On the wedding day, many couples use the Bridal Chorus by Wagner when the bride process into the church with her father or someone representing her father to be handed to the groom. After the wedding Mass or service, many newly-wedded couples process out of the church while the Wedding March by Mendelssohn is played.
Many people refer to "The Bridal Chorus" as the wedding march, but in fact, the "Wedding March" and "The Bridal Chorus" are two distinct pieces, each with their own histories. Both were originally written for use in the context of fictional weddings. Understanding the background behind each, may help you decide whether to use them in your own wedding.
The “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, actually accompanies the couple to the bedroom, not the altar! “Lohengrin” is a tragic tale of love between Lohengrin and Elsa, whose marriage is never consummated after their wedding and who are forever parted shortly after they wed (the bride Elsa dies). “Lohengrin” contains elements of intrigue, suspicion, lies and ill-will.
Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, the "Wedding March," accompanies a farcical (that which is ridiculously clumsy; ludicrous, absurd) wedding (the play is a comedy), between a fairy and a man turned into a donkey (ass or jackass).
Though there is no official ban or prohibition from using these music pieces for your wedding, looking at their background, would you still want to use them in your wedding?
Some possible alternatives to consider are:
Canon in D (J. Pachelbel)
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J. S. Bach)
Air on the G String (J. S. Bach)
Air (G. F. Handel)
Hornpipe (G. F. Handel)
Trumpet Tune (H. Purcell / J. Clarke)
Trumpet Voluntary (J. Clarke)
Rondeau (J. J. Mouret)
Ode to Joy (L. Beethoven)
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