Frequently asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ page. See below for queries and answers.

  • Question 1 What musician/musicians should I choose for my wedding?
  • Question 2 Do I really need a musician?
  • Question 3 For a RC church wedding, what parts need music and how many pieces will I need?
  • Question 4 For a Civil Ceremony, what parts need music and how many pieces of music will I need?

Question 1: What musician/musicians should I choose for my wedding?

The musician(s) that you choose is dependant on a few things:

1. The instrument you choose needs to fill out the sound adequately in the venue you have chosen, whether that be a church, a registry office, in a hotel or other building.  Most weddings I sing at will have one instrument, so an instrument that can play several notes at once is best, such as an organ/piano/harp.  Some instruments can only play one note at a time. A flute or a violin for example are lovely solo instruments but wouldn't serve well as the only accompaniment to a singer.  

If you want to add another instrument, then a singer with an organ/piano/harp plus a violin/flute/cello or similar would be a very nice choice.  There are lots of duets/trios/quartet instrumental groups available out there that provide wonderful music for a wedding and can play stunning instrumentals as well as accompanying a singer.  Check out the sample of Songbird in the left panel for an example of singer plus piano with violin.  If you have another instrument in mind just let Sarah know and she will do her best to accommodate you.

2. Size of venue and quality of the instrument in the venue. If you are getting married in a large church or other venue then an Irish Harp with a singer is probably not going to be loud enough, whereas an organ or piano should be.  Also if you are using the organ or keyboard in the venue just make sure it is in good enough condition, used regularly and you can use it on the day.  The venue manager/priest/sacristan should be able to advise on this.

3. The choice of songs.  If you are leaning towards a more Irish selection of songs then perhaps a more Irish instrument such as a harp, or combination of instruments such as harp and violin would be a good choice.  Similarly if you find yourself choosing more classical music then an organ or piano would be best, or a combination of stringed instruments would be lovely.  Some classical pieces don't suit the Irish harp so consider your music choice before you decide on the musician.

4. Your budget.  Whether you choose one instrument, a duo, trio or quartet the cost will vary so bear this in mind when thinking of booking a musician.  If you are thinking of a quartet but the price is out of your budget, ask the group would they consider playing with two or three musicians instead.

Question 2: Do I really need a musician?  

Without a doubt a singer with an instrument will always sound bigger and better than a singer on his/her own. When you sing unnacompanied you are immediately restricted as to the type of songs you can sing and it also lends an air of seriousness to a ceremony where people may feel they have to be very quiet. If that is what you're after, great.  If not, booking a musician is a good investment for your important day.

Question 3: For a RC church wedding, what parts need music and how many pieces will I need?

There are usually ten parts of the wedding mass where you would usually have instrumental music or singing.  Song suggestions are in Italics

1. Processional (bridal entrance). Can be an instrumental or sung: Canon in D, Nella Fantasia, The Bridal March

2. Lighting of two outside candles.  A short instrumental that can be cut short is ideal: An Culainn

3. Psalm (between the two readings).  Can be said or sung.  The song needs to contain the words of a psalm from the Bible: Tar Anuas a Spioraid Naomh, Set Your Heart on the Higher Gifts, Hiding Place, Faith, Hope and Love, On Eagle's Wings

4. Alleluia (after the second reading).  Can be said or sung. Mo Ghrasa mo Dhia, Seinn Alleluia, Plainchant Alleluia

5. Candle Ceremony (when you light the middle candle, directly after you are married).  A very short piece here: The Cloud's Veil, One Hand One Heart, Ruth's Song

6. Offertory (after the prayers of the faithful, when the gifts are brought to the altar): Schubert's Ave Maria, Ag Chriost an Siol, A Mhuire Mhathair

7. Sign of Peace.  Some prefer an instrumental here as it can be a little noisy but can also be sung: Dona Nobis Pacem, Make me a Channel of Your Peace

8. Communion.  Can have two pieces here, depending on how many people are attending: A Clare Benediction, Ave Maria, Panis Angelicus, Nella Fantasia, You Raise me Up, When Love is Found, The Prayer, Bi a Iosa im'Chriose

9. Signing of Register.  One song is usual here as the congregation tend to talk loudly at this point.  Can be followed by an instrumental if you have time: Songbird, I've Dreamed of You, Fields of Gold, May it Be, The First Time Ever I saw your Face

10. Recessional (exit of bride and groom).  An instrumental piece is best here - there is a lot of background cheering and clapping so a soloist won't be heard.  Something upbeat is ideal: The Wedding March, Trumpet Tune (Purcell), Ode to Joy (Beethoven)

For more information on Roman Catholic Wedding ceremonies go to


Question 4: For a Civil Ceremony, what parts need music and how many pieces of music will I need?

The length and contents of a civil ceremony can vary depending on how many optional extras the couple wish to include, but the main elements are the same. The following outline for a civil ceremony with music was given to me by a registrar at a recent wedding in Tipperary. The most important thing to remember is that none of the music, readings, poetry or songs should be religious in any way.  Parts with music are outlined in green below.  

Entrance Music (optional): A fairly long song or instrumental is needed here, such as 2 verses of She Moved Through the Fair

Introduction from registrar

First Candle Ceremony (optional): A short song or instrumental is perfect at this point.  One verse of Black is the Colour for example

First Reading (optional)


Personal Vows (optional)

Ring Ceremony (optional)

Second Candle Ceremony (optional): Again, a short piece of music or song, such as 2 or 3 verses of Field's of Gold

Second Reading (optional)

Signing of the Register: One song or piece of music here.  At this particular ceremony half the wedding party were French so I got to sing most of l'Hymne de l'Amour 

Exit:  An upbeat song or instrumental is good here.  Bear in mind, depending on the amount of people present it can get noisy with clapping and cheering for the couple's exit.  Can be followed by another instrumental if there is time.

More information on Civil Weddings can be found on the General Registrar’s Website, or on the HSE website:


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