Music of EF Nuptial Masses
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    What is the music of the nuptial Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF)?

    I'm going to collect responses and post them here at the top for easy reference. Also, I'd like to clarify that my question is about best practices for parish churches, not cathedrals.

    Prelude music

    Chant Ordinaries:
    Adrian Fortescue says the Gloria and Credo are omitted, but there may have been changes to the rubrics after 1962 that allow the priest to include or exclude them. The setting of the Ordinary is left to choice, though it might be wise to choose a more festive-sounding one.

    Organ Accompaniments for Ordinaries:
    - in the Graduale Romanum
    - in the Nova Organi Harmonia
    - Fr. Rossini's arrangements
    - Alain, Messe Gregorienne de Mariage (
    - Langlais, Missa in simplicitate (unison choir and organ)

    Polyphonic Choral Ordinaries
    The sky's the limit as to settings, but here are some smaller-scale ones.
    - Asola, Mass for Three Voices
    - Byrd, Mass for Three Voices
    - Casali, Missa in G
    - Hassler, Missa Dixit Maria
    ---, Missa Secunda
    - Perosi, Missa Pontificalis
    - Rossini, Missa Brevis TTBB (K,S/B, A only)
    - Viadana, Missa l'Hora Passa

    It is also possible of course to sing the Ordinary in fauxbourdon. Lasso and Viadana wrote some formulas. I'd like to find more of them.

    IN. Deus Israel coniungat vos (Tobias 7:15; 8:19)
    GR/AL/TR: For most of the year, there's the Gradual Uxor tua (Ps 127:3) and the Alleluia with verse Mittat vobis Dominus (Ps 19:3). During Septuagesima and Lent, the Gradual is followed by the Tract Ecce sic benedicetur (Ps. 127:4, 6). During Paschal Time, there are two Alleluias with verses, Mittat vobis and Benedicat vobis.
    OF. In te speravi (Ps. 30:15-16)
    CO. Ecce sic benedicetur (Ps. 127:4, 6)

    Polyphonic Settings of the Propers
    Morales, Ecce sic benedictur which is part of his motet Beati omnes qui timent Dominum, found in the Chester Book of Motets, vol. 14
    Palestrina, In te speravi SATTB
    Runtzelius, Uxor tua

    See Bud Clark's collection of the propers, both set polyphonically and accompanied by organ. Clark's collection also contains several fauxbourdon formulas by Lasso and Viadana.

    After Mass:
    - Marian antiphons
    - Recessional music

    Rubrical Notes

    According to the Collectio Rituum, i.e. the rubrics in force for dioceses in the US ca. 1962, the following rubrics apply:

    1. The Nuptial Mass is not permitted on the following days: Feasts of the first or second class; on Sundays or holydays of obligation; within the octaves of the Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi; on Ash Wednesday; during Holy Week; on the vigils of Christmas, Epiphany or Pentecost; nor on All Soul's Day.

    2. The Mass is said without Gloria or Creed. [NOTE: This appears to differ from what the 1962 Missal says:
    "Si solemnis benedictio nuptiarum, intra Missam, facienda sit die dominico vel die I classis, dicitur Missa de Officio occurrente, cum commemoratione sequentis Missae pro sponsis, sub unica conclusione, etiam diebus in quibus commemoratio Missae votivae impeditae prohibetur; et in ea datur benedictio nuptialis more solito. Si autem solemnis benedictio nuptiarum, intra Missam, facienda sit aliis diebus, dicitur sequens Missa votiva pro sponsis."
    Nuptial Masses are votive Masses of the 2nd class. I would appreciate more discussion here. The booklet I have for nuptial Masses does indeed contain a Gloria. Why are there differences in online discussions of this? As for the Credo, the Liber says that the Credo is not included in votive Masses of the 2nd class.

    3. If marriage takes place on any of the above Feasts, the Mass of the day is read; the Collect, Secret Prayers and Postcommunion of this Nuptial Mass being added to the Collect, Secret Prayer, and Postcommunion respectively of the Mass of the day; and the prayers for the bridegroom and bride after the Pater Noster, and before the blessing, are inserted also.

    Also be sure to see Music for the Nuptial High Mass at Many thanks to the Canons Regular at St. John Cantius (Chicago) for all their work.

    Complete List

    Here then is a complete list of items to sing at a Missa cantata pro sponso et sponsa consistent with the 1962 Missale Romanum.

    Prelude (ad libitum)
    Processional (hymn in Latin or vernacular)
    Asperges (according to season)
    Introit, Deus Israel conjungat vos
    Kyrie (chant or polyphony)
    Gloria (omitted, or at discretion of celebrant)
    Responses at Collect
    After readings (see above):
    - Gradual, Uxor tua
    - Alleluia, with Benedicat vobis or Mittat vobis (see above)
    - Tract, Ecce sic benedicetur
    Responses at the chanting of the Holy Gospel
    Credo (omitted, or at discretion of celebrant)
    Response prior to the Offertory Proper
    Offertory, In te speravi (can add a hymn, antiphon, motet in Latin)
    Responses at the Preface
    Sanctus (chant or polyphony)
    Benedictus (chant or polyphony, after consecration)
    Amen at the end of the Canon
    Response after the Pater Noster
    Responses at the breaking of the Host
    Agnus Dei (chant or polyphony)
    Communion, Ecce sic benedicetur plus motet in Latin if desired
    Responses at the post-Communion Collect
    Responses at dismissal
    Recessional (hymn in Latin or vernacular)
    Thanked by 1puretonesoprano
  • Great question!

    The two EF weddings for which I have had the honor of singing were both sung Masses — the first a technically Low Mass (but we sang the ordinary), the second a Solemn High (about which the bride and groom wrote in Opinion Journal (both pre-motu proprio).

    For the second Mass, the ordinary was a polyphonic setting (I don't recall by whom), and the Gregorian propers were chanted. An extra verse of the offertory from the Offertoriale Triplex was chanted in addition to a motet. Unfortunately, I don't recall the motet either.

    I will be singing for another EF wedding this January (yay!). I have suggested to the bride and groom Palestrina's setting of Surge amica mea (5 voices, SATTB). As far as the settings from the Song of Songs go, this text is pretty tame. :)
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Any recommendations for polyphonic settings of the propers?
  • On CPDL I only found a setting of the Offertory: Palestrina's SATTB setting of In te speravi.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Here are the texts of the Propers:

    IN. Deus Israel (Tobias 7:15; 8:19)

    Deus Israel conjungat vos: et ipse sit vobiscum, qui misertus est duobus unicis: et nunc, Domine, fac eos plenius benedicere te. (Ps. 127. 1) Beati omnes qui timent Dominum: qui ambulant in viis ejus.

    May the God of Israel join you together: and may He be with you, who was merciful to two only children: and now, O Lord, make them bless Thee more fully. (Ps. 127. 1). Blessed are all they that fear the Lord, that walk in His ways.

    GR. Uxor tua (Ps. 127:3)

    Uxor tua sicut vitis abundans in lateribus domus tuae. V. Filii tui sicut novellae olivarum in circuitu mensae tuae. Alleluia, alleluia.

    Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine on the sides of thy house. V. Thy children as olive plants round about thy table. Alleluia, alleluia.

    TR. Ecce sic benedicetur Psalm 127:4-6

    Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo, qui timet Dominum. V. Benedicat tibi Dominus ex Sion: et videas bona Jerusalem omnibus diebus vitae tuae. V. Et videas filios filiorum tuorum: pax super Israel.

    Behold thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. V. May the Lord bless you out of Sion; and mayest thou see that good things of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. V. And mayest thou see thy children's children: peace upon Israel.

    AL. Mittat vobis, Benedicat vobis (Ps. 19. 3, Ps. 133. 3).

    Alleluia, alleluia. V. Mittat vobis Dominus auxilium de sancto: et de Sion tueatur vos. Alleluia. V. Benedicat vobis Dominus ex Sion: qui fecit coelum et terram. Alleluia.

    Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 19. 3) May the Lord send you help from the sanctuary, and defend you out of Sion. Alleluia. V. (Ps. 133. 3). May the Lord out of Sion bless you: who hath made heaven and earth. Alleluia.

    OF. In te speravi (Ps. 30:15-16)

    In te speravi, Domine: dixi: Tu es Deus meus: in manibus tuis tempora mea.

    In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped: I said, Thou art my God; my times are in Thy hands.

    CO. Ecce sic benedicetur (Ps. 127:4, 6)

    Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo, qui timet Dominum: et videas filios filiorum tuorum: pax super Israel.

    Behold, thus shall every man be blessed that feareth the Lord; and mayest thou see thy children's children; peace upon Israel.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    I am really surprised not to find any obvious settings of Uxor tua. What a wonderful text! You can easily imagine all the word-painting possibilities.
  • marek
    Posts: 17
    According to "The Motet Database Catalogue Online" there should be setting of "Uxor tua" (1569) by Wolfgang Runtzelius
    somewhere in Manuscript...
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Marek, it's great to see you posting here. I'm going to be in Budapest, Piliscaba, and Esztergom next October. The music on your website sounds great. Let us know if you sing any weddings!

    Aris, I'm not surprised that Palestrina did something. After all, his settings for the Song of Songs are pretty darn nice.
  • I've sung at several TLM Nuptial Masses, with the chant propers, and either chant or polyphonic ordinaries. Organists, as you suggest, and sometimes soloists, instrumentalists, or choirs sing or play additional music as preludes and postludes, or as extra offertory and communion music. Often enough, a Marian piece during a presentation of flowers at Our Lady's shrine after Communion. Sometimes, the Mass has included the Gloria, and even occasionally the Credo. These may not be strictly rubrical, depending on the season, but are sometimes requested. This has normally been cleared with the priest.
  • marek
    Posts: 17
    Pes, if you would like to visit Kosice (Slovakia) too, just let me know... We do sing occasionally also weddings, but we don't have special pieces for it.
  • A clarification about the propers for chants between the readings, which vary somewhat by season:
    For most of the year, there's the Gradual Uxor tua and the Alleluia with verse Mittat vobis Dominus.
    During Septuagesima and Lent, the Gradual Uxor tua is followed by the Tract Ecce sic benedicetur.
    During Paschal Time, there are two Alleluias with verses, Mittat vobis and Benedicat vobis.
  • I had a Gloria sung for my wedding in the EF. At first we thought it wasn't done, but then the priest checked the 1962 rubrics and said that it was an option (evidently a change from pre-1962). He as been saying the EF mass since 1989 and has always tried to be careful to celebrate correctly according to 1962.

    There is a lovely setting of the "Ecce sic benedictur" by Morales (I had it done for my wedding). You can find it in the "Chester Book of Motets" vol 14. It's the second part of his motet "Beati omnes qui timent Dominum" but stands by iteslf well. I am not sure if the text is identical to either the Offertory or the Communion (we had it sung as a postlude).
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    I've updated the original entry. Personally, I'm leaning toward a chanted ordinary, propers sung in fauxbourdon (Lasso and Viadana's formulas), and perhaps a short motet or two if our schola can manage them. An Ave Maria seems appropriate after Mass, or a seasonal Marian antiphon.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Does anyone know where I might find recordings of the Gradual, Tract, Alleluia, and 2nd Alleluia?
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    gregp, there's a rather wooden recording called "Latin High Mass for Nostalgic Catholics." It has all the propers, being a live recording of an EF nuptial Mass. Available on iTunes, amazon, etc. I would cheer the arrival of more options.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Yes, I saw that. Unfortunately, the "Gradual" track on the recording has the Gradual sung to a Psalm tone, followed by the Alleluia verse. I might break down and record them myself, which would be almost more than my poor schola could bear.
  • gregp: Go to and email Matthew J Curtis. He can do it all, and has most of what you're asking for already recorded.

    Make sure to donate generously! He does excellent work.
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Hi, I'm doing a mix of polyphony and chant for an EF Nuptial Mass (like Aristotle's, Low Mass with chant schola, but only because the priest is 80 and doing this for the first time in 40 years).

    Is there a traditional Chant Mass that is used for the Missa pro sponso et sponsa?

    We are doing the Missa Aeterna Christi Munera by Palestrina with just 4 guys!
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    gregp asked:

    Does anyone know where I might find recordings of the Gradual, Tract, Alleluia, and 2nd Alleluia?

    In the process of preparing for the upcoming wedding of one of our schola members, I've figured out that the Gradual Uxor tua and the Alleluia Mittat Vobis are based on fairly common type melodies. So although there don't appear to be many widely available recordings of these nuptial propers, it's worth checking out these recordings of practically identical melodies:

    - Alleluia Dominus Regnavit, on the Solesmes record Sundays In Ordinary Time (1-3), dir. Yves-Marie Lelièvre, 2005

    - Gradual Domine, refugium, on Blessed is the Ordinary by Stepping Stone Chant Project, dir. Michael Olbash (a member of this forum, no?) 2008

    Both are available on iTunes.

    It's also useful to be able to check the Triplex version of the sound-alike chants; the Triplex doesn't provide any neumes for Uxor tua, and only part of the Laon for Mittat Vobis.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    "Adrian Fortescue says the Gloria and Credo are omitted, but there may have been changes to the rubrics after 1962 that allow the priest to include or exclude them."

    As I understand it, there is no doubt about this and no option.

    When the Nuptial Votive Mass is said, the Gloria is sung and the Credo is not (Votive Mass of the 2nd Class).

    The current edition of Fortescue, O'Connell, Reid says ""The Nuptial Mass is the votive Mass Pro sponsis in the missal. It is a votive Mass of the second class and so it is celebrated with Gloria, no Credo, one commemoration at most, no oratio imperata, the seasonal or common preface. If the Mass is sung the solemn tone is used for the prayers, preface, and Pater noster." (pg. 444, 15th ed.)

    The situation may be different if the votive Mass is not said.

    Perhaps you can post the rubric from the Collectio and the year of the book you're looking at?
  • The last Liber usualis was from 1961 and states that the Gloria is omitted. From what I am told, it was made an option in 1962, but this could be wrong. In any case we sang the Gloria from Mass VIII.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 831
    Ask the priest about the Gloria.

    No Creed unless the underlying Day (Sunday / Feast) requires it. I don't think EF Wedding Masses were typically celebrated on Sundays though.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    > Any recommendations for polyphonic settings of the propers?

    I've just found two more pieces freely available online:

    There is a polyphonic setting of the introit here, in IMSLP, by Vincent d'Indy, for SATB. Actually it's a motet with two parts, the first of which is the Introit, and is clearly based upon the pre-1908 version of the Introit found e.g. in the 1903 Liber Usualis, p. 1069. It would require the verse and the Gloria Patri in Gregorian chant, as given in the LU.

    The second is a polyphonic setting of the Tract, in p. 9 of Cantiones Sacrae of Hans Leo Hassler, also in IMSLP. Actually it's a setting of the whole psalm Beati omnes, divided into two parts, the second corresponding exactly to the Tract, but I'm unsure whether it's fit for the EF or not, since it follows a slightly different Latin version and thus misses one word (omnis) and declinates another differently (pax>pacem). (Can someone point out if this really rules out the piece? In any case it obviously serves for the OF where requirements on wording are not so strict.)
  • Hello,

    I am marrying in a nuptial ceremony in the ordinary form. We intend to have the sung sections (Kyrie, Gloria, motets etc) in Latin. I would be keen to hear recommendations for appropriate settings (choir of approximately 3-6 people, organ, possible trumpet). I am thinking settings by Byrd, Palestrina, Victoria etc, but other ideas would be good...

    Any advice would be very much appreciated!
  • Please notice that in the OF Nuptial Mass the Kyrie eleison is ommitted. According to the 2002 Missale Romanum the Gloria is said or sung (in the former edition it was not).
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067

    This was news to me! Thanks for letting us know. I don't know how I missed that!
  • Choralmusic,
    Presumably you've read this:
    As for the Ordinary, I think that's more a matter of what your performers can hack, though I'd be more inclined to Lydian or Mixolydian than to Phrygian. I once filled in for Fred on a big EF wedding where's the guy's fantasy was to be married to the Missa Papae Marcelli, and he was willing to pay for 12 singers, so we did it. We had to scare up 4 high tenors in the middle of summer (I'm inclined to take it down a 4th, but the rest of the rep made that impractical) and we had 1 rehearsal before the day (and a crapload of other music!), but it came off reasonably well.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    the guy's fantasy was to be married to the Missa Papae Marcelli

    this made me giggle
  • No, Miss Pope Marcellus wasn't the bride...
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I know, I know... but what a honeymoon that would make! Those luscious lines, those sensuous melodic curves...!

    I should stop.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I have to say, I can't blame him though-
    I was listening to that Missa the other day and it is definitely worth (musically) fantasizing over.
  • The Ideal Wedding

    There should be pages on the site for music suggestions for this and more.


    OF Ordinary TIme Mass

    EF Ordinary Time Mass
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    Is the Kyrie omitted? Both the Missal and the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium merely state, "Omittitur actus paenitentialis" and the IGMR seems to consider the Penitential Act and the Kyrie as two separate elements (except when the third option is used).

    Other similar situations seem to vary. I don't have the Latin original, but the new translation of the extended vigil of Pentecost says:

    "After the Psalmody, omitting the Penitential Act, and if appropriate, the Kyrie, (Lord,
    have mercy), the Priest says the prayer 'Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the splendor',
    as at the Vigil Mass."

    So, is this Nuptial Mass a similar situation where the Penitential Act is omitted, but the Kyrie is not? It's rather vague. Does anyone know for certain?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 831
    ClemensRomanus, I think you're referring to the OF. The Kyrie is always sung at Sung EF Nuptial Masses.
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    Yes, I'm sorry I didn't specify. I did mean the OF. Is the Kyrie sung?
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    As far as I can see, yes, it should be ommitted. And this even though the Kyrie and the Penitential Act are two different things.

    Actually the Roman Ritual (numbers 52-54 on Matrimony) says that after the Priest makes the sign of the cross, greets the people and says some nice things to all those attending, the Collect immediately follows. But the 2002 Roman Missal says that the Penitential Act is ommitted and the Gloria is sung. The Missal is more recent and should take precedence. So, combining what these two liturgical books prescribe, I believe that, after the nice words addressed to the congregation, the Gloria should follow, and then the Collect.

    If someone has some good reasons why I should be wrong, I'll gladly stand corrected.

    And lest someone distracted be led into error: this applies to the Ordinary Form only.
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    Hmm. Well, that seems to make sense, too. Still, I wish it were a bit more definitive and less vague.
  • Would you know, is it possible to get married on Dec. 28 in the Mass of Blessed John XXIII? One of the rubrics says no and another doesn't say anything. I thought that perhaps you would know...
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    In 2012 and according to the 1962 rubrics, this seems to be possible. Dec. 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The votive Mass pro Sponsis is 2nd class, so it can be celebrated on that Feast Day, which is a 2nd class Feast. There would be a commemoration even at a Sung or Solemn Mass, per Jeffrey Collins, The Roman Catholic Ceremonial. "One commemoration is allowed, but in a Sung or Solemn Mass, this must be privileged. (The only commemorations that qualify are the days within the Christmas octave... )"

    This would not have been possible at certain earlier times, for instance, in 1911, when the Catholic Encyclopedia was written, the "closed period" extended from "Advent Sunday till after the octave of the Epiphany and from Ash Wednesday till after Low Sunday."
  • We have done a number of Tridentine weddings. Re: "Uxor tua," Vincenzo Ruffo wrote one, and it is in the series of Renaissance motets by Garland Publishing, although the editor messed up the Latin in the title!!

    The nuptial propers (except for the Offertory, which is borrowed from the 13th Sunday after Pentecost) are mostly from the Book of Tobit or the psalm Beati omnes, and there are 12 settings of the latter that I know about, including one I "boiled down" to alto, baritone, organ. You can use the appropriate parts for the right places in the mass.

    As far as I know, the nuptial mass is a votive mass, and that's why there isn't a Gloria, although we have had priests who have allowed it anyway.

    It's a little harder to find motets from Tobit, but they are out there. Look in the Breviary for the texts and then search for them in a music library - that's what I did. Philip de Monte wrote a lovely "Dixit Tobias" that was used at a recent Latin wedding in Oberlin. We have several of them but I am at work right now and don't have access to them.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    As far as I know, the nuptial mass is a votive mass, and that's why there isn't a Gloria, although we have had priests who have allowed it anyway.

    It is correct that it is a votive Mass, but it is a votive Mass of the 2nd class, which, according to the 1962 rubrics has a Gloria.

    From the 1962 rubrics (omitting the cross references):
    "342. Votive Masses II class, as provided for by general rubrics, are:
    "(l) the Nuptial Mass and the Mass of Thanksgiving on the 25th and 50th anniversary of a wedding.
    "343. The privileges of votive Masses II class are as follows:
    "(a) the Gloria is said, unless violet vestments are worn; but the Creed is not said, unless it is to be said by reason of a Sunday or a current octave; ..."
  • aphill
    Posts: 5
    I am singing in the choir for a sung EF nuptial Mass at the end of this month. We are planning to sing two motet settings of the O Sacrum Convivium. Since the wedding will not be in paschal time (or on Corpus Christi, when it was designed to be used), should we omit the Alleluia that comes at the end? I seem to recall hearing somewhere that Alleluias in the time after Pentecost should only be used in their liturgical place and not in motets. Is this correct?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 831
    No, it's neither law nor common thinking. Alleluia can be used with abandon in all votive music from the triple Easter Vigil Alleluia until it is "farewelled" at the Benedicamus Domino concluding Vespers on the Saturday before Septuagesima.
  • Bud_Clark
    Posts: 6
    Part of "Bud Clark's Collection" (aka "Codex Budensis") is now housed at, though it's not complete. I'll try to get out a revised complete catalogue soon. Among other things, I have the rights to all of Fr. Rossini's MOTET books, which are scanned and mailable as PDFs. They are considerably better than his MASSES ... Offertories for unison, two equal, three mixed, SATB, motets, hymns, etc. A musicology graduate student who came to Old St. Mary's in Cincinnati to hear us do the Chant once mistook a Fr. Rossini "O Salutaris" for Bruckner (!). I also have most of the Office Hymns set to Gregorian, with fauxbourdons of various composers, in Latin and in English. If you need something, e-mail me. If I don't have it, or can't write it, I can point you to someone who might be able to help.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    I sent you a PM, but I just want to reiterate here that I would be very interested in some of those Rossini books.
  • Pes,

    Check your e-mail.

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Welcome to the forum, Bud! And hats off to you for your work sharing sacred music on the net through mailing-list groups and other on-line forums.