Sometimes I'm asked about wedding hymns because the bridal couple or their families want to incorporate one or two in their wedding.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. Your accompanist could weave your chosen wedding hymn(s) into the prelude.
Or you could have a vocalist sing a hymn as the last song in the prelude right before the processional begins.
Other options are to include it within the actual ceremony itself such as right after a prayer or during the unity candle/sand ceremony if having one. It could be performed vocally or instrumentally.
Know that your church accompanist and/or church hymnal are excellent sources for wedding hymns.
And lastly, occasionally & especially if held in a church, the couple will have a hymn sung by the congregants. If that choice is your wish, make a quick read of the following tips.
Hymns are often very familiar to vast numbers of Christian church-going people, and therefore:
Why? First of all, most people are self-conscious about singing in public to begin with.
You want a good singing response, especially if it is being digitally recorded so go with familiar!
All Creatures Of Our God And King
All Creatures Of Our God And King is a very well-known hymn often performed with great gusto on an organ.
However, it doesn't have to be, as shown by the video just below. Listen as this hymn is performed with a beautiful simplicity by the masterful classical guitarist, Christopher Parkening. No need to say more!
Looking for a version with much grandeur and gusto played on an organ? Listen as the famed organist, Diane Bish, performs this hymn. If you're feeling drowsy, this version will revive you quickly!
Composed by John Newton, Amazing Grace needs no further introduction as it is one of the most universally known hymns & can be obtained in so many varying arrangements & easily performed by a variety of instruments. This video features a lovely contemporary piano version. Take a minute to relax & enjoy it!
Be Thou My Vision
Another very well-known hymn, Be Thou My Vision is an old Irish hymn that was translated into the English version Be Thou My Vision by Mary Byrne in 1905.
I chose this video mostly to showcase the fact that wedding hymns have many different arrangements and that they can easily be incorporated into a wedding in unique ways.
As you'll see in the first part of the video, it was performed as the mother's processed & it featured a very unique arrangement. The video is rather long at 7:15, but it segues into other music right after the mothers are seated.
(And while you're watching, observe the beautiful front archway!)
Bind Us Together
This hymn is a much more contemporary one having been written in 1974. One advantage is that it is not very long and is also not difficult to play.
Refrain: Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, Lord, Bind us together, Lord, Bind us together in Love.
Verse 1: There is only one God, There is Only one King. There is only one body. That is why we sing.
If using congressional singing with this hymn, I would recommend repeating the refrain, and then ending the song. Short, sweet and to the point!
Blest Be The Tie That Binds
Another well-known hymn that is often used at weddings, it is also short, and as usual, if singing it, I'd recommend the first 2 verses only.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Yet another familiar hymn, it is used in various parts of a wedding ceremony such as for the wedding prayer or as part of the ceremony's postlude. Obviously, this video features the congregants singing at an outdoor wedding accompanied by stringed instruments.
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Melody: Ode To Joy)
This music is a very traditional piece of music from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, written in the early 1800s, when Beethoven was reported to be completely deaf & that the only place he heard it was in his head! In fact, it is said that he had to be turned to face the audience to realize their ecstatic response.
However, it is performed very untraditionally is this clip of the Prince's & Sophia's royal wedding in Sweden. Given the stately venue of this beautiful & stately cathedral, this particular arrangement probably, shall we say, "knocked some socks off"! Whether you approve of the arrangement or not, it's worth it to watch the entire video just for the beauty of it!
Just as importantly, take note that it is being used as their recessional. Another example of thinking outside the box!
The next clip of the same song is performed in the traditional manner. No matter how it's performed, it is an upbeat, celebratory tune that some couples include in their wedding...often for their recessional.
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Another song often used as a wedding hymn, the lyrics have been paired with various melodies. As such, no video example has been included here. The lyrics can be found in many regular church hymnals.
O Perfect Love
Out of all the songs in a Christian hymnbook, this is probably one of the most commonly used songs as a wedding hymn for a couple of reasons, one being that it is not long & secondly, its lyrics. Carefully read them. They are ideal for the occasion, especially if sung.
Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us
This hymn is also well-known to many church attending people as it stems from the 1800s. For the fun of it, two very different versions are included here, the first being a piano arrangement with lyrics and the second is an elaborate arrangement performed by Tre Voce, a power house trio of classically trained sopranos, at a wedding.
When Love Is Found (aka The Gift of Love) (Melody: Water is Wide)
The first video is When Love Is Found, in which around 1978, Brian Wren paired an old English melody with Biblical text (much like Hal Hopson did in 1971) & arrived at this hymn. After listening to the lyrics of this gently flowing piece, you'll have to agree that the words do make for an ideal wedding hymn.
The second video is the O'Neill Brothers piano & instrumental arrangement & features no accompanying lyrics. However, I've provided them below. After reading them, you'll have to agree those lyrics by Hal Hopson adapted from 1 Corinthians 13 text are equally suitable for a Christian wedding. Hence, The Gift Of Love. Its lyrics:
Verse 1: Though I may speak with bravest fire, and have the gift to all inspire, and have not love, my words are vain, as sounding brass and hopeless gain.
Verse 2: Though I may give all I possess, and striving so my love profess, but not be given by love within, the profit soon turns strangely thin.
Verse 3: Come Spirit, come, our hearts control, our spirits long to be made whole, let inward love side every deed, by this we worship and are freed.
Words or not, I have performed it on the harp many times in wedding preludes and it has always been well received.
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