Music Guidelines

Music for the Wedding Liturgy

Very few things can impact the beauty of a wedding ceremony the way music can. The Church says, “The quality of joy and enthusiasm which music adds to community worship cannot be gained in any other way.” MCW #23.  Singing is part of every sacramental celebration and in fact adds significant beauty to the ceremony.  This far in advance of the wedding, you and your fiancée should be thinking about what kind of instrumentation you are hoping for the ceremony. Do you like the sound of strings? Of trumpets? A flute? A Harp? These decisions should be made first. The Music Department will assist you in finding personnel. Please do not contract the services of any musicians without prior consent of the Music Department. When you have made this decision or if you have questions, contact our Music Department.

The Wedding Liturgy is the Church at Prayer

Couples should schedule an appointment with a representative of the Music Department at LEAST 3 months prior to the ceremony. If more elaborate musical preparations are desired, an earlier appointment would be preferable. We will guide you through your selections, offer suggestions, or answer questions you may have. Please contact Natalie Giardina at, 832-482-4125 or Charles Giardina at, 832-482-4141.

General Considerations

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 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 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.


Professionally trained musicians outside of St. Anthony Parish are allowed to provide music for a wedding Liturgy, with the permission of the Music Department.  Outside musicians can create serious problems, if they are not trained and familiar with Catholic Liturgy.  Different surroundings, unfamiliar sound systems and local liturgical procedures can often result in embarrassment to those present – both congregation and musicians.

Guest musicians are not allowed without the permission of St. Anthony’s Music Department.

What is and is not appropriate

Music before the Ceremony
The organist or other instrumentalists are 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 musician. 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 can be found in the Music appendix. 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.) Many excellent alternatives are given in the appendix.  Instrumental music alone for the procession is also an option.  Note: For reasons of sacred integrity, "Bridal Chorus" from Wagner's Lohengrin ("Here Comes the Bride") is not allowed.  

Responsorial Psalm
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 Music Department from among those which would most likely be familiar to the majority of the people present. (Generally the “Celtic Alleluia” by Christopher Walker is used for Gospel Acclamation, and "Mass of Creation" by Marty Haugen is used for Eucharistic acclamations/Lamb of God).  If a couple has a particular Mass setting they would like to have used they should make such request at the time of their music consultation.

The Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
The Our Father is properly the prayer of the total assembly. 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.

Communion Songs
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.  Note: For reasons of sacred integrity, "The Wedding March" from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is not allowed.

Organist/Pianist, Vocal Soloist, Trumpeter, Brass Quintet or Ensemble, Violinist, String Quartet, Choir, etc.

Organist / Pianist
Couples wishing to be wed at St. Anthony are strongly encouraged to use the services of our organists/pianists (experienced and accomplished performers.)  

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 we select a soloist for them. The St. Anthony Music Ministry will be happy to supply any vocalists requested.  Soloists from outside St. Anthony must be approved by the Music Office.

Strings / Trumpeter, etc.
St. Anthony has a list of suggested professional musicians for hire.  Arrangements for these musicians are made by the couple and not associated with the parish. Our Music Office will be happy to speak with contracted musicians regarding coordination of music. The fees for professional instrumentalists will reflect the scale set by the Musicians' Union.

Fees for musicians will be discussed with the Coordinator of Music.    St. Anthony Musician fees must be mailed to the church at least one (1) month prior to the wedding.  

Accompanist Fee    $200.00
Cantor Fee              $150.00

Checks should be made payable to St. Anthony,
and may be mailed to the Liturgy Department’s attention at:

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
Attention:  Liturgy Department
7801 Bay Branch Dr., The Woodlands, TX 77382

 Fees must be paid 1 month in advance of the wedding.

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