Music for Weddings
An Episcopal Church wedding is a sacred rite invoking the blessing of God on a marriage. The dignity of the sanctuary and the religious significance of the service should be reflected in the music used. The music and texts, selected with the underlying thought of glorifying God, should be suitable for a church service, s distinguished from a social gathering.
Pre-service music is generally left up to the organist – it is usually classical but light-hearted and jubilant. This is also an appropriate time for a vocal or instrumental solo.
The following list suggests music that is appropriate for wedding processionals in the Episcopal church.
|Trumpet Tune in C||Johnson|
|Various Trumpet Tunes||Telemann|
|Westminster Abbey (Christ is made the sure foundation)||Purcell|
|Solemn Processional (from Water Music)||Handel|
|Hymn to Joy||Beethoven|
|Hornpipe (from Water Music)||Handel|
The following are considered inappropriate for church wedding processionals in the Episcopal Church:
|Bridal Chorus from "Lohengrin ("Here Comes the Bride")||R. Wagner|
|Wedding March (Midsummer Nights Dream)||Mendelssohn|
This is because the entrance procession is a liturgical action that includes the bride, groom, the rest of the wedding party, ad liturgical ministers. Therefore, “Here Comes the Bride”, by its very title limits the full meaning of the procession. The over-used marches of Wagner and Mendelssohn in their original context promote a view that is inconsistent with the Christian understanding of marriage and have become commercialized and trivialized. It is respectfully suggested that “Here Comes the Bride” be more appropriately used at the wedding reception.
Although the most-often chosen alternatives are Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” and Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune”, other appropriate selections are possible. You will find the organist most willing to give you help in your choice.
Solos are optional and must be approved by the Organist and Rector. Show tunes and love songs are not appropriate at a wedding in the Episcopal church. The singer should be competent and well-prepared. If any rehearsal time apart from the performance on the wedding day is required, such a rehearsal is to be coordinated with the organist. An additional organist’s fee of $50 is required unless the rehearsal takes place the day of the wedding.
The Book of Common Prayer provides for hymns to be sung by the congregation during the marriage ceremony. If a reasonable number of wedding guests are churchgoers and familiar with the hymnal, congregational singing can be an effective means of celebration this important event and is to be encouraged. Some appropriate hymns are:
|Joyful, joyful we adore Thee||376|
|Love divine, all loves excelling||657|
|Praise to the Lord, the Almighty||390|
|From all that dwell below the skies||380|
|Now thank we all our God||397|
If you have a friend or relative who has offered to play for your wedding, please be aware that the organist-choirmaster’s contract requires that they receive their usual fee as a professional courtesy, whether or not they play. The organ is a complex, fragile instrument which should only be played competent, professional musicians familiar with its operation – it’s not just a big piano!