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Religious Ceremony Church Music

A church wedding typically means spine-tingling music, especially if there's a good organ and a good organist. Your minister will be able to advise you on who plays regularly at your church. It's always a good idea to hear the organist play before you book their services, as many of the traditional wedding tunes are quite complicated to perform. If the usual organist isn't up to that level of music you could either select simpler tunes or perhaps hire a different organist.

Here are some well-known pieces of music that are suitable for religious wedding ceremonies. You may prefer to have more contemporary music for your arrival, the signing of the register or the recessional. Don't feel you have to choose traditional tunes just because you're having a traditional marriage service in church. Just make sure that your registrar approves all your musical selections beforehand.

Prelude Music

This music is played while guests arrive and are seated in the church. It can last up to 20 minutes and is usually uplifting and serene.

· 'Air' from Water Music - Handel

· 'Ave Verum Corpus' - Bach

· 'Canon in D' - Pachabel

· 'Chanson de Matin' - Elgar

· 'Largo' from Xerxes - Handel

· 'Minuet' - Boccherini

The Processional

This music is played as the bridal party walks down the aisle. It is generally stately and grand and should last until the bride and her attendants have all reached the altar.

· 'Bridal March' from Lohengrin (Here Comes the Bride) Wagner

· 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' - Handel

· 'Grand March' from Aida - Verdi

· 'Hornpipe' from Water Music - Handel

· 'Salut d'Amour' - Elgar

· 'Wedding March' - Mendelssohn

· 'Wedding March' from The Marriage of Figaro - Mozart


Most religious ceremonies include two hymns. Try to choose at least one that will be well known to most of your guests. Read through all verses carefully to check there is nothing unsuitable for a wedding. Many hymns have two or more possible tunes so make sure the vicar and the organist know which version you want. There are traditional and modern hymns to choose from so check that your vicar approves of your choice.

Popular Choices

· 'All Creatures of Our God and King'

· 'All People That on earth do Dwell'

· 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'

· 'Blest be The Tie That Binds'

· 'Come Down, O Love Divine'

· 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind'

· 'I Watch the Sunrise'

· 'Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise'

· 'Jerusalem'

· 'Lead us Heavenly Father Lead us'

· 'The Lord is my Shepherd'

· 'Lord of All Hopefulness'

· 'Lord of the Dance'

· 'Love Divine, All Loves Excelling'

· 'Make me a Channel of Your Peace'

· 'Morning Has Broken'

· 'O Perfect Love'

· O Praise Ye the Lord'

· 'Oh God, Whose Loving Hand Has Led'

· 'One More Step Aling the Road I Go'

· 'Praise to the Lord the Almighty, the King of Creation'

· 'Praise my Soul the King of Heaven'

· 'The King of Love my Shepherd is'

· 'Rhy Children to This Joyful Day'

· 'Walk With me, O My Lord'

The Signing of the Register

During the signing of the register and posing for the photographs there is often time for one nor two pieces of music to be played. Classical music or even a hymn is fine but many couples choose something more romantic and contemporary.

· 'Aadagio in G Minor' - Albinoni

· 'Air on a G String' - Bach

· 'Arioso' - Bach

· 'Ave Maria' - Schubert

· 'The Call' - Vaughan Williams

· 'Largo' from Symphony no 9 - Dvorak

· 'Let the Bright Seraphim' - Handel

· 'Nocturne' from String Quartet - Borodin

· 'Panis Angelicus' - Franck

The Recessional

This should be a triumphant piece of music to signal the joy of the moment and the start of the wedding celebrations. Some traditional classical selections are listed below, although you may prefer a more unusual and lively modern tune.

· 'Brandenburg' from Concerto no 3 - Bach

· 'Coronation March' - Walton

· 'Grand March from Aida - Verdi

· 'La Rejouissance' from music for the Royal Fireworks - Handel

· 'Ode to Joy' from Ninth Symphony - Beethoven

· 'Trumpet Tune in C' - Purcell

· 'Hallelujah Chorus' from Messiah - Handel

· 'Wedding March' from A Midsummer Night's Dream - Mendelssohn

· 'Toccata' from Symphony no 5 - Widor

· 'March' from Scipio - Handel

'You and Your Wedding' Jul/Aug 04

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