Bridal Procession
  • bwhitmore
    Posts: 3
    I wonder what the response should be to a bride who requested walking down the aisle to the singing of "How Great Thou Art"?
  • I'd be fine with it.

    My cousin wandered down the aisle at her wedding (which I didn't play at) to an instrumental version of a tune by a band called Paramore, so "How Great Thou Art" is several steps above that.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,703
    So long as she is singing it...
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 362
    My cousin wandered down the aisle at her wedding (which I didn't play at) to an instrumental version of a tune by a band called Paramore


    Did they name their children "Not-pitied" and "Not-my-people"? Are they fond of raisin cakes?
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  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    It depends on whether or not you're ok with this. I personally wouldn't be, but how to handle that with the bride would be outside my area of expertise since I don't have any experience being the DM for a wedding (I know, I was a DM for 3 years and never once had to do a wedding). Perhaps others can be a better guide to you, and I would also be interested in what those individuals have to say.
  • I would not countenance this, even though, theologically, there is much worse being done at weddings. It is not worthy of being done at any ritual office of the Church. The key in saying 'no' on the grounds that it is appalling musically and utter drivel literarily, is knowing whether or not the pastor will stand behind you. He should, but many have no spine when it comes to brides, and worse, their mothers. If you know that your pastor will back you up (as well as insist that you, as The Parish Organist, have first and final right to all weddings) then say no and kindly offer a few more apt choices. Some brides appreciate that you care and respect your knowledge. Others couldn't care less about anything except what they want and feel entitled to.

    You might want to discuss this with your pastor, explaining your judgment about the piece and your justified aversion to it as ritual music. What comes out of such a meeting may determine your course of action. If you know that he will back you up the field is yours.
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  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Okay, the battle might be lost by such a heavyhanded tactic, even though the DM really needs to be backed by the priest. As ritual music in that moment, it is inappropriate. It’s far less inappropriate, say, at the recession than much of what is offered elsewhere, and while it isn’t my favorite, it isn’t too bad musically or literarily in the scheme of things. So YMMV.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,715
    Maybe the bride is actually devout and wants to emphasize that the wedding is an act of worship. That is a wonderful thing. So how to do that?

    There are other hymns of praise that would be better for a wedding entrance procession: e.g., "O God Beyond All Praising". To emphasize that the couple is coming before God for a sacrament, and not just having a princess-fantasy celebration, they can enter together. It makes a great difference!
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  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,442
    So in the U.S., 'great' is not an alternative word to FAT? I know here in England people would giggle at this especially if the bride... errr, how shall I say this... 'enjoys her food'.
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  • Liam
    Posts: 3,703
    Tomjaw

    "great with child" would be understood by Americans familiar with old usage, which is not many, but that's the only way that usage survives here in any meaningful way.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,952
    tomjaw, in the sense that Americans are some of the most obese people on earth, your use of "great" is understandable. I haven't heard great used for fat, but it is often used to indicate large in size. In my southern U.S. area, where many expressions have English origins, the word is often used in the regional expression, "great big," followed by the name of whatever is being called great big.

    Unless, of course, you are referring to U.S. teenagers who seem to have only two words in their vocabularies, "great" and "cool."
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  • There are other hymns of praise that would be better for a wedding entrance procession: e.g., "O God Beyond All Praising". To emphasize that the couple is coming before God for a sacrament, and not just having a princess-fantasy celebration, they can enter together. It makes a great difference!


    If one day I wed, walking in with my bride to "O God Beyond All Praising" is exactly how I want to process in.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,952
    The hymn I have most often heard is, "O perfect Love, all human thought transcending..."
    Has that one about run its course?
  • music123
    Posts: 98
    I would tell her, as we have been reminded, that the people are not going to sing for wedding processionals. Other than that, if you have given her other alternatives and that is what she wants, there are really far worse things in the world.
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  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 411
    Just for the fun of commenting:

    My experience is that the most challenging thing to determine for a wedding is indeed the piece for the entrance of the bride.

    I am doing EF, and take it for granted this is an instrumental, but the problem is always to find the right organ piece that rolls along in the right processional sort of way without being too long.

    The last two pieces that I have used for this purpose were the Introduction-Choral from the Suite Gothique by Boellmann, and the Plein Jeu from the Suite du Premier Ton of Pierre du Mage.





  • I've never heard 'great' as a descriptor of 'fat'. When wishing to avoid the somewhat unkind 'fat', I have drafted 'adipose', which has always been seemed a great choice.
    Often do I use 'great' in reference to a woman who is with child.

    About great: Henry the Bad is said to have weighed 400 pounds when he died. This would make him very great, even though there was nothing great about him, except ego. Oh, and he, believe it or not, bequeathed his soul to our Lady of Walsingham!
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  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    Only related in terms of the title of this thread - my sister would like to "process" to THAXTED when she is wed. Of course, what she would really like (because I told her it would be neat) is to process to an arrangement of Jupiter, ending, upon arrival at the sanctuary, with a grand iteration of Thaxted.

    Do any of you happen to have already come up with such an arrangement of the themes from Jupiter that could work in such a way?
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 115
    Has anyone tried to have the groom and the bride enter simultaneously? After all, they are the joint ministers of the sacrament about to be celebrated. (And having the bride be "given away" rather smacks of chattel.)
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  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    Chaswjd, I've seen blog posts of couples having done just that. I think it seems rather a nice idea.
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  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Additional data point:

    At our wedding (EF) the cong relation sang "O God beyond all praising" for the long entrance of the sacred ministers, and then improvisation on that theme for the bride.
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  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,442
    In Switzerland the tradition is Bride and Groom enter together, that is what we had at our wedding (in Switzerland), we got married in a small chapel so no organ, but we did have all the chant Propers etc. E.F. of course!
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  • Liam
    Posts: 3,703
    IIRC, that's actually the default norm in the rite of matrimony.
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  • Having the bride enter in her own procession by way of presenting herself to her husband-to-be, and immediately being given away by her father (or whoever is responsible for her) is a time honoured and lovely practice, which, in toto, really makes all the sense in the world because it is grounded in the objective reality of familial, blood, and interpersonal human relationships viewed from an historic Catholic, not to mention fundamentally human, perspective.

    However, as it seems most people nowadays have gravitated away from such (presumably) 'antiquated' concepts of gender roles, and extended familial ties and obligations, it makes no sense at all for the bride to have her own procession and, in a purely pro forma and utterly meaningless vestige of bygone mores, be 'given away' by anyone. Continuing this emphasis on the bride, in the attitudinal climate in which we live, is nothing more than a preposterous exercise in feministic narcissism.

    Given these realities, why, pray, should not the bride and groom process together in due and mutual humility to perform a sacrament in which they are both (so it is said) equal partners!?
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  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    Ours was E.F., as well, but the groom entered with the priest, et al from the sanctuary. If I had thought about it at the time, I probably would have attempted having us come in together - not certain that it would have gone over well, though.

    This summer I've been surprised by the groom following behind the priest during that part of the processional. I can't recall having seen it before now, but it happened at every single wedding for which I was the cantor.
    The last wedding had the priest, the groom, and then the groomsmen; 1 by 1. Random.
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  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,442
    Here in England it would be unthinkable for the bride and groom to enter (the church) together, the English 'tradition' of the Bride entering with her father and being given away is very strong.

    I presume different rules / customs apply at civil ceremonies...
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  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,532
    Am I a bad person for wanting the traditional Wagner/Mendelssohn sandwich for my (very improbable) wedding?
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  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Yes.

    Purple if you wish.
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  • Yes!
    (Almost purple - more purple than not.)
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  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,532
    If I could be provided reasons why besides the usual trite response of "but they're anti-Semitic!!!", I will reconsider.

    Pachabel's Canon, on the other hand, is off the table completely. I have standards, after all.
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  • Since it's a wedding Mass, and How Great Thou Art is an acceptable alius cantus aptus (even if it's not something you prefer), there seems to be no real argument against using it as a wedding procession.

    However, having said that, the one time this was requested of me I said "Oh that's a good one - we sang it at my grandmother's funeral!" The bride moved on to other options...
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,808
    Almost purple - more purple than not.

    Isn't it nice to have a place we can come and get in our exercise.
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  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Jared, is it not inappropriate for what’s going on in that moment? That and hymns based on the Te Deum seem best suited as recessional hymns, and that's before one considers it’s just the bride.
  • Stimson,

    Everything which is admitted to the House of God, to be used for the worship of God must be fitting for the worship of God.

    Pope Pius X commented (mostly speaking of Italian operas by Verdi and various works of Schubert, but by no means exclusively these) that music which was written for secular (or even profane) purposes and which retained those profane associations could not be admitted to the Church's public worship of Almighty God.


    (There: until this parenthetical remark, I haven't mentioned anti-Semitism. I would find it hard to believe Mendelssohn, who was Jewish, after all, to be anti-Semitic).

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  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,532
    CGZ, from what I've read on the forum, you have "legit trad street cred", so I will accept this answer.

    I was going to posit the question as to whether the extensive use of these pieces outside of their usual context would deprive them of their secular character, but seeming how I'm watching the film version of Midsummer Night's Dream right now with Jimmy Cagney running around in a Donkey's head, I think that point would be moot.

    As for the anti-Semitic remark, I kid thee not, CGZ, the comment was made to me about both composers. Because facts are hard.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,808
    Mendelssohn was second generation Lutheran. The Nuremberg racial definition of Jewishness was after all an innovation.
  • ...I have standards, after all.


    Mendelssohn and Wagner for your wedding???
    And you said that you have standards????????
    How cute!

    Now, if you were an (donkey) Mendelssohn's musical fable might make sense.
    Or, if you saw your wedding as a pagan ritual and were going out afterwards to commit suicide with your bride, Wagner might be just the thing for you.

    Something tells me that you are made of finer stuff.
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  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,532
    Seeing as how the protestant side of my family already sees my inclinations as 'pagan' - why not own it? I'm actually planning to leave on the next Swan-mobile after my wedding, thank you very much.

    But Pachabel? PACHABEL?!? If you ask me, it's only appropriate for a wedding in order to give the bride and groom a musical representation of the dulling monotony which awaits them after the honeymoon. (Oops, my purple button is broken . . .)

    And yes, I played Nick Bottom in a college production, but I tended to give it a Classical interpretation, even Romantic you might say. I could never hit Rock Bottom.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,952
    I think there is a bit of hysteria about the Wagner/Mendelssohn pieces. They were written for the stage of an era long since gone. Perhaps they were the rock stars of their day, but most now would consider their works as old music. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the younger people have never heard of either of them.
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  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 115
    If you are looking for an "alius cantus aptus" and want something smaller, I have always liked:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3S7VqLjj6g
  • WGS
    Posts: 225
    I have used the attached for the entrance procession at weddings. It's a setting of the E.F. Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.
    What could be more appropriate than "I walk unto the altar of God....my God, everlasting joy, for he is my God."
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  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    If memory serves, Kanon in D is a relatively late-comer as wedding fodder. IIRC, it first gained traction due to its dubious use in the indulgent film, "Ordinary People." I could be wrong, often am.
  • I've only encountered it (Pachelbel's canon) at weddings in the last several years. For any organist who isn't skilled at improvising it is good music that is very easily 'trimmable' as any number of bride's maids enter, and can then be followed by the bride's march. Since I've only heard it a couple of times I can't assert being sick of it - which a few more times would make me. The same may be said for Purcell-Clarke-Stanley voluntaries, and The Duke of Such and Such's March. Improvisation, for those who are capable, is really the best and most fitting thing for such affairs - even if it's only making a 'trumpet tune' out of an appropriately ornamented hymn tune.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,952
    Weddings and wedding music are both a bore. That is why I don't do weddings - not to mention dealing with the obnoxious happy couple and their relatives. Those wedding pieces were run into the ground long ago. Interesting that most couples ask for the same things.
  • What could be more appropriate than "Let us Go to the Altar" by Schutte?
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  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    Canon in D is a lovely, happy, simple piece of music. It has its place in the world.

    Snots.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,715
    If "Ordinary People" (1980) hadn't featured Pachelbel's canon, it would have stayed in obscurity:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b25utpKYrBs
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  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    Does that make it bad or unworthy? It's lasted in current memory longer than Bolero, made famous in the movie "10."
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  • Who can say how wedding music fads begin? Who would ever have thought of Pachelbel's canon as wedding music - unless he had the reception in mind (it really is not apt as ritual music). It's a very fine piece, right charming, and with a certain mesmerising quality about it. Like nearly every piece of good music, however, it can be done to death. Doing things to death seems to be almost de rigueur in the wedding music 'industry'. Some young woman likely heard it over the PA system whilst shopping at Lord and Taylor's or somewhere and it popped into her mind that that was just the thing she wanted at 'her' wedding. Then all the brides to be who heard it there thought that they had to have it, too. And so.... It's a lovely piece and does not deserve to be done to death to the point that it loses its charm. And, it does have more charm (and couth) than Ravel's horrid and gauche mistake. Do we not get tired of hearing Christmas music at the grocer's from August through Christmas eve? Would we not get tired of hearing our favourite music churned out at every event until we never wanted to hear it again. Most of us would... and sooner than later. Pachelbel's canon does not deserve to be made so commonplace that has all the panache of a capet tack - but, apparently, that's just what is in store for it... if it hasn't already happened. One might suggest a Buxtehude passacaglia or chaconne as an alternative - but then, would we wish that upon Buxtehude? No, we wouldn't, would we!
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,703
    Church musicians gets jaded too easily.
  • ...too easily.

    Ha! It takes money, preferably old, to get jaded.
    That lets church musicians out, doesn't it!

    Now, our colleague CharlesW may be jaded - he tells us that he doesn't need money.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,952
    Not jaded, but have seen it all before. There truly is nothing new under the sun in church music.

    The problem with the canon and Bolero is that they are so repetitive. They become boring really fast - sort of like Chinese water torture.

    Jackson, there is a difference between "need," and "want."