Bride and Groom Offering Gifts in Mass

I would've considered today's wedding as uneventful, except that there's another twist in the wedding mass that I've never seen before as a wedding mass commentator.

In the wedding masses I've attended before, there was always an offertory procession that followed the marriage rites. At this time, some priests would ask the wedding couple to kneel. Sometimes, it is me who would announce for the wedding couple to kneel.

Usual Practice with Offertory Gifts

Ordinarily, the wedding couple do not have any other task to do at the offertory procession. I would be asked by the mother butler to position myself at the front of the altar. This is to receive the gifts from the offerors from the offertory procession. The offerors give the gifts to the priest. The priest passes them on to the mother butler and the mother butler passes them on to me. By gifts, I'm referring to flowers, wine and fruit (and other goodies) baskets. The mass wine and hosts do not get passed to me anymore.

Funny, but the in first time I was called to do this task by the mother butler, I was surprised. As a mass commentator, I always thought that the commentator's "station" is at the lectern. This was never mentioned in any of the informal training and orientation that I've undergone. It was only later that I realized that, practically, we're all Lay Ministers that help out during the Holy Mass.

In Sunday and weekday masses, there are other Lay Ministers (Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion) who assist the priest with the offertory gifts. But in wedding masses, it's only the mother butlers there and they'd often ask me to assist with the offertory gift baskets.

A Twist at the Offertory Procession

In today's wedding, the offertory procession proceeded as usual. I asked the wedding couple to kneel.

They were beginning to kneel when they suddenly stood up! There was a wee bit of confusion until I realized what was happening.

The priest asked the offerors to give the offertory gifts to the wedding couple FIRST. Then the wedding couple offered the gifts to the priest. Then the priest gave them to the mother butler. I rushed in front of the altar, because then the mother butler would be passing them to me. The passing of gifts seem to be a bit circuitous. But does it force the wedding mass to go on overtime? No, definitely not!

Frankly, I thought it was a bit cumbersome for the bride with her huge wedding gown train to be turning and twisting to receive the gifts. It's already difficult for brides to do much. That's how brides are! With the long and sometimes bulky trains in their gown, the only comfortable movement for brides is to walk forward - SLOWLY. Anything else needs to be assisted as part of wedding tasks of the Maid-of-Honor.

Lessons Learned
As there seeem to be several variations that may occur after the marriage rites and into procession:
  • Wait it out. Just give the announcement to sit to EVERYONE.

  • Assist the mother butler to receive the gifts by moving in and taking the gifts from her and placing the gifts at the foot of the altar. A new variation of this is to put the gifts on a side table by the wall.

  • The priest gives the blessing to the offerors. When the priest starts to go back to the altar do you give the announcement for the wedding couple to kneel.

Sometimes, the priest would already ask the couple to kneel just when the offertory starts or anywhere during the offertory. Another priest would even tell the mother butlers or even camera crew to remove the wedding couple's seat. I suppose it all depends on what the officiating priest wants. Again, patience is a virtue.