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Catholic Weddings

Which songs did you choose for your ceremony?

Hi everyone! My fiance and I are planning our ceremony and picking out music. I'm curious what others chose for their ceremonies, especially the processional.

Re: Which songs did you choose for your ceremony?

  • Seating of the parents: "Air" from the D Major Suite, Bach
    Bridesmaids: "Largo" from The Four Seasons, Vivaldi
    Bride: "Alla Hornpipe" from Water Music, Handel
    Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34 (I Will Bless the Lord at all Times)
    Recessional: "Tuba Tune in D Major," Lang (which actually sounds really, really good on the organ)

    If your church has a list of songs (or better, a CD), it really helped me to listen to the suggested pieces.  I looked up a lot of the songs on Youtube so I could hear what they'd sound like on the organ.
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  • Processional: Canon in D
    Bridal Processional: Morning Has Broken
    Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118 "This is the day the Lord has made."
    Presentation of the Gifts: Be Thou My Vision
    Communion: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
    Recessional: For the Beauty of the Earth

    All our music is on the piano except the psalm, which will be guitar, and the recessional, which will be on the organ.
  • Thanks ladies! This has given us some good ideas.

    Does anyone know if the offertory song needs to be sung or not? I've been Googling it but I can't seem to find the answer. We'd love to have our cantor do a solo at that time, but I'm not sure if it's allowed. 
  • Oh, our soloist sang "O God Beyond All Praising" during communion, so I think it's fine.
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  • From the GIRM

    74. The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory Chant (cf. no. 37 b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance Chant (cf. no. 48). Singing may always accompany the rite at the Offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts.


    "solos" are not really encouraged at any point of a mass. However, in my experience, the offertory is often a place that I've seen that done, even though the people aren't really "doing" anything else (like walking up to communion) and it's ideal for it to be congregational singing. 

  • Great, we will probably have the cantor sing during the offertory then. Thanks everyone!

  • IrishPirate60IrishPirate60 Clare Island member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    Take a good listen at the weekend liturgies in your parish. Those are the kinds of songs that should be used for your wedding. Focus on "we and Jesus" vs "me and Jesus" music, songs that draw the congregation together rather than making them a passive audience (which is what generally happens when someone breaks into "Ave Maria").

    Don't forget to pay attention to other things that are usually sung at a Sunday Mass: the psalm, the gospel acclamation, the introduction to the Eucharistic prayer, the "holy, holy," the memorial acclamation, the Great Amen. Does your parish usually sing the Lord's Prayer? the "Lamb of God"? Those can and should be sung at your wedding.

    And I'll put in my plug for getting married at one of the weekend liturgies. You don't have to pick out the readings or the music!
    [Deleted User]
  • Thanks for the input. Not to be a downer, but I have to say that I think that unless everyone coming to your wedding is Catholic, picking songs with the idea that they will "draw the congregation together" is kind of unrealistic. Given that at least half of our guests aren't religious or Catholic, I can't imagine that they'll join in on songs that they've never heard before in the middle of a liturgy that they've never participated in before. And even if everyone coming is Catholic, many Catholics that go to Mass weekly don't like to sing at Mass or choose not to. 

    I absolutely understand that the reason that we have music in the liturgy is to unite the congregation, but I think that it very rarely works that way in practice, particularly when large portions of the congregation don't know the songs. I guess what I'm trying to say that there's a fine line between honoring the intent of the liturgy and being realistic about how your wedding guests will actually react to it. That's why we'd like to have our cantor sing a "solo" of a song that is meaningful to us (although as agapecarrie pointed out, that's not the correct way to refer to it, but you know what I mean) rather than having singing during the offertory. 
  • I don't completely agree with you -- more than half our guests (and all my family) are not Catholic and many of them later said that our wedding was one of the most "inclusive" and "welcoming" they've ever attended.

    I see what you're saying, but I don't think you should waver on what's right just because you're afraid your guests won't appreciate the liturgy.  Especially if a lot of your guests are of other denominations -- they know how to pick up a hymnal and follow along.

    I will say this -- if you choose to have a song that the whole congregation sings, make sure your WP gets hymnals.  I was in a wedding where we sang a gathering hymn, and the place where they had us seated didn't have any hymnals, and I was really disappointed that I could only stumble through.
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  • I'm glad to hear you say that and I certainly hope that it's the case with our crowd! But we went to the Catholic wedding of two of our friends (pretty much our only friends that are Catholic) last year, and pretty much none of our friends participated in the ceremony, which I thought was relatively accessible. Most of our friends are not religious at all. So I'm just trying to keep in mind that despite our best efforts, it's likely that many of them will prefer to be spectators.
  • IrishPirate60IrishPirate60 Clare Island member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    Keep in mind there's no guarantee, even if all your guests are Catholic, that they will know the same music! Music varies from parish to parish, and even if we were all to use the same hymnbook, there are hundreds of pieces of music in one book.

    If your program includes song titles and the reference number for the hymnal, that's a good start. Service music acclamations can be printed in the program (check with the parish, they usually have a license that will permit you to do this). If a large number of guests are not Catholic, putting STAND and SIT in the program at the appropriate places is a huge help.
  • FI and I are still working on ours, but so far........


    Processional: Trumpet Voluntary - Clark  or  Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

    Mass setting - Misa Santa Fe  (Mary Frances Reza)

    Psalm - I really want to use Taste and See - Ps. 34 (Haugen) but we haven't decided yet.  :)

    Offeratory - Some setting of Ubi Caritas or perhaps For the Beauty of the Earth

    Communion - Take and Eat (Joncas)

    Recessional:  Rondeau (Mouret)





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  • Thanks to all for the suggestions! We decided to try to have a pretty detailed program so that non-Catholic guests can follow along and hopefully join in, if they feel so inclined.

    Our choices:

    Prelude music
    Air from Suite No. 3, Bach
    Sheep May Safely Graze, Bach

    Procession
    Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Bach

    Responsorial Psalm
    Psalm 118, Let Us Rejoice 

    Offertory song
    Amazing Grace

    Communion song
    Ave Maria

    Recessional music
    Hornpipe (Allegro Maestoso) from Water Music
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