19 thoughts on “Wedding music

  1. The serious problem we’re finding is people who don’t come to church just do not know hymns any more, unless they sang them at school!! Which means things like Sing Hosanna and Colours of Day… (Don’t even think of letting anyone have Colours of Day at a funeral!)

  2. Yes, I get that a lot too. I end up trying to sing them and saying “Oh you must know this one!”

    This wedding I am about to do – the couple took our hymn book home and found three hymns that had the words they wanted. Two were new hymns especially written for weddings I think. One is to the tune Slane so that should be no problem, but it will be interesting to see how they cope with the other one. But its mostly churchy people coming so that should be fine.

  3. I’ve almost given up expecting people to know “The Lord’s my Shepherd” to Crimond.

    On the other hand, “Oh happy day” was sung with reasonable gusto recently as they’d all seen Sister Act!!

  4. Jerusalem and Crimmond appear to be the popular choices for both, along with All Things Bright and Beautiful. I give due warning that if anyone sings any of these at my funeral I shall come and haunt them.

    I did hear of a couple who chose Fight the Good Fight for their wedding.

  5. Ruth, there are half a dozen or so wedding hymns on a back page of my blog. I have never been sure whether it is legal to post links like this, but it has been really helpful for couples choosing hymns. Can anyone advise?

  6. Do you know this sung to the Londonderry Air?

    Oh God of Love, who brought us here together,
    That in this place we may our love declare,
    Oh help us, Lord, all lifelong to continue
    That each to each that selfsame love shall share.
    Let us be true to all the vows we make here
    If we are weak and ill, or well and strong,
    Though rich or poor, in triumph or disaster,
    Oh God of Love, together to remain lifelong.

    Oh God of Love, who brought us here together,
    That in this place we may our love declare,
    Oh help us, Lord, all lifelong to continue
    With all the world that selfsame love to share.
    Let us be true to all of your creation,
    From those at home to farthest distant strand,
    Oh God of Love, together sing your praises
    That love and peace may reign in every land.

  7. And thanks Lissa. One of the ones we used yesterday which was to an unknown tune we ended up singing to the Londonderry Air but it wasn’t this one.

  8. This one may be a home-made job by one of the many amateur poets in my extended friendship/kinship circle who, failing to find the hymn they wanted, wrote these words. I have it only in typescript, so I would guess anyone was free to use it without fear of copyright reprisals.

  9. I remember being quite shocked a few years back at a performance of St Nicholas (Britten) where at two points the audience is required to join in and sing “All people that on earth do dwell…” and later “God moves in a mysterious way ….”. Hymns surely everyone knows? Perhaps not ……. the conductor had to get the organist to play through the tunes and rehearse everyone.

    I do have to admit to being a bit rusty on very modern hymns.

    And I spent whole chunks of funeral a couple of years back studying the words for the final hymn on the sheet and wondering which hymn tune could possibly fit, before it finally dawned that it was the Londonderry Air.

  10. David, I like the modern ones which have sensible words and theology but are sung to well-known tunes. That way you can sing a new one but nobody is toiling with the tune.

    And I know what you mean about folk not knowing the oldies any more.

  11. Hello Ruth,

    Thank you for your blog — I’ve been following for a while. This post spurred me to start putting my own lists together…

    The RSCM publish at

    Click to access weWillRememberThem.pdf

    a list of funeral / memorial / Remembrance Sunday hymns. It’s similar but not the same as the section they put into Sunday by Sunday 33 (from 2005 — if you have an RSCM musician acquaintance you might ask to take a look). They also (in issue 32) had a list for weddings.

    Having said that, I’ve never been that impressed with their lists. So this is how far I’ve got…

    Weddings:
    Love divine
    Come down, O Love divine
    God is love
    O thou who camest from above
    The King of love
    Lord, the light of your love
    Taizé: Ubi caritas
    A new commandment
    Bind us together
    Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost / Taught by thee,
    Let there be love shared
    Now thank we all our God
    Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire

    Less well known:
    Love is his word, Love is his way

    To familiar tunes:
    O God beyond all praising

    Funerals:
    The Lord’s my shepherd
    Abide with me
    All my hope on God
    Amazing grace
    Be still, my soul (Finlandia)
    Thine be the glory
    For all the saints
    God be in my head
    God is love, let heaven adore him
    Guide me, O thou great
    Jerusalem the golden
    Jesus lives, thy terrors now
    Just as I am
    Rock of ages
    The King of love
    All creatures of our God and King (“And thou most kind and gentle death”)
    O love that wilt not let me go
    In Christ alone (a new hymn that’s worth learning)

    Less well known:
    And he shall reign for ever
    I watch the sunrise lighting the sky
    No need to fear (http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk/songs/lyrics/no_need.htm)

    Are we going to see your list?

    James

  12. OK, James here was my list.. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Hymns and Music
    All creatures of our God and King
    All people that on earth do dwell
    All things bright and beautiful
    Amazing Grace
    Bind us together
    Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
    Give me joy in my heart
    Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning
    Guide me, o thou great Redeemer
    Immortal, invisible
    I vow to thee my country
    I watch the sunrise
    Jerusalem (And did those feet)
    Jesus, stand among us
    Lead us heavenly father lead us
    Lord of all hopefulness
    Lord of the dance
    Love divine, all loves excelling
    Make me a channel of your peace
    Morning has broken
    Now thank we all our God
    O Jesus I Have Promised
    O Perfect Love
    One More Step Along The World I Go
    Praise my soul the King of Heaven
    Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
    Shine Jesus shine
    The King of Love my Shepherd is

    Music for the entrance of the bride
    Bridal March by Wagner (Here comes the Bride)
    Wedding March by Mendelssohn
    Arrival of the queen of Sheba (Handel)
    Grand March by Verdi (Aida)
    Trumpet and air by Purcell
    Trumpet voluntary by Clarke

    Signing of Register
    Ave Maria (Schubert)
    Pachelbel Canon
    Jesu Joy of Man’s desiring
    Water Music by Handel

    Music for the recessional
    Grand March from Aida
    Toccata in F minor from fifth symphony
    Fantasia in G minor
    Wedding March by Mendelssohn

  13. Which of the many tunes do you use for ‘O Jesus I have promised’? Whichever it is, it is probably the wrong one for 75% of the congregation.

    This is my favourite for a baptism.

  14. A bit late catching up on this, but I happened to be looking at the suggestions in the New English Hymnal for weddings, and they’ve got Father, hear the prayer we offer on the list. Not something I’d have thought of myself, but what a great idea!

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