Clearing the Floor Aisle at the Wedding Mass

One of the things I learned in my third wedding as mass commentator is proper sequencing.

See, the missalette or the wedding mass program/booklet does not always specify exactly which goes first during the wedding. As the wedding mass commentator, you need to be attuned to what is going on. If you're not careful with your announcements, people may simultaneously crowd the aisle and bump into each other!

Remember that unlike in the ordinary mass where it is really just the priest that moves at the front and around the altar, in the wedding mass, you have the wedding couple as well as the sponsors who take on roles and move around at or near the aisle in front of the altar. The secondary sponsors (Candle, Veil and Cord), in particular, move towards the couple at certain points of the wedding mass.

Lessons Learned

In my third wedding mass, I learned two instances in the catholic wedding mass where, as wedding mass commentator, you could avert unnecessary heavy foot traffic at the middle aisle behind the wedding couple.

By minimizing foot traffic, there is less people moving, less confusion and the aisle won't look chaotic. These two instances are where the secondary sponsors are involved: Offertory and Communion.

Offertory - Putting Veil and Cord

The Lighting of the Candles, Putting of the Veil and Cord are usually done during the Offertory. Sometimes, though, the officiating priest may require the Lighting of the Candles be done ahead, which is before the Marriage Rites.

So, which part of the Offertory do the Candle, Veil and Cord sponsors do their roles?

Usually, there is an Offertory Procession. There may be a rare instance where there is none. But the offering of the gifts to the altar need to take precedence. That means the Candle, Veil and Cord will happen AFTER the offertory procession.

  • The priest goes down to receive the gifts from the offerors. A mass assistant gets the gifts (which may include fruit baskets) from the priest. Be quick to provide additional assistance here. Walk directly towards the mass assistant, take the basket gifts and lay them in front of the altar. The mass assistant could take the wine, water and hosts.

  • Go back to the lectern. At this point, the priest may bless the offerors. After the blessing, when the priest has gone up towards the altar, give the announcements for the Candle, Veil and Cord sponsors.

  • Once each pair is done (or about to be done) with their role, quickly announce the next. It is usually the lady veil sponsor putting the veil on the wedding couple that takes the most time. So be on the lookout for her.

NEVER announce the Lighting of the Candle and Putting of Veil and Cord BEFORE or DURING the offertory procession. This will put the priest, offerors and the secondary sponsors all in the aisle at the same time.

Holy Communion - Removing Veil and Cord

  • The priest generally gives Holy Communion to the wedding couple first. This may include a sip of the wine too. Some priests even give Holy Communion to the parents who are seated in front also beside the wedding couple. After that, the priest gives communion to the assembly.

  • It is only when the priest has finished giving the last communion that you should call out for the Cord and Veil sponsors to remove the cord and veil.

Notice that in both of the above, it is only AFTER the priest has done his duties at the floor aisle that you call out the Veil and Cord sponsors to carry out their tasks. When the aisle is clear, then call them out - unless, of course, the priest has other specific instructions.