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Catholic Wedding Music

While our bands play at many diverse styles of weddings — from the traditional to the eclectic — we have decided to place the spotlight on some specific styles of weddings in our blog. In this post, we will share with you the traditional music featured in a Catholic wedding ceremony.

Modern Catholic weddings, which are often held in churches, begin with 20 to 30 minutes of prelude music. Traditionally, this music was played by an organist or a pianist. However, modern brides often choose a string quartet, a harpist, a classical guitarist or even a woodwind quintet. Their choice of musical accompaniment is not limited by tradition and is instead reflective of their personal taste.

During the prelude, pieces such as Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire” are usually played. Following the prelude, special music is played for the seating of the mothers and grandmothers. “Canon in D”, by Pachebel, is a perennial favorite. Following the seating of the mothers and grandmothers, the bridal party proceeds down the aisle. They are followed by the bride, who is traditionally escorted by her father. During the bride’s processional, she is accompanied by a processional song. The two groups stop their procession at the church’s altar.

For well over 100 years, Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” from Lohengrin has been a hugely popular choice. It is often called, “Here Comes the Bride.” Since Lady Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles, Jeremiah Clarke’s “Prince of Denmark March” has become extremely popular for use as processional music. This piece is sometimes attributed to Henry Purcell as “Trumpet Voluntary”.

During the wedding ceremony, there may be several hymns. This is especially true for liturgical settings. Solos and a short piece for the lighting of the Unity Candle may also take place.

At the end of the service, the new couple march down the aisle together to a lively recessional song. Most popular for this is Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Widor’s “Toccata” from Symphony No. 5 is also another favorite.

The wedding ceremony then concludes with an instrumental postlude as the wedding guests depart.

If you’re a Catholic bride or groom, why not share some of your wedding traditions with us?

Want us to feature another style of wedding in our blog? Let us know!

( Posted on Friday, May 2, 2008 at 3:41 am )

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“Our guests are still commenting on how perfect you guys were for the garden wedding. You set a beautiful tone. Even my father, who is difficult to please with music unless he’s picked it himself, said “Hey, they’re good!” Thanks so much!”

—Nora & Nick, married June 23, 2007, Santa Barbara, CA

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