14 Catholic Wedding Readings and Advice From an Expert Officiant

Honor your faith with scripture about marriage and love.
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by
Jacqueline Mann
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Jacqueline Mann
The Knot Contributor
  • Jacqueline writes articles for The Knot Worldwide that cover an array of wedding-related topics.
  • She previously worked as a marketing manager for a wedding venue where she learned the intricate details of wedding planning.
  • Jacqueline graduated from Bluefield University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications.
Updated Apr 02, 2024

Incorporating scripture in your ceremony is an important part of Catholic wedding rituals. A Catholic wedding reading comes from Biblical text and is often about marriage and the different facets of love. These ceremony readings can include passages of scripture from the Old Testament, New Testament and the Gospels. Include your reading in your Catholic wedding program so guests can follow along. Also, head over to The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find a wedding officiant familiar with Catholic weddings. There you can easily filter by location and ceremony type (including a Catholic ceremony).

It might feel overwhelming to comb through scripture to find Bible verses about marriage. With help from the Most Rev. James J. Balija (aka "Father Jim") with The Contemporary Catholics in Northern Illinois, we found the best Catholic wedding readings along with answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Catholic Wedding Readings: Old Testament | New Testament | Gospel
Plus: FAQs to Help You Choose Readings

Old Testament Catholic Wedding Readings

From the creation of Eve to the romantic readings of Song of Solomon, the Old Testament expresses the importance of marriage and how it beautifully unites two people. Here are a few Catholic wedding readings from the Old Testament to include in your wedding.

1. Genesis 2:18-24

The creation of Eve in the Bible exemplifies the importance of having a partner by your side. The imagery of two becoming one flesh in this Catholic wedding reading symbolizes an unbreakable bond.

"The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." (NIV)

2. Book of Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

This Catholic reading for a wedding states that two are better than one. Two people in love can encourage each other, celebrate victories together and tackle the challenges of life knowing they have someone in their corner.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (ESV)

3. Ruth 1:16-17

Ruth's statement of love in the Bible is a pure picture of adoration and devotion. No matter where her love goes, she will follow.

"But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." (NIV)

4. Tobit 8:4b-8

Marriage is a partnership between two people who help and support each other, as described in this Catholic wedding reading. It also demonstrates the importance of praying together as a couple.

"Tobiah rose from bed and said to his wife, "My sister, come, let us pray and beg our Lord to grant us mercy and protection." She got up, and they started to pray and beg that they might be protected. He began with these words: "Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors; blessed be your name forever and ever! Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever. You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support; and from these two the human race has come. You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.' Now, not with lust, but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife. Send down your mercy on me and on her, and grant that we may grow old together. Bless us with children." They said together, "Amen, amen!" (NAB)

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5. Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (Song of Songs 8:6-7)

Love is unquenchable, strong as death and an all-consuming emotion according to the poetic book of Song of Solomon. The jealousy mentioned in the verse translates to ardor or passion.

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised." (ESV)

New Testament Catholic Wedding Readings

These Catholic readings for weddings from the New Testament express the meaning and importance of love, making them a beautiful addition to your celebration.

6. 1 Corinthians 13:8a

One of the most popular Catholic wedding readings expresses the meaning of unfailing love. True love is patient, kind, protects, trusts, hopes and preserves.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (NIV)

7. I John 4::7-12

This Catholic wedding reading reminds us that love comes from God. As God loves his people, so should we love each other.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." (ESV)

8. Ephesians 4:1-6

As two people join together in marriage, they are also united through faith. The scripture also encourages couples to be humble, gentle and patient in love.

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (NIV)

9. Philippians 4:4-9

This Catholic wedding reading provides peace to couples who have worries about building a home, possible financial challenges or other concerns that might show up throughout their marriage. The message is to not feel anxious but to come together to God in prayer.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (NIV)

Gospel Catholic Wedding Readings

The Gospel text is another great place to find scripture about love and marriage. Include one of these Catholic wedding Gospel readings in your ceremony.

10. John 15:9-12

It's easy to feel an abundance of love on your wedding day. This Catholic wedding gospel reading encourages couples to continue to abide in love and joy long after saying, "I do."

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (ESV)

11. John 2:1-11

The marriage feast of Cana is an important moment in scripture that tells the story of Jesus's first miracle – turning water into wine. Include this Roman Catholic wedding reading in your ceremony as a reminder of God's blessings.

"On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him." (ESV)

12. Mark 10:6-9

The scripture in this Catholic wedding reading shows how two people leave their homes to come together as one. It also states that what God has brought together, let no one separate.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (NIV)

13. Matthew 5:3-12a

Taught by Jesus, the Beatitudes talk about how to live as a follower of God but also describe the ups and downs of life. Those who find blessings are merciful, peacemakers and seekers of righteousness.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven." (NIV)

14. John 17:20-23

Include a Catholic wedding reading that isn't just a blessing for you and your partner but for your guests too. This passage is a prayer for love and unity for all.

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (NIV)

Catholic Wedding Readings Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose the right Catholic wedding reading, how many readers do you need, and who can participate? Keep reading to find the answers to your most asked questions.

Can a Non-Catholic Do a Reading at a Wedding?

"The officiant or parish has the final word but having a non-Catholic do one or more readings should not be a problem," Balija said. Consult with your officiant if you're planning to have a non-Catholic loved one perform a reading. Alternately, choose a Catholic reader or person of faith to read Biblical text and non-Catholic guests for any additional readings.

How Do You Choose Readings for Your Wedding Mass?

Couples are often given reading options and are sometimes able to select their own. "Depending on the priest or deacon and parish the couple would meet to discuss the ceremony options," Balija said. "I usually work with couples and ask them to review the readings and find those that they like the best."

Balija added that many Roman Catholic weddings are done in what is called a Nuptial Mass, which is similar to the structure of a Sunday Mass. "Sometimes, Catholic weddings are done outside of Mass with similar formats for readings, vows, prayers and blessings but without communion," he said. "The Nuptial Mass is their preferred option with ceremonies outside of Mass used when one of the parties is a non-Catholic."

How Many Readers Do You Need for a Catholic Wedding?

While it depends on your parish and officiant, plan to have different readers for each portion of the Bible. "Some use one for the Old Testament and another from the Epistle [letters in the New Testament] readings while the priest or deacon reads the Gospel," Balija said. "Often the music minister or organist in the parish will do the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia verse."

How Many Readings Are Needed for a Catholic Wedding?

Your officiant will likely have a set of readings that are approved by the Roman Catholic Church from the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel. While it may depend on the parish, there is a minimum of two readings. "During a wedding Mass, there is also a Responsorial Psalm between the first and second reading and the Alleluia verse before the Gospel. These are listed within the ritual for weddings which the officiant uses."

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