Covid-19 Update (August 2020): Please note the changes is what we are allowed to do at weddings. I hope this is as clear as it can be in the pages that follow…


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, do contact me via email at before making any decisions regarding music. If you want to call me, it’s 01372 841442.

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

Bob Rathbone (Director of Music)

You have to discuss initial permissions and arrangements with the Parish Priest, Canon John Clark. A parish musician is automatically booked when the wedding is confirmed in the parish diary but you must also contact me to arrange the music. All music must be arranged through the church’s music department.

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 sacramental service 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 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. In addition to the organ, it is possible to ask for other instruments (such as a Trumpet) to great effect. Sometimes the piano might be used with very small congregations to create a more intimate atmosphere. All instrumentalists must be booked through the Director of Music though: please ask for advice if you have friends or family who can help.

When you have a reasonable idea of the music that you would like, please fill in the booking form – it doesn’t matter if there are some gaps.

Guest organists and other musicians:
If you wish to have your own organist or other musicians to help to lead the service, they must be approved first by the Director of Music. The Sacred Heart Organ is a large and historic instrument and any visiting organist must be experienced and competent.
To protect the livelihoods of our musicians, the basic fee of £140 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. Please note that we do not permit the hiring of outside musicians other than those booked by the Director of Music.

You may have family or friends who have offered to help by singing or playing on your special day. This can be arranged with the Director of Music but remains at his discretion. Please be certain that singers or instrumentalists have had experience of playing or 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 before the ceremony on the day), we have to charge £60 per rehearsal.

Please note that the use of pre-recorded music (CD or MP3 etc.) is not permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances; please ask, but it can only be a maximum of one item. It is also the policy of the Sacred Heart to discourage the use of non-sacred vocal music (in the same way that religious music is not allowed at civil ceremonies).