Church Weddings, Priests. Rules, versus the Bride's wishes

Hello all.

This year I have had the interesting experience of speaking with several priests, officiants,

and church coordinators regarding weddings, wedding music, what the churches allow, what they consider to be "spiritual" and etc.

It's a controversial topice as many bride's especially would like the music they love to be performed in the church.

The Catholic Church maintains that "secular" songs such as any song by (here is a list of some song composers

that are considered to have written mainly secular music):

George Gershwin

Cole Porter

Frederick Loewe

Henry Mancini

Duke Ellington

Marvin Hamlisch

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Francesco Sartori (composer of "Con te partiro")

The Beatles

Billy Joel


Led Zeppelin

Billy Idol


Red Hot Chili Peppers

Cold Play

The Verve

..and many more...

to most Catholic Churche's these composers, even if the bride is the star of the day,

are not allowed to be performed in the church.

I am writing this Blog as it's a very difficult question and issue to work through as the musicians

receiving the requests and knowing that these kinds of songs are not considered spirtual by the church, although

the songs can be very pretty songs and have personal meaning to the bride/groom!

On the one hand the church is providing a sacred space to hold the wedding and they consider that their rules

are to be respected. On the other hand the bride is the star and it's a once in a lifetime very special day for her

so.....what shall the musicians do?

If we mention to the bride that the church may not approve of the selection, she will not be happy.

If we decide to honor a request that is not considered spiritual and not accepted for performance in the church

and then while we are performing the request the Priest is looking at us in horror..

really we don't like to be in this position.

One of our motto's is that we will coordinate as needed with the venue, church or

with a wedding coordinator who is in charge towards the best possible communication with the ultimate

goal of ours being to provide an outstanding musical presentation that shall enhance the

wedding day greatly.

Therefore, when we are in this position we sometimes truly must defer to the authority of the house

of God where we are performing and their rules and we are truly sorry if that we as the "messengers"

of whatever is fully decided by the Priest, are not bringing the news that the bride/groom

would like to hear regarding their song request!

I am a huge fan of Beatles songs, Billy Joel songs ( I recorded for him as a part of a string section

on his album "An Innocent Man") and many pop artist's however I do feel that it is not up to us or up to the bride herself if she is having her wedding at a church,

to make these choices and out of respect for the church and house of God where the wedding shall be held

we must leave the decision making up to the Priest.
This is a suggestion however if the Priest maintains a strict rule about the contemporary songs and asserts strongly that these kinds of songs are not permitted in the church during the wedding please ask the string quartet or trio or

your band or DJ to be sure to play the special song at the reception!

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