Friday, September 28, 2012

My Wedding Planning: Ceremony Music Part 1

Today I want to share some of our wedding ceremony music with you. We had a lot more music than is typical for a wedding, so I will share some now and more later. And I want to add that if you are a bride-to-be planning your wedding, feel free to use any of our ideas or email me to talk about it further.  My husband and I both viewed our ceremony as the most important 45 minutes of our wedding day, by far, and as a classical musician, I spent many hours choosing which music would bring the most beauty to our service. There really is so much to choose from--if you are interested in something other than standard wedding music, I would love to help.

If you're anything like me, the sound of an organ filling a cathedral brings goosebumps to your skin and tears to your eyes, so the organ played a big part in our ceremony. Our wonderful organist joked that I was really making him work, much more than most brides! I think he very much enjoyed it, though.

I chose to walk down the aisle with my dad to Handel's "Largo" from the opera, Xerxes. In this piece, the organist typically begins quietly and then gradually builds in sound all the way to the end. We had the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk out first as the piece was still quiet and mellow, and as the incredibly beautiful and powerful ending approached, the doors were closed, and then opened a moment later as my dad and I walked together down the aisle. It was magical. In fact, the gorgeous sounds filling my ears were so moving that it took a moment for my mind and eyes to focus on who was waiting for me at the end of the aisle! So I had two heart-stopping moments right after each other--when the doors opened on my dad and me as Handel ushered us down the aisle, and when I saw my husband-to-be for the first time that day.

I couldn't find a recording on YouTube that does justice to the piece, but the version found on this recording (track 2) is very much worth the 99 cents. 

In the middle of the ceremony, we had a beautiful voice and piano duet. We hired a gorgeous soprano to sing a piece called "Du Ring an Meinem Finger" ("The Ring Upon My Finger") which is from a set of songs by Robert Schumann. The set is called Frauenliebe und Leben (A Woman's Love and Life). She sang this right after we had said our vows and exchanged our blessed rings. Here is a translation of the poem, written by Adelbert von Chamisso, that Schumann set to music:

Thou ring upon my finger, my little golden ring,
I press thee piously upon my lips, piously upon my heart.

I had dreamt it, the tranquil, lovely dream of childhood,
I found myself alone and lost in barren, infinite space.

Thou ring upon my finger, thou hast taught me for the first time, 
hast opened my gaze unto the endless, deep value of life.

I want to serve him, live for him, belong to him entire,
Give myself and find myself transfigured in his radiance.

Thou ring upon my finger, my little golden ring,
I press thee piously upon my lips, piously upon my heart.

Lovely, isn't it? More to come on our ceremony music in future posts!


  1. Those are beautiful pieces! I'm sure it was breathtaking inside the cathedral. I remember traveling to St. Paul's Cathedral in London during college. The choir was singing, and the whole atmosphere made me start crying, it was so beautiful. Music is beautiful to anyone, in any language.

  2. Beautiful! And I agree with you that the wedding Mass is the most important component of your wedding day.

    We put my husband's late mother, a gifted soprano singer, in charge of the music for our big day. (She didn't sing, as that would have been too emotional for her; but her brother sang "Ave Maria" and "Pani Sangelicus.") For the organ, we hired our old high school English teacher, Sr. Theodore. She was quite elderly and definitely past her playing prime by that point, but we chose her anyway--for sentimental reasons.

    When I came down the aisle with my dad, Sister played "Here Comes the Bride," which I loved--but your trip down the aisle sounds absolutely magical!

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