Vigils can trace their roots back to Judaism, when the Sabbath is observed from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night.
In the Catholic Church, after the Second Vatican Council, this observance was permitted, especially to those people who could not attend Mass on Sunday morning or on the holy day of obligation.
Vigil Masses have become popular and, in many cases, have replaced Sunday attendance. This, of course, is a misunderstanding of the permission. Often people ask when they attend a Saturday afternoon wedding, if this fulfills their Sunday obligation. The answer is no.
Sunday should always take precedence. One should only attend a vigil when it is impossible to attend Mass on Sunday or the holy day. Weddings that are scheduled on Saturdays do not fit in with the other requirements for Mass to be considered a vigil. First the prayers and readings should reflect the Sunday celebration.
Second, the time of a wedding is way before 4 p.m. which is considered the appropriate time to begin a vigil. At times, when wedding Masses are celebrated on Sunday, this will fulfill one’s Sunday obligation. When planning weekend Mass attendance, Sunday is always the preference.
It is the day of the Lord (dies Domini in Latin), and the Church extended this time simply so that all would have a chance to attend Holy Mass.