The Catholic Mass Wedding

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This is a question we hear at least a few times a month and for good reason! Selecting music for the Catholic Mass can be quite confusing if you're not familiar with the various parts of the Mass, the appropriate repertoire or even what your church allows to be played. We've created this guide to make it as easy as possible for you to plan the music for your Catholic Mass wedding ceremony. 

   Your church may require that you use their organist and/or cantor.  

This is the first thing to consider when planning your music. Does your priest require that you use church musicians? If so, the second question should be: "Can I bring in outside musicians as well?" Assuming the answer is yes, then proceed reading! :)  

St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton, NJ Wedding Ceremony Musicians

 Parts of a Catholic Mass Wedding requiring Music 

1. Prelude while guests are seated (We will choose        appropriate classical music for this portion)

2. Processional (Parents, Bridal Party, Bride)

3. Responsorial Psalm *

4. Gospel Acclamation *

5. Unity Candle/Song After Rings (OPTIONAL- This is a great place to include a vocalist if you have a friend with a great voice!)

6. Presentation of Gifts

7. Sign of Peace ( (OPTIONAL- in some cases no music is played here.)

8. Communion

9. Veneration of Mary (OPTIONAL- Perfect for Ave Maria!)

10. Recessional

* Typically, JDM does not provide music for these parts of the Mass. They can be spoken by your priest if no cantor/organist is present. 

 On the Responsorial & Gospel Acclamation... 

Typically when we are asked to provide instrumental music for a Catholic Mass wedding, we will provide music for all parts of the Mass listed above EXCEPT numbers 3 & 4 (the Responsorial & Gospel Acclamation). If your church requires that you use their cantor/organist, then we leave these portions to them to play solo. If your church DOES NOT require their cantor/organist to be present,  JDM can provide a cantor OR if you want to go sans-vocalist altogether, most priests will speak these portions of the Mass in place of having them sung-  If you want to go this route, please make sure you TALK WITH YOUR PRIEST FIRST so they know you'd like them to speak these parts. 

         Your church may NOT allow pop music. 

While some churches are quite liberal, not every parish will allow music outside the classical or liturgical repertoire to be played on the premises. Want to include some Beatles or your favorite Top 40 hit? Definitely RUN THIS BY YOUR PRIEST. We wouldn't want to disrespect your church with our music both for our reputation as musicians and for you- Who wants grumpy clergy on their wedding day? So PLEASE- check with your church before you select contemporary pop music! 

Below are lists of pieces within our repertoire, approved by the Catholic Church, that are suitable for each portion of the Mass. We are also open to learning music not within our current repertoire, provided it is music your church has given the thumbs up! (Please inquire with us or refer to your contract for terms/fees for learning new music.) 

Prelude (Music played while your guests are arriving)

We will select appropriate music from our classical repertoire for this portion that is most suited for the instruments/ensemble you have booked- Leave it to us to choose songs to set the perfect atmosphere!

Processionals (Entry of parents, bridal party & bride)

Air on G - J.S. Bach
Arioso - J.S. Bach
Canon in D - Pachelbel
Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude - J.S. Bach
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik: Romance - W.A. Mozart
The Flower Duet from Lakmé - L. Delibes
Hornpipe from Water Music - George F. Handel 
Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring - J.S. Bach
La Rejouissance - George F. Handel 
Ode To Joy from Symphony No. 9 - L.V. Beethoven
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Frank
Sheep May Safely Graze - J.S. Bach
The Four Seasons: Largo from Winter - Antonio Vivaldi
The Four Seasons: Allegretto from Spring - Antonio Vivaldi
Trumpet Voluntary - J. Clarke 
Trumpet Tune - Henry Purcell 
Wachet Auf - J.S. Bach
Wedding March - R. Wagner (For Bride Only)

Responsorial & Gospel Acclamation 
We'll leave these to either your cantor/organist to sing or your priest to speak unless you have hired a cantor through JDM. If you'd like us to accompany the church organist, this may be able to be arranged.

Unity Candle/Song after Rings

OPTIONAL- You do not need to have a song here, but this is a perfect place to include a vocal selection. If you have a friend/family member who sings, we'd be happy to accompany them. If a church cantor is present, we can easily perform a song together, with or without organ. 

Presentation of Gifts (When Host is brought to the alter)

Amazing Grace - Traditional Hymn
Ave Maria/Prelude in C Major - J.S. Bach/Gonoud
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring - J.S. Bach
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Frank
Sheep May Safely Graze - J.S. Bach
Ode To Joy from Symphony No. 9 - L.V. Beethoven
One Love Released - Bob Frenzel 

Sign of Peace (When congregants greet each other)

Amazing Grace - Traditional Hymn
Ave Maria/Prelude in C Major - J.S. Bach/Gonoud
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring - J.S. Bach
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Frank
Sheep May Safely Graze - J.S. Bach
Ode To Joy from Symphony No. 9 - L.V. Beethoven
The Prayer - Bocelli/Dion


Amazing Grace - Traditional Hymn
Ave Maria/Prelude in C Major - J.S. Bach/Gonoud
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring - J.S. Bach
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Frank
Sheep May Safely Graze - J.S. Bach
Ode To Joy from Symphony No. 9 - L.V. Beethoven
One Bread, One Body - John Foley
One Love Released - Bob Frenzel

Veneration of Mary

OPTIONAL part of the ceremony where bride & groom or the mothers will bring flowers to the Virgin Mary. Perfect song for this portion of the Mass? Why, Ave Maria of course! There are two versions we can use. We may recommend one or the other depending on what instruments you have selected. We can also perform this song with a vocalist. Not a fan of Ave Maria? Just about any other classical song or Catholic piece of music will work fine. 

Ave Maria/Prelude in C Major - J.S. Bach/Gonoud
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert

Recessional (Exit music)

Hornpipe from Water Music - George F. Handel
La Rejouissance - George F. Handel 
Ode To Joy from Symphony No. 9 - L.V. Beethoven
The Prayer - Bocelli/Dion
The Four Seasons: Allegretto from Spring - Antonio Vivaldi
Trumpet Voluntary - J. Clarke 
Trumpet Tune - Henry Purcell 
Wedding March - Felix Mendelssohn

Yes!  We are very happy to work with your church's organist. To the left you'll see lists of songs from our repertoire for each portion of the Mass where we will provide music. We can collaborate with your organist for all of these pieces or for none at all- It's all up to you! Your organist may also have a music list for you to choose from that will likely overlap with ours. 

NOTE: When JDM is booked as a duo, trio or quartet, we typically do not have the organist play with us for the Prelude (music performed while your guests are seated). However, if you book a soloist, we would be happy to coordinate with your organist for the Prelude. If extensive collaboration is required, an additional fee may be added (this will be communicated during the booking process).  

Once you've selected your music, you will want to put us directly in touch with your organist so you don't have to play middle man! While we may have the same songs on our individual repertoire lists, they may not be in the same "key", meaning some coordination will be involved. Also, in many cases either we or the organist will need to learn a new song or two, requiring the sending of PDFs back and forth. 

       ...but when will you rehearse with our organist?

When performing with outside musicians, we typically plan to arrive at your venue roughly 30-45 minutes prior to when we'd usually arrive for set up. During this time we will run through any songs that we'll be performing with your organist, cantor, cousin who plays violin, next door neighbor who sings or whomever else you'd like us to collaborate with! :) If additional rehearsal is needed, a fee may apply, but in our years of experience, we've never had to hold a separate rehearsal.  

St. Brigid Catholic Church, Gladstone, NJ - Wedding Musicians - Violin

       On attending rehearsal dinners... 

JDM does not include attending your wedding rehearsal in the quoted prices. As seasoned professionals who have performed for countless weddings, we are very familiar with the flow of events before, during and after your ceremony. As long as you provide us with the number of people who will be entering to each processional song, we will be able to time your music perfectly such that each processional song cadences just after the last person arrives at the alter. :)  

All this said, if you'd like us to attend your rehearsal, & our schedules allow, please inquire for a quote- If we can make it, we'd be happy to be there! 

Harp at St. Ann's Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, NJ - Wedding Musicians

Now that you've read through all the details, it's time for the fun part: Selecting your music! If you are  choosing music that is NOT on the list to the left, please make sure it is music that your church has approved. Also, please refer to your contract for JDM's terms on learning new music. 

Ready to make your selections? We've got a handy little form at the link below for you to fill out! :) 

Have questions before filling it out? Just shoot us an email at or call 917-400-1658. We look forward to being part of your celebration!! 

St. Brigid Parish, Gladstone, NJ Wedding Ceremony Musicians

All photos above are from events that Jaclyn Duncan Music LLC had the pleasure of being a part of.
A special thanks to our fabulous clients for sharing the amazing photography from their weddings!


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