Music for the Wedding Liturgy
The Wedding Liturgy is the Church at Prayer
Couples should schedule an appointment with the Director of Music at LEAST six to eight weeks prior to the ceremony. If more elaborate musical preparations are desired, an earlier appointment would be preferable. The Director of Music will guide you through your selections, offer suggestions, or answer questions you may have. Please contact the Director of Music for information.
A wedding ceremony is first and foremost a sacred celebration, a liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. The integrity and dignity of the Catholic liturgy must be respected and maintained. The wedding liturgy should be a mirror image of any typical Sunday liturgy of our Parish. It should be very similar to the Sunday celebration of Eucharist you attend here at St. Anthony each week.
The Church makes every effort to help the engaged couple in preparing the wedding liturgy, but it is and will remain the Church's liturgy. Couples are encouraged to read, pray about and choose the scriptures that will be proclaimed at the wedding, pray over and select the appropriate prayers and responses, and also to use their experience of attending Sunday Mass to help them in selecting appropriate music for the wedding liturgy.
The primary purpose of music in any liturgy is to help people pray. Music will do this in different ways at different times. Music selections should express not only faith of the couple but also the common faith of the whole Church. Many pieces of music which speak of love in purely secular terms are not appropriate for the wedding ceremony and would be more appropriate at the wedding reception. Music for the wedding liturgy must express a sacred text and what we as Roman Catholics believe about marriage. The songs found in the appendix are good examples.
Please remember it is the entire assembly which worships at the wedding. As much as possible, music, particularly hymns, responses, and acclamations, should facilitate active participation by the entire congregation. A soloist should, if possible, function as a LEADER of the assembly's sung prayer. Solo songs should be used only at those points in the service when participation by the assembly is not essential.
Requesting "outside" musicians can create serious problems. Often the main reason for selecting these persons is because they are relatives or friends, and not because they are professionally trained musicians. As a result the music for the celebration suffers. Because of limited professional training and experience, these people do not adjust well to new surroundings, unfamiliar sound systems and local liturgical procedures. The result is often one of embarrassment to all present – both congregation and musicians.
Please check with the Music Coordinator before hiring Guest musicians.
WHAT IS AND IS NOT APPROPRIATE
Music before the Ceremony
The organist is instructed to begin playing approximately twenty minutes before the ceremony is to begin. Couples may request special music at this point or leave it to the discretion of the organist. One or more vocal selections may be sung at this time. Music before the Ceremony or Prelude Music should serve to unite the thoughts of the assembly toward the sacrament which is about to take place; this is not the time to remind them of the period of romance and courtship which the couple has already experienced. Although the ceremony has not yet begun, we are gathering at the altar of God, in a sacred room where we encounter the “Divine”. To use music of a secular nature would be entirely inappropriate and is not allowed at St. Anthony.
The seating of the mothers will commence at the hour the ceremony is to begin. Appropriate music could be either vocal or instrumental. A traditional selection would be either the Bach-Gounod or Schubert "Ave Maria." The ideal processional music for the wedding is a hymn inviting the singing of the assembly. This helps the assembly to become conscious of themselves as a worshiping community, to enter into the celebration more fully, and it prepares them to hear God's word. Songs which would be appropriate include, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," "All Creatures of Our God and King," and many more. Hymns can be accompanied by Flutes, Brass, and Organ to create a festive atmosphere.
Some couples choose to have an instrumental procession followed by the singing of a hymn. (This is especially helpful if the wedding party is large.) Note: For reasons of sacred integrity, "Bridal Chorus" from Wagner's Lohengrin ("Here Comes the Bride") is not allowed. Many excellent alternatives are given in the appendix.
These are the ancient songs and hymns of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Church provides that some scriptural texts are more appropriate for some liturgies than for others. There is a list of those for whom good musical settings are available in the appendix.
Gospel Acclamation / Eucharistic Acclamations
The Gospel and Eucharistic Acclamations will be selected by the Director of Music from among those which would most likely be familiar to the majority of the people present. (Generally the "Mass of Creation" by Marty Haugen or the Proulx "Community Mass" is used for Eucharistic acclamations and Isele's Holy Cross Mass "Lamb of God".) If a couple has a particular Mass setting they would like to have used they should make such request to the Director of Music at the time of their consultation.
The Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
The Our Father is properly the prayer of the total assembly. It is preferable that it be sung by the entire community gathered in prayer. The singing of this prayer at weddings may discourage participation by those who may not know the musical setting or who may not care to sing. For this reason it is spoken rather than sung at weddings. Under no circumstances will the Lord's Prayer be sung as a solo.
The purpose of the Communion Song is to express the unity within the members of the body of Christ that is experienced in the reception of the Eucharist. The song should be one that fosters this sense of unity. Here, once again, a song is needed that invites and allows for the singing of the assembly. A solo, such as "Panis Angelicus" is a song for Eucharistic adoration and not communion and would be inappropriate. Many suggestions are listed in the appendix.
The recessional music should suggest the joy of the occasion. Any of the hymns suggested for the Gathering would also be appropriate here. An instrumental recessional may be selected in place of a hymn. Many excellent selections are given in the appendix.
PERSONNEL - Organist / Pianist / Cantor / Trumpeter / Flutist / Harpist / etc.
Couples wishing to be wed at St. Anthony can use the services of our organist (an experienced and accomplished performer.)
St. Anthony has available for weddings a number of excellent male and female cantors (song leaders). Couples may request a particular soloist or may request that the Music Coordinator select a soloist for them. The St. Anthony Music Ministry will be happy to supply any performers requested. We have available to us trumpets, flutes, violins, and harp or virtually any other musical instrument a couple may desire. Couples may request any combination of instruments and voices and should do so when meeting with the Music Coordinator. All efforts will be made to accommodate these requests. The fees for professional instrumentalists will reflect the scale set by the Musicians' Union. Organist/Pianist, Vocal Soloist, Trumpeter, Brass Quintet or Ensemble, Violinist, String Quartet, Flutist, Harp, Choir and etc.
FEES FOR ALL MUSICIAN SERVICES WILL BE DISCUSSED AT THE MEETING WITH THE DIRECTOR OF MUSIC.
Checks should be made payable to the individual musicians, and may be mailed to the Church: Music Coordinator, St. Anthony Catholic Community, 7801 Bay Branch Dr. The Woodlands, TX 77832. Fees must be paid 14 days in advance of the wedding.
SOME SUGGESTED MUSIC
The following selections are appropriate for use within the wedding liturgy. This list also includes the
function for which the song might be appropriate. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but contains
a wealth of excellent options from which to choose . . .
PRELUDES, GIFTS, UNITY CANDLE, MEDITATIONS
The Prayer of St. Francis S. Temple
The Gift of Love Hal Hopson
Wherever You Go Gregory Norbert
Wherever You Go David Haas
I Have Loved You Michael Joncas
O Father All Creating D. Buxtehude
The Wedding Song Traditional
The Bridal Prayer R. Copeland
I Will Greatly Rejoice R. Hillert
A Wedding Prayer T. Beck
O God of Love E. Butler
When Love Is Found Trad. English
In This Very Room Ron & Carol Harris
Bless O Lord These Rings Joseph Roff
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring J.S. Bach
Prelude In Classic Style Gordon Young
Sheep May Safely Graze J.S. Bach
Trumpet Voluntary in D Henry Purcell
Trumpet Tune Henry Purcell
Allegro Maestoso G.F. Handel
Air in F (Water Music) G.F. Handel
Air on the G String J.S. Bach
Arioso J.S. Bach
Kanon in D J. Pachelbel
Psalm 19 B. Marcello
Rigaudon Andre Campra
Hymn To Joy (9th Symphony) Beethoven
Trumpet Voluntary Gordon Young
Sound The Trumpets G.F. Handel
La Réjouissance G.F. Handel
Love Divine All Loves Excelling
All Creatures of Our God and King
O God Beyond All Praising
Alleluia, Sing To Jesus
Gather Us In
Praise to the Lord The Almighty
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
The Lord Is Kind and Merciful Haugen
Taste and See Haugen
Blest Are those Who Love You Haugen
For Weddings C. Conley
May the Lord Bless Us J. Chepponis
We Praise You O Lord Ducote, Daigle
The Lord Is My and Light D. Haas
This is the Day Joncas
Let All The Earth M. Haugen
What Return Can I Make to ... C. Conley
We Have Been Told D. Haas
No Greater Love M. Joncas
On Eagle's Wings M. Joncas
Taste and See J. Moore
Now In This Banquet M. Haugen
In The Breaking of the Bread B. Hurd
Pan De Vida B. Hurd
The Name of God D. Haas
One Bread, One Body J. Foley, S.J.
Here I Am, Lord D. Schutte
Our Blessing Cup M. Joncas
Will You Let me Be Your Servant Gilliard