Pre-Wedding Atmosphere
  • The atmosphere at some weddings is similar to a home team victory at a major sporting event. An organ prelude seems pretty useless in such a situation. At my church we have many different guest priests coming in to preside at weddings, and the liturgical style is all over the map. Our new rector recently celebrated a wedding Mass. About 15 minutes prior to the start time, he welcomed the wedding guests and reminded them that they are in church and invited them to quietly pray. Wow! Has anyone else experienced such a pre-wedding behavior reminder? I tend to think it's a good idea...
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 275
    What helps here, unless it’s clear and the right time of day for the sun to really blaze through the stained glass (rarely) is to keep the lights very low, at the setting we use for Stations of the Cross and reconciliation. Brighter in the narthex so no one trips or collides, and then 20% of full power in the church. Then the windows’ color really pops, and it’s much darker than most places people encounter regularly and more obviously a Quiet And Holy Place Where God Is. And 9/10 times, conversation is kept to a whisper.
  • Not at a wedding, but at a funeral in the EF that had a rather loud and rambunctious family of the deceased, the priest got up at the pulpit before Mass and sternly told everyone to be quiet and have some respect for the dead. (He used also put handouts in the pews at weddings saying, “no clapping, hooting, or catcalling”)
    Thanked by 2CCooze cesarfranck
  • Messiaen as the prelude would kill two birds with one stone, methinks. (Perhaps even three!)
  • I'm blessed with an agreeable baritone voice. Whenever I feel a wedding is getting out of hand during the prelude, I interpose a sung prelude. I don't know if it's something more sympathetic about hearing a voice, or if it is simply the surprise and sense that Something Must Be Happening, So We Should Shut Our Traps, but that usually brings the noise way down.
  • One of our priests posted signs near all of the doors asking visitors to maintain a "reverent silence" prior to Mass. The other, who is a bit blunter, has been known to inform wedding guests that they are too loud; he invites them to pray for the couple instead and save the revelry for the reception.
  • jcr
    Posts: 77
    I knew an organist who would take a hymn under noisy conditions and work up a nearly full organ (he had a 59 rank cassavant) and then suddenly drop to pp flute stops. The last time I heard this someone was screaming out something about aunt Martha's surgery or some such, but the room became much quieter during the rest of the somewhat tame prelude.
  • Actually, I have not encountered this irreverence. I would expect it in most 'evangelical' or Protestant churches, but would be surprised by it in Episcopalian, Catholic, or high Lutheran churches

    I like Schonbergian's solution.
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,367
    1) We speak to God before the service.
    2) God speaks to us during the service.
    3) We speak to each other after the service.
  • 1) We speak to God before the service. 2) God speaks to us during the service... [etc.]
    This brings to mind Mother Theresa's answer when asked what she said when speaking to God - 'I mostly just listen', said she. And 'what does God say', said the newsman. 'He mostly just listens', said she.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Last summer, my dear son was married at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame. It was the most beautiful nuptial Mass I could have imagined with zero problem of noise, commotion, chit chat or anything distasteful. Several things contributed to this: precision planning, beautiful organ prelude that stunned everyone into silence if they weren't silent already, and the grandeur (Beauty) of the basilica itself.

    Our family has offered music at a handful of weddings at our parish and it seems the more those factors mentioned above are employed, the better the outcome.

    Rehearsals are another matter--ugh!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Reharsals...ugh!
    Ah - I do not attend wedding rehearsals since the music is not necessary for the practicing of who stands where and who does what when. If one is talented at improvising on the spot when needed at the wedding, music at a rehearsal is an unnecessary waste of two hours for an organist. I think that it is mostly in Protestant churches that the organist's presence at wedding rehearsals is presumed.

    All one needs to know is how many persons to expect in the procession.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,221
    Yes, I never attended wedding rehearsals. There is totally no point. regarding pre-wedding behavior, I recall one wedding party that destroyed the fence in the parish garden before the wedding.