The Sacrament of Marriage
The Roman Catholic wedding rite takes place with the Sacrament of Matrimony, one of the seven sacraments Catholics believe are channels of God’s grace. The ceremony consists, at least, of three biblical readings, the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, the Prayer of the Faithful, the nuptial blessing, prayers and appropriate music. The Roman Catholic wedding is rich in tradition and liturgy. Since a wedding is primarily a worship service, worship and praise of God who calls a man and a woman together in marriage, great care should go into planning the ceremony itself. The Church offers this sacred opportunity to join with family and friends in dedicating the couple’s marriage to God, the author of all love.
The marriage ceremony is not a private ceremony, but rather a public ritual. It is celebrated in the community prayer space (the church building, not outdoors) and encourages those who have gathered not only to witness the vows of the couple, but also to participate fully in the liturgy.
The Sacrament usually takes place during a Mass, referred to as a Nuptial Mass, usually celebrated in the morning or early afternoon. The Catholic Church encourages the couple – and other Catholic bridal party members – to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. weddings are not scheduled for Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday, nor are weddings scheduled for those hours when Mass is read for the congregation.
The church is the appropriate setting for a wedding because it is a place sanctified by communal worship and the place where the sacrament of marriage is more significantly symbolized. The wedding usually takes place in the parish church of the bride’s family.
When a marriage takes place between two Catholics of mixed rites, it is the rite of the groom that determines the service to be used. The power to transfer rites from the groom’s church to that of the bride rests with the Church.
The Church makes certain requests of the bride and groom to help the couple with their spiritual preparation. There is no uniform set of rules for Catholic marriage preparation, each couple will need to rely on information received from their parish priests who can then explain the requirements in their diocese. In addition, you will need a copy of your Baptismal Certificate. The Catholic partner still is required to promise to continue observing the Catholic faith and to do their best to raise children as Catholics. The promise is made in the presence of the non-Catholic partner, who no longer is asked to make any promise or commitment.
Borrowed from: http://weddingdetails.com/lore-tradition/roman-catholic/