pm

    OH my gosh thank you for this post! I have really been struggling with readings and well as how to word our prayers to the faithful but you have provided inspiration! I love the reading from Ruth

  12. mszebra Member
    mszebra 365 posts, Helper bee @ 8:05 pm

    I had a wonderful time picking out the readings for our ceremonies. I want to frame them in the house so we never forget them.

  13. glasses Member
    glasses 2749 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:53 am

    We are also doing that reading from Corinthians. Beautiful!

  14. Member
    streiffe 42 posts, Newbee @ 4:56 pm

    Very beautiful! Very inspirational!

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