When love is in the air, isn’t music wafting through it, too? It’s impossible to imagine romance without thinking of love songs and there’s no better opportunity to revel in the magic of the melody than at a wedding.
Some wedding songs are traditional but others represent the special songs the newlyweds fell in love hearing, singing, and dancing to. Many wedding songs are traditional to one ethnic or racial group or they are family traditions.
African American wedding songs are no different. The one really nice thing about a wedding, any wedding, is that there are few, if any, rules. This means the happy couple can plan their big day to fulfill their dreams and celebrate their joy to just about any songs the bride and groom want to hear on that very special day.
Weddings in the Western world almost always include one, very expected, song and it’s almost always included in a play list of African American wedding songs, too. Most of us know it as “Here Comes the Bride.” Its more formal name is the “Bridal Chorus. It comes from the romantic opera, Lohengrin, written and composed by Richard Wagner and first performed in Germany in 1848.
Not every bride and groom chooses to use this particular song, however, as the processional song for their wedding but there are some perfectly suitable alternatives to consider. Alternatives such as Cohan Pachelbel’s Canon in D; “Toccata,” from Symphony for Organ No. 5, written by Charles-Marie Widor; and even Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” from his Ninth Symphony. Using any of these songs is often done. Just be prepared to explain to a grandmother or two why “Here Comes the Bride” was omitted.
Consider Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March, written for Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This one is familiar as the song most often reserved for the end of the wedding ceremony, when the newly married bride and groom walk down the aisle together for the first time as man and wife.
Once the traditional wedding ceremony is over, African American wedding songs become a more personal reflection of the tastes of the wedding couple themselves. Most couples identify a certain song as the one they fell in love listening to and this one is almost always at the very top of the list at the wedding reception after the ceremony.
After that, African American wedding songs can be anything – fun, sentimental, good to dance to, or special songs dedicated to special people in the lives of the happy couple.
The most important factor to consider when choosing African American wedding songs is to remember that this one, very big, day is all about celebrating the lives and the loves of the newlyweds, including any and all songs they want to hear during this very blessed celebration.