For Catholics, the marriage between a man and a woman reflects Christ’s faithfulness and devotion to His Church. Thus, the wedding ceremony - whether done inside a mass or outside the mass - should reflect the same fidelity, passion, mutual respect, and love. Integral to this is the choice of music and songs for the wedding ceremony. This article will help you select appropriate wedding music and songs for your Catholic wedding.
The very first thing you need to find out is whether your Catholic wedding is going to be just a wedding liturgy or a nuptial mass. The wedding liturgy involves only the rite of marriage but without the mass. A nuptial mass, on the other hand, incorporates the rite of marriage into the sequence of the mass. Needless to say, marriage liturgies require fewer songs than nuptial masses. With nuptial masses, you need to select appropriate hymns for the different parts of the mass, as well as for the marriage rite. So, find out first whether you are going to be married in a separate rite or in a nuptial mass.
The next thing to find out is whether the marriage rite or mass will be following the traditional Latin (Tridentine) rite formulation or the post-Vatican II (contemporary) prescription. The two forms vary greatly from each other. For one, the Tridentine formulation uses Latin all throughout, while the post-Vatican II form allows for the use of the vernacular. Both are beautiful and sacred, though, but your choice of music and hymns can lessen the beauty and sacredness of the ceremony. So, carefully select your repertoire.
Catholic Church pronouncements, decrees, and constitutions restrict your choices for what is appropriate music at liturgies. Original soundtracks, pop ballads, contemporary romantic music, and popular hits, therefore, will most likely fail in many of the criteria promulgated by documents governing appropriate church music for Catholic services. To avoid having to go through the hassle of searching through the volumes of Church guidelines, you may want to consult your parish priest, parish coordinator, or your parish’s music minister. The restrictions are set in place and enforced to preserve the sanctity of the liturgical celebration.
You can try looking up music albums that contain Church-approved musical repertoires appropriate for use in a nuptial liturgy or mass. Such albums usually contain approved hymns for the various parts of the wedding mass, as well as musical compositions that can be played or sung before and after the mass or liturgy. Traditional Marian hymns such as “Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary”) and “Salve Regina” (“Hail Holy Queen”), for example, are common hymns sung before and after the mass. There are many Latin hymns that you can choose from, as well as Church-approved songs in the vernacular. Take note, however, that not all classical music compositions can be appropriate for a Catholic liturgical celebration of marriage.
Your choice of music for your Catholic wedding should reflect the sacredness of the sacrament of marriage as well as the reverence that you show for the inseparable bond that marriage creates between you and your spouse. It is important, therefore, to plan your Catholic wedding’s songs and music very well.