The liturgical rubrics and books for weddings have been updated. Some of it is rather mundane, just having a word here or there changed or added. Some interesting things have been added. I have found that some people love these changes and some look like a cat sulking in a tub of water.
For the next little while on Friday Potpourri we will be looking at the wedding rite. (Ha! I just remembered that I had a dream last night that I was getting married. How ironic. So I guess everybody can find some interest in this whether you are getting ready for the wedding OF your dreams or IN your dreams.)
As with all sacraments, one of the first things that needs to be done is get the ministers into the sanctuary. So we have rubrics on how to get the priest, ministers, bride and groom, servers etc. into the church. Paragraphs 45-47 give the FIRST, (preferred) but not only option and it looks like this:
(Hold on to your veil.)
It seems to me that the rite somewhat assumes that the bridal party arrives at the church kind of like a casket at a funeral - just in time to get things started. Of the places with which I have been associated this is not the case. They have been here for hours getting dressed, having pictures taken, and trying to do breathing exercises. But imagine for a moment that we are in some quaint European town and the cars containing the wedding party pull up in front of some ancient, grand, ecclesial edifice (that most likely does not have a lobby or bride’s room - or large modern bathroom for that matter) then this first option might sound intriguing:
The priest and servers, fully vested, meet the arriving party at the doors of the church. The party is to be “warmly greeted” and shown that the Church shares in their joy. The procession down the aisle then begins “in the customary manner.” What the bishops were hoping was that this would look a bit like a Sunday Mass; the ministers and wedding party going down the aisle with the presider coming at the end like Santa in the Christmas parade. This was something I was not looking forward to telling brides. Rome intervened however and said that the procession should take place “in the customary manner.” This provides acres of leeway. If you want what is most often seen in the United States with the priest standing in the sanctuary and the bride being accompanied by her father, you can still do it.
The priest, in the meantime, is instructed to do what he would normally do at the beginning of Mass, ending up at his chair.