Help with choosing wedding music

I am currently in the process of joining the Church. My fiancee is a cradle catholic but has never been to a full wedding mass. We are meeting with our church organist next week to discuss the music for our June wedding and I know he will have some suggestions for us also but wanted to try and already have some idea of what we would want to use. Since neither one of us have any experience with this I hoped the members here would be able to offer some suggestions. Our wedding will be a full mass.

There is a time in Mass that you guys will take a rose to the Blessed Mother. Last year when my daughter got married Father sang Ava Maria. It was the most beautiful part of any wedding I have ever seen in my life. Please consider to include it. It was just awesome.

As a start may I suggest you read this article:
adoremus.org/1105WeddingsSongs.html

These are the notes at the beginning of the Marriage Rite for Canada:

  1. At the appointed time, the priest, vested for Mass, goes with the ministers to the door of the church, or, if more suitable, to the altar. There he greets the bride and bridegroom in a friendly manner, showing that the Church shares their joy.

  2. If there is a procession to the altar, the ministers go first, followed by the priest, and then the bride and bridegroom. According to local custom, they may be escorted by at least their parents and the two witnesses. Meanwhile the entrance song is sung.

In some parishes this is the only thing allowed. Even 34 years ago, when I got married, we did a variation of that. I entered on my dad's arm and DH entered with his brother. Two years later my brother and his wife processed together and the parents and witnesses processed with them.

First of all, congratulations on both counts.

First of all, are you going to have a full wedding Mass? This plays a crucial factor with regards to music for the wedding. Perhaps the most impportant thing is to have the parts of the Mass sung (Responsorial Psalm, Gospel Acclamation-Alleluia, the Sanctus-Holy, Holy, Holy, the Memorial Acclamation and the Great Amen). The next degree of music would involve the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the Communion hymn.

I planned my cousin’s wedding Mass about a month ago. I suggested to her that the Wedding March is not necessarily the ideal entrance processional to use. It is secular and there are negative connotations to it. She processed in with Jesu, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. The psalm and the other parts of the Mass were sung. For the offertory, I chose a hymn and placed it in the wedding program. The Communion hymn was Panis Angelicus and the Ave Maria was sung for the presentation of flowers to the Blessed Mother. The recessional was Sing with All the Saints in Glory (instrumental).

Even if you are not going to have a wedding Mass, the same rule of thumb should apply for the entrance, the responsorial psalm and the Gospel Acclamation.

I hope this helps.

It should be noted that that is not written anywhere in the ritual so the usual literature will probably not mention it.

Although It’s a lovely, pious practice and traditional in some places, it’s unheard of in others. I’ve never actually seen it done at any wedding that I’ve attended and it certainly was never mentioned as a possibility when I got married.

i was married in a protestant church, so am not as knowledgable.. but we searched for hymns that went with the readings..
one of our readings was "The house that is built on sand" so we decided the hymn should be "On Christ this solid rock we stand"

This is an optional part of the wedding mass. (Also, the unity candle thing is not part of the Mass. They will let you include it, but it’s not traditional. We skipped it.)

I believe they have recommended songs in the pamphlet you should receive from your priest when you start planning the Mass with him. Our priest allowed us to include a secular “Serenade” right after the vows. Much of our wedding party were musically talented and sang “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:7, topic:179198"]
This is an optional part of the wedding mass. (Also, the unity candle thing is not part of the Mass. They will let you include it, but it's not traditional. We skipped it.)

The unity candle is not allowed in many parishes. Best not to plan on this non-Catholic thing.

I believe they have recommended songs in the pamphlet you should receive from your priest when you start planning the Mass with him. Our priest allowed us to include a secular "Serenade" right after the vows. Much of our wedding party were musically talented and sang "I Will Be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Again that depends on the priest. Don't plan on secular music and you won't be disappointed.

[/quote]

:smiley:

Really? I never knew that. I know that when I was married 28 years ago we did it also.:shrug:

But anyway it would be worth mentioning. It was absolutely Beautiful. It actually brought tears to everyone, it was that beautiful. I knew, I just knew when they walked up to her that she also was praying for their marriage. It MADE the wedding. I couldn’t imagine not including her in the wedding. Wish you all could have been there:D

Never knew that about the Unity Candle either. Again I had it and so did my daughter.:shrug:

[quote="rinnie, post:10, topic:179198"]
Never knew that about the Unity Candle either. Again I had it and so did my daughter.:shrug:

[/quote]

A few years ago, some dioceses really "cracked down" on the usage of the Unity Candle. I was married in 2003 and it was still permitted then. About a year or so after, our diocese basically said, "No way," to the unity candle. So, most of the parishes in my diocese no longer do it. Once in a while I will come across a parish where I'm hired as a cantor for a wedding and the priest will allow it. I have found that more parishes in the neighboring diocese allow it more often than not, but I usually advise my Catholic bridal clients that it really isn't part of the liturgy and not even an optional part of the liturgy.

In regards to the presentation of the Blessed Mother, most of the parishes I've sung weddings for will usually have in their paperwork that the Presentation is optional. I've only come across maybe one or two parishes where the pastor does not allow it at all, but that is really rare.

[quote="mswood, post:1, topic:179198"]
I am currently in the process of joining the Church. My fiancee is a cradle catholic but has never been to a full wedding mass. We are meeting with our church organist next week to discuss the music for our June wedding and I know he will have some suggestions for us also but wanted to try and already have some idea of what we would want to use. Since neither one of us have any experience with this I hoped the members here would be able to offer some suggestions. Our wedding will be a full mass.

[/quote]

Congratulations on your engagement!!!! I often do Catholic weddings in the tri-state area where I live, so here is my advice:

First - Every parish will have their requirements of what is permitted for a wedding mass or ceremony, so it is important to find that out first from the church organist. He will definitely be the first one to go to for the appropriate information.

Second - Church musicians come with various strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to be aware that some church musicians may be only comfortable playing/singing what is in their repertoire for wedding masses and may not want to learn new rep. So, I'd suggest seeing what your organist has to suggest first. Since he is an organist, he may be more comfortable playing more traditional repertoire rather than contemporary repertoire or it could be the opposite. But you can always check to see if he/she is comfortable doing both. I worked with a music director who played the organ well with the traditional rep and also did more pop-like, contemporary music and she did that well too, albeit it wasn't what the couple wanted, apparently, which I found out later. She kind of pushed for it and they just didn't feel like getting into a fight with her so they let her have her way. Kind of funny hearing both sides. She complained about how they wanted all this "old-fashioned" music and they complained that she just kept pushing until they gave in to quiet her since they didn't want to have to pay a bench fee and hire a different organist.

Third - In regards to music, just make sure the music is sacred/religious or absolute music - such as instrumental organ music which do not come from any secular show like an opera, ballet, musical, secular oratorio, etc.

  1. You will usually have music for the processional. Some parishes only permit one processional for both the bride and bridesmaids - not two, which is often done at least in most of the parishes I've worked in for weddings. Some parishes will also require a hymn to sung after the processional or even a hymn for the actual processional. (All this can be asked during your meeting with the organist.)

  2. The psalm can be read, but it should be sung. Most parishes will have musical settings for the most typical psalms used at weddings.

  3. Gospel Acclamation should be sung

  4. Offertory would have music. Some have chosen just an instrumental, but a hymn or another sacred vocal piece could be appropriate.

  5. The Sanctus, Memorial Acclamations, Lamb of God should also be sung. Usually the church will have the settings they are most comfortable playing. I know in my diocese they are trying to get rid of "Mass of Creation" in the parishes, so more parishes are moving towards the "Heritage Mass" or "Community Mass" for weddings.

  6. Communion will also have music. Depending on how large the congregation is and will be receiving communion, you may need two communion hymns or other appropriate sacred work that goes well for communion. We needed two when we were married.

  7. The Optional presentation to the Blessed Mother. Most brides choose the Schubert "Ave Maria", but some have chosen other settings of the "Ave Maria" such as the Bach/Gounod setting. We chose Faure's setting which is simple, reverent and prayerful. Elgar also has a lovely setting. One bride chose a pretty "Hail Queen of Heaven" by Hemy which can be found in the St. Gregory Hymnal. It was simple and pretty. Any other Marian hymn would also be appropriate.

  8. Recessional - Usually organ instrumental, but you can easily do a hymn as well. I've been asked to do either "Ode to Joy" or "Love Divine, All Love's Excelling" if they wanted a hymn to be sung by their guests.

Most don't choose hymns, because unfortunately, most of the time, guests won't sing at weddings - even the ones who go to mass regularly. It's a strange thing. It all depends on the guests, though. I recently did a wedding where most of the guests either chanted all of the Latin mass parts or sang whatever the couple chose in English like the psalm. It was very nice to have that happen, especially, when you are cantoring.

You know, there is a marvelous duet in the Magic Flute by Mozart: Bei Mannern welche Liebe fuhlen. I always thought it perfect for weddings.

Also a duet from Wachtet Auf! cantata by Bach: Mein freund ist mein und ich bin dein…

Entry music can be Purcel’s Trumpet Voluntary or Pachabel Canon.

Of course, everyone does Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria.

[quote="Usbek_de_Perse, post:13, topic:179198"]
You know, there is a marvelous duet in the Magic Flute by Mozart: Bei Mannern welche Liebe fuhlen. I always thought it perfect for weddings.

[/quote]

I absolutely LOVE the music from "The Magic Flute" and it is a hoot to perform, but because it is a singspiel and not sacred music, for a Catholic wedding mass, it wouldn't be appropriate.

I don't know the name of the song, but I do know it is the song played when Princess Diana walked. I remember Sister Helen at the time picking it for me. It was beautiful. I noticed its played at alot of weddings now.

It is the Trumpet Voluntary usually attributed by Jeremiah Clarke and sometimes attributed to Henry Purcell, but most know it by Clarke.

Thank you to everyone who responded.

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