Classical Wedding Bells

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - 12:05 PM

I have to confess that I didn't spend too much time following the story of Chelsea Clinton's wedding. However, yesterday I found myself surfing the Web looking for news of any music that was played during the ceremony.  There was no mention that I could find.

To this day, I remember vividly the excitement in the classical music world when Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana back in 1981. I was so nervous for her!  I still love the piece of music she sang that day - "Let the Bright Seraphim" from Handel's oratorio Samson. I even worked on it myself when I was in graduate school.

I think that having great music at a wedding is not necessarily an easy thing to pull off. It's hard to avoid being cliche. And being appropriate to the occasion can be tricky, too. So, I'm curious to know what you think works -- and what doesn't!


More in:

Comments [73]

Frank from Brooklyn

Congratulations! Let me share an embarrassing experience. As an amateur organist I was asked by one of my medical school classmates (Yale 1968) to play for 15 minutes before her wedding. I took along a limited amount of music. Unfortunately the bride was superstitious and would only enter the church when the minute hand on the clock was going up. She arrived 2 minutes late and my 15 minute performance turned into 45. I had to make up songs just to keep the audience entertained. I have stopped playing for weddings!

Aug. 25 2010 03:38 PM
Herbert & Karin

No comment on wedding music, just wanted to wish you all the best and let you know that we still cherish the 2007 China journey in your company.

Aug. 18 2010 05:55 PM
Donald Williams from Jacksonville, North Carolina

Best wishes for a life filled with joy and beautiful music together. Let it be everything from The Grateful Dead to "Ain't It A Beautiful Mornin" to "Send In The Clowns" to "In Paradisum".
Best Wishes!

Aug. 17 2010 01:48 PM
Michael Meltzer

Congratulations to Ms. Woolsey and very best wishes.
Regarding Mr. Myer, if Handel: Organ Concerto #6 was a "challenge" to American Guild of Organists Fellow and National President Charles Dodsley Walker, he must not have been feeling very well that day! That doesn't sit.

Aug. 14 2010 05:28 AM
bob myers

For my first wedding (1967) I chose some superb classical music for the prelude, featuring Handel's organ concerto #6 which genuinely challenged our organist (at Church of the Heavenly Rest, Manhattan) but made a huge impression on my mother-in-law. The processional and recessional were not very original, starting with the "Jeremiah Clark" Trumpet Voluntary. When, a widower, I remarried in 2007, music was more of a challenge, since my wife-to-be has a Swedish daughter-in-law. Happily, I discovered Johan Helmich Roman, sort of the Swedish Mozart. He actually had the perfect music - which I suggest you broadcast, "Drottningholm Music", or "Music for a Royal Wedding". It's great [although, after a listening session with our organist at Holy Family Church, we made a different choice].

Aug. 13 2010 05:09 PM
Mary G from Bronxville

Weighing in late, my first thought was of the many "There is Love" 's (although not classical) I strummed and sang for weddings years ago. Also Bernstein's "One Hand, One Heart". But I recall vividly, Midge, the story you once told of your friend KT Sullivan's wedding, at which the bride marched from the altar after the "I Do's" to a rousing Halleluja Chorus. I would have liked to have seen that!

Aug. 12 2010 06:48 PM
Zerlina from new york

For a Jewish wedding, nothing beats the hauntingly lovely sounds of Sephardic music - ancient songs from Spain and the Sephardic diaspora. Gerard Edery has recorded some beautiful Sephardic wedding music: Sons of Sepharad: Scalerica de Oro; Morena: Ya Salio de la mar la Galana, Daughter of Zion and Lie Down Beside Me; Linda Amiga: No la puso su madre; and Dai de Cenar: Dai de Cenar*** (two versions). Enjoy!

Aug. 12 2010 04:08 PM
Ken Thompson from NYC

There are a couple of operatic duets that I think could be used to wonderful effect in a wedding. The first, from Die Zauberflöte, is the charming Pamina & Papageno duet called "Bei Mannern". The other is the gorgeous finale of "L'incoronazione di Poppea", Nero & Poppea's duet, "Pur ti miro".

Aug. 11 2010 11:34 PM
Bill from Chelsea

For what was officially called a ceremony of "celebration and blessing," my partner and I were indeed blessed with the musical and liturgical resources of one of the city's large Episcopal churches.

We entered (chapel, not main sanctuary) to the Charpentier "Te Deum" overture and went out to the eternally glorious Mendelssohn "Wedding March." For the Eucharist, a quartet from the professional choir sang Haydn's "Little Organ Mass," and immediately after vows and exchange of rings, they sang the great trio, "Soave sia il vento," from "Cosi fan Tutte."


Aug. 11 2010 04:34 PM
AAF from Long Island

Congratulations, Midge and Jerry, and all best wishes for your future together!

A long time QXR listener,
AAF (aka Anne)

Aug. 10 2010 05:40 PM
Chris Bulson

Congratulations Midge and may love abound!

I once attended a wedding where the recessional was "Lady be Good" played on a beautiful church organ by an 80ish lady and marvelous organist who would play anything that was requested.

Aug. 10 2010 03:57 PM
Libby from Garrison, New York

Congratulations, Midge, and much happiness to both of you.

My husband and I were married last November in a tiny chapel overlooking the Hudson River in Cold Spring. All of the music was provided by wonderfully talented musicians who are also friends we have made since moving to our country home. Our recessional was "Make Our Garden Grow", by Leonard Bernstein, arranged and played as a piano solo by a dear friend. It was magical, and (as another post suggested) so appropriate for the occasion. I still tear up every time I hear those words.

Aug. 10 2010 03:49 PM
Meera Thompson from New York City

Congratulations! And thank you Midge for inventing the term "modern elopement" which I am now going to use to describe my own tiny wedding at Appleton Chapel at Harvard a thousand moons ago. May I suggest that you adopt the answer I use when I am asked if there was music? I joke that we had Four Minutes and 33 Seconds of Silence by John Cage. May you and your husband always have songs in your hearts!

Aug. 10 2010 03:31 PM
Bernard Negrin from New Jersey

Midge, where are my manners!!!!
Congratulations and long life to you, your husband, and family. My the sun shine on your life as it does in "A Paradise Garden".


Aug. 10 2010 03:13 PM
Chris Madsen from Olympia, Wash.

Wedding Bells? Why not have a handbell group play at weddings? Handbells can play almost any kind of music. There are gorgeous arrangements of many hymns, many classical pieces. Some handbell groups rival professional ensembles; others are not so good, so be sure to "audition" them first. Most groups are associated with churches and play at least once a month during a service--a free audition for you! I've played at a number of weddings with different handbell groups, and the reaction is always very enthusiastic. It's "different" in a gorgeous way. A quick trip to and a click on Area Connections will give you an email address for someone near you.

Aug. 10 2010 03:11 PM
Bernard Negrin from New Jersey

At a recent wedding, L. Bernstein's final song from Candide, "Make Your Garden Grow", was suggested by the bride. They did not used due to a lack of an orchestra , soloists, and a chorus, which the bride felt was necessary.

Aug. 10 2010 03:05 PM
Thomas from Sparta, NJ

In case you didn't get this message on the comments board: congratulations on your marriage, Midge! I hope Jerry knows how lucky he is to be marrying a pretty Oklahoma girl. I'll bet he does. (I'm a Tulsa native myself.) Good health and long life to you both!

Aug. 10 2010 03:04 PM
Frances from Tarrytown, NY

Midge- Congratulations on your marriage! Wishing you and your husband many happy and healthy years together.

For my wedding 20 years ago, my husband and I selected Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks as the recessional. It is still a favorite of ours today!
The solos during the ceremony were from Bernstein: "Somewhere" and "One Hand One Heart." These selections were especially appropriate since we have different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

My appreciation for your continued work with classical radio.

Aug. 10 2010 02:30 PM
Dorothy from Westwood, NJ

We had Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Prelude from Te Deum as our recessional almost 11 years ago. How nice to hear it on WQXR's playlist this morning.

Aug. 10 2010 01:00 PM
Leland from Hartsdale

Hello Midge,
Congratulations on your and Jerry's wedding.
There is a recent release on the BIS label that might be of particular interest to both of you. It's Johan Helmich Roman's Drottninholmsmuiken "Music For A Royal Wedding." Andrew Manze leads the Helsingbor Symphony Orchestra.
Recording and music are both captivating. You might enjoy adding it to you personal library. My wife and I love listening to our copy. Kind regards.

Aug. 10 2010 10:08 AM
Elaine Amella from Charleston, SC

Of course, it all made sense when I opened the Sunday Times Style Section and saw the wonderful story about Ms. Woolsey's romance and marriage a week after Chelsea Clinton's! The only thing that was missing was her wedding music, which I hope she shares with us on her return. Best wishes and congratulations from one who had "Hear Comes the Sun" by George Harrison at her wedding many, many, many years ago!

Aug. 10 2010 09:50 AM
Kris Smith-Morasso from Westfield,NJ

My husband & I met singing in the Kirkpatrick Chapel Choir @ Rutgers University during our college years in the 70's.We were married there in 1982 with our dear friend David Drinkwater at the organ.I had originally selected Mendelssohn's "War March of the Priests" as my processional but was a tad superstitious regarding the sketchy title so I opted for the overture to Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks" instead.Bach's "Bist Du Bei Mir" was sung during the service and we recessed to the Vesusberg music from Wagner's Tannhauser.

It was a spectacular setting with glorious music - the perfect beginning to 28 years (and counting) of love,adventure and fun!

Congrats to you, Midge and your new husband.I hope you enjoy your time together as much as we have.

Aug. 10 2010 09:16 AM

Midge got married??? DARN.....( now we'll never sleep together) least ....its unlikely

Aug. 09 2010 10:26 PM
Bonnie Gustafsson from Bloomfield, NJ

Congratulations! I read the announcement in yesterday's timed and was delighted to see you were married in St. Thomas's. That is my favorite church, and I can t hink of no more glorious place for a wedding!

I'm sure your music was wonderful. As a former (and now sometimes substitute) organist/choir director, I can well appreciate how difficult it is to pick the "right" music and not be cliche. I remember one wedding I played for--two hours before the ceremony, as I was leaving for the church--the bride called and asked if I would play a former Top Ten hit (the name escapes me), and when I said no, she asked for "Color My World" by Chicago. Right, on a Cassavant pipe organ! NO. I don't remember what I played, but it was probably same old, same old.

And I agree, "Let the Bright Seraphim" is spectacular for a wedding. Two of my sisters had chamber ensembles playing the Pachelbel canon, which was quite different back in ithe '70s. I'd love to know what you chose.

Best wishes!

Aug. 09 2010 12:33 PM
Helen Turner from Hillsborough, NJ

Warmest wishes to you and your husband as you begin your lives together. Your continued professionalism and charm on WQXR makes the day brighter and calmer. Meanwhile, PBS is the loser and so are we as we cope with the fund raising without you.

Aug. 08 2010 10:15 PM
Annette Shandolow-Hassell from North Bergen

I took, "love thy neighbor" literally and married the man next door. We met while having a car towed away, and to this day, we don't know who the owner was.

So, right off the bat, our marriage was going to be a quirky affair. Eric is from London, and when he told me he played dixieland jazz, I laughed for hours! It didn't go with the persona I had of him.

I'm Hawaiian-Jewish, so we had a kosher luau. Eric's band gave up a paying gig to play at the reception. They played songs like, "Blue Luau".

For the ceremony, a dear friend played selections from "Water Music" on an electric piano that he called, "the appliance".

We married in the garden of a Polynesian restaurant, and the centerpiece, was a kosher chopped-liver pig, molded on a bed of matzohs with a carrot lei and a yamulka. It was priceless!

My mother fainted.

That was 28 years ago, and we're still on our honeymoon. We wish Midge and Jerry the same happiness!

Aug. 08 2010 12:09 PM

You are such a lovely person! I'm happy for you. May this be the most wonderful marriage ever.

Aug. 08 2010 11:40 AM

As the mother of an upcoming bride, I'd be grateful for selections that don't require us to hire a chamber orchestra! What wonderful pieces have others used that employ the talents of a talented organist?

Aug. 08 2010 10:10 AM
Rosemarie Gates

At my wedding - which was in the garden of a country inn - a friend with a beautiful tenor voice sang Nessun Dorma from Turandot while another accompanied him on a synthesizer. Lovely!

Aug. 08 2010 09:44 AM
Cindy and Ricardo Legorreta from Union Square

Because my husband is a merchant seaman, from New Orleans and came to visit NY in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our romance and marriage started out as a friendship, forged during a very sad time. My taste in music is, like Midge Woolsey's, eclectic, and my deep love for classical music is, if anything deepened and informed by our love for Cajun fiddle, Stephen Sondheim, Eric Clapton, Louis Armstrong, Cole get the idea. And, while the wedding music discussion really piqued our interest (we were married at City Hall, drat), I do recall however, with heartwarming clarity the day I received an email from Ric, then away at sea, asking me, "What are you doing the rest of your life?" Thus, now and forever that utterly exquisite Bergman/Legrand song, will linger in memory: signifying our defining moment - the 'moment we got serious'. Maybe - considering a piece that has deep personal meaning counts, in an odd way, for listeners like us as 'get-married-music', no? And Congrats, dear Midge..blessings to you and your husband. Be happy - for the rest of your life!

Aug. 08 2010 09:43 AM
Rich from Tenafly, NJ

As our recessional 50 years ago, we used the wedding music of Figaro and Susanna from the Marriage of Figaro

Aug. 08 2010 08:39 AM
Lynne Werner from Seton Hall University

My wedding of almost 21 years ago was a mixed bag of sacred, gospel, classical and folk music with liturgical dance. Our processional piece was Handel's Judas Maccabaeus, See the Conqu'ring Hero Comes, set to lyrics composed by a friend, entitled, Hail To the Victor! (The Victor referring to Christ, not my husband!) I had Paul Stookey's Wedding Song, sung by a Benedictine Monk friend, playing a 12 string guitar to which the liturgical dance was performed by a sister friend of mine. I put my husband-to-be to work at our wedding, playing piano with our gospel choir which he directed. They sang Oh, How He Loves Me and You. But it didn't stop there. At our reception was a grand piano and after the meal, my husband sat me beside the piano where he played and crooned two songs for me to the delight of our 220 quests, Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Barry Manilow's Can't Smile Without You. My only regret was that nothing was videotaped!

Aug. 07 2010 03:29 PM
Randy & Corwin Frost from Bronxville, NY

We are doing the final planning for our daughter's wedding at the end of this month so your blog struck a responsive chord. The diversity other's choices is impressive and reassuring. No two weddings should be alike! For what it's worth, our choices are:
Prelude Suite from Handel's Royal Fireworks Music, Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C Major, Jeremiah Clarke's Procession Trumpet Voluntary, and for the closing procession, Widor's Toccata from Symphony V.

Aug. 07 2010 09:26 AM
Wendy from New Jersey

Midge, you are a class act on both TV and radio. May you and your husband enjoy many years of happiness together.

Aug. 06 2010 09:07 PM
Michael Meltzer

My Daughter was married in the Quaker Meeting House in Rockport, Maine, which is open on three sides and surrounded by a beautiful garden. On that warm spring Saturday, a bunch of her fellow Bates College alums showed up, surrounded the meeting house with their period instruments and offered up Renaissance music before and after the proceeding. The perfect weather, the greenery, the aromas of flowers and cut grass and the intensely personal music all came together as though the world had been fine-tuned to perfection just for the happy couple.
In retrospect, the musical revelation is that when you take Renaissance music out of the artificial and academic atmosphere of the recital hall, which didn't exist 400 years ago, and put it in a pastoral setting in the context of a wedding, you realize how visceral and sensual Renaissance music really is.

Aug. 06 2010 03:28 PM
Sherry from Westchester County

My son recently asked me if he would be able to understand King Tut when he spoke with him in heaven. I told him that language in heaven is like music, where everyone understands everyone else, even without saying anything. The most beautiful wedding piece has to be Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits. I knew when I heard it for the first time one beautiful, clear and starry night that this would be played as our wedding processional. And so it was.

Aug. 06 2010 01:57 PM
Brendan from New York

While my wedding's still far off, I've decided that I have to have the Liszt transcription of the Mendelssohn Wedding March as the recessional. But first I have to find a pianist who can handle it... Check it out:

Aug. 06 2010 12:48 PM
Lisa Kende from New York

As manager of my daughters' classical string ensemble, the Kende Trio, which has played hundreds of weddings the past decade, I offer many ceremony options to the traditional Mendelssohn and Wagner including "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and for couples seeking a more modern touch, Elvis "Can't Help Falling in Love" or Beatles "All You Need is Love" for recessional. Meditation from Thais makes a stunning bridal processional with the couple relishing those few moments of calm as the musicians play to the end of the piece before the ceremony begins. I always remind young couples that their ceremony music should appeal to their guests of all ages, but in the end, it's all in the execution. Once a couple chooses music that is meaningful to them, top musicians and fine arrangements can make virtually anything sound great and appropriate!

Aug. 06 2010 11:08 AM
Roberto from New Jersey

Congratulations !!!

Aug. 06 2010 09:03 AM
sean pender

Congratulations to Midge on her upcoming wedding. We are so happy for you

Aug. 05 2010 06:36 PM
Kathy from Southport

Our son and daughter-in-law used The Triumphal Entry of the Queen of Sheba for their recessional. (Going in the wrong direction, I suppose!) For the processional they used Pachelbel's Canon.

Aug. 05 2010 04:32 PM
Derek rodriguez from Queens, NY

I think the 2nd movement of Mozart's Eine Kleine Natchmusik would be a great choice for a wedding. Wedding music should be smooth, light, and joyful, not dark nor dramatic.

Aug. 05 2010 04:06 PM
Barbara Petroske from Manhattan

I don't have a comment about wedding music but I have selected several pieces to be played at my funeral (and I don't consider this maudlin): Handel's Largo from Xerxes, preferably Eric Leinsdorf's 60's recording with chorus; baritone solo from Gluck's Orpheo et Euridice; Shubert's entre-acte #3 from Rosamunda, Puccini's intermezzo from Suor Angelica; Beethoven's Romance #2 with Isaac Stern; that's just the classical pieces; I also have C & W and two old popular songs.

Aug. 05 2010 03:31 PM
carol from Manhattan

In 1958, my late husband and I shocked the assembled guests by having the organist at our wedding play the Jeremiah Clarke trumpet voluntary. (We'd wanted the Purcell, actually, but for some reason, he couldn't transcribe it for the organ.) Early music was just being "discovered" then, and we loved it. But I have to admit, walking down that aisle, that I kind of regretted my choice. Where was Wagner when you really needed him?
Anyway, years later, watching Charles and Diana marry, I was shocked to hear the Purcell. How could they have possibly learned of our own processional choice of 22 years before!! (And how cutting edge we seem to have been!)
We stayed married for 44 years.

Aug. 05 2010 03:14 PM
Mary Heller from Poughkeepsie, NY

For our wedding processional back in 1958 we chose "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven" which we understand was also the processional used by Queen Elizabeth. Our recessional was "Psalm 19". Our daughter chose "Trumpet Tune" (with trumpets) for her processional, also "Psalm 19" for the recessional, and during the ceremony a soloist sang "Exultate Jubilate". Post recessional was Widor's "Tocatta" from Symph. V.
My husband, a Lutheran pastor, has officiated at over 400 weddings; some music has been spectaculor; some ???

Aug. 05 2010 03:09 PM
Andrea from Morristown, NJ

Forgot to add that John Williams's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" makes for a vibrant and triumphant march down the aisle following the ceremony.

Aug. 05 2010 03:08 PM
Andrea from Morristown, NJ

That part of Aaron Copeland's "Appalachian Spring" that is a rendition of "Simple Gifts" . At the very end of that movement, the music becomes triumphant andthe cadence very processional.

Aug. 05 2010 03:05 PM
Barbara from NYC

My mother was an organist and always hoped brides and grooms would choose great classical music other than Wagner and Mendelssohn from a list of appropriate choices she offered. I like Bach for processionals, and I remember something by Lully being especially festive. One of my favorite recessionals was Campra's Rigaudon. As a singer, I was pleased friends chose Beethoven's "Ich liebe dich" and Dunhill's setting of Yeats' "The Cloths of Heaven." I think it's nice to have some hymns also -- especially if the congregation includes musicians. The Presbyterian Hymnal offers new words to a lovely old tune, "sursum corda," I think, that are particularly moving without being trite.

Aug. 05 2010 02:25 PM
Judy from Westchester County

Pietro Yon's Ave Maria.

Congratulations on your wedding!

Aug. 05 2010 02:10 PM
Flute Lady from Manhattan

I grew up in Philadelphia where I listened regularly to the (regrettably now defunct) classical station, WFLN. Every night before the midnight show, they played a few minutes of the most haunting piece I'd ever heard, which started out with a solo flute (my instrument) against lower strings. I was dying to know what that gorgeous music was! One night, to my delight, the announcer said that they'd had so many people contacting the station asking for the title and composer of that stunning music that they were now going to play it in its entirety. It was the Faure Pavane Opus 50. Many years later, when asked by the musicians for my wedding which music I wanted them to play while I marched down the aisle, there was only one possible choice! My fiancee, himself a skilled flutist, was happy to agree, and my friends and family, not familiar with the piece, were amazed at its beauty and appropriateness for the occasion.

Aug. 05 2010 02:08 PM
Ted Hunter

Three daughters. I found the music for the last of the three weddings to be traditional, but slightly different. Not as imaginative as most of the ones I've read here, but I liked it! The bridesmaids processed to Purcell's Trumpet Voluntary, but as the bride started down the aisle, the organist switched to the Lohengrin. Mendelssohn was used for the recessional. One unique feature... upon reaching the altar our trumpeter played Schubert's Ave Maria with the organ accompaniment. So beautifully that it brought tears. By the way, all three marriages are still going strong after 25 years.

Aug. 05 2010 01:32 PM
John Goodwin from Demarest, NJ

I seem to be the third person to mention "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen". Nemet announced her engagement with this piece. In fact she didn't say she was getting married in words until several weeks after she announced it with music.
Best wishes, we (listeners) are all very happy for you. John Goodwin, Demarest, NJ

Aug. 05 2010 01:25 PM
Jesse Levine from New jersey

Most gorgeous: the nocturne from the Borodin String Quartet, or in its vocal form "And this is my beloved" from Kismet. I wanted it for my wedding but the wedding singer had a sore throat and couldn't hit the notes, so we got a pop song of the time.

Aug. 05 2010 01:04 PM
Ben Robinson from Midtown, Manhattan

I think that the Thomas Tallis Scholar Singers doing "Spem in Alum" is a wonderful piece of ambient and heroic music to play for a wedding. The soprano will bring tears to avid listeners and the arrangement by this Renaissance master is not to be believed as it is a 40-part motet!

Aug. 05 2010 12:06 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

I think a lovely piece of music to play at a wedding would be the opening music from Gounod's Romeo and Juliette, the balcony scene. The scene ends with Romeo singing an aria that ends with the phrase "May the breeze send you a kiss". Best wishes on your wedding Midge. As for not mentioning Obama's birthday, who cares. This a MUSIC lover's station.

Aug. 05 2010 11:04 AM


When the newlyweds enter the hall after the ceremony, I thouht it might be a good idea for the band to strike up " Entrance of the guests" from die meistersinger.

Aug. 05 2010 11:00 AM
Mark Stubis from Great Neck, NY

I can recommend two pieces from experience, especially if you're willing to add a memorable twist or two. Since my own wedding took place in my living room and we did not have the money or the space for an 80-piece orchestra, I asked a great friend, the conductor/pianist/protoge of Leonard Bernstein and Vassar musicologist Michael Pisani, to play the overture to the Marriage of Figaro -- on the accordion! He pulled off this fiendishly difficult task brilliantly (anyone who knows the score can imagine the sheer virtuosity required). Mozart's great music, performed live, and in a creative medium was a novelty and a tremendous hit. After our vows, I surprised my wife and our guests by sitting at the piano and finishing up with Grieg's lyrical "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen."

Music is tremendously important to any wedding and if you can arrange for live music, or best of all, manage to get yourself and your friends involved, it adds a wonderfully memorable, even magical, grace note to all the proceedings.

Aug. 05 2010 10:52 AM
Alan Polinsky from Brooklyn


Mazel Tov! I was listening to Jeff Spurgeon this morning who mentioned a review of a Knights concert in the Times today. In the review it mentioned you did not attend the concert because you got married. May the both of you have a long, happy and healthy life together.

Aug. 05 2010 10:11 AM
Arlene F from Huntington, NY

I first heard Grieg's "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" as a teenager, listening to Duncan Pirnie. Fell in love with it and immediately ran out and bought the recording. Ten years ago, we used it as the recessional for my daughter's wedding. It's a very happy, joyful piece. Very appropriate, as Grieg wrote it for his own daughter's wedding; Troldhaugen was his summer home.
For the processional we used Bach's "Arioso in G" and Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary" for the bride's entrance.
For my other daughter, the processional was Purcell's "Trumpet Tune" and the Clarke; the recessional was the Mouret "Rondeau" (the Masterpiece Theater theme).

Aug. 05 2010 10:05 AM
Marissa from Poughkeepsie

Since my husband and I are string players, we asked our friends to play in a string orchestra at our recent wedding. The prelude included several movements from Grieg's Holberg Suite, Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus (sans choir), Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium (arr. for strings) and an arrangement of the tenor solo from Wachet Auf for the bridal processional. We walked out to the Rigaudon from the Holberg, because of the violin/viola duet (that we had performed in an orchestra together while dating). Grainger's Molly on the Shore rounded out the recessional.

Aug. 05 2010 09:57 AM
Lily in CT

@Sarie from Long Island - We also used "Ode to Joy" for our recessional. The music for the processional was Jeremiah Clarke's "Trumpet voluntary in D." And this was before it was played during Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding. No Mendelssohn or Wagner for us!

Aug. 05 2010 08:20 AM
Ken Moore from New York

I always like sentimental tunes and the 19th-century gave us some good ones. At one wedding I heard "Drink to Me Only" and "Believe me if all those endearing young charms". It was not only different and beautiful but brought tears to the eyes.

Aug. 05 2010 08:02 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

It's obvious from all the messages below that the music is as individual and unique as those being married. It speaks more than all the toasts raised at the reception.

My wife chose Paul Stookey's Wedding Song, Three Coins in the Fountain and the Triumphal March from Aida as we left the church. I'm glad to see that many people have bypassed the traditional wedding songs and broadened their repertoire.

I reprised the vocal pieces at our 30th renewal of our vows.

Aug. 05 2010 07:50 AM
Hope Brown

I hope you are planning YOUR wedding-- I heard you refer to your fiance a few weeks ago. I think any music the bride and groom love is fine. The next musical event in a church or house of worship may be the funeral, and we can select it, but not listen to it. Unusual and meaningful is best. The trumpeter was drunk and way off key at my daughter's wedding, and the marriage is fine. Best wishes to the rolls royce of radio! thank you hb

Aug. 05 2010 12:47 AM
sleon9254 from Manhattan

I play in a wedding quartet in Manhattan. I love playing the Hampton String Quartet's arrangement of Procol Harem's ""Whiter Shade of Pale" that has Bach's "Air in G" embedded within it. Last weekend we played Led Zepplins "All My Love" for the brides processional - it was truly elegant!
Susan from
The Dolce Ensemble

Aug. 04 2010 06:18 PM
Martin from NYC

The last comment reminded me of an Orthdox Jewish wedding where the music was "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." I am sure no one in the wedding party had any idea but I was cringing throughout the entire processional.

Aug. 04 2010 05:11 PM
RICHARD BRODE from Hoboken, NJ

As an organist, I find it's a great question - so many different opinions and tastes that I've had to sort through the years.

The best music was just a few months ago - two men, members of the 152 year old Lutheran congregation in Hoboken who traveled at midnight to Connecticut to be married by an uncle who was a retired Lutheran pastor from upstate NY followed by an afternoon blessing in the church. It was a grand affair. Music? We chose Charpentier's Prelude to his TeDeum which began with a solo tympani fanfare followed by organ and trumpet. Glorious. The wedding ended with Handel's LaRejouissance with organ, trumpet and tympani. It certainly reflected the joyous occasion.

Aug. 04 2010 05:08 PM
Dr.Martin Feuer

Attending my friends' daughters wedding a few years ago, her Northwestern roomate sang two arias, an "aspiring opers singer".I don't recall the arias, but they were sung beautifully.
Mary Dunleavy has since had a marvelous career(Met Opera), and will open this NYC Opera season singing the lead this season in Strauss "Intermezzo".

Aug. 04 2010 05:04 PM
Kelly Walsh from Upper East Side

We had Fauré's Pavane and Handel's Passacaglia. I had to actually track down the music for the Passacaglia. It didn't work out very well. The marriage that is- the music was great.

Aug. 04 2010 05:02 PM
mMarie-Amina Thiam from New York

This is not about wedding but Birthday, it is Mr. Obama's birthday today and you did not mention it once on the air today!! He is turning 49.
His wife opened a Birthday card on facebook that every one can sign and comment.
I listen to your radio everyday, thank you for such a great company.
Nothing to say about wedding music, I would not recommend the piece played at mine as I divorced few years later.I did my best to forget everything about the event as fast as I could... Ah Ah ah. Handel sounds like a great choice though but I do not go do weddings so I am not a good help.
Pleasant day to you.
Kind regards

Aug. 04 2010 05:01 PM
Thomas from Sparta, NJ

I played the "Largo" from Handel's "Xerxes" (also known as "Ombra Mai Fu") as a processional for my brother's wedding. For one of my brothers-in-law's wedding I sang Thomas Moore's "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms," whose words express to me what a marriage should be about. For mine? A bluegrass band played "Take Me Back to Tulsa, I'm Too Young to Marry." I was born in Tulsa, and my mother laughed hysterically!

Aug. 04 2010 05:00 PM
Sarie from Long Island

We had "Ode to Joy" as our recessional - it was unforgettable. I didn't hear anything about Chelsea's music.

Aug. 04 2010 04:37 PM
Custos Libros from NYC

I cringe every time I hear "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"--sends a bit of a mixed message to me.

Best thing I ever heard in a church wedding: Exsultate, jubilate (K. 165, so early!). Sung by a wonderful professional mezzo whose international career was just taking off, she was a friend of the bride and groom. The couple are still happily married thirty years later!

Aug. 04 2010 03:26 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Follow WQXR 







About WQXR Blog

Read WQXR's coverage of classical music news, trends, commentary and more here at the WQXR Blog.