When planning the layout of your church ceremony, wedding hymns may play a considerable part in structuring the service. There tends to be a lot of speaking during a wedding ceremony, between the wedding readings, prayers, the exchange of vows and a welcome or short sermon.
Wedding hymns are a fantastic way to break this up, get your guests to join in, and personalise your service, and there are so many great wedding hymns for church available out there.
Wedding Hymns: 50 of the Best Hymns for Your Wedding Ceremony
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You can pick the ones that best suit your style and taste and to make managing these choices a little easier, we've answered some of the most important questions about selecting hymns for weddings.
We have also rounded up some of the most loved, classic, and modern wedding hymns in the UK. To hear what each sound like, listen to our Spotify playlist below.
You'll find some popular hymns for both Catholic and Church of England weddings, but some of these songs are interchangeable and appropriate for either type of ceremony. There are also some examples of hymns performed at the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's wedding for some royal inspiration.
Church of England Wedding Hymns
Here, we’ve chosen a selection of the nation’s favourite wedding hymns that are ideal for Church of England weddings. Give them a listen and see which ones feel right for your service. Remember, there are different arrangements for many of these, so your worship musicians may be able to play them faster or slower.
As well as being popular Church of England wedding hymns, these hymns are also popular in the Catholic Church and many of the songs in both sections are totally interchangeable.
1. Abide With Me - William Henry Monk
"Abide with me, fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide"
2. All Creatures of Our God and King - William Henry Draper
"All creatures of our God and king. Lift up your voices and with us sing. Alleluia, alleluia
3. All Things Bright And Beautiful - Cecil Frances Alexander
"All things bright and beautiful. All creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful. 'Twas God that made them all"
4. Amazing Grace - John Newton
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me"
5. And Can It Be (Amazing Love) - Charles Wesley
"Amazing love! how can it be, that thou, my God, should die for me!"
6. Be Still For The Presence Of the Lord - David J. Evans
"Be still for the presence of the Lord. The Holy one is here. Come bow before him now, in reverence and fear"
7. Be Thou My Vision - Eleanor H. Hull
"Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that thou art"
8. Bind Us Together - Bob Gillman
"Bind us together, Lord. Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken"
9. Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind - John Greenleaf Whittier
"Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways; reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find,"
10. Fill Your Hearts With Joy and Gladness - Timothy Dudley Smith
"Fill your hearts with joy and gladness. Sing and praise your God and mine!"
11. Give Me Joy In My Heart
"Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising. Give me joy in my heart, I pray. Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising. Keep me praising till the break of day."
12. As Man And Woman We Were Made - Brian A. Wren
"As man and woman we were made that love be found and life begun: the likeness of the living God, unique, yet called to live as one."
13. Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Thomas Chisholm and William M. Runyan
"Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with thee."
14. Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer (Bread of Heaven) - William Williams
"Guide me, O thou great redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but thou art mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand:"
15. Hail Redeemer, King Divine - Patrick Brennan
"Hail, redeemer, king divine! Priest and lamb, the throne is thine;"
16. Here I Am To Worship (Light Of The World) - Tim Hughes
"Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness, opened my eyes, let me see. Beauty that made this heart adore you, hope of a life spent with you."
17. Here Is Love, Vast As The Ocean - William Rees
"Here is love, vast as the ocean, loving-kindness as the flood, when the Prince of Life, our ransom, shed for us his precious blood."
18. How Deep The Father’s Love For Us - Stuart Townend
"How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that he should give his only son. To make a wretch his treasure."
19. How Great Thou Art - Carl Gustav Boberg
"Oh Lord, my God. When I, in awesome wonder. Consider all the worlds thy hands have made"
20. I Vow to Thee My Country - Cecil Spring Rice and Gustav Holst
"I vow to thee, my country. All earthly things above. Entire and whole and perfect. The service of my love"
21. In Christ Alone - Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
"In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This cornerstone, this solid ground. Firm through the fiercest drought and storm"
22. Jerusalem - Hubert Parry
"And did those feet in ancient time. Walk upon England's mountain green? And was the holy Lamb of God. On England's pleasant pastures seen?"
23. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee - Henry van Dyke
"Joyful, joyful, we adore you, God of glory, Lord of love; hearts unfold like flow'rs before you, op'ning to the sun above."
24. Lord of All Hopefulness - Jan Struther
"Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy: be there at our waking, and give us, we pray, your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day."
25. Lord of the Dance - Sydney Carter
"Dance, then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the dance, said he,"
26. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - Charles Wesley
"Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown."
27. Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace - Sebastian Temple
"Make me a channel of your peace: Where there is hatred, let me bring your love; where there is injury, your healing power, and where there’s doubt, true faith in you."
28. Morning Has Broken - Eleanor Farjeon
"Morning has broken like the first morning, blackbird has spoken like the first bird."
29. One More Step Along The World I Go - Sydney Carter
"One more step along the way I go. One more step along the world I go"
30. Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven - Henry Francis Lyte
"Praise, my soul, the King of heaven; to his feet your tribute bring."
31. Lead Us, Heavenly Father, Lead Us - James Edmeston
"Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us o'er the world's tempestuous sea; guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us, for we have no help but thee;"
32. Tell Out My Soul - Timothy Dudley-Smith
"Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord! Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice; tender to me the promise of his word; in God my savior shall my heart rejoice."
33. The King of Love My Shepherd - H. W. Baker
"The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never. I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine forever."
34. The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want - Francis Rous
"The Lord’s my shepherd; I’ll not want. He makes me down to lie in pastures green; he leadeth me the quiet waters by."
35. To God Be The Glory - Fanny Crosby
"To God be the glory, great things he has done! So loved he the world that he gave us his son,"
Catholic Wedding Hymns
These songs are among the most popular for Catholic weddings in the UK. We have listed these well-loved songs and some sample lyrics so you can choose ones that match the tone and feel of your dream ceremony. Give these hymns a listen and hopefully take inspiration to plan your perfect mass with joyful and heartfelt songs.
These hymns are also popular in the Church of England, according to our research, and many of the songs we have listed in both sections are interchangeable.
36. Here I Am, Lord - Daniel L. Schutte
"Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart"
37.Panis angelicus - Saint Thomas Aquinas
"Panis angelicus. Fit panis hominum. Dat panis coelicus. Figuris terminum"
38. Shine, Jesus, Shine - Graham Kendrick
"Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father's glory. Blaze, spirit, blaze. Set our hearts on fire"
39. Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
"Ave, Maria, grátia plena. Maria grátia plena. Maria grátia plena"
40. Ave verum corpus - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine, vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine"
41. On Eagle's Wings - Michael Joncas
"You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord. Who abide in his shadow for life. Say to the Lord, "My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!""
42. You Are Mine - David Haas
"I am hope for all who are hopeless. I am eyes for all who long to see. In the shadows of the night,"
43. The Hymn of Joy - Henry van Dyke
"Joyful, joyful, we adore thee. God of glory, Lord of love. Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee. Op'ning to the sun above"
44. Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise - Walter C. Smith
"Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,"
45. As I Kneel Before You - Maria Parkinson
"As I kneel before you. As I bow my head In prayer. Take this day, make it yours. And fill me with your love."
46. The Clouds Veil - Liam Lawton
"Even though the rain hides the stars, even though the mist swirls the hills, even when the dark clouds veil the sky, you are by my side"
47. Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) - Joel Houston and Jonas Myrin
“All these pieces. Broken and scattered. In mercy gathered. Mended and whole”
48. This is the Day - Scott Wesley Brown
“This is the day that the Lord hath made. And I'm so glad he made you. With each rising sun you are here by my side. You are more than a dream come true”
49. Let Us Be Bread - Thomas J. Porter
“Let us be bread, blessed by the Lord, broken and shared, life for the world.”
50. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Robert Robinson
“Come, thou fount of every blessing; tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.”
How Many Hymns Should Be Sung At a Wedding?
Usually, two to three hymns are included in a Church of England wedding ceremony. The first often comes at the beginning, after the vicar or priest's welcome, to start the service off and set the mood for the joyful occasion. The second is sung during or after the signing of the register, depending on your preferences, and the last hymn is right before the final blessing.
However, it's totally up to you how many you'd like to sing – just consider how long you want the service. You can always consult your vicar or priest if you wish to include or exclude some hymns, and they can give you advice on where it is best to fit these pieces into the service.
How Many Hymns Should Be Sung At a Catholic Wedding?
The Liturgy Office of England and Wales have some advice that could make choosing hymns for your Catholic Church wedding a lot easier. For the question of if hymns are necessary, their website states that, "You can have a perfectly legitimate Catholic wedding without any hymns being sung at all".
Depending on your preference, you can have as little as two or three hymns. They usually accompany something else happening during mass, such as the Entrance Procession or Communion. Hymns in the liturgy usually act as praise set to music. According to their website, not every verse necessarily has to be sung either, so you can fit as many hymns as you'd like wherever there is an opportunity.
Some of the usual spaces that hymns are included in a Catholic wedding include the processional, the end of the marriage rite, during the preparation of gifts, communion, and sometimes, at the end of mass as a way of ending the ceremony. Some popular choices include Ave Maria, Amazing Grace, Be Thou My Vision and more.
How Do We Choose Our Wedding Hymns?
To make the ceremony most enjoyable for your guests, you can pick hymns well-known to them or tunes that they can easily pick up. If you're having trouble making these decisions, opt for some familiar songs from school assemblies or ask parents or grandparents for their favourite choices to make it more meaningful.
The vicar or music leader at the church will also be able to help with suggestions. Another great way to inspire your selection process is to research some of the Choir of Queens' College wedding hymn songs or listen to their album.
When narrowing down your options, it may be helpful to make a list of all of your favourite hymns and then work out what will fit with the pace and tone of your service. Long-established, slower hymns like Be Thou My Vision would work better for a more traditional service, perhaps with Communion. Something faster, like One More Step Along The World I Go, is more suitable for a livelier ceremony or as an opening hymn.
If you plan to have a choir, this may take a lot of pressure off the guests to keep the song going. Ask your officiant for recommendations if they have them, or you can search for choirs on British Choirs On The Net or Gerontius.
Can We Sing Hymns if We’re Not Having a Church Ceremony?
With very few exceptions, the answer is no. A civil ceremony must be 'secular in nature' and free of any religious connotations, whether that's in the music, readings or your vows. If you're having your ceremony at a registry office or licensed venue that isn't a church, you won't be permitted to include hymns.
The Registrar has the authority to reject your musical choices, so you'll need to run everything past them. Just be mindful that this ban can cover music with religious origins like Ave Maria or Zadok the Priest. It's totally at the discretion of your registrar, but an update to rules means 'incidental' mentions of God or religion might be acceptable if the overall piece is non-religious.
If hymns are important to you, a church wedding is the best choice. However, if you're having a wedding performed by an independent celebrant, they may also allow you to have hymns.
Do You Have To Have Hymns at a Church Wedding?
Although a traditional part of a religious ceremony, hymns are not necessarily required for a church wedding. However, these songs may be expected at your service. They are also a nice way to add an extra touch of cheer and joy to your wedding ceremony.
If some of the more well-known hymns are different from your taste, you could ask your vicar, priest, or music coordinator to help you choose songs that are more your style. You should consult with your church before you finalise any choices for music at your ceremony.
What Hymns Were Sung at Queen Elizabeth's Wedding?
If you're searching for inspiration on what hymns to include in your ceremony, why not look at some of the famous royal weddings? The late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's wedding took place in 1947 at Westminster Abbey and was broadcast live on BBC Radio for over 200 million people worldwide to hear.
According to The Royal Family website, the hymns performed by the choir at their wedding included Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven and The Lord's My Shepherd, sung to the Scottish tune Crimond. Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Samuel Sebastian Wesley was the wedding anthem.
We have included a playlist below so you can listen to some of these songs and hopefully become inspired. You can check out this article on Royal.co.uk for more information about the renowned wedding.