Music for Weddings at St. Mary of the Assumption
Brookline Village • Massachusetts 

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Frequently Asked Questions




I. Musicians


Q. I have a friend who would like to sing at my wedding. Is that OK?

A. Guest soloists are welcome to sing one selection during your wedding. Guest soloists should provide an appropriate keyboard score of their piece (in the key in which they wish to sing) and should arrive 1/2 hour before the wedding to run through the piece with our organist. If they require a rehearsal at a different time, an additional fee of $75 is required to compensate the organist for the extra time.

On rare occasions we may permit a singer who is a professional cantor at another Catholic parish to sing more than one selection—usually no more than 2 selections. This must be approved by the Music Director in advance. In all cases when guest singers are allowed, the fee for your wedding is still the same, as our staff cantor must also be paid. If you have any questions, please contact the music director as soon as possible.


Q. I have a friend that would like to play an instrument at my wedding. Is that OK?

A. Guest instrumentalists are welcome to play one or two selections during your wedding. If they wish to be accompanied by our organist, they should provide an appropriate keyboard score at least one month in advance. Guest musicians should arrive 1/2 hour before the wedding to run through the music with our organist. If they require a rehearsal at a different time, an additional fee of $75 is required to compensate the organist for the extra time.



Q. I don’t want to hire a trumpet player, but our favorite piece on your site uses trumpets. Can you still play it?

A. Yes! The organ is known as the “king of instruments”because it has so many sounds and tone colors. Every piece on our site, and almost every other piece, can be played on the organ to great effect. Even pieces called “Trumpet Voluntary” may be played without a trumpeter. Some selections (such as Purcell's Trumpet Tune and Trumpet Voluntary) are demonstrated here with and without trumpets. If you are unsure about a specific piece, please let us know.


Q. I want a bagpiper to play at my wedding. Is that OK?

A. Yes. But because bagpipes are a very loud instrument, it works best if the bagpiper plays outside on the steps of the church before and after the ceremony, not inside the church.


Q. Will the musicians be at the wedding rehearsal?

A. No. The rehearsal coordinator (who is provided by the church as part of the fee) is very familiar with the musical part of the wedding, and will be able to instruct you about the timing of the music for the wedding, and when to walk down the aisle.


II. Selections



Q. I heard a lovely piece on the radio (or on a CD), and I would love to have it played at our wedding. Can you do that?

A. We will make every effort to play your favorite pieces. There are a few things to keep in mind:


• if the piece is to be sung, the words must be sacred/religious in nature. Most show tunes, pop songs, love ballads, or opera arias are not appropriate. If you are uncertain, just send us the words of the piece and we can advise you. Remember that just because a piece is included on a wedding CD from a music store does not mean it is appropriate for a Catholic sacrament. You may even have heard it many years ago at St. Mary's—but please do no assume that we can play a piece simply because it has been done before.


• if we do not own the music in our library, you must provide an keyboard score at least one month before the wedding. We can recommend music stores or online sites that may be able to help you order the music.


• the piece must be of an appropriate length if it is to be including during the wedding, or else you must be willing to let us “cut” the piece as needed



Q. At another Catholic wedding I heard a piece that your guidelines said was inappropriate. Why did they allow it?

A. Some churches do not enforce the guidelines set forth by the church in the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal.” Some musicians will also bend the rules sometimes and not at others. Instead of bending the rules for some couples, we feel that it is most fair to everyone to follow the regulations set forth by the bishops.

You may even have heard such a piece played for a liturgy at St. Mary's a few years ago.
However, even if the rules about appropriate music in the Catholic liturgy may have been bent or ignored in the past, it may not be possible or advisable to do so again. In order to be fair to the dozens of couples who get married at St. Mary's every year, we need to apply the guidelines consistently.

Above all, remember that the church portion of your wedding is a sacrament, not a concert or a time to hear your favorite songs. Just as the readings done are your wedding need to be scriptural readings appropriate for a Catholic wedding liturgy, the music must be appropriate for the sacrament.


  Q. May I play a CD at the wedding instead of having your musicians perform?

A: Pre-recorded music is not permitted during the wedding, as it is not consistent with the guidelines of the church about the solemnity of a wedding sacrament. The purpose of the musicians is not simply to entertain the guests, but to lead them in the sung parts of the liturgy and to inspire them. The church feels that that this is best done by live musicians.


Q. With all these guidelines, I’m afraid my wedding music won’t reflect my personal style. Can you help?

A. Yes! Don’t be put off by the various rules and regulations, you still have a lot of choices open to you. Consider that even as late as the 1970’s, some churches did not give couples any choice of music—you automatically got the “standard” wedding.

Today you can choose from the dozens of pieces on our website, or find appropriate pieces on your own. You can choose from a variety of styles, you can choose to have a lot of vocal music or very little, and you can choose to add additional instruments. The mood of your wedding music can be exuberant and majestic, or quiet, reflective, and romantic. The only thing that the church asks you to remember is that your wedding is a sacrament of the church performed by a priest or deacon. You are not renting the church to “put on your wedding.” Instead the church is inviting to you participate in one of its sacraments, and in return there are some guidelines to follow.


Q. I don’t want any singing at my wedding. Is that possible?

A. Most of the selections at your wedding can be instrumental only. However the liturgy requires that a few places be sung—the Responsorial Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, and the Ordinary of the Mass (the “Mass parts.”) These are considered part of the prayers, and they need to be led by the cantor.



III. Payments



Q. How much is the fee for the wedding, and what does it include?

A. A basic wedding costs $950, which includes the services of an organist and cantor, the services of a wedding rehearsal coordinator, a stipend for the altar server, and a $100 donation to the church. If you desire additional instruments (such as trumpet, flute, violin) there is an additional charge of $225 per extra musician.


Q. What’s this about a refund for starting on time?

If your wedding starts within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, you will receive a refund of $100. Recently some weddings have started more than an hour late, and this rebate is to thank those couples who are considerate enough to start on time. To receive your refund, please be sure to send us your current mailing address after the wedding.


Q. When is my payment due?

A. A non-refundable deposit of $475 is due as soon as you book your wedding with the church, in order to confirm the date. If you decide to hire an additional instrumentalist (trumpet, etc) an additional $225 is due as soon as that musician is hired by the Music Director. The balance of $475 is due one month before your wedding. It is very important that we receive your final check one month before the wedding—it is not acceptable to pay at the rehearsal or have the best man pay on the day of the wedding.


Q. Where should I send the check?

A. Make the check out to St. Mary’s Weddings

and send it to

St. Mary of the Assumption
5 Linden Place,
Brookline MA 02445
attn: Susan Crapo