Music at your Wedding: Information


Choosing the music for your wedding can seem daunting. There are a lot of guidelines here, but it tries to cover every eventuality and is based on my experience of dealing with the music for around 1000 weddings at the Sacred Heart! Please spend a little time looking through these notes carefully: if anything is unclear, please do contact me via email at (ideally before making any decisions regarding music). If you want to call me, it’s 01372 841442, but be prepared to leave a message so I can call you back.

My best wishes for a wonderful day for both of you in our beautiful church.

Bob Rathbone (Director of Music)

HOW TO START: You do have to discuss initial permissions and arrangements with our Parish Priest, Canon John Clark. A parish musician is automatically booked when the wedding is confirmed in the parish diary but you must contact me to arrange the music, particularly if you wish to ask to use outside musicians.

There is a list of suggestions here: you can of course consult a wide variety of online sources of information – do be aware that some sites do not necessarily reflect music suitable for a Sacrament in a Catholic church! If you are still unsure, email or call to arrange a consultation to discuss and hear suggested music. This may be a good time to check costs.

You may have already some idea of the music you would like, in which case often an exchange of emails is all that is required. Check the fees that would apply to your choice of musicians.

The magnificent Sacred Heart organ is by far the best accompaniment for a congregation in the church and our instrument is capable of filling the church with glorious sounds. We often supply a soloist who can also lead the singing, and you can of course request a choir. In addition to the organ, it is possible to ask for other instruments (eg: Trumpet or Violin) to great effect. Our Steinway grand piano is sometimes used with small congregations to create a more intimate atmosphere. Please note though: all singers/instrumentalists must either be booked through or approved by the Director of Music as we do not permit the commercial hiring of outside musicians without this.

BOOKING FORM: When you have finalised the musicians required and the music you would like, please fill in the booking form (here). You can leave blanks if you are still unsure of some or all of the music, but please write n/a or similar in the box, otherwise it won’t accept the entry! The form is a good way to check that you are aware of the costs involved, especially if you are having a video made.

Guest organists and other musicians:
If you are lucky enough to have talented family or friends, you may wish to have your own musicians to help to lead the service. This is usually possible, but they must be approved first by the Director of Music.
Organists: The Sacred Heart Organ is a large and historic instrument and any visiting organist must be experienced and competent; unless they know the organ, we will need to ask them to visit the church with one of us first – not least to show them how to switch it on!
To protect the livelihoods of our musicians, the basic fee of £150 must still be paid in advance; permission for a guest organist, pianist or any other musicians who replace the ‘in-house’ organist cannot be granted unless this is agreed.
Singers: please be certain that singers are comfortable singing in a large building such as ours; it can put a huge amount of pressure on less-experienced singers/players, who of course want to do their very best for you. With guest singers, the higher rate of £160 is payable to the organist. If extra rehearsals are required with the organist apart from on the day itself, we have to charge £60 per rehearsal.

Please note that the use of pre-recorded music (CD only on our PA system) is not usually permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances; please ask, but it should only a last resort and a maximum of one item. It is also the policy of the Catholic Church to discourage the use of non-sacred vocal music (in the same way that religious music is not allowed at civil ceremonies).