Your choice of music will play a huge part in in the ambiance of your wedding ceremony. It needs to be familiar and comfortable to you but also appropriate to the occasion. It will help to set the mood and gives your guests the opportunity to participate in your special day. It is also a chance to reaffirm the nature of Christian marriage by thanking God and offering praise in a traditional way.
The Musical Content of the Service
Your wedding music will, almost certainly, include the following pieces.
- A processional, usually an organ piece, played as the bride enters the church and processes down the aisle.
- An opening hymn sung after the formal greeting and before the marriage ceremony proper begins.
- An optional second hymn sung after the marriage ceremony and before the signing of the register.
- An optional piece of music, played or sung during the signing of the register.
- A third hymn, sung before the final blessing.
- A recessional, usually an organ piece, played as the married couple leave the church.
Organ and Choir
Generally we organise for an organist to play for your wedding but, if you know of a competent musician that you’d rather have play for you, that can also be accommodated with the approval of the minister.
You do not have to have a choir for your wedding and St John’s does not have a formal choir but we do have a number of talented people who form an informal choir for Sunday services and even more who are prepared to sing in the choir on special occasions such as your wedding. Having a choir will guarantee that there are people at your wedding who know the hymns and are not afraid to sing them and will serve to encourage the congregation!
Frequently Chosen Processional and Recessional music
If you are unfamiliar with these pieces of music it is very easy to search for them on YouTube, or Stuart can organise for you to hear them played on the organ. There are many CDs of wedding music on the market which may help and several thousand websites offering help on music selection. Many of these even have short MIDI files that you can play. Just type “wedding music” into any search engine. Don’t forget the quotes or you will get millions instead of thousands!
|Wedding March from Lohengrin (aka Here Comes The Bride)||Wagner|
|Arrival of the Queen of Sheba||Handel|
|Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark’s March)||Clarke|
|Grand March from Aida||Verdi|
|Hornpipe from the Water Music||Handel|
|Wedding March from a Midsummer Night’s Dream||Mendelssohn|
|Toccata from Symphony No 5||Widor|
|Overture from The Marriage of Figaro||Mozart|
|March from Scipio||Handel|
Suggestions for Hymns
You do not have to choose hymns from our church hymnal (The Complete Celebration Hymnal) but, if you don’t, the congregation will need an Order of Service (or at least word sheets) and the choir and organist will need to be warned so that they can make sure that music is available. When you visit the church, ask to borrow a words copy of the hymnal to browse through. If you include words in your Order of Service, try to use the words that are in the hymnal because there are often slight variations and it can be off-putting if the choir is singing one set of words and the congregation is singing another!
Although it is not compulsory, the three hymns are best chosen to fit the particular spot in the service.
- The first hymn should be uplifting, a declaration of intent, a joyful affirmation of faith.
- The second hymn should be more reflective, a continuation of the prayers, a recognition of the nature of Christian marriage.
- The third hymn should send you forth in joy and determination to live your life together in God’s love.
The following is a list (not exhaustive by any means) of possible hymns. Where the hymn is in The Complete Celebration Hymnal, the hymn number is given. The final column is an indication of where it might best fit in the service. Please note that many hymns have one or more alternative tunes and you need to make sure that we are aware of which tune you’d like to be used (if you have a preference).
|Hymn Number||Hymn (First line/Title)||Where to use|
|4||All Creatures Of Our God And King||1|
|10||All People That On Earth Do Dwell||1,2|
|11||All That I Am||2|
|13||All Things Bright And Beautiful||1|
|20||And Did Those Feet In Ancient Times (Jerusalem)||1|
|28||At The Name Of Jesus||1|
|409||Bind Us Together||3|
|45||Colours Of Day||1|
|60||Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind||1,3|
|449||Father Hear The Prayer We Offer||2,3|
|741||For The Beauty Of The Earth||1,3|
|84||Give Me Joy In My Heart||1,3|
|Great Is Thy Faithfulness||1,3|
|104||Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer||3|
|227||How Great Thou Art||1|
|134||Immortal Invisible God Only Wise||1|
|165||Lead Us Heavenly Father Lead Us||3|
|181||Lord Of All Hopefulness||3|
|184||Love Divine All Love Excelling||2|
|189||Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace||3|
|196||Morning Has Broken||1|
|211||Now Thank We All Our God||1|
|O Jesus I Have Promised||3|
|253||O Worship The King||1|
|257||Peace, Perfect Peace||2|
|260||Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven||1|
|264||Praise To The Lord The Almighty||1|
|609||Tell Out, My Soul||1,3|
|311||The King Of Love My Shepherd Is||2|
|312||The Lord’s My Shepherd I’ll Not Want||2|
|803||To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Hath Done||1|
|340||Walk With Me O My Lord||3|