Music for your Wedding

(Notes by Aine Mulvey)




Maybe an organ anthem (eg the Wedding March) or one of the following:

  • Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary
  • Elgar - Salut d'Amour
  • Grieg - Morning (Pier Gynt)
  • Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
  • Vivaldi - Spring (4 Seasons)
  • Wagner - Bridal Chorus


Lighting the side-Candles

Bride and Groom each light a candle, to symbolise their intent to marry. There are two ways that this is handled:

(1) Immediately the bride arrives at the altar: just continue the Entrance Hymn while Bride and Groom are lighting the candles; or

(2) After the celebrant greets the congregation: In this case, it can be accompanied by a short and simple air. Whatever is chosen can be repeated later, when the centre candle is lit after the marriage vows.

Quiet, evocative Instrumental should be played (e.g. Wherever You Go; May the Road Rise, etc)


The Psalm

Psalms were written to be sung – and there is a wealth of psalms and other suitable hymns to choose from for this point in the service. Alternatively, you may like to have the Psalm simply read at the service.

  • Like a Shepherd
  • 'Sé an Tiarna M'Aoire
  • On Eagle’s Wings
  • Song of Service
  • Wherever You Go


Lighting the Wedding Candle (after the wedding-vows)

Bride and Groom jointly light the candle of union, while a quiet instrumental is played: Continue the motif from the first part of the Candle ceremony (e.g. additional bar from Wherever You Go; May the Road Rise, etc)


The Offertory

Be aware that the length of time taken to bring up the gifts is short, so pick something of an appropriate length – a long solo here can cause an uncomfortable delay.

  • Ag Críost an Síol
  • Ave Maria
  • Ave Verum
  • Lord of All Hopefulness
  • I Will Be The Vine


The Our Father

The Lord's prayer may be sung in English or Irish, preferably in a well-known melody that the congregation may join in.

  • Ár n'Athair (O Riada)


Sign of Peace

The Bride & Groom usually leave the altar to exchange the Sign of Peace with their family & friends – and this can take a while! The best option is something with short verses, so that the singer or instrumentalists can keep going for as long as is needed.

  • Make me a channel of Your Peace
  • Bind us Together
  • Peace, Perfect Peace
  • Peace I leave with you


Holy Communion

The best place in the service for longer hymns. You may actually need two hymns here, depending on the size of the wedding. Or you might have a hymn, followed by an instrumental:

  • Panis Angelicus
  • Ave Maria (Schubert)
  • The Cloud’s Veil (Lawton)
  • Laudate Dominum (Mozart)
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  • Wherever you go


Signing the Register

This is the point when the service is over, and songs of more secular nature can be introduced – although you should still check with the celebrant to ensure that the chosen songs are acceptable. There can be a lot of time to be filled in here, during the signing of the register and the taking of any photographs. However, it can also be a noisy time, and quite often the music won’t be heard over the congregation, especially if amplification is not being used for the musicians.

  • One Hand, One Heart
  • The Wedding Song
  • Perhaps Love
  • The Rose
  • She Moved through the Fair



This can be an organ anthem or a song sung by soloist or group.

  • All You Need is Love
  • At Last
  • Don’t Stop Believing
  • First Day Of My Life
  • Greatest Day
  • Higher and Higher
  • Lovely Day
  • Mendelssohn Wedding March
  • Now That We Found Love
  • One Day Like This
  • Queen of Sheba
  • Signed Sealed Delivered
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered
  • You’ve Got The Love



Other Musical Suggestions:

Check your music choices with your celebrant, as some parishes are stricter than others in interpreting the guideline, that the music at weddings must be "suited to the dignity of the occasion." Frivolous pop-songs are best left until the reception, although a light, romantic air could be acceptable, during the Signing of the Register, after the service.

Consult with your singer(s) whether they wish to wish to sing from the sanctuary, the organ gallery or elsewhere. We recommend that, where possible, your musicians should be visible to the congregation, to emphasise that the music is "live".

Once you've selected what is to be sung, you might print the lyrics within your wedding booklet, thus encouraging your friends to join in if they so wish. (For lots of relevant wedding lyrics click here)

If the Responsorial Psalm is being sung, be sure that your first Reader knows this, and does not jump ahead into reading the Psalm, before your singer is ready to start!