Improper Dress for Wedding Mass Reader

The hunt for the elusive wedding mass reader continues.

This wedding was no different. With no commissioned lector in sight, I knew I'd have to get one from the wedding party. As usual, I asked for the groom. I was pointed to a guy who was busy in group having their photos taken.

Naturally, I introduced myself as the wedding mass commentator to the groom. The groom didn't have a clue though as to who was the mass reader. I asked for a mass reader, nonetheless. He picked out a charming young lady from the entourage who I later learned was the Veil sponsor. She didn't have problems going with me to the sanctuary for the brief orientation.

Wedding Mass Reader Attire

The orientation was well underway until one mass assistant went up to both of us and exclaimed that the young lady won't do as a reader! When I asked the assistant why, she said she was wearing a "backless" dress!

Technically, the gown wasn't a backless dress. But one shoulder was exposed, and that was enough for the assistant to object to her as a mass reader. The photo shown her isn't her, but the dress is a bit similar. With just a couple of minutes before the wedding starts, I asked the lady if she had a shawl or could borrow one. The assistant wouldn't have any of it and asked for a replacement.

I, of course, felt a bit embarrassed for the lady. She didn't seem to mind but actually looked relieved! I was also annoyed though because time was running out.

I rushed to the entourage again to find somebody else when I realized that the assistant COULD be a mass reader. She's actually a lector but she wasn't dressed as a lector at that time. So I shouted (we were at opposite ends inside the church) at her if she can read. Sensing that the wedding was about to start, she just agreed.

With that out of the way, I approached the groom and assured him that the mass reader issue has been settled. I suppose that was one less headache for him to worry about.

The Wedding Mass Readings

The first part of the wedding mass went smoothly. Then it was time for the First Reading. I, of course, was already expecting the mass assistant/lector to come up to the ambo.

Whoa! Somebody else was delivering the First Reading! When I craned my neck who she was, I saw someone in a gown, obviously belonging to the wedding party.

The wedding mass reader obviously had little practice. She was reading quickly and was hardly comprehensible. And no she wasn't the lady reader that I oriented earlier. To her credit though, she delivered the correct readings and responsorial psalm verses.

The Mass Reader Switch

After the mass wedding, I asked the assistant what happened, and why she didn't read. She just said she picked from the wedding entourage a sponsor who had a shawl. She had this sponsor sit by her side at the pew and coached her.

Well, good for her.

At least the assistant had the luxury of time coaching her while the first part of the mass was ongoing. That gave enough orientation for the sponsor to know which parts of the liturgy to read. Since the sponsor was at her side, the assistant just nudged her to go up the ambo when it was time for her to read. I couldn't do any of that, because as a wedding mass commentator, I was positioned at the commentator's lectern at the OTHER end of the sanctuary.

Lessons Learned

In the past, I always asked the groom for details. Well, after discussing this matter with another commentator, I learned from him that the groom is not necessarily the best person to approach when searching for a possible wedding mass reader. His explanation is quite valid and makes a lot of sense.

He said the best person to approach is the Wedding Coordinator - IF there is one.

Usually, nowadays, the wedding coordinator takes care of all wedding-related events - from the church, to the pictorials, caterer, food, entertainment, venues and more. Because of this huge responsibility, the wedding coordinator is paid handsomely. And the reason is to take off these nitty-gritty or even mundane tasks from the wedding couple that add more to the stress.

The groom isn't the best person to ask for a wedding mass reader because he may not know what the church expects from a mass reader - that includes the proper attire. But surely, the wedding coordinator who has experience would know.

What if there is no wedding coordinator? Then it's time to use better judgement when accepting the person that the groom would be picking as the wedding mass reader.