One area that doesn’t seem to be quite so unique is the wedding ceremony music; many opt for a traditional theme that they have heard before like Mendelssohn’s Wedding March or Pachelbel’s Canon in D. That being said, some of the pieces are a tad controversial. Here’s why!
Mendelssohn’s Wedding March
Although hugely popular, Mendelssohn’s most famous work has proved to be controversial to its literary origins. Mendelssohn was commissioned by Prussian monarch Friedrich Wilhelm IV to compose a number of pieces to accompany various pieces of literature in order to revive a lagging genre in society at the time. In 1843, Mendelssohn was tasked with writing music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this is where the Wedding March comes from. Why controversial? That particular play features a lot of pagan mythology including magic, fairies and fantasy, of which many in Roman Catholicism are uncomfortable. Is it therefore inappropriate for a Christian wedding ceremony? We don’t have the answer but it’s always best to check.
Schubert’s Ave Maria
Another tune that is popular during the wedding ceremony or as a prelude to the bride’s arrival, Ave Maria is a beautiful piece of music that was originally composed by Schubert for Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake in 1810. The plot of the story focuses on King James V banishing the Douglas clan to a castle on Loch Katrine and one of the group’s number is Ellen, a daughter who has to live with her exiled father. The initial lyrics have changed over the years to convey a more matrimonial tone, but some fear the lyrics don’t quite go far enough. Some hear them and feel the song is a beautiful hymn to a loving mother while others believe the words to convey the desperate cries of an exiled bride.
Wagner’s Bridal Chorus
Richard Wagner’s Bridal Chorus is perhaps the most well-known music chosen by couples on their wedding day. Known by many as ‘Here Comes the Bride’, we are pretty certain that you’ll have heard the piece before, even if not at a wedding. Why is it controversial? The music was composed as part of Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin and lovers of the operatic music scene may very well be aware of where the piece featured. Although it was used during a wedding scene, the marriage itself was short-lived. Not the omen you’d like on your wedding day! Richard Wagner was also notoriously anti-Semitic, which is another reason you may wish to avoid picking the Bridal Chorus for your wedding ceremony.
No matter which wedding music you opt for on your big day, we advise a couple to choose whatever makes them most happy. Still, it’s interesting to know the provenance of the tunes you might hear!