The first thing you should know is that in general, the Catholic Church does not allow recorded or popular (read: non-church) music to be played during masses. There may be some exceptions to this rule, but for our church, this is one rule that they definitely follow. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that the marriage celebration is NOT just the mass—it is the rehearsal, the reception, etc—where there are many opportunities to play popular music. Makes sense, right? The entire wedding mass is viewed as a sacrament, and to play popular music would really muddy that up. That being said, at first, I was afraid we would feel constrained by the musical options we had to choose from…but now that we’ve chosen, I am really happy with everything we’ve picked!
The church provided us with a list of suggested music, and I am posting it here for you in case you need your own music ideas. Here is what we chose:
Processional: Prelude to a Te Deum, by Charpentier
While we’re discussing the processional, there is one thing you should know about Catholic weddings. In the Roman Catholic rite of marriage, the music does NOT change when the bride walks in. The ritual calls for a single liturgical procession, which means that the entire processional—groom, parents, bridesmaids, bride, etc. all walk in to the ONE song choice.
After the processional, everyone sings a hymn. Of course, we had to choose this one:
AHEM, ok…not that version (though I LOVE that movie!) This one:
Hymn: Joyful, Joyful
I’m not going to go through what we chose for the normal parts of Mass—it is pretty standard stuff (but if you have questions or want to know what we chose, please ask!).
For our communion song, we chose One Bread, One Body…which is one of our all-time favorite church songs.
Communion: One Bread, One Body by Foley
And finally, our recessional! We chose a pretty standard wedding choice:
Recessional: Hornpipe (Water Music)
Yay, I am so excited! I really love everything we chose and think it will make for a beautiful Mass. Now, a couple of points to note:
You’ll notice we’re not having a Unity Candle or any other unity-type ceremony. That is because this is NOT part of the Catholic rite of marriage, something a lot of people do not know. Your church may allow you to do one if you choose, but it is DEFINITELY not part of the rite, which is why we opted not to do it. We want to have as authentic a mass as possible.
Another point of note for our church specifically? We must choose our musicians from the Cathedral. No hiring of outside musicians is allowed. We can ask a family member or friend to sing if we really want to, but they must submit a tape that is approved by the Cathedral music director. We must choose one organist and one cantor from the many who serve the Cathedral during regular Sunday masses.
So, that brings my discussion of our ceremony to an end. I hope you’ve learned a little bit more about the Catholic Ceremony along the way!
What types of music did you/are you choosing for your wedding? Share your ideas in the comments!
***If you are a Catholic bride who needs some resources, I highly recommend checking out our church’s website. They have a lot of great material for planning a Catholic wedding!***