You Are At: AllSands Home > Religious > Christian > Catholic Wedding Customs
If any of your family members or friends have had Catholic weddings, you know how big of a process they can be. There are many strict requirement Catholics must follow before they can tie the knot.

The Pre-Cana
The Pre-Cana is religious counseling done between the bride, the groom and a priest before the wedding ceremony takes place. Catholics cannot get married in the church until they go through this program. The Pre-Cana is a series of quizzes about whether the couple is compatible, a series of discussions about the religious meaning in their lives (where they're lives are headed and what role religion plays in their lives), and meetings with other engaged couples. Many churches schedule group Pre-Cana meetings throughout the year. But you'll want to check on when those meetings are being held as early as possible, because sometimes the groups fill up quickly.

The Ceremony
Processional music begins the Catholic wedding service. This is the time the couple and their court walk to the altar. The priest greets the wedding party and gives the pre-marriage rites and a prayer.
Next comes the lithurgy. This is part of the wedding ceremony that varies from wedding to wedding. The bride and groom have the choice of which Bible read to have read. Usually the reading is done by a friend or family member. The priest then offers some brief comments on the meaning of a marriage.
The final part of the ceremony is the exchange of the vows. It is the exchanging of the vows that makes the wedding official. Many Catholic couples choose to write their own vows, although the Catholic church is happy to supply normal ones. The rings are then exchanged.

Divorce and Second Marriages
One item of note that is unique to Catholic churches is the idea that if you are married in a Catholic church and get divorced under the law, you still need to have your first marriage annulled by the Catholic church before you can remarry. The annulment process can be lengthy, difficult, and expensive.