Songs and Hymns for Marriage Ceremonies

In these suggested songs for weddings, I have focused on songs that don't demand the production of children or that the couple is heterosexual. In the Uniting Church in Australia, you don't have to be straight to get married, but if you're in a church that does not welcome same-gender weddings, it's good to sing songs that don't reinforce that exclusion.

You will probably want to sing a range of songs, including some traditional hymns, or even a meditative chant, depending on the type of service. Most of the songs I have listed here have a specific focus on weddings, but I have listed a couple of other songs that might give you some ideas for other types of songs you might like to sing at the end of the entry.
  • GA221 / AA25 / CP287 / W&R609 / StF603 Come to a wedding (Shirley Murray) Good wedding words that are not heterosexist, and simply celebrate love. Sung to BUNESSAN (Morning has broken), so easy for congregations that include lots of non-church-goers. Some versions (StF does) include the possibility of including the names of the happy couple in the final verse (which works well, unless one of them is named Methuselah). Lyrics and sound sample. New words to old tunes
  • AoV2-086 If I speak in words of wisdom / Love Is The Greatest Gift Of All (Marshall Good) This is not exclusively a wedding song, but is very good for weddings, especially if 1 Corithians 13 is part of the service.
  • Online Resource O God bestow your love and care (Barbara Hamm) This song is particularly for weddings that may not be approved by all, whether it is because is it a same-sex wedding, a marriage of people of different faiths, or for any reason where the marriage may not be recognised and requires special support. Free sheet music
  • G(II)633 / GC870 / GC(II)859 / G(3)971 May God bless you hold and keep you (A Nuptial Blessing) Excellent words with a very community-focused view of marriage. I wish I had known about this when I got married! Simple tune. Lyrics, sheet music and sound sample (search for "nuptial). 
  • Protest and Praise / Online Resource We thank you God for human love (David Bjorlin) Excellent words celebrating all shapes of human love, and celebrating vows made to celebrate it; sung to the familiar tune FOREST GREEN. Lyrics, sheet music sample and purchasing options. New words to old tunes
  • VU485 / Cha498 O God who gave humanity its name (Fred Kaan) Excellent words of a love that is large and seeking strength, throughout changing life. Could be sung to the familiar tune SURSUM CORDA if desired. New words to old tunes
  • NCH364 God today bless this new marriage (Post) Good simple words celebrating a union of love and service to the tune of "Brother, Sister, Let me serve you". Lyrics and sound sample. New words to old tunes  
  • Iona (LFB) / A&M345 / CP288 / SP132 Lord and lover of creation Good and sung to a very familiar tune (WESTMINSTER ABBEY). Can be used for any romantic union commitment ceremony. Lyrics here. New words to old tunes   
  • TiS 603 / AHB 526 / UMH645 / A&M348 / VU491 / LBW287 / HPP290 / PH533 / CP(E) 343 / W&R610 / StF605 / Lau415 / MP517 O perfect Love all human thought transcending (Gurney) Sources vary in how old-fashioned the language is. Although this hymn is very old, it is still very relevant and beautiful today. Lyrics (older style) and tune sample. 
  • TiS 654 / NCH362 / UMH643 / VU489 / WoV749 / G(II)628 / GC865 / GC(II)856 / G(3)966  / W&R612 / Cha499 / StF607 / Lau416 When love is found and hope comes home (Wren) Lovely words to the tune O WALY WALY, which also talks about the challenges faced by those committing to a lifelong loving relationship. Lyrics. New words to old tunes  
  • CH696 We come dear Lord to celebrate (Bell) A lovely joyful wedding song, to the familiar tune REPTON. Celebrating love, asking for God's blessings on the new family. New words to old tunes  
  • CH697 / AA86 Let’s praise the Creator (Shirley Murray) Joyous wedding song. Not all verses are appropriate for same-sex unions as the words "husband and wife" make up a critical rhyme, but the words are so lovely, I wanted to list it. "The love that we wish them, the love that we pray for is stronger than storms and more gentle than breath, endures every trouble, is selfless and faithful, more precious than life and more lasting than death". 
  • ATW 507 Where you tread (Beavis) A very simple and beautiful song based on Ruth's commitment to Naomi. A congregation would pick this up very quickly. 
  • VU490 Our God creation's loving source (Joy Patterson) Lovely words celebrating God's love and love for each other sung to the familiar tune O WALY WALY. Lyrics. New words to old tunes
  • MV035 Holy one O Holy one (Farquharson) Gentle blessing song for a marriage or commitment service. Probably not immediately easy for a congregation to join in.

A work for choir or vocal quartet or recorded music

Song for Marriage Equality
  • Online Resource Praise the source of all creation giving life through all the earth (Aldredge-Clanton) These new lyrics to the tune ODE TO JOY are about many excellent things, not just marriage equality, but I wanted to put this somewhere it may be found! Lyrics. New words to old tunes 
Songs that are not specifically about marriage that you may like to include: 
Really, you should just sing some hymns that are generally about God's goodness that you really love. 
  • TiS 217 / AHB 148 / NCH43 / CH519 / UMH384 / VU333 / A&M721 / LBW315 / ELW631 / A&M721 / GA463 / HPP48 / GtG366 / PH376 / GC622 / GC(II)613 / G(3)641 / CP485/6 / CP(E) 516 / W&R358 / Cha517 / Srce457 / URW100 / 82Hml-657 / Lau801 / StF503 / MP449 Love divine all loves excelling (Wesley) A beautiful classic song and most hymnals use a very inclusive version of this hymn, even the AHB. Lyrics and sound sample. You may also like to give Rend Collective Experiment's version a listen (hard for congregations to sing, but nice for listening). Oldy-but-a-goody. 
  • Taizé / AoV2-109 / CH772 / GA429 / GtG654 / A&M334 / SFFS 2195 / G(II)396 / GC566 / GC(II)546 / G(3)639 / SP128 / URW381 / Lau944 / W&R448 / StF776 / MP865 In the Lord I'll Be Ever Thankful / El Senyor (Berthier) A joyful and bouncy short song. Works well in English, German and Spanish at least. Good for kids. Sheet music, translations into many other languages, sound samples.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I used Lord and Lover of Creation at my own wedding four years ago with Westminster Abbey. It was fantastic. It captured so much of the day in contemporary words but with a familiar tune. It is very difficult to pick new congregational music for a wedding but having an old tune and new words is great. We also used JLB's Bride and Bridegroom which is more specific to marriage but to Slane which was also great.