Catholic Wedding Timeline


Like for every occasion, time is of the essence. When you are going to have a religious wedding, then following the prescribed procession is important to you and your family. Planning beforehand will be extremely important so you and your entourage know when each activity will happen and what will trigger it. A smooth sailing wedding ceremony is what you should be aiming for. In this guide, we will be exploring the creation of a Catholic wedding timeline so you will be able to plan your wedding ceremony and reception accordingly! This timeline goes on for about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Catholic Wedding Timeline

The guideline for a mass is usually one hour, and the ceremonies in between would be 30 minutes. So that should give you an idea of having one and a half hours minimum at the church for the ceremony itself. The following list is the usual Catholic wedding timeline:

Processional (2 minutes)

This is the entrance of male entourage, followed by the female entourage. This paves the way to the iconic walking of the bride down the aisle.


Hymn (1 minute)

Pick a favorite Catholic hymn that keeps the solemnity of the ceremony.


Opening Prayer (2 minutes)

The celebrant will enjoin the audience in question in a greeting and a prayer.


Reading from the Old Testament (5 minutes)

The reading from the Old Testament is usually picked from Genesis, a wonderful passage about how man and woman are joined in union, never to be part. Readings are an important part of Catholic wedding timeline, you can ask a friend or family member to take part in the ceremony by being the reader.


Responsorial Psalm (5 minutes)

You can have this part sung or recited. Singing is definitely more dramatic, but can also take considerable time.


Reading from the New Testament (5 minutes)

This reading will focus more on the mission of Christians in modern life. Again, you can ask friends of family for their participation in this section.


Gospel (5 minutes)

The priest will deliver the gospel message.


Homily (15 minutes)

The priest will deliver a sermon based on the gospel, but it is also nice if the priest could get to know the couple and talk about their personal history, struggle, and triumph in union for a more personalized feel. If you are close to the priest it would be very helpful. This could potentially take a lot of time, note this when making the Catholic wedding timeline.


Rite of Marriage, Exchange of Vows and Rings (15 minutes)

This involves a question-and-answer vow with the priest as the moderator, and the individual heartfelt vows of the bride and groom. Immediately following this will be the ceremony of the rings.


You May Now "Kiss the Bride"! (5 minutes)

The announcement of the union makes the wedding official! The celebrant can announce as so and deliver the permission to kiss as husband and wife. Take some time for this photo-op moment!


Nuptial Blessing and Peace (10 minutes)

The Lord’s Prayer is sung in unison. The priest will pray over the union.


The Sign of Peace and Communion (15 minutes)

The priest will invite the audience to say peace with each other, as in with regular masses. Communion is generally understood as invitation for Catholics, so non-Catholics can remain seated.


Dismissal (1 minute)

The priest closes the wedding ceremony in prayer and blessing.


Recessional (5 minutes)

Play the meaningful final song as you and your entourage cheerfully march all the way to the reception area.

Now that you have observed what amount of time is usually used for each part, you will be able to customize your Catholic wedding timeline.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need to have a full mass for my wedding?

The above Catholic wedding timeline pretty much covers a regular kind of mass. You can’t really cut anything out because it follows a traditional and strict procedure. If you are pressed for time, then you might be able to ask your priest for a short and sweet sermon that will significantly cut down the minutes! Picking short readings and Psalms can also help, but make sure you absorb the weight of the ceremony before you start cutting down the time!

What should I do for a reception that starts before dinner time?

There is a chance that timing of your reception after the church wedding can be a bit tricky. Booking a place and booking a church are usually separate activities and it could be hard to coordinate both (especially if you are not flexible with venues)! But having guests over even without dinner present, for example at times after lunch in the afternoon, doesn’t have to be an awkward affair. Just turn on the music, serve some water, finger food, and light drinks (nothing too heavy, save that for the night), and you will be smooth sailing until dinner time where people would be happy to have food! The intersession may cost a bit more money but will keep guests entertained.

When is the best time for photographs?

Of course, the best time for photographs will be when you are freshly made up by your trusty artist! Another good time to take pictures is right after the ceremony – you and the groom will still have that happy glow and your entourage can also join in the fun while everyone is shuttling off to the reception area. If you have same-day edit videos, then you can take some really romantic and fun clips during this time.