There Goes The Bride?

I had a chat the other day with one of my brides about her processional music. She wanted to go with the iconic Bridal Chorus, also known as 'Here Comes The Bride' or 'The Wedding March'. Yes, that piece (bum, bum, ba bum). Those first few notes say 'bride' more than any other piece of composed music. No problem, right?

Well…not quite. The Bridal Chorus (Teulich gefuhrt) is from the opera Lohengrin by Richard Wagner and there is actually a bit of controversy around it. Due to Wagner's reputation as an anti-semite and the appropriation of his music by Hitler, it is usually not played at Jewish weddings. Nor do many Lutherans allow it, due to the pagan elements in the opera. Even the Catholic Church frowns upon it, as it is a secular piece of music. 

If you were to ever sit through Lohengrin (Wagner's operas are notoriously l-o-n-g), the marriage of Elsa and Lohengrin, the main characters and for whom the Bridal Chorus is sung,  is an immediate failure. Doomed for eternity. And for this reason alone, a number of pastors refuse to have it played in their ceremonies. 

Hmm, who knew that wedding music could be so controversial? Take a look at the music you're planning on using for your ceremony and clear it with your officiant. There may be more to it than meets the eye or ear. And my bride…she's going with Trumpet Tune afterall. Check out my past post on Processional Music for more ideas for your ceremony songs.

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  1. It has a very interesting history and I find it fascinating that so little is known about it other than being an iconic song. Always good to research a bit any music you’re going to use for the ceremony as it’s history or words may be inappropriate

  2. The marriage in Lohengrin isn’t a failure in the regular sense. Lohengrin is the “Swan Knight” who comes to rescue Elsa from the charge that she has killed her brother. He and she agree to marry, on condition that she NOT ask where he comes from or who he is exactly…because his origin is secret and his power derives from his father Percival, the grail knight.
    When, sadly, Elsa breaks her vow and asks his origin…he explains that he must depart, but he brings back her supposedly “dead brother” who had been under an enchantment. It is more complex than a smarmy love song…but it is definitely “romantic” in the true sense of the word.

  3. Thanks for the indepth explanation (being I’m lazy, I gave the super Coles Note version). But still, pretty tragic wedding and those Romantics were all about the tragedy of love.

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