Music for weddings
Live music will be an important part of your wedding service, so it is worth planning well in advance. Your wedding fee includes the services of an organist provided by the University.
All arrangements for music at the service should be made through the deputy University organist, Andrew Macintosh, via email email@example.com. Please ensure Andrew has all music choices no later than six weeks prior to your wedding ceremony.
Decide on your musical requirements, as listed below:
- organ music for the entrance of the bride
- opening hymn and second hymn (if required)
- music for the singing of the schedule (organ or a choir)
- final hymn
- organ music for the recessional
- if the wedding will be audio or video recorded.
At your wedding preparation meeting, discuss with the minister officiating your wedding your musical requirements to check that they are happy with them.
Music in St Salvator’s Chapel is provided by the impressive pipe organ situated in the organ loft at the west end of the Chapel. It is known as one of Scotland’s finest pipe organs, and the design reflects the University’s tradition of red academic undergraduate gowns and the grey stones of many of the University’s buildings.
There are three points during the wedding ceremony where organ music is traditionally used: the entrance of the bride, during the signing of the register, and the recessional.
Possible pieces are listed below. However, this list is not exhaustive, and other ideas are welcome. The organist will always endeavour to provide the music that you would like; however, please note that not all music is playable on the organ.
Entrance of the bride
The Prince of Denmark’s March – Jeremiah Clarke
Trumpet Tune – Henry Purcell
Trumpet Voluntary – John Stanley
Bridal March from Lohengrin – Richard Wagner
Signing of the schedule
Air from Orchestral Suite no.3 – J.S. Bach
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Dressing – J.S. Bach
Cannon in D – Johann Pachelbel
The Swan – Camille Saint-Saëns
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – George Frederic Handel
Hornpipe from Water Music – George Frederic Handel
Wedding Match from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Toccatta from Symphony no.5 – Charles-Marie Widor
The organist will also play a selection of cheerful music as the guests arrive for your wedding.
It is normal to have either two or three hymns during a wedding ceremony. You may find it helpful to browse the following list of popular hymns. This list is not exhaustive, and other ideas are welcome, but please remember that the hymns need to be approved by the minister officiating your wedding and the deputy University organist.
- All people that on earth do dwell
- Lord of all hopefulness
- Lord of all Joy ©
- As man and woman we are made ©
- Lord of creation, giver of gladness ©
- Bind us together, Lord ©
- Love is the touch of intangible joy ©
- Christ is made the sure foundation
- Love Divine, all loves excelling
- Come down, O Love Divine
- Now thank we all our God
- From all that dwell below the skies
- O God the Bethel! by whose hand
- Glorious things of thee are spoken
- Glory be to God the Father
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation
- O God of Love, to thee we bow ©
- The grace of life is theirs ©
- Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
- The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want
- How lovely is thy dwelling-place
- Your love, O God, has called us here
- Let’s praise the Creator who gave us each other ©
- We come, dear Lord, to celebrate ©
Copyright permission is required for all hymns while the author is still alive or within 70 years of the author's death. This music is covered by the Chaplaincy licence. If you choose hymns subject to copyright, the following text must be included in your order of service, '© <author's name> CCL 55085'.
Occasionally a hymn may fall outside the Chaplaincy licence, in which case the couple is responsible for obtaining copyright permissions.
The deputy University organist will always do their best to accommodate requests for choirs, and it is possible to book a choir of around eight people to sing at your wedding. As well as leading the singing of the hymns, the choir can, if you wish, perform a piece during the signing of the schedule.
Possible pieces for during the signing of the schedule:
- Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring – J.S. Bach
- Panis Angelicus – Cesar Franck
- A Gaelic Blessing - John Rutter
- The Lord Bless You and Keep You - John Rutter
- Exultate justi – Ludovico Viadana
Singers are readily available during University semesters. At other times of the year, it can be difficult to find singers, so please contact the deputy University organist in the first instance if the date of your wedding lies outside University semesters.
You are welcome to arrange for a bagpiper to play outside the chapel at the beginning and the end of the service. However, please note that bagpipe music carries into the chapels, and so it may not be practical for both bagpipes and organ to play as guests arrive. In practice, the organist usually stops playing if the bagpipes are being heard too loudly inside the chapel.
It is advised against bagpipes being played inside the chapel because they sound uncomfortably loud in the chapel’s reverberant acoustics.
Please ensure you advise both the officiating minister and the deputy University organist if you are having a piper.
Live music creates a more celebratory atmosphere. Therefore, it is advised that you do not use recorded music during your ceremony.
You are welcome to provide your own instrumentalist or soloist to play during the ceremony. If they require a rehearsal in the Chapel, and if you would like the organist to accompany them, this may incur an additional charge. The organist is also happy to book solo instrumentalists where possible.
In all circumstances, please contact the deputy University organist well in advance. It is especially important that if the organist is required to accompany a soloist, the sheet music in the appropriate key is received not less than one month in advance.
St Salvator’s Chapel has six bells. There is a possibility that these can be rung for your wedding, although it depends upon the availability of bell ringers.
If your wedding falls within University term-time, bell ringers are fairly easy to obtain from the student population. During holiday periods, this can be more difficult. The bell ringers are entitled to a fee, part of which goes towards the maintenance of the bells.
If you would like the bells to rung at your wedding please email the Bell Ringing Society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Couples expecting their wedding to last longer than 45 minutes must indicate this at the time of booking. Cancellation of bookings must be done in writing to the email address provided. The deposit for bell ringing services is non-refundable.
There are no bells at St Leonard’s Chapel.
If you wish to make a video or audio recording of your service, you must obtain the permission of the officiating minister and consult the deputy University organist or choirmaster.
If the current University Chaplain is conducting the service, a video recording may only be made from the gallery or from the back of the Chapel.