ASK FATHER: Extraordinary Form marriage vows but Ordinary Form Mass

From a priest…


A devout Catholic couple would like to get married using the EF vows (in English), but would like to have an Ordinary Form Latin Mass.  Could I do their vows in the EF outside of Mass, and then celebrate a non-wedding Mass in the OF?

As much as I am a proponent of using as much of the Extraordinary Form as possible, it seems to me that in this situation, you should choose one or the other.  Do the whole thing, either in the EF or in the OF.

If you want, you can have the whole of the Ordinary Form in Latin or in English, ad orientem with vestments that please and Gregorian chant, etc.

That said, it is possible to do the Extraordinary nuptial rites outside of Mass as you find them in the Ritual (with the nuptial blessing, etc.) and, then, after an – at least – logical (if not chronological) break, launch into a Mass in the Ordinary Form.

However, that still seems to me to be a less than optimal option, provoking questions that devolve into needless explanations.  If the marriage rite, then why not the Mass too?  Etc.

I am not sure about the reasoning behind such a collision of the rites.  Perhaps this needs to be thought through a bit more.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Philmont237 says:

    My wedding was an OF in Latin and ad orientem. It was gorgeous, and several of my friends said that it was the most Catholic thing they’ve ever seen. If we could post pictures (or the program containing the whole Mass) here then I would. Alas I can’t. However if father wishes, I’d gladly email the program to him so that he can share it. It would be great for couples planning a wedding.

  2. JustaSinner says:

    A wedding is difficult to manage as is; adding undue difficulties is kind of crazy. When I was married there was no option for anything other than the ‘usual’ wedding. My wife was miffed when Father used the words ‘obey your husband’….oops?

  3. Andrew says:

    I am inclined to prefer the Ordinary Form vows, where the intention to marry is expressed by the spouses directly to each other, whereas in the older form, the intention is expressed by confirming an inquiry made by the interrogating priest.

    “I take you” vs. “do you take her?”

    Perhaps I am missing something, but that is how I am inclined to see it.

  4. Nan says:

    There’s something to be said for a church without options. Byzantine church doesn’t have vows but instead places martyrs crowns on couple as marriage involves sacrifice.

  5. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    When I got married, my wife and I had just entered into the wealth of traditional thought and our great liturgical patrimony. We were not yet regularly attending the EF, but were on our way. At our Nuptial Mass, we seriously considered our options both personally and for what would make the strongest impression on the attendees.

    Ultimately we opted for the OF in English, with Latin chants of all the common parts, the EF nuptial blessing in English. Seriously the traditional nuptial blessing is just awesome. We had a traditional Roman procession with the 6 attending priests following my wife (I’d considered seminary and so had collected a cadre of good priests and seminarians). Not sure how kosher it was in retrospect, but we all with the priest knelt ad orientem and invoked a great number of Saints to pray for our marriage during the “Prayers of the Faithful” and suppressed the Rite of Peace. My only regret was not having the Nuptial Mass ad orientem. Although my wife’s family parish Church really isn’t set up for it so it would have been an awkward implementation.

    As with Philmont above, many of the lapsed Catholics among friends/family who attended as well as pagan and protestants were in awe over the beauty of the liturgy and personally made comments about it during the reception.

  6. APX says:

    Such a peculiar situation, yet it has come up before back in 2009 on CAF, the reason being then was the priest didn’t know the EF and the couple didn’t want to hurt the priest’s feelings by having another priest perform the wedding.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    My understanding was that EF wedding vows were usually in the local vernacular, just like Sarum ones.

  8. paulchandler19 says:

    I am a priest and I too recently had the same request from a young couple who regularly attend the EF Mass but also attend OF Masses. They considered an EF Mass for the Nuptial Mass but as their families were not familiar with the EF Mass, as well there was the usual mix of family members who did not attend Mass regularly. Yet, they desired to enter into Holy Mass as a married couple as the EF Marriage Rite provides. So, I approached the local Ordinary, as it was outside my home Diocese, and he was more than happy for the EF Marriage Rite followed by an OF Mass in English, ad orientem, with Latin plainchant. There were many positive comments from the family members who were regular Mass attendees.

  9. jaykay says:

    APX: “the couple didn’t want to hurt the priest’s feelings by having another priest perform the wedding.”

    I wonder if they’d discussed it with their Priest fully beforehand perhaps there wouldn’t have been a problem? I mean, right from the start when they began marriage preparation? But… I don’t know, and their discretion is very laudable. God bless them both, and may their marriage be fruitful.

  10. Antonin says:

    Good for you Father! Mutual enrichment is more often touted as this hazy ideal but you have demonstrated how it is not just rhetoric but can be a reality. As the saying goes, an idea without an action is a fantasy!

  11. JonPatrick says:

    I’m guessing that these are normally EF mass goers but are afraid of having their relatives and guests freak out if they have an EF Mass. I would say – this is your day it’s only once in your lifetime and go for it (the EF). They might freak out anyway at Ad Orientem and Latin chant in the OF so you might as well go all the way.

  12. Titus says:

    I don’t see the problem here.

    The “EF” marriage rites involve celebrating the wedding itself prior to the Mass. So the marriage rite is self-contained. Do that, then say Mass. There’s an appropriate votive Mass in the 1970+ Missal, isn’t there?

    The reasons are almost undoubtedly “pastoral”: Father doesn’t know the E.F. Mass, or it will be unfamiliar to many of the attendees, or an Important Relative of One of the Spouses would have an absolute nutty if (quelle horreur) made to hear a TLM, etc.

  13. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    My wife, God bless her, and I were married in the EF. Lovely from beginning to end with Haydn’s terse and brightly joyful Missa Brevis in F, 1749, Hob: XXII(1). The part of the wedding that stays with me more than the vows is the “Exhortation Before Marriage,” which you can have read as the sermon in either form of the wedding. I try to read it on our anniversary every year. The theology it contains is so sublime and well stated that it will add a traditional element of great effect to your wedding, and be of lasting benefit to your marriage and to those attending the ceremony who hear it read.

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