Selecting Wedding Music

The beauty of the wedding ceremony is greatly enhanced by music. Nevertheless, a wedding is not a concert. First and foremost it is a liturgy and a sacrament of the Church. As such, the selection of music must reflect liturgical appropriateness. Any vocal music MUST be of a sacred nature. Instrumental music also must be in a style that is appropriate for liturgical use. This document is intended to explain the purpose for each musical selection and suggest some pieces which would be appropriate. You may request music that is not listed.

Parts of the Mass

Parts of the Mass


The organist, and/or other musicians will play prelude music for 10 or 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the service. It is not necessary to select preludes, or to put them in the program. If nothing is selected the organist will choose what to play.


The processional marks the beginning of the service, and accompanies the entrance of the entire bridal party. A hymn may be sung for the processional, but most frequently an instrumental piece is requested. Sometimes a second processional is chosen especially for the entrance of the bride, but this is not necessary.


If the psalm is to be sung (not read) then the organist and cantor are responsible for finding a musical setting of the text that you have selected.

Alleluia/Gospel Acclamation

Either the Gregorian Alleluia or the Celtic Alleluia is strongly recommended.


The offertory is when the gifts are brought to the altar and prepared. It is appropriate to sing a hymn at this time or to have an instrumental or vocal piece.

Holy, Holy and Eucharistic Acclamations

These parts of Mass are sung every Sunday and there are many settings that are commonly in use. If no setting is requested the organist and cantor will select one.


Communion may be accompanied by a hymn, or an instrumental or vocal selection. Generally speaking, music at communion is of a meditative nature.

Presentation of Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary

This is an optional, popular, devotion. If chosen, it is appropriate to sing the Ave Maria or another Marian hymn here.


The Recessional should be an uplifting instrumental piece to conclude the liturgy.

Organ Works

Organ Works


  • Gordon Young - Prelude in Classic Style
  • Felix Mendelssohn – Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • David Johnson – Trumpet Tune in D
  • Jeremiah Clarke – Prince of Denmark March
  • Henry Purcell – Trumpet Voluntary
  • Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D


  • George F. Handel – Air from Water Music
  • Felix Mendelssohn – Allegretto from Sonata no. 4
  • J. S. Bach – Adagio e Dolce from Trio Sonata no. 3 in d minor
  • J. S. Bach – Sheep May Safely Graze
  • J. S. Bach – Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring
  • J. S. Bach – Air on the G string
  • Camille Saint-Saens – Prelude No. 2


  • Charles-Marie Widor – Toccata from Symphony No. 5
  • Louis Vierne – Final from Symphony No. 1
  • George F. Handel – Hornpipe from Water Music

Vocal Works

Vocal works

  • Franz Schubert – Ave Maria
  • Charles Gounod – Ave Maria
  • Cesar Franck – Panis Angelicus
  • Ralph Vaughan-Williams – The Call

Suggested Hymns

Suggested Hymns

  • Amazing Grace – RS 737
  • All Creatures of our God and King – RS 670
  • Bridegroom and Bride (Slane) – RS 944
  • Draw us in the Spirit's tether – RS 917
  • For the Beauty of the Earth – RS 697
  • God We Praise You – RS 676
  • Holy God We Praise Thy Name – RS 657
  • Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee – RS 669
  • Lord of All Hopefulness – RS 713
  • Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven – RS 684
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty – RS 695
  • Ubi Caritas – RS 752