Hymns and Readings

Choosing your hymns and readings

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The hymns you sing at your wedding are your choice! The list that follows are some of those more often used, but you are not limited to these and there may be other hymns, at least a Scripture Reading and perhaps other readings or poems you prefer. You might want to think if there is anyone in your family who might like to read these, otherwise, we are happy to.

Most people like to choose hymns they know. This usually means they know the tune, and many hymns can be sung to different tunes. The important consideration is the words. Do the words of the hymn say what you want to say about your marriage? Worry about the tunes later! The first 4 are special wedding hymns set to well-known tunes. This means that you do not have to choose “All Things Bright & beautiful

Normally you would choose 3 hymns, though sometimes 2 or 4 are appropriate.

The clergy and Musical Director are always willing to help and advise in the choice of hymns. The priest conducting your service will want to discuss your choice of hymns with you a few months before the service. Most people find 5 or 6 they would like and then narrow it down to the required number when they talk in detail about the service. Remember that you are responsible for providing the words for the congregation to sing. Sometimes this can be done by using the church hymn books but not all the hymns are in the one hymn-book. Quite often couples provide a special service paper for their guests. Discuss the format of these with the clergy before you have them printed.

Click on the links to find a version from YouTube


Music normally used at the entry of the Bride

1 BRIDAL MARCH Wagner
2 FINALE FROM ROYAL FIREWORKS Handel
3 ODE TO JOY (Symphony No 9) Beethoven
4 TRUMPET TUNE Charpentier
5 CORO FROM THE WATER MUSIC Handel
6 TRUMPET AIR AND INTERLUDE Vann

Music which can be used on entry or departure

7 TRUMPET TUNE Purcell
8 TRUMPET VOLUNTARY Clarke
9 WAR MARCH OF THE PRIESTS Mendelssohn
10 GRAND MARCH FROM AIDA Verdi
11 TRUMPET VOLUNTARY Stanley
12 CANON IN D Pachelbel

Music normally used at the end of the Service

13 WEDDING MARCH Mendelssohn
14 ARRIVAL OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA Handel
15 THE WATER MUSIC Handel
16 NUN DANKET ALLE GOTT Karg-Elert

You can also visit https://www.yourchurchwedding.org/article/hymns-for-your-wedding


Hymns

To the tune of “Jerusalem”

We gather here, we gather now,
drawn by the love we know and share.
We come to celebrate in our joy
the union of this special pair.
To them our hearts reach out with love,
on them the light of heav’n above
shines down in grace abundant and free
to bless them both eternally.

And we who join to wish them well,
offer them both our love and pray’r
that they may walk in fullness of life
the journey they have come to share.
That they may know if storms come near
that they have friends and fam’ly here
for we commit ourselves to pray
and love and cherish them each day


To the tune of “I vow to thee my country”

These vows of love are taken,
as rings of love received,
we witness here among us a mystery believed:
that in God’s holy presence a union has begun
and these your precious children
have now become as one.
For the things of earth and heaven
draw closer as we pray,
and in heav’n the angels celebrate with us
on earth today.

For all our many blessings
we offer thanks and praise,
for gifts of love and fellowship
our thankful hearts we raise.
God’s hand has held us safely and
brought us to this day,
God has guided and protected
and taught us on the way.
For the love we learn on earth
is the love we’ll find in heav’n
and the human love we celebrate
is love that God has giv’n.


also to the tune of “I vow to thee my country”

We pledge to one another,
before the Lord above,
entire and whole and perfect,
this union of our love —
a love that will be patient,
a love that will be wise,
that will not twist with envy,
nor lose itself in lies;
a love that will not falter,
a love to hold us fast,
and bind us to each other
as long as life shall last.

We pray that God will guide us
through all the years to be,
our lives be shaped by courage,
hope and serenity.
Through joy and celebration,
through loneliness and pain,
may loyalty, compassion
and tenderness remain,
that those who share the blessing
of love that cannot cease
may walk the paths of gentleness
into the place of peace.


To the tune of “Morning has broken”

God of all living,
Father, we praise you,
Full of Thanksgiving,
For so much love;
Now in this wedding,
Come down among us,
Pour out your blessing,
Heavenly dove.

With love’s true splendour,
Father, delight us,
Each giving honour,
With faithfulness;
And may the sharing,
Of this sweet union
Deepen our caring,
With tenderness.

May there be children,
Fruit of our loving,
True men and women,
With faith beside;
Grant us your keeping
In all our future,
Your love caressing
Bridegroom and bride.


To the tune of “Lord of the Dance”

We come together to witness love
These two people joined by Above
We see in them a spring of care
Spreading wide, both here and there

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows when two people care
The love of God is always there.

We wish them joy throughout the years
Ups and downs,  joy and tears
Support each other
Through both sickness and health
Good times, bad times, poverty and wealth
Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows when two people care
The love of God is always there.

Marriage is a journey
which you now both share
Marriage is a mystery
which leads you God knows where
But with God in your union
you’ll do no wrong
Reflect his love and it will be strong

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows when two people care
The love of God is always there.

Fr. Simon


At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
king of glory now;
’tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty word.

At his voice creation
sprang at once to sight,
all the angel faces,
all the hosts of light,
thrones and dominations,
stars upon their way,
all the heavenly orders,
in their great array.

Name him, brothers, name him,
with love as strong as death,
but with awe and wonder
and with bated breath:
he is God the saviour,
he is Christ the Lord,
ever to be worshipped,
trusted, and adored.

In your hearts enthrone him
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true:
crown him as your captain
in temptation’s hour;
let his will enfold you
in its light and power.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus
shall return again,
with his Father’s glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
king of glory now.


Come down, 0 love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
0 comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

Let holy charity
mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing:
true lowliness of heart,
which takes the humbler part,
and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till he become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.


Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity, interpreted by love!
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the stain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desires
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake wind and fire,
0 still small voice of calm.


Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer;
Be thou still my strength and shield;
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s destruction
Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee;
I will ever give to thee.


Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious,
the ancient of days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, not wasting, thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds which are fountains
of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
all laud we would render: 0 help us to see
’tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.


Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
give me joy in my heart, I pray;
give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
keep me praising till the break of day.

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!

Give me peace in my heart, keep me loving,
give me peace in my heart, I pray;
give me peace in my heart, keep me loving,
keep me loving till the break of day:

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!

Give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
give me love in my heart, I pray;
give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
keep me serving till the break of day:

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!


Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike,
no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts,
Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled
at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts,
Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome,
your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord,
at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment,
whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.


Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, thou art all compassion,
pure unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy grace receive;
suddenly return, and never,
never more thy temple leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy host above;
pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation:
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation,
perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.


Make me a channel of your peace
where there is hatred let me bring your love;
where there is injury your pardon, Lord;
and where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my soul,

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope;
where there is darkness, only light;
and where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving to all men that we receive,
and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.


Praise, my soul, the king of heaven;
to his feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
who like me his praise should sing?
Praise him! Praise him!
Praise the everlasting king.
Praise him for his grace and favour
to our fathers in distress;
praise him still the same for ever,
slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Praise him! Praise him!
Glorious in his faithfulness.

Father-like, he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Praise him! Praise him!
Widely as his mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore him;
ye behold him face to face;
sun and moon, bow down before him;
dwellers all in time and space.
Praise him! Praise him!
Praise with us the God of grace.


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.


Readings

You need to choose at least a Scripture Reading. You might want to think if there is anyone in your family who might like to read these, otherwise, we are happy to.

Song of Solomon 2.10-13; 8.6,7

My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle dove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.’

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.


1 John 4.7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.


1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


Philippians 4.4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.


Matthew 5.1-10

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’


John 15.9-17

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’


Colossians 3:12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and encourage one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Poems & Other Readings

These are entirely optional. You might want to think if there is anyone in your family who might like to read these, otherwise, we are happy to.

Yes, I’ll Marry You

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
And here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch you see,
And you investigate.

Yes I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it,
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.

Yes, I’ll marry you,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!

It’s you who has to work the drill
and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT
it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I do, I do, I do!

Pam Ayres


Wedding Haiku

I promise to love
and will gladly honour you
but obey? no way!

Tracy Davidson


Wedding Verse by Linda Harrison

The time has come to stand side by side
The Groom in his glory, his beautiful Bride.
They’ve waited so long for this moment in time
To take their vows and say, “Will you be mine?”

Marriage is precious and to be treasured.
The love that you have can never be measured.
It joins you as one, not just with a ring,
But a future together and what it will bring.

Keep the love alive and make it last.
Remember the good times don’t live in the past.
The bond that you have shows the world that you care,
Not just for yourselves, but for the family you share.

Who knows what the future may hold.
Stay strong together until you grow old.
Be there for each other, keep good memories alive.
With love and respect you will always survive.

Today is your day to cherish forever,
Never forget what brought you together.
This special time is just for you,
A time to remember when you’ve said “I do.”


A reading from “the Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?” And he answered saying:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.


The Art of Marriage

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens: A good marriage must be created. In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you”
at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense
of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner: it is being the right partner. It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

Wilfred A. Peterson.


My Luve’s like a red, red rose

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

Robert Burns


Marriage Joins Two People

Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other.

It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal.

It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships.

A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent or child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, new ways of expressing  a love that is deeper than life.

When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer than any spoken or written words.  Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Edmund O’Neill


What is love?

Love is just not looking at each other and saying “You’re wonderful.” There are times when we are anything but wonderful. Love is looking out in the same direction, it is linking our strength to pull a common load, it is pushing together towards the far horizons, hand in hand. Love is knowing that when our strength falters, we can borrow the strength of someone who cares. Love is a strange awareness  that our sorrows will be shared and made lighter by sharing; that joys will be enriched and multiplied by the joy of another. Love is knowing someone else cares that we are not  alone in life.

Walter Rinder


Eskimo Love Song

You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.


Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.


i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings