Maybe it’s because of the recent good news from my son and future daughter-in-law, that there is a wedding in their future (not till 2018, we’re told). Or maybe it’s because last week my wife and I celebrated our anniversary (a big enough number indeed). At any rate, I’ve been thinking about songs to sing at a wedding.
It’s nice to sing a prayer, like the Lord’s Prayer or a setting of the Ave Maria, as I did for my buddy Jorge’s wedding years ago. More recently I sang “With You” from the musical Pippin at my friend Ginny’s wedding with its language of commitment, “And oh, my dearest love, if you will take my heart, then all my dreams are truly begun…”
What I really recall is the hymn Carol and I decided should be sung at our wedding. It must have seemed like an odd choice. I’ve never heard it at any other wedding. It wasn’t one of those familiar texts on love like “Love divine, all loves excelling…” And imagine this, we chose to make it our processional. No duh-dum-da-dum, no “Here comes the bride…”
We wanted everybody sing it with us as we huddled in the back of the chapel and then on the third verse when we hoped nobody was noticing, we would sneak in and appear like magic in front of them.
Of course it didn’t exactly happen that way. Everybody turned around and stared at us. We kept our eyes glued to the hymnal. “Our church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord,” we sang. “She is His new creation by water and the Word.”
What were we saying by this choice? I’m not sure we could have articulated it at the time, both of us in our twenties, but it must have been a quiet declaration of what would be at the center of our marriage–faith, this community of friends and family, and this church.
And that has turned out to be true. We still are at the same church with many of the same friends and many new ones. So if I’m ever asked, I would tell any budding bride and groom, “Choose what’s important to you. Put your priorities in your wedding. Sing them or let them be sung.”
Pick a song that says what you believe. It will be your road map for years to come.