Wedding Music

This page contains sound extracts of organ music (organ voluntaries) and wedding hymns.
The extracts are in .wav format and range in size from 85Kb to 350Kb.
They were played by me, Neil Hawes, on the organ at St. Mary's Church on 28th August 2000.
Thanks are due to the sound engineer, Ian Hawes.

This page was written to help wedding couples choose their music for marriage services at St. Mary's Church, Osterley, Middlesex, UK (Church of England). But it might help any wedding couples anywhere in the world.

I am the organist and choirmaster at St. Mary's, Osterley, so if you are getting married at our church, you will need to contact me to arrange details (please read this page first). If you are getting married somewhere else, then I probably can't help you on specifics, because I won't know what is available or what is normally done in your church. But the information here might help you!

A normal wedding (in our church) has the following music:

The choice of organ voluntaries and hymns is entirely up to the bride and groom to agree with the organist.

If you going to be printing an order of service, you will need to get this agreement in plenty of time, and also make sure you have all the details correct (composer's names etc.).

The most traditional piece of music for the Bride to enter to is:

Others that are suitable for entry of the bride include:

The most traditional piece for the bride and groom to exit to is:

Other possibilities include:

Music before the service and during the signing of the registers should probably be reasonably gentle and not too loud:

Sometimes, the family will ask a friend or relation to play or sing during the signing of the registers. This is fine, but the choice of music should be discussed with the organist in good time. The couple need to be happy that the performer(s) are used to performing in public and are a reasonable standard.

The church choir might also be asked to sing. The most popular piece is: Jesu joy of man's desiring by J.S. Bach, but others are possible.

The first hymn needs to be a rousing one that everyone can sing. Here are a few popular choices:

The second hymn is often quieter and traditionally is based on a Psalm: here are some possibilities:

The last hymn again can be rousing:

These suggestions are by no means the only ones possible, nor do they have to be in these positions.