I often get asked by couples planning their wedding ceremony about planning a church wedding ceremony - what goes into it and what or how many songs are needed.
I have decided to lay out an example of a wedding church ceremony to help anyone planning their wedding. This is the general layout of an Irish church wedding ceremony.
I have highlighted the parts that require music or song.
- Entrance procession (Music - This is the big entrance, common pieces include "Canon in D" or something Irish like "Tabhair dom do Láimh". Or else a song can work nice here e.g. "She Moves Through the Fair")
- Introductory Rite
- Lighting of the Wedding Candles (Music - something short here. This is played as the bride and groom are lighting their individual candles. I usually like to play a slow Irish reel on flute e.g. Absent Friends)
- Penitential Rite
- Opening Prayer
- 1st Reading
- Responsorial Psalm (Music or Song - this is usually sung but music can be played here instead. Its often a good idea to check with your priest first, they can be picky! An example of a song here is "On Eagles Wings")
- 2nd Reading
- Gospel Acclamation (Music or Song - usually "Alleluia" is sung here, but again you can choose different)
- Rite of Marriage
- Blessing and Exchange of Rings
- Lighting of Marriage Candle (Music - again this candle ceremony can be brief but it's nice to have some music playing as the bride and groom each take a light from their individual candles and light the marriage candle to symbolise their joining together. I like some Irish music here again e.g "Inis Oirr")
- Prayers (Newly Married Couple and Prayers of the Faithful)
- Offertory Procession (Music - while the gifts are brought up to the alter e.g. "Mo Ghile Mear")
- Communion (Music or Song - "Ag Críost an tSíol" or a song "Fields of Gold" "You Raise Me Up")
- Reflection (Music - my favourite part of the mass. Everyone is quiet here and reflecting on the ceremony just gone, the momentous agreement they have entered into ;) and the excitement of the day ahead. I love a song here "All I Ask of You")
- Wedding Blessing
- Signing of the Register (Music - this is where everybody starts to get a bit rowdy as the bride and groom get to the business end of things and sign on the dotted line! Something loud and lively works here - personally prefer some rousing jigs or reels)
- Recessional/Dismissal (Music - the part where everybody waves the bride and groom out the door. Some common options - "Fields of Gold", "The Voyage" or a lively Irish jig "Haste to the Wedding". This selection is usually fairly open and in general the priest doesn't mind what you have here so anything goes!)