The Catholic Church considers marriage to be a sacrament. The couple must undergo counseling by their priest so that they are aware of what marriage means to the Church. This period of counseling to prepare the couple for marriage is called Pre-Cana. It may be conducted for up to six months before the wedding day. The couple can choose to do the three day course or the one day course.
Three Sundays before the wedding the priest will announce the upcoming union in marriage of the boy and the girl. The announcement is made so that anyone who might want to reveal damaging information about either the bride or the groom is compelled to come forward and stop the nuptials before it is too late.
Catholic couples may opt to have their ceremony performed together with a full mass. After the wedding party enters the church and settles down, a full catholic mass follows. The priest prays, then a reading from the Bible follows and then a homily; a short sermon on the significance of marriage.
The sacramental rite of marriage is then officiated by the priest. The rite includes an exchange of wedding vows by the couple, lighting of the unity candle and a blessing said for the wedding rings. This symbolizes the faith that the bride and the groom have in one another. To conclude, the priest gives the official blessing of the church to the couple and to their new marriage. The catholic guests then partake in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. A closing prayer is then offered blessing the newlywed couple and their union. If a couple wants a wedding without the entire mass, the same process is followed except the partaking of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.