The typical Catholic wedding music program includes many parts. Below is an example of such program
1. The Prelude
The prelude marks the arrival of the wedding guests. Instrumental music, a vocal solois, or choir are usually used. Below are some well known selections:
Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
Air from the Suite in D (Bach)
Prelude in C (Bach)
Air (Water Music -Handel)
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)
2. The Processionals
The procession is described in the Rite of Marriage as the ritual entrance of the ministers for the liturgy. The couple, as ministers of the sacrament of marriage, is included in the procession. The actual order of the procession may be planned with the presiding priest. The Processionals mark the entrance of:
a. The wedding Party
Priest, Altar Servers, Bridesmaid-Groomsmen Couples, Flower Girls and Ring Bearer, Best Man and Maid of Honor, etc.
b. Two Sets of Parents and the Bridal Couple
There are two ways for the entrance of the groom and bride:
i.) The Catholic Church recommends that the ideal entrance is for the groom and bride to enter together as a couple – as it is
the groom and bride, who come before the church assembled as the ministers of the Sacrament, to confer holy matrimony upon each other;
ii.) However, if they must enter separately, the groom enters first escorted by his parents, followed by the Bride escorted by her Parents.
Below are some well known selections for The Processionals:
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – J. S. Bach
Canon in D Major – J. Pachelbel
Trumpet Tune – Purcell/Clarke
Trumpet Voluntary(aka The Prince of Denmarkark’s March) – J. Clarke
Trumpet Voluntary – Stanley
Overture from Royal Fireworks Suite – G. F. Handel
Rondeau from Premier Suite – J. J. Mouret
3. Liturgy of the Word
After the first reading and a brief period of reflective silence, the Responsorial Psalm is sung, usually by a Cantor, with the wedding guests singing the refrain of the Psalm.The Gospel Acclamation before the Gospel Reading may also be sung by all. Some known psalms commonly used are:
Psalms 33, 34, 103, 112, 128, 145 and 148.
4. Liturgy of the Eucharist (For Nuptial Mass)
For weddings within Mass, a hymn may sung during the offertory. A vocal solo or and instrumental selection might also be used.
Below are some popular selections:
Gillard Wedding Song – Peeters or Schutz
Be Thou With Them – J. S. Bach
The Gift of Love – Hopson
When Love Is Found – Wren
A Nuptial Blessing – Joncas or Proulx
The Servant Song – Gillard
During the Eucharistic Prayer all may sing the Holy, Holy, the Memorial Acclamation, the Amen, sometimes the Lord’s Prayer is chanted by all, and the Lamb of God may be sung. Below are some other popular prayer selections:
Mass of Creation – Haugen
Mass of Light – Haas
Community Mass – Proulx
Heritage Mass – Alstott
People’s Mass – Verm
5. The Reception of Communion(For Nuptial Mass)
For weddings within Mass, a hymn may sung during the communion. A vocal solo or and instrumental selection might also be used.
Below are some popular selections:
Gift of Finest Wheat
I Am the Bread of Life
Gather Us Together
Ubi Caritas – Taize, chant or Hurd
Eat this Bread
Taste and See – Haugen, Kreutz or Moore
6. Before the end of the wedding
After communion, some Brides place a bouquet of flowers beneath the statue of Mary. Often the Ave Maria, a Maria song or an instrumental piece is used.
7. The Recessional
After the final blessing and presentation of the Couple, the Wedding Party exits, a festive instrumental piece is most effective. Some common pieces are the Trumpet Tune (Purcell) or the Allegro Maestoso (the “Hornpipe” from the Water Music – Handel).