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Need some help on selecting music for the big day?
Our Wedding Ceremony Guide has some great tips and free music samples to help you decide!
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For some great advice on choosing music and booking a band check out our Reception Guide!
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1. The Venue

Some things to consider

  • How big is the venue?
  • Where will the musicians be located?
  • If you require an organ, where is this located?
  • Will the musicians need amplification? If so, is this available in the venue?
  • Is there enough room? For example: If you hire a string quartet and singer they need space to sit and swing their bows. Ask the musicians about the particular venue you are using. They have probably played there before and know what works best.

Discuss these issues with the musicians /singers of your choice.
Musicians have had a lot of experience they can advise you on what they think will work best in a particular church or venue

Remember also to consider the suitability of your chosen music. It is always advisable to consult the ceremony venue (church, registry office etc) for details of any guidelines that may be in place around choice of music.

Popular choices for wedding ceremony music

String quartets are a great choice. They can also accompany a singer. If space is restricted you could have a duo or trio. A singer with keyboard, organ, harp or guitar is another option. Trumpet is a good choice if you want something dramatic during the processional and recessional.

2. The Timing

In order to create the perfect ambience for your ceremony it is vital that the right music is played at the right time. Appropriate places in the ceremony for music, depending on specific venues? guidelines, may include:

  • prelude as guests arrive?
  • processional?
  • during the lighting of the candles?
  • after the vows during the lighting of the unity candle?
  • at the offertory procession?
  • during the sign of peace?
  • during the serving of communion?
  • during the signing of the registry?
  • recessional?

3. Selecting Your Church Music

While deciding on church ceremony music, you may often have thought, "I know that piece of music but I can't put a name on it". Well, help is at hand. By clicking on any of the highlighted pieces below, you can hear a midi file of it - this will help you recognise well-known wedding pieces, as well as advising you where you will need music within the ceremony.

Don't feel constrained by where songs are suggested; for example, Ag Criost an Siol could be a Communion hymn instead of an Offertory hymn. Similarly, you could have Pie Jesu at the Signing of the Register rather than at Communion etc etc, so use the song suggestions below as a guide rather than a rule. There are some cases where this is not the case, e.g. On Eagle's Wings or Lord is My Shepherd can really only be used as Responsorial Psalms. You can usually have more flexibility on instrumental pieces.

Once again do bear in mind that if you are getting married in a church, you should check the final music repertoire with your priest or celebrant, as occasionally nonliturgical music (and on rare occasions instrumental music, depending on the context within which it was written) is considered inappropriate. If you have a particular favourite song or piece of music you'd like to include, ask the musicians and give them plenty of notice in case they have to learn it or prepare an arrangement. Please click on the midi files below to listen to them. The files are of basic quality; their function is to help you recognise the music, and hence feel more confident about choosing your own ceremony music.

Lighting of Baptismal/Marriage Candles:
Responsorial Psalm:
The Sign of Peace:
Signing of the Register: (choose two songs here)