The Traditional Marriage and Nuptial Mass

The wedding of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wonderfully introduced to new generations the power and beauty of a traditional wedding. While it would be futile to attempt to replicate Westminster Abbey and all that comes with a Royal Wedding in a parish church, the traditional texts and ceremonial are in fact meant to be a part of the sacramental fabric of parish life

The photos that follow provide such an example. Taken in September 2016, they  show the Solemnization of Matrimony from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (USA) followed by the nuptial mass. Until the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the marriage and the nuptial mass were separate liturgies. They may have been celebrated in succession, but the integrity of each was intact. The 1979 rite provides for the solemnization of matrimony to take place with the context of a mass, but the marriage rite is place of the Liturgy of the Word. The upside is that the combination of the two promotes the Holy Eucharist to be celebrated at the wedding without adding a significant length of time to the liturgy. The downside is that there is a bit of blurring between the two sacraments of matrimony and the Holy Eucharist. In practice, it is marriage with communion instead of marriage and a nuptial mass. 

I think there is great merit, liturgically, theologically, and pastorally, in restoring the distinction between the marriage and the nuptial mass. This can be done in full obedience to the rubrics of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (An Order for Marriage, pages 435-436), especially when the distinction between the marriage and the mass is clearly made.

This marriage and mass sparked a great deal of interest and desire regarding the traditional celebration. I post the following pictures, with permission from the bride and groom, to show elements of the liturgy and how they were executed.