Church Ceremony! How to choose the repertoire

If you’ve attended any weddings as a guest, have you happened to see an evening party that doesn’t take off, a desolately empty runway an evening party with very high expectations left unexpected?

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We have already seen in other articles how many moments need to be personalized with musical accompaniment during a religious ceremony and how almost all wedding couples struggle with defining and choosing the songs that best suit the mood of their wedding. As a Team we at Wedding Symphony are the only ones in Italy to have created a free database that we make available to all our wedding couples to help them make good choices through a wizard that makes it easy and quick for them to define the songs for their wedding ceremony. When it comes to repertoire, in fact, one tends to think first and foremost of the bride’s entrance-most often pointing to a wedding march whether it be Wagner’s or Mendelssohn’s.
A majestic melody that brings all the guests and the groom of course to point their eyes to the front door where under the father’s arm is a very agitated and excited bride. However, it is not a fixed rule, by now the bride and groom have also cleared this tradition by sometimes opting for much more modern pieces for the wedding repertoire and it is good to know what can be done and what not. The bridal march of the bride’s entrance is among the most important songs, however, it is not for the first of the musical repertoire of the ceremony, because it starts with another song, the one that accompanies the entrance of the groom.
And so … what to choose?
As extensively described in this article (Church Ceremony-Here’s What to Know), the entrance and after the celebrant’s final blessing, the bride and groom can choose any song they like always remembering the sacredness of the hosting environment because these 2 moments are not liturgical. Also to be considered is the mode chosen by the bride and groom for the entrance there tend to be 3 types:

1.Separate entrance – The groom waits outside the church for the bride to give her the bouquet and then makes his entrance under the arm of his mother. Next it is the bride’s turn under the arm of the father. In this case, 2 independent songs can be provided for groom and bride or a common song for both; in the latter case, the bride’s entrance is detracted from.

2.Entrance together – This is a solution that the bride and groom choose when one of the 2 parents is missing (mom for the groom or dad for the bride), or when the couple has already been living together for a few years and perhaps has children… Here an entrance with children in tow to act as pages will surely be exciting, and again a single song will accompany the family’s entrance.

3.American Entrance – The groom waits inside the church together with all the other guests for the bride’s arrival. A light background music accompanies the wait and then gives way, as the bride appears at the churchyard door, to the song chosen by the bride for her entrance

The possibilities for these moments are varied, and with the exception of the wedding marches that tend to be reserved for the bride, the following songs may already be a good alternative for the entrance of both:

Remember that whatever you choose, the celebrant has the final say and the ability to put vetoes by following the curia’s directives or by personal choice-don‘t make the mistake of thinking that everything is always possible! We recommend that you consult with the priest before you start choosing songs for your ceremony so that you also understand the degree of freedom you are allowed or any restrictions imposed. As anticipated where permitted, there are no constraints on what your entrances and the final part of the ceremony. In fact, the liturgy with its restrictions ends with the priest’s final blessing: from this instant on and for as long as you remain in the church you can, by prior arrangement with the musicians, play practically anything but without lapsing into the tacky and remembering the sacredness of the place you are in.
Here are some examples:

  • La vita e bella (N. Piovani) -Cinematic masterpiece also made so by a sparkling, upbeat soundtrack
  • Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie (Y. Tiersen) – Again, the cinematic aspect was also amplified by a romantic and compelling soundtrack
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow (I. Kamakawiwoʻole) – A timeless song remade by different artists that alwayslanes a great message of hope

Hallelujah and Hail Mary

When we ask the bride and groom to tell us a song for these two specific musical moments except in rare cases, the choice falls on “Hallelujah by L. Cohen” and “Ave Maria by F. Schubert,” too bad, however, that both of these songs are not liturgical pieces, and, more often than not, they are not allowed to be performed!
At least not within the liturgy, you know that by now.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article though, don’t take anything for granted and don’t start out biased, some priests allow spouses to do these tracks so why not try? If then instead the grant does not come you can choose good alternatives for example:

  • Hallelujah (G. Caccini)
  • Hallelujah (A. Mozart)
  • Hallelujah – (G.F. Händel)

As a prayer to Mary if Schubert fails you can opt for:

  • Ave Maria – C. Caccini
  • Ave Maria – C. Gounoud

For the other moments of the liturgy among the most popular songs we find:

  • Panis Angelicus (C. Franck)
  • Ave Verum (A. Mozart)
  • The Virgin of the Angels (G. Verdi)
  • Domine Deus (G. Rossini)
  • Aria on the Fourth String (J. S. Bach)
  • Sweet Feel (R. Ortolani)
  • Dona Nobis Pacem (R. V. Williams)
  • Traumerei(R. Schumann)

These songs are well-known and classic pieces; Entrust them to professional, master orchestrators who will enhance their sounds and amplify their character while moving you and your guests with skillful mastery. Get advice and help in the choice of songs or lean on our agency that will put you in the best conditions to achieve the maximum result with the minimum expenditure of energy and time.
Alongside the institutional songs, simple melodies can also be evaluated, serving as accompaniment and background music at different moments from the entrances, to the exchange of vows and rings where the solemnity of the moment should emerge and the music should not distract attention from the bride and groom and their words.

Musical instruments

From the ‘ pipe organ, featured in the larger churches, to the more obsolete keyboards, acoustic guitars,from theharp and to the string quartet, there are no particular constraints on the use of instruments during the rite. This is a moment where more than the instrument, it is crucial that the chosen piece be performed in the best possible way in order to give the right emotions, all connected to the importance of the place chosen for your ceremony.
In fact, the choice made will affect both the formation and the repertoire, for example, a cathedral or cathedral requires the use of a pipe organ or amplification, and the repertoire will certainly be more classical with soprano or tenor voice. In contrast, a parish choir, where provided, gives no room for other choices; the instruments in this case will be the keyboardor guitar while the repertoire is undoubtedly more modern. A Gospel choir fits perfectly into a more sophisticated setting, many people like it because of the feeling of joy that the repertoire sung in English conveys especially when it ends with Oh Happy Days undisputed hymn to happiness.
Duo, trio, how many instruments do you recommend?
The answer lies in your taste, and this also applies to the choice of a voice, female or male. There are no rules for the number of instruments, there are only rules for the right pairings, but for these technical details, the professionals will guide you.
Be open to considering proposals and try as much as possible to understand the effect you would like to experience.
If you have any questions or concerns I will be happy to help you, write in the comments and I will give you some tips if you have any doubts.

The civil repertory

Unlike the musical repertoire of the religious ceremony, which is subject to constraints and restrictions, in a civil ceremony everything is allowed. Give preference to songs more appropriate to the instruments chosen during the ceremony and the style of the ceremony. Think of a Celtic harp playing a song by Enya, or even famous soundtracks from Once Upon a Time in America to New Cinema Paradiso or songs that have marked the couple’s lives . Very special is the
wedding march by Queen
or even famous songs by groups such as
and the
which, played for example with a violin, become very romantic. Remember, however, that the civil ceremony should tell your love story; you can customize it to your liking from music to readings. Do not experience it, as a civil ceremony, only as something to be experienced quickly, a practice to be hurried through. Build it, curate it, mold it to your liking and tailor it to your couple. Before even choosing the repertoire you determine the lyrics–customized–of the entire ceremony, and you will go on to choose the number of songs and the times to play them. In short, let your imagination run wild, but stay consonant with the style you have decided to give your wedding.

That said.

I hope you have found useful insights, ideas and advice on this article and before we conclude we leave you reminding you that we often say it “Marriage is a live movie; You can’t go wrong because you can’t buy a memory” so remember to entrust the music for your ceremony to professionals you will see that you will not be disappointed.

I am Paolo Furlan founder of the music agencies Wedding Symphony specializing in ceremony music and Wedding Music Fun specializing in wedding music and entertainment. Follow our social channels to stay up to date with the latest news and get helpful tips on how to best plan your wedding!
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