Catholic Wedding Music

Catholic Wedding Songs

Catholic Wedding Songs - Prelude

Ave Maria. Franz Shubert
One Hand, One Heart. L. Bernstein
Laudate Dominum. Mozart
The Gift of Love. Hopson
The Wedding Song. Bob Dylan

Catholic Wedding Songs - Processional

Bridal March. Wagner
Canon in D. Pachabel
Trumpet Voluntary – Clarke
Trumpet Voluntary – Stanley
Allegro Moderato (from Water Music) - Handel

Catholic Wedding Songs - Gathering - With Congregation

Here I Am Lord
Hear Us Now, Our God and Father - Hyfrydol, Roland Prichard

Catholic Wedding Songs - Presentation of Gifts

The Wedding Song - annon.
The Gift of Love - arr. Hopson
The Bridal Prayer -Roger Copeland
All I Ask of You - Weston Priory
I Have Loved You - Joncas
Prayer of St. Francis – Sebastian Temple
Servant Song - McGarill
Set Your Heart on the Higher Gifts - Warner
The Irish Wedding Song - trad.
The Lord is Kind and Merciful - Haugen
Where There Is Love - David Haas
Wherever You Go - Weston Priory
With This Ring - Copeland

Catholic Wedding Songs - Communion

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring – Bach
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Franck or Sacris Solemnis
One Bread, One Body - Foley
Servant Song - McGarill
Here I Am Lord - Schutte
On Eagles Wings - Joncas
Gift of Finest Wheat - Kreutz
Supper of the Lord - Rosania
Taste and See - Moore
I Have Loved You
Laudate Dominum - Mozart

Catholic Wedding Songs - Recessional

Allegro Maestoso (from Water Music) - Handel
City of God - Schutte
Joyful, Joyful We Adore You - Hymn, Beethoven
Ode to Joy - Beethoven
Rondeau - Mouret
Psalm 19 - Benedetto Marcello
Wedding March - Mendlessohn

Catholic wedding music Q & A

What are the best Catholic wedding ceremony songs?

The most important thing to do when planning music for a Catholic wedding ceremony is to consult with your local diocese. They will be able to give you guidelines as to what music is acceptable. Since the Catholic church allows some decisions about music played during Catholic ceremonies. Here are some good questions to ask either the parish where you are going to be married or the diocese, whoever handles decisions of this sort in your local diocese.

Can I use secular music in my Catholic wedding ceremony?

According to Music in Catholic Worship, "Liturgical music should always express the Paschal Mystery theme (MCW #23). Secular songs are not appropriate at any time during the sacramental rites. The function of liturgical music is ministerial; it must serve and never dominate. Music should assist the assembled believers to express and share the gift of faith that is within them and to nourish and strengthen their interior commitment of faith (MCW #82)."
For that reason, most Catholic churches will not allow secular music during the wedding ceremony. Some will accept it as part of the prelude, others will not. Just ask. You can however play whatever you want at the Reception.

Can I use recorded music?

Again, this answer will vary from church to church. According to Liturgical Music Today, "the liturgy is a complexus of signs expressed by living human beings." As such, voices and instruments of the gathered assembly should not be replaced by recorded music. However, some churches will allow recorded music during the prelude and postlude.

Can I use Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" or Mendelsshon's "Wedding March?

These two songs have caused such a debate and are so controversial that it is now up to the local Ordinary (head of the diocese) whether or not they can be used. They were placed on the black list by the Society of Saint Gregory. They originated from the theatre, operatic repertoire and are stories of fantasy, murder, sex, and other pagan elements. They are not considered Liturgical songs. The secular opera they come from portrays marriage in a way that differs from the Church's understanding. The impression created by this piece is that the focus is on the bride alone, not the groom or God. I think a beautiful rendition of “Ave Maria” will be less controversial.

What hymns are recommended?

The Catholic church strong believe that weddings should encourage participation of the guests. Therefore, the majority of music should be sung by all attending, not by a soloist.

Can I include the Unity Candle as part of our ceremony?

This is another item that varies from church to church. Some dioceses believe that this ritual is a "commercial product that is not a part of the Church's rite of marriage" and it "detracts from the flow of the rich symbolism in the marriage rite." Of course, other churches allow it. Traditionally it was never used in Catholic Wedding Ceremonies.

Can I hire my own musician or organist for the ceremony?

Most parishes have contractual arrangements with an organist and/or parish musicians. It is best to consult with the priest before making any arrangements

You can now begin planning the music for the ceremony

There are several segments during a Catholic wedding that you will need to choose music for including:

  • Prelude: The period when guests are being seated before the ceremony begins.
  • Processional: The processional is defined as the period when family members, the bridal party, and the bride enter the church and take their places. This may be split into processional of the bridesmaids and processional of the bride.
  • Gathering with Congregation: An optional segment that occurs after the wedding party is in place. After the entrance procession, couples may choose to sing a gathering song to unite the assembly in prayer.
  • Responsorial Psalm: The Psalm follows the first (Old Testament) reading, and is led by the cantor. The cantor intones the refrain, the assembly repeats it, and the cantor sings the verses. It is important that the text be a psalm; a solo or other sacred song may not be used.
  • Preparation of Gifts: If your ceremony is taking place during Mass, then you may want to select a piece to be sung by the assembly or a soloist when the bread and wine are brought forward and placed on the altar. This may also be when monetary offerings are collected for a local food pantry or charity, which is optional. Bear in mind that without a collection, the time is short, so select a piece that can be ended easily.
  • Offertory: The offertory, also known as the presentation of gifts, is the rite by which the bread and wine are presented (offered) to God before they are consecrated and the prayers that accompany it.
  • Communion Song: The Communion Song begins as the bishop or priest receives communion and continues throughout the communion procession. When the last person in the procession receives communion, the song should begin to wind down.
  • Communion Mediation: After communion there should be an appropriate period of silence, after which the entire assembly may sing a hymn of praise or a psalm. It is appropriate for instrumental music to be played during this moment of silence.
  • Presentation of Gifts to Mary or the Holy Family: In some Catholic ceremonies, the bride places flowers on the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary and offers a prayer. This tradition has expanded to offering a gift to both Mary and Joseph. This is usually done after communion before the final blessing; however, it can also be done before or after the ceremony.
  • Recessional: The recessional is defined as the time when the bride and groom, followed by the bridal party and family members, leave the church after the ceremony.
  • Postlude: The postlude is the time during which the rest of the guests leave the church.

I have listed some of the most loved songs for each of these sections below. We have not included any secular songs in our list because they are not usually allowed at Catholic ceremonies.

Very soon I hope to have the links to itunes live & active so you can hear the song or purchase it, for now if you just go to itunes, install the player and type in the song name and artist, the song will come up and you can listen to it. In the meantime I found this great
Catholic wedding music site that has instructions and the song so you can see if you like the song before you buy it.

Best Catholic Wedding Songs

Most Loved Prelude and Postlude Songs

"Air" from Water Music by Georg Friedrich Handel, Traditional, classical piece that can be used for the prelude or the bridal party's processional

"Arioso" by Johann Sebastian Bach

"Bist du bei mir" (You are with me or Be Thou with Me) from Anna Magdalena Notenbuch by Johann Sebastian Bach

"Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach

Vesperae solennes de confessore in C, K.339, "Laudate Dominum" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

"Rondeau" by Jean-Joseph Mouret

"The Gift of Love" (Water Is Wide) by Hopson

Most Loved Processional Songs

"Air" from Water Music by George Friedrich Handel, Traditional, classical piece that can be used for the prelude or the bridal party's processional

"Allegro Maestoso" from Water Music by George Friedrich Handel

"Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel, Especially good for bridesmaids.

"Eine Klein Nachtmusik," Serenade No. 13 in G major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach

"Overture from Music for the Royal Fireworks HWV 351 by George Frideric Handel, Lengthy song good for processional or the recesssional.

"Prelude To Te Deum" by Marc-Antoine Charpentier

"Prince of Denmark's March" (Trumpet Voluntary in D major) by Jeremiah Clarke

"Rondeau" by Jean-Joseph Mouret

"Sheep May Safely Graze" ("Was mir behagt"), Cantata No. 208, by Johann Sebastian Bach

"Trumpet Tune in D" by Henry Purcell

"Trumpet Tune" by John Stanley

Most Loved Gathering With Congregation Songs

"Here I Am Lord" performed by John Michael Talbot

"Hear Us Now, Our God and Father" by Roland Prichard Hyfrydol

Most Loved Responsorial Psalm Songs

"Lord of all Hopefulness"

"The Lord is Kind and Merciful"

"The Lord is My Shepherd"

"This is the Day"

"You are Mine"

Most Loved Preparation of Gifts and Offeratory Songs

"The Gift of Love" (Water Is Wide) by Hopson

"How Great Thou Art" performed by Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, Elvis Presley, and others

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach

"Let There Be Peace on Earth" performed by Vince & Jenny Gill

"Panis Angelicus" (O God Of Life) performed by Josh Groben

Most Loved Communion Songs

"Bist du bei mir" (You are with me or Be Thou with Me) from Anna Magdalena Notenbuch by Johann Sebastian Bach

"A Gaelic Blessing" by John Rutter

"Gift of Finest Wheat" by Kreutz

"Here I Am Lord" by Schutte

"How Great Thou Art" performed by Carrie Underwood

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach

"Let There Be Peace on Earth" performed by Vince & Jenny Gill

"On Eagles Wings" performed by Michael Crawford

"One Bread, One Body"

"Panis Angelicus" (O God Of Life) performed by Josh Groben

"Prayer Of St. Francis" performed by Sarah McLachlan

"Taste and See" by Joel Martinson or Moore

"The Gift of Love" (Water Is Wide) by Hopson

Vesperae solennes de confessore in C, K.339, "Laudate Dominum" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Most Loved Presentation of Gifts Songs

"Ave Maria" by Charles Gounod or Johann Sebastian Bach

"Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert

"The Gift of Love" (Water Is Wide) by Hopson

Most Loved Recessional Songs

"Allegro Maestoso" from Water Music by George Friedrich Handel

"Hornpipe" from Water Music Suite by Georg Friedrich Handel, Also known as Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 7; it is a very nice choice for the bride's processional or the recessional.

"Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You" by Ludwig van Beethoven

"La Rejouissance" from Royal Fireworks Music by George Frideric Handel, A nice piece that is too short to use except for the bride's processional or the recessional.

"Ode To Joy" (from The Ninth Symphony) by Ludwig van Beethoven

"Prince of Denmark's March" (Trumpet Voluntary in D major) by Jeremiah Clarke

"Rondeau" by Jean-Joseph Mouret

The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, Consider using "Spring" from this piece.

"Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5" performed by Charles-Marie Widor

"Trumpet Tune in D Major" performed by Jeremiah Clarke

"Tuba Tune" by Craig Sellar Lang, Despite the name, this lively song is actually played on an organ.

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