Music for the Nuptial Mass

The celebration of the sacrament of Matrimony is one of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. As such, the marriage ceremony must maintain the norms of good sacramental liturgy. A pre-eminent aspect of good liturgy is the use of liturgical music within the rites of the Church. In order to ensure that church norms are followed, the planning of the Rite of Matrimony and the choosing of appropriate liturgical music should be done by the couple and the Director of Sacred Music. Visiting priests should observe all church norms as well as established parish policy.

Essential Music
Music chosen for a wedding must bring all who attend into full, conscious and actual participation during the liturgy. With this in mind, the following is a list of times when music is essential to the wedding liturgy:

The Liturgy of the Word

  • Responsorial Psalm
  • Gospel Acclamation

The Liturgy of the Eucharist (only if a Mass has been requested)

  • Offertory Antiphon
  • Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)
  • Post Consecrationem (Memorial Acclamation)
  • Post Doxologiam (Eucharistic Prayer ““ Conclusion)
  • Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
  • Communion Antiphon

Other Music
There are other moments when music can be used prayerfully at the liturgy.

Processional Music

  • Seating of the Mothers
  • Entrance of the Bridal Party
  • Entrance of the Bride

The Liturgy of the Eucharist (only if a Mass has been requested)

  • Preparation of Gifts (can be instrumental, sung by choir, cantor or all) *after offertory antiphon
  • Communion Song (can be instrumental, sung by choir, cantor or all) *after communion antiphon
  • Hymn of Praise (can be sung after communion by all) *optional
  • Recessional (usually instrumental, but can be sung by choir, cantor or all)

Appropriate Musical Choices
The Church offers this guidance when choosing particular music for any wedding liturgy. “Particular decisions about choice and placement of wedding music should grow out of three judgments:

  • The liturgical judgment: Is the music’s text, form, placement and style congruent with the nature of liturgy?
  • The musical judgment: Is the music technically, aesthetically and expressively good, irrespective of musical idiom or style?
  • The pastoral judgment: Will it help this congregation to pray?” (Liturgical Music Today #29)

Therefore, secular music (popular love songs) is not appropriate for use during the wedding liturgy. Secular music is best sung at the wedding reception, the rehearsal dinner or other wedding and engagement festivities.

The church documents make no provision for pre-recorded music during the wedding liturgy. Live liturgical music with actual participation of the congregation is normative.

Processional March Suggestions

May be used for the seating of the mothers:

Bach/Gounod, Ave Maria
Franz Schubert, Ave Maria
J.S. Bach, Arioso

May be used for entire entry march or for bridal attendants:

Jeremiah Clarke, Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
John Stanley, Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Prelude (from Te Deum)
André Campra, Rigaudon (from Idomenée)
Johann Pachelbel, Canon in D
J.S. Bach, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

If you want a second march for the bride only, one of the following is recommended:

Joseph Mouret, Rondeau


Hymn suggestions for use during the Offertory, Communion, and Hymn of Praise:

O God, from Whom Mankind Derives Its Name
O Perfect Love
Set Her as a Seal upon Your Heart
The King of Love My Shepherd Is

Responsorial Psalms

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Ps. 33)
I will bless the Lord at all times / Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. (Ps. 34)
The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion. (Ps. 103)
Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands. (Ps 112)
Blessed are those who fear the Lord / See how the Lord blesses those who fear Him. (Ps. 128)
The Lord is compassionate toward all His works. (Ps. 145)
Let all praise the name of the Lord. (Ps. 148)

 Gospel Acclamation

 If we love one another, God will live in us in perfect love.

Recessional March

Henry Purcell, Trumpet Tune in C Major
Ludwig van Beethoven, “Ode to Joy”
George Frideric Handel, Hornpipe (from Water Music)
George Frideric Handel, Allegro Maestoso (from Water Music)
Benedetto Marcello, Psalm 19
J.S. Bach, In Thee is Gladness


Please let us know the names of any additional musicians who will perform. List the pieces to be performed. Please indicate if NO organ accompaniment is required.

Musician’s honorarium: Organist, $200. Cantor: $150. Instrumentalists may be acquired, but as these will be outside the church, their honorarium is at their discretion.

After having met with Laura Ricketts and selected texts from the Lectionary, please contact the Director of Sacred Music, Chris Ricketts (540-662-5858 x404 or to discuss the music selections.

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