We just heard from our church that our priest thinks a singer would be “appropriate” for our wedding mass. We didn’t plan on having a singer and still aren’t sure if we want one. I can’t picture in my head when/where in the ceremony and what songs the singer would sing. Did anyone else have a singer at their wedding mass? What did you think?
I just can’t picture it. I am not catholic yet (I am going through the RCIA classes now and will be confirmed before our wedding) and have been to 1 catholic wedding about 10 years ago and didn’t pay much attention to the details. Fiance hasn’t attended many catholic weddings either and isn’t much help. It’s been a little overwhelming planning a catholic wedding and not knowing much about the faith. Just when I think I have a handle on it the church tell me this.
Hiya. We just had our wedding mass on the weekend and we had a singer/cantor. Her main function was to lead the congregation in singing the hymns, and also to cue the organist up in the choir loft when things were happening. We found it useful because a decent fraction of our guests weren’t Catholic and didn’t know when to sing/not sing or what the hymns were. We also included the sheet music in our programs so people could sing along. I’m glad we had her, because I think there would have been some dead time after the music started and people started singing if she wasn’t there to lead us.
Yeah, a singer is especially helpful for a couple of key points in the liturgy:
– Responsorial Psalm (between the OT and NT readings; usually the singer will do the verses and then lead the congregation on the refrain)
– Alleluia before the Gospel
– the Holy Holy, Memorial Acclamation, Amen and Lamb of God
– usually it’s nice to have a song during Communion, too, which can be just the soloist or the whole congregation. If everyone is meant to sing, the cantor is helpful for leading them.
Then there are other points where music is a nice option: an opening and/or closing hymn, an offertory hymn, sometimes people like to sing the Our Father, a meditation song after Communion, etc. A singer can really add a lot of joy to a wedding liturgy, and a good cantor will help the assembly to participate more, which is nice.
I second all of this. We had a singer/cantor to lead everyone in song. We actually had wanted two girls who sing during Mass to sing for our wedding, but they had school obligations, so the music director filled in. She was wonderful, had fantastic suggestions on our music, and her voice was beautiful. Since she’s done this a LOT, she knew exactly what she was doing and led everyone during the Mass.
@BulldogBride: It’s actually not so much about choosing songs for your wedding. You can get by with just having an organist for the procession, recession and communion. The thing you’d need a singer for are for the parts of the Mass that are called “The Propers” These are prayers that are typically sung on special occassions like weddings.
That said, if you want your Mass to be really elevated, it is entirely possible to sing nearly the entire Mass. The wedding I was just at last weekend had the priest chanting the entire gospel. They usually only do this at big events at the Vatican, however, and not all priests are great singers.
If you want something in English that is appropriate and easy to learn, try these
This will give you some comparison.
Alleluia — it has two parts. First there is the praise of “Alleluia”, but then there is typically a short quote from the bible. Its typically one line. Georgian chant is made to have the words fit the music. With modern music, the music has to be made to fit the music. Thus it limits your choices and forces you to find an Allelulia that already has the music fitting to the quote you want. A lot of times musicians make slight changes to the words to get the idea to fit their music.
Recessional — Usually you want something that has a tone of rejoicing in it. It can be organ music.
That said, you will have to work with the limitations of whoever you get to sing. Typically the parish will allow you to hire members of the parish chior. These people typically do multiple Masses and have stacks of music they’re familiar with that they might recommend you. If you bring someone else in, that person should be familiar with the parts of the Mass. I wouldn’t recommend using someone who has no experience singing for a Mass.
@twoangels: I don’t think you really understand what “the Propers” are. The propers include basically all the prayers that change, with any Mass, not just a wedding. This would include, the Introit (Entrance Antiphon,)* Collect (Opening Prayer,) readings/psalm/alleluia verse, offertory prayer & verse*, prayer after communion & communion chant/verse*, and perhaps the special nuptial blessings might be considered Propers, but I don’t think they’re ever sung. So, at a wedding Mass the only ones of those that would be likely sung would be the Psalm/Alleluia. The “Ordinaries” are the things that never change and you will need a singer for if they are to be sung – Gloria, Sanctus (Holy Holy,) Lamb of God, Our Father, etc.
*Note that the “propers” are actually quite different than what you normally hear for the entrance, offertory, and communion. See here for more explanation.