Marriage Ceremony and the Wedding March

It is very unlike myself to ask a question on CA. But this one has stumped me. I am hoping for an answer, vs. a bunch of links and doctrine to read. An answer and source to view later would be ok.

I have caught myself watching mindless, and numbing reality shows. This particular show is about 4 engaged women (about to be married) attended and critiqueing (sp) the event from start to finish. At the end the one with the most points gets a honeymoon trip …somewhere.

I happened to watch two episodes back to back. One of the weddings took place in Ft. Lauderdale FL in a Catholic Church. This Church was what some would call “Church in the Round”. It was modern looking and very bright inside. The first thing I noticed was the “Wedding March” played as the bride walked down the aisle. I thought, “Surely, this is a just a fluke.” Then when the ceremony was finished, it played the usual ending of wedding march song “recessional” (sp). In 1981, when I got married, that was a no-no. And I was married in “Church in the Round” what most would call “progressive”. My brother and sis in law, married in the same Church 10 yrs later and still, The Wedding March was a no-no.

So I sat there :confused:puzzled:confused: and watched the rest of the show.

The next show came on and one of the brides was getting married at St. Peter’s in Little Italy NY. Surely, I thought, no “Wedding March” here. Guess, what? Yep, the Wedding March song, and the same for the “recessional” (sp).

Now I’m really confused.:confused: I also noticed “benches” up on the altar where the bride and groom “sat”. I remember a small kneeler and “no” bench. We basically stood up the whole time. Same with my brother and sis-in-law.

Did something change with the wedding music, or did I miss the memo?:shrug:

As far as I know, nothing has actually changed. That’s not to say that people, including priests, won’t break the rules to make the couple happy on “their day”. Who knows, it could have been a Bridezilla issue. I myself have never heard either the Bridal Chorus (that’s the “Here comes the bride, etc”) or the Wedding March (that’s the “DUH! DUH! DUHDUHDUHDUHDUH DOO DOODLE-DEE-DOO DOODOO DOOO)” at a Catholic wedding, but given the amount of liturgical abuses that go on in some parishes, I would not be surprised that some throw out the rule book on this sort of thing.

Personally, I would never want either at my wedding because they’re so cliche, and really, who would want to walk down the aisle to a song that’s best known for it’s made up words, “Here comes the Bride. All fat and wide. Slipped on a banana peel and went for a ride.”

I remember watching that show once where one of the brides was being married in the Greek Orthodox Church in the traditional Greek Marriage Rite. I thought it was the most beautiful wedding out of the four, but the other brides just complained that the church was too hot, it was in Greek and they had to follow along with a book, it was too long, and the music was weird, etc. :rolleyes: Typical self-centred guests.

I’ve watched that show, and I’ve noticed they sometimes “dub” in the music during the ceremonies and receptions because of copyright laws. I wouldn’t necessarily draw the conclusion that the Wedding March is now allowed for wedding ceremonies, my understanding it is still forbidden. The show though does dub over music and even people’s lines during the show for dramatic effect.

I think if you did a survey of all parishes in Canada and the US you would find that a majority allow Wagner’s Bridal Chorus Processional and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March Recessional.

While they are secular pieces that really have no place in a Catholic ceremony, I’d be willing to bet that 95% of brides couldn’t tell you what those pieces are any more than they could fly to the moon. They’ve heard them, they know they’re “for weddings” but beyond that they know nothing about them. If you were to say “Lohengrin” to them they’d look at you puzzled because they wouldn’t know what you’re talking about.

I am inclined to agree with this. I haven’t watched the show in a long time because we don’t have cable anymore, but from what I remember there are a lot of misrepresentations. I remember thinking the whole concept of the show was appalling, but I couldn’t help but tune in. There are enough brides out there trying to outdo each other’s weddings and not focussing on the beauty of the marriage they are entering without us making it an actual competition with points. Still, I was transfixed and if it were on right now I would watch it!

Thank you all. There were some during the show that were not Catholic and the processional was Pachabel’s Canon in D (which is what I had) and the recessional was another classical piece. (mine was Ode to Joy)

I was disappointed then when I couldn’t have “Here Comes the Bride”, however, now that I look back on it, I was glad to be able to “choose my own” classical music. Not like everyone else’s. My brother and sis in law chose their own as well. It made it unique.

Those shows are mind numbing…for sure and the focus of the Sacrament of Marriage is totally lost. We spent $500.00 on our whole wedding, and the gals on the show didn’t blink an eye about having a 75K wedding. If I had 75K in 1981, we would have bought a nice house.:smiley:

Does anyone know about the “benches”? I recall a kneeler (the Church didn’t have altar rails) I wasn’t any worse for wear standing either.:slight_smile:

I believe I would be upset if the Wedding March was “dubbed” in during my Catholic wedding. Most of the composers of the old classical music have been gone 100’s of years. Not sure how (I guess I don’t know) the copyright would play into that.

At every wedding I have attended in a Catholic Church there has been a place for the bride and groom to sit, as well as kneelers. I don’t think that is a problem at all. I would not like to stand for the whole Wedding Mass.

If you have a Mass there’s a lot of sitting involved and only a little kneeling depending on the diocese.

Different priests do it differently.

Usually you have 4 chairs and prie-Dieux right at the front outside the sanctuary for the bride and groom and the witnesses but it depends on the priest. Some have the bride and groom and witnesses in the sanctuary.

The priest Administrator for our parish lines up the chairs in front of the altar and has the bride, groom and attendants facing the congregation with their backs to the altar and tabernacle. :eek: Makes it better for pictures don’tcha know. Because we all know that the pictures are the most important things during Mass, right? Music? If the bride picked “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” he’d see no problem with it.

Copyrights can extend to the people performing the music, not just the composer, and to the companies that publish the sheet music, etc, etc. If the show didn’t get permission from the organist or the musicians performing the music at the wedding, the show wouldn’t be able to use that music and would have had to “dub” in other music such as the Wedding March.

YOU may have been upset if the March was “dubbed” in during your Catholic wedding, but let’s think about the mind set of these people on these shows. They have no problem being filmed and participating in a competition where people rate how the Catholic wedding ceremony stacks up to 3 other weddings. I find the show interesting from time to time, but on my wedding day the last thing I would have wanted to think about is how my wedding and reception is being scored by three guests that were complete strangers to me a few days before I walked down the aisle.

oops…what did the first memo say?? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve seen that show a couple of times, and I agree with others who mentioned that the music sounded dubbed in.

As a church musician and one who freelances all over the place, mostly on the east coast, how “strict” a parish is in regards to the music really does depend on the parish and the diocese. For instance, in one of the dioceses I frequently cantor, many of the parishes do not permit the Wagner or the Mendelssohn wedding marches. The neighboring diocese in the next state, though, is pretty lax with music and so they allow almost anything.

That said, in all the parishes I’ve cantored for nuptial masses or ceremonies, the majority of wedding processionals have been Pachelbel;s “Canon in D”, Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary”. The next pieces I then often hear would be Handel’s “Water Music” or “Rejouissance”, Charpentier’s “Te Deum” and the Beethoven “Joyful, Joyful.” There have been some who did want the “traditional” wedding marches, but they aren’t many. The interesting thing I have found with many of the brides or couples I work with, they don’t want the Wagner and Mendelssohn even if they are allowed, because they simply don’t like them. The reality shows, tv shows, movies etc. have made them sound cliched and cheesy to them.

Why is Mendelssohn’s Wedding March supposedly “banned” in Catholic churches? In my (Catholic) wedding the church musician who very capably played the Wedding March for us never mentioned any such thing – while she did say it was kind of old-fashioned and cliche, my wife insisted, as in her country she’d never been to a wedding without it. It certainly isn’t forbidden by church authorities there.

Because it’s from the very secular “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Mine was the processional music from “The Sound of Music”, don’t know if there is an official composer to the piece or not. Our recessional was bagpipes.

I want the Imperial March.

But I’ll probably just bribe the organist to sing “Oooh! What am I doing here?” (a Polish hit) instead.

Seriously, though, I’d probably stick with something more religious. Supposing I had a say in the matter.

This would be one of the last threads I ever thought I’d see you posting a comment, lol. Thanks for the giggle.

Same with me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Chevalier - You may actually have a say. My husband and I planned our liturgy together. It was the one part of our wedding day in which he wanted to be a part of planning. Forget about getting him involved with the reception planning. haha! And the liturgy is the most important part, too, so I was very happy that he was involved. With his help, I chose for the bride’s processional “O God Beyond All Praising” on organ alone and he chose the recessional Bach’s "Fugue in D Major.

The reason is that it has a secular connotation. The music comes from a ballet based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. If it had been composed as “absolute” music (music having no secular or sacred connotation, such as many organ works) or as a religious work, there wouldn’t be the “controversy” over it.

That is also the reason why the Wagner is not allowed. It is originally from an opera… an opera with a tragic ending at that. As I have mentioned in my previous post, some parishes and dioceses don’t adhere to the rules as much, so you will see some places using the music.

Some church musicians aren’t aware of what is and is not permitted or they don’t know why something isn’t allowed. One organist I worked with regularly was raised Lutheran and in the various Protestant churches he worked in, secular classical works were permitted, so when he had the position at a Catholic church, he did not know that secular classical works were not permitted and so was ok with having the Wagner and Mendelssohn. The pastor was ok with it as long as no secular music was played during the actual liturgy.

The composer would be Richard Rodgers (Rodgers and Hammerstein). Some of the music directors I’ve worked with were mixed in regards to this particular piece - even ones where they were sticklers about not allowing anything secular. While it was composed for a musical (thus secular), it was composed as a church organ processional for what some of them considered a Catholic story.

:rotfl: that’s my soon to be ex-wife’s ring tone.


Why wouldn’t you have a say? It’s just of a big for the guy as it is for the bride.

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