Wedding Liturgy Planning

Click below to begin planning a wedding liturgy with a planning worksheet:

 

  • Nuptial Mass Planning Worksheet                                 (.doc   PDF)
  • Nuptial Liturgy outside of Mass Planning Worksheet       (.doc   PDF)

Wedding Liturgy Scripture Reading Options

For a list of the scripture reading options for a wedding liturgy, please click each link below:

  • First Reading Options               (.doc    PDF)
  • Responsorial Psalm Options      (.doc    PDF)
  • Second Reading Options           (.doc    PDF)
  • Gospel Reading Options            (.doc    PDF)

At least one reading that explicitly speaks of Marriage must be chosen as the first reading, Responsorial Psalm, second reading, or Gospel reading. These readings are designated by an asterisk (*).

Wedding Music Guidelines

The music for your wedding can be both a source of great beauty and a strong unifying force to draw your guests together in prayer and celebration. Your wedding music is governed by the liturgical guidelines of the church. In general, the music for your wedding should resemble the music done for a Sunday Mass. All music selections must be sacred, in keeping with the sanctity of the sacrament.

The overall principles in selecting music are as follows:

  1. In the Roman Catholic Nuptial Liturgy, every effort should be made to involve the Assembly in "full, conscious, and active participation" in the Liturgy, including elements of the music.
  2. The text of the music chosen should ideally speak of the love between husband and wife as a reflection of God's love for us, his Church. Secular love songs may not be used in the liturgy.
  3. A wedding liturgy is not a "wedding with concert attached." The music selection and the musicians must be servants of the liturgy, not the other way around.
  4. In Roman Catholic Liturgy, we worship together, here and now. Therefore, the Church does not allow recordings, taped music, CD's, or accompaniment tracks in the Liturgy.
  5. Our parish policy calls for at least one of the musicians present for a wedding to be one of our regular parish ministers of music. These musicians a prepared to act as actual ministers of music, not just "soloists." They also know the workings of the sound reinforcement system and can operate it properly to avoid audio problems.

Wedding Musicians

We have a number of excellent musicians at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The most common musical forces for a wedding are an organist/pianist and a cantor (singer who leads the sung prayer and sings the verses of the Responsorial Psalm). However, many additional vocal and instrumental forces are available: guitar, trumpet, flute, strings (individual or ensemble), harp, SATB vocal ensembles, etc. Adding just an extra "accent" instrument or harmony vocals can add extra beauty to your ceremony. These musicians will be professionals, and their fees range from $75-$150 per person, depending on their level of training and experience. The music director can help you explore the options.

Please note that the musicians do not normally attend the wedding rehearsal. There is really no need, since they will organize their own rehearsal at a time when the church is not in use. If you insist on the musicians attending the rehearsal, an extra fee may apply.

"Guest musicians" are welcome to take part in the wedding music, but these must be approved by the Music Director, who can talk with them about liturgical music principles. Sometimes even excellent performers can be lousy liturgical musicians, so care must be taken to ensure the musicians are servants of the liturgy, and not vice versa.

Wedding Music Samples

We are delighted to help you prepare for the sacred day of your Sacrament of Matrimony.  We hope the music listed on this page will help you make music choices that will honor God and his central role in your life together.  We also hope that this music will uplift you and your guests, help you and them participate in the liturgy, and contribute significantly to the beauty and holiness of your wedding.  May God bless you as you prepare for your life together.

Click on each song title to listen!

Prelude:

About 20 minutes of sacred music; can be instrumental and/or vocal.  Purpose is to set a prayerful, reverent atmosphere for your guests.

Title Composer Notes
Air on a G-String Bach
Arioso Bach
Ave Maria Schubert
Hail Mary, Gentle Woman Landry
He Shall Feed His Flock Handel
Set Your Heart on the Higher Gifts Warner
Take Lord, Receive Foley
Wherever You Go Haas, David

Processional(s) and/or Gathering Hymn:

A Processional song is usually instrumental.  Can be one piece for the entire procession, but can also be one piece for the wedding party, with a separate piece for the bride’s entrance. 

A Gathering Hymn is optional. Effectively encourages participation of the entire Assembly, sending the signal that we are participants in this celebration. Particularly useful in mixed (Catholic/non-Catholic) congregations to unite us all in one voice. Cantos invites all to sing and leads the singing.

Title Composer Notes
Entrance Antiphon: "God is in his holy dwelling place..." Bartlett, Adam
All Creatures of Our God and King Tune: LASST UNS ERFREUEN
Alleluia Sing to Jesus Text:Prichard
Canon in D Pachelbel
Canon in D with Gathered in the Love of Christ Pachelbel, Haugen The most oft-used wedding processional (Canon in D), adapted to include bride's procession and segue into the Gathering Hymn. Canon in D can certainly be used with a different gathering song, as well.
Choral Song Wesley
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (May the grace of Christ...) Bach Violin is an excellent addition. Often used for wedding party.
Joyful, Joyful We Adore You Beethoven One of the most familiar melodies of all time (from Beethoven's 9th). Good text of love, good chance in getting the Assembly to join in singing.
Glory and Praise to Our God Schutte
God, Who Created Hearts to Love Text: Ridge Very familiar hymn melody in most denominations, with excellent wedding text.
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling Text: Wesley Very familiar hymn melody in most denominations, with excellent wedding text.
Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark's March) Clarke The most oft-used processional for the bride. Trumpet adds a great deal.

Gloria:

Title Composer Notes
Roman Missal English Chant
Simple Latin Chant
Mass of Wisdom Janco
Mass of Renewal Stephan Gloria begins at 00:46 in video
Mass of Spirit and Grace Manalo

Responsorial Psalm:

Title Composer Notes
Psalm 34: Taste and See Guimont, Michel
Psalm 34: Taste and See Keil, Kevin
Psalm 103: The Lord is Kind and Merciful Guimont, Michel
Psalm 103: The Lord is Kind and Merciful Haugen, Marty
Psalm 103: The Lord is Kind and Merciful Manalo, Ricky
Psalm 128: Blessed Are Those Who Fear the Lord Guimont, Michel
Psalm 128: Blest Are Those Who Love You Haugen, Marty
Psalm 145: I Will Praise Your Name, My King and My God Haas, David
Psalm 19: Lord, You Have the Words Haas, David
Psalm 33: Lord, Let Your Mercy Be on Us Dufford

Gospel Acclamation:

Title Composer Notes
Celtic Alleluia Walker; O'Carroll
Mass of Wisdom Janco, Steve Alleluia begins at 2:15 in video
Mass of Renewal Stephan, Curtis Alleluia begins at 3:01 in video
Mass of Light Haas, David Alleluia begins at 3:04 in video
Mass of Spirit and Grace Manalo, Ricky

Preparation of Gifts:

Assembly hymn, instrumental selection, or silence.  A good chance to involve the Assembly in song.

Title Composer Notes
Be Thou My Vision Tune: SLANE This Irish folk melody is very well known, with beautiful text on focusing on God in all areas of our life.
God Who Created Hearts to Love Text: Ridge Very familiar hymn melody in most denominations, with excellent wedding text.
Shout to the Lord Zschech Very widely-known popular setting. Text of praise for God and His mighty love.
Take My Life Underwood Pop setting of text of offering one's life to the Lord for Him to transform in His will.
The Servant Song Gillard Fairly well-known hymn that's easy to join in on even if not previously known. Excellent text.
We Have Been Told Haas Well-known contemporary setting of text paraphrase on love from John's Gospel.
When Love is Found Haas This English folk melody is well known, with excellent text of the struggles and triumphs of marriage.
Where Charity and Love Prevail Text: Ubi Caritas

Eucharistic Acclamations:

Title Composer Notes
Roman Missal English Chant (Holy, Mem. Acc., Amen)
Simple Latin Chant (Holy, Mem. Acc., Amen)
Mass of Wisdom Janco Acclamations begin at 4:24 in video
Mass of Renewal Stephan Acclamations begin at 5:45 in video
Mass of Spirit and Grace (Holy, Mem. Acc., Amen) Manalo

Lamb of God:

Title Composer Notes
Roman Missal English Chant
Simple Latin Chant Angus Dei begins at 00:38 in video
Mass of Wisdom Janco Lamb of God begins at 7:15 in video
Mass of Renewal Stephan Lamb of God begins at 8:23 in video
Mass of Spirit and Grace Manalo

Communion:

An appropriate song or psalm.  The Assembly should participate in the singing, and the song should ideally speak of our love and unity in the Body of Christ.  In general, songs in verse/refrain form work best, because the cantor can sing the verses, while the Assembly can sing the refrain, even while processing for Communion.  In general, only one Communion song is needed.

Title Composer Notes
Communion Antiphon: "Blessed are the pure of heart..." Bartlett, Adam
I Am the Bread of Life Talbot Very widely-known popular setting of "the" Eucharistic text from John's Gospel
Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All Faber

One Bread, One Body

Foley Excellent choice. Well know, solid text of unity and communion.
Psalm 34: Taste and See Haugen Widely-known setting of text from Psalm 34 and an excellent communion psalm.
Psalm 63: My Soul is Thirsting for You Angrisano Pop-style setting of the excellent text of Psalm 63. Assembly joins in on refrain; cantor sings verses.
Ubi Caritas 9th Cent. Chant
Ubi Caritas  Hurd

Recessional: 

Joyous, festive music.  Usually instrumental, but can be a vocal piece or congregational hymn.

Title Composer Notes
Eccossaise Clarke Excellent choice that's "off the beaten path".
Hornpipe from Water Music Handel Probably the most-oft chosen recessional. Joyous and festive.
Prelude to Te Deum Charpentier Joyous and festive, especially with trumpet
Trumpet Tune Purcell Joyous and majestic, especially with trumpet

More Information

  • For the complete guidelines on music for your wedding Mass, click here.
  • For a worksheet to plan music for a wedding Mass, click here.
  • For a worksheet to plan music for a wedding liturgy without Mass, click here.
  • For information on the Roman Catholic Wedding Rite, click here.

©2017 Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Ekklesia 360