As we consider Catholic Wedding Hymns, it is worth noting there are many wedding hymns that transcend denominational and church lines, for example: All Creatures Of Our God And King, and All People that On Earth Do Dwell, though many protestants would know the latter from the “Doxology” tune and with a different set of lyrics. Other songs such as the Lord’s Prayer transcend faith tradition lines, though used less frequently outside of Catholic weddings.
Some older songs typically viewed as Catholic Hymns in the vein of Panis Angelicus and Ave Maria are heard less often in some protestant circles because of theological differences. Panis Angelicus, one of our more popular instrumental arrangements, is a beautiful composition rarely employed in weddings I have played in or attended.
Ave Maria is another well known religious song that has a variety of musical settings, including alternate lyrics composed decades ago to fit Protestant doctrinal parameters. Reverent and familiar, it is probably worth changing the lyric so that it can be used in more weddings. There are many more wonderful Catholic Wedding Hymns we will address in other posts.
It is worth noting that Protestants are not in lockstep on matters of doctrinal differences with the Catholic tradition in hymnody – for example, Lutherans are more comfortable with the lyric of Panis Angelicus than some other denominations, reflecting a view of the Eucharist/communion that is closer to the Catholic than most other Protestants.
On a side note, I have many friends who worship at Orthodox churches; I’ll be talking with them to see if there is intersection between the music they might use at weddings and what we currently offer on our site, and perhaps I will find some wonderful new songs I don’t as yet know exist!
Morning Has Broken is another song we never sang in church when I was growing up, but that seems to be in Catholic and a few other Christian weddings. Somehow, I think it seemed “secular” to my childhood churches because it had been sung by Cat Stevens, or it may been precisely because it was from a different faith tradition that we didn’t get to sing it. We also have an instrumental track (karaoke) of Morning Has Broken.
I wonder how often Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopalian, and Anglican churches make use of the more formal choral works of Bach and other classical composers in weddings – a genre with which many churches would be completely unfamiliar, to our mutual musical detriment, in my opinion.
Click here for more on the theology of the Catholic Wedding Hymn Panis Angelicus.
Helpful article: Great Wedding Hymns For Your Ceremony
Visit our site to hear samples of the most loved wedding hymns on our Wedding Music Samples album.