Weddings on Saturday

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I’ve asked variations on this before and seen your reply and others.

It has to do with the Saturday wedding and “does it count for sunday” question.

1.  I understand that a wedding this past Saturday – Pentecost/Vigil would require the solemnity readings and prayers with the wedding vows inserted in the middle.

2.  What about a Saturday in Ordinary time – no solemnity,  just a regular Sunday.  A Saturday afternoon wedding uses ?  Sunday readings?  or can the ritual readings be used? And is that considered to fulfill the Sunday obligation? I’ve understood that at such celebrations the ritual readings could be used and still fulfill the Sunday obligation.

3.  Perhaps it boils down to when the wedding is celebrated. 3pm??? 4pm??? I’ve seen several places where 4pm is upheld as the fitting hour to call it “saturday evening mass”. Is 3pm too early?  4pm is difficult in most places because of other saturday evening liturgies.

In other words – if a wedding is at 4pm – it can “count for Sunday”. If it’s only 3pm, can it count for the Sunday?

This might be better addressed by the old adage – sometimes it’s better not to ask.


A: Here’s an earlier post:

It’s important to keep two questions distinct: When does a Mass fulfill one’s Sunday obligation? When is the wedding Mass permitted?

Canon 1247 requires the faithful to participate at Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation. Regarding Saturday afternoon, there is no global consensus about the earliest time. It’s important to get an opinion from a local canonist.

The wedding Mass is permitted on Saturday evenings and Sundays in Ordinary Time. Paragraph 34 of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony says that the Ritual Mass may be used except on days falling within the first four levels of the Table of Liturgical Days. I treat this in more detail than most people want to know in my book Inseparable Love.

If it’s a Saturday night wedding within the first four levels of the Table, a day like Pentecost, then the wedding is inserted into that Mass. Any Mass on Saturday late afternoon and evening fulfills one’s obligation. It’s up to those planning the wedding to know which is the appropriate Mass for that day.