Google+Lisa's Southern Wedding: Planning Our Ceremony - Southern Weddings

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In the hustle and bustle of finishing and launching V7, it has been awhile since my last Lisa’s Southern Wedding post, but with less than five months to go till the big day, I assure you, wedding plans are running full steam ahead! Today, I’m happy to be sharing about the most important part of our wedding (and every wedding, as a matter of fact!): our ceremony.

The biggest reason we are getting married in North Carolina is for our church and our priest, so let’s start there! Our ceremony will be held at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Raleigh. This is the church Dave and I attend every week, and to say that we love it is an understatement. It is beautiful and grand, but still intimate and inviting, and literally the first time we walked through its doors, we both knew that this place was going to be very, very special to us. To be honest, I have struggled a bit throughout our engagement about our decision to get married in North Carolina as opposed to either of our home states. Any time I find myself pining over the idea of a wedding somewhere else, though, thinking about walking down the aisle at Sacred Heart melts those thoughts away.

Our officiant will be one of the priests at Sacred Heart, who we see every week at church, and are meeting with one-on-one leading up to the big day. It is crucial to us that at our ceremony, the depth and significance of the Catholic sacrament of marriage is communicated, and we are so confident that our priest will do just that. We are always inspired by his deep faith and his beautiful ability to speak to people at every level of their faith journeys—something we know will be so valuable at our ceremony.

Pictures of Sacred Heart Cathedral: top two by Michael Moss via Style Me Pretty, interior by Robyn Van Dyke, ceiling by Nancy Ray

Having a Catholic wedding means that quite a few things are set for us. To name a few, the ceremony must be in a church and follow a specific order, there will be four readings, we will say traditional vows, and music must be religious in nature and played live. We are so excited about each and every one of these things—they are all put in place to ensure that every single part of the ceremony keeps the focus on the sacrament. We wouldn’t have it any other way!

We elected to have a full Nuptial Mass said at our wedding—something that is not required for a Catholic wedding, but that is definitely the right decision for us. The order of our ceremony will therefore be as follows:

Part 1: Liturgy of the Word
– Entrance
– Opening prayer
– First reading, from the Old Testament
– Responsorial Psalm (traditionally sung)
– Second reading, from the New Testament
– Gospel Acclamation
– Gospel reading
– Homily
Part 2: Rite of Marriage
– Statement of intention
– Consent and exchange of vows
– Blessing and exchange of rings
– Profession of Faith
– Prayers of the faithful/general intercessions
Part 3: Liturgy of the Eucharist
– Presentation and preparation of the gifts
– Eucharistic prayer
– The Lord’s Prayer
– Nuptial blessing
– Exchange of the sign of peace
– “Lamb of God” sung
– Communion
– Blessing
– Recessional

As I mentioned, there will be four readings at our ceremony, if you include the Psalm, which is traditionally sung. Dave and I have known some deeply meaningful readings we’d love to include since we started dating, and for the others, we’ve been working through a great book our church gave us of readings that are particularly relevant for a marriage ceremony. So far, we have chosen our Old Testament reading (Tobit 8:4b-8), Psalm (Psalm 118), and Gospel reading (Mark 10:6-9).

A few sweet Catholic wedding moments, from Brooke and Carlos‘ wedding by Akil Bennett, and Celeste and Michael‘s wedding by Dark Roux

Our ceremony music selection is one of the things we’ve barely started working on, but we do have a few ideas! We’ll be using all hymns that we love, and are still deciding between some of our options. Two that we have chosen? I’ll be walking down the aisle to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” played on piano, and “What Wondrous Love is This” will be played during communion. I can’t listen to either of these songs without getting teary-eyed…and neither can Dave. :)

Since we want our guests to be able to follow along and participate in our (admittedly long) ceremony, programs are a must. I love simple, elegant designs, and am considering doing a unique size or shape to make it a little more visually interesting. These two are some of my favorites!

Left: A Bryan Photo from Louise and Billy‘s wedding, right: Elizabeth Messina via Snippet & Ink

One final note on our ceremony—the décor! The Cathedral is absolutely beautiful and has lots of detail, so we are keeping our décor minimal so as not to distract from what is already there. Our florist, Kelly, will be making two simple altar arrangements, and other than that, we’re keeping everything as is.

Left: Britt Croft from Rebecca and Russell‘s wedding, right: Landon Jacob from V7 A New Beginning (arrangement by Kelly!)

Phew, I think that about covers it! I get serious butterflies thinking of our ceremony, and out of all of it, I think the parts I am most looking forward to are walking down the aisle (which, I admit, I imagine every Sunday walking to my seat at church!), saying our vows, and receiving Communion as husband and wife for the first time.

If you’re already married, what was your favorite part of your ceremony? And if you’re wedding planning, what are you most looking forward to about it?

P.S. If you’re planning a Catholic wedding, I would love to recommend my favorite resources that explain the Catholic teachings on marriage in beautiful depth: Love and Responsibility, The Theology of the Body Explained, and the Humanum series by the Theology of the Body Institute.

In case you missed a post…
I’m Engaged! / The Main Characters / Our Venues / Our Photographer / Our Videographer / Planning Our Engagement Pictures / Our Flowers / Bridesmaid Style / Our Save the Dates / The Gents’ Attire

lisa Written with love by Lisa
14 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    so glad I got to see this church in person; the pictures do not do it justice! It’s going to be such a beautiful ceremony!!!

  2. avatar Liz reply

    That church is beautiful! We had a full Catholic mass for our wedding as well, but honestly it didn’t seem that much longer than a regular mass!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you, Liz!! I agree–as long as people can follow along, hopefully no one will mind! :)

  3. avatar Dave reply

    So happy I get to marry you!

  4. avatar Melissa Joynson reply

    I LOVED our readings. We asked a childhood friend of my husband’s to do our non traditional reading (an excerpt from The Little Prince) and my mom’s best friend, who has essentially been my second mom since I was a baby to do our Bible reading (Ruth 1:16-17). It was beautiful and a wonderful way to include these special people in our ceremony.

    • avatar Lisa reply

      That sounds so lovely! One of Emily’s ceremony readings was from The Little Prince and I know it meant so much to her and John!

  5. avatar Whitney Evans reply

    We had a full Episcopal Mass at our wedding, and although we heard some flak from some of our friends about the length, one of the most special things was communion. Austin and I took it first, then we stayed at the altar rail as our friends and family came up around us. We were really able to feel their support and “communion” with them.

  6. avatar Bridget reply

    Oh yes, Sacred Heart is such a beautiful and special cathedral. A real jewel. Best wishes to you on your upcoming marriage!

  7. avatar Sally reply

    This is such a beautiful post! In the midst of wedding planning and, truthfully, the minor details (although they feel major)it’s such a beautiful testament to see you touch on marriage preparation. You’re recommendations for books are spot on. I’ll be praying for yall.

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement–I appreciate it so much!

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