Top 10 Traditional Wedding Songs for Your Ceremony
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the perfect traditional song for your wedding ceremony. We are all familiar with the love songs that play on the radio, but many churches have strict rules about the type of music allowed during a ceremony.
Finding more traditional instrumental music is easy, but if you are looking for a more traditional song that can be sung during the ceremony, I have put together a list of my 10 favorite wedding songs. These are definitely geared towards a religious ceremony. I have sung all of these in weddings over the years, and they are absolutely beautiful.
1. "Bless This House"
"Bless This House" by Mary Brahe and Helen Taylor is one of my absolute favorite wedding songs for a religious ceremony. It can be sung with a piano, organ or even a capella if you know a strong singer. The words are a prayer, asking God to bless the house that is being built through the union of these two people. If you have a moment during the prayer section of your ceremony, this is a song that will not only be very meaningful, but will also stir the emotions of the entire congregation.
A Small Sample of the Lyrics:
Bless this house, O Lord we pray, Make it safe by night and day. Bless these walls so firm and stout, Keeping want and trouble out. Bless the roof and chimneys tall, Let thy peace lie over all. Bless this door that it may prove ever open to joy and love.
2. "Ave Maria"
There are actually two different versions of "Ave Maria," and both are lovely. One was written by Bach/Gounod, and the other by Schubert, and both are usually sung in a foreign language (Latin or German). I actually prefer the Schubert arrangement of "Ave Maria" because it is very lyrical and the melody line is so beautiful. This song is also a prayer, and is sung to the Virgin Mary.
3. "Holy Ground"
The song "Holy Ground" by Christopher Beatty and Geron Davis is a very sweet song often sung at religious weddings. This is a very nice song to have performed before the actual ceremony has begun.
When I walked through the doors I sensed his presence And I knew this was a place where love abounds For this is a temple the God we love abides here And we are standing in his presence On holy ground
4. "The Wedding Song"
This traditional standard is by Noel Paul Stookey and was written in the early 1970s. It is more of a folk tune that was a popular song by Peter, Paul and Mary back in the day, but in recent years has been added to the more traditional wedding repertoire. I would particularly recommend this song if you know someone who can play guitar for it.
To me, the lyrics and melody are very intimate, so this would be a better song for a smaller wedding in a church or even perhaps outside, but would not fit for a bigger, more formal wedding.
My favorite part of the song is: "Well then what's to be the reason for becoming man and wife? Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?"
5. "Song of Ruth (Wither Thou Goest)"
While this song is one of the more difficult songs to find on this list, I feel that it deserves a place on here anyway. This song refers to the story of Ruth in the Bible who took her husband's family on as her own family. The song begins with the words: "Wither thou goest, I will go. Wither thou lodgest, there will I lodge, Thy people shall be my people now, Where thou goest, I will go."
It was written by Flor Peeters and has the most beautiful melody. Be sure to listen to the song first, because there is also another version of the Song of Ruth that is often done by choral groups that starts "Entreat me not to leave you." That is not the version I am talking about, although if you hear it and love it, go for it. If you do find the right version, it is done really well if you can find two women to sing it in harmony.
6. "Surely The Presence"
This just a traditional hymn, but it is a wonderful way to start your wedding ceremony. "Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place, I can feel his mighty power, and his grace. I can hear the brush of Angel's wings, I see glory on each face, Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place."
If you know someone who can play the harp or if you are having a string quartet, this can be one of the most beautiful parts of the ceremony!
7. "Wedding Prayer"
"Wedding Prayer" by Mary Hopkins is sort of an old standard as well. It is a very sweet song with lyrics that are going to touch your heart.
May your dreams become tomorrow's memories
May your hopes and plans become realities
May the love you share become a way of life
May each day find you a happy man and wife
May that be your way for all your life.
This is a song by Schumann that is usually sung in German and has a very high sweeping melody that is best sung by a tenor or soprano. This song goes very well during a more formal wedding ceremony in a church or large hall. The basic translation of the second verse is:
You are the rest, you are the peace,
You are the heaven upon me bestowed,
That you love me makes me worthy of you,
Your gaze transforms me,
You raise me lovingly above myself,
My good spirit, my better self.
9. "Amazing Grace"
We all know "Amazing Grace," of course, as this is a traditional hymn. It is a hymn that has deep meaning to a lot of people, though, and if you are having a ceremony that is mostly close friends and family, this can be a wonderful choice for your wedding. Make it even more intimate by adding a guitar or even having it sung a capella (without instruments, only voice).
10. "The Lord's Prayer"
"The Lord's Prayer" is exactly that, the standard Lord's Prayer set to music by Albert H. Malotte. The most beautiful way to sing this song is with an organ in a nice church. I think that out of all of these songs, this is probably my favorite one to sing. If you are having a religious ceremony and want to have a song during the prayer portion of your ceremony, this is my top suggestion.
© 2008 Abigail Cherry