Dum dum di daa! The history of the Wedding March
Wedding Ceremonies in Western Culture have for the best part of a century frequently featured the same two pieces of music, but why?
No-one ever doubts what is about to happen when the opening bars of Wagner’s ‘Wedding March’ from Lohengrin is played; the bride is about to make her entrance into the most important day of her life. The piece is originally from an opera by Wagner written in 1850 and is sung when the women of the bridal party accompany the heroine Elsa to her bridal chamber.
Our most popular wedding recessional (when the bride and groom leave the ceremony) is the Wedding March by Mendelssohn. Felix Mendelssohn, another German composer, like Wagner, wrote a suite of music to be played for a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this Wedding March is one of the pieces.
Both of these pieces became popular as wedding standards after they were used at the wedding of Princess Victoria (daughter of Queen Victoria) to Prince Frederick of Prussia in 1858. The ‘Kate and Will’ of the day, once this royal pair had used this music, everyone wanted to copy and it became the wedding standard processional and recessional that we know and love.
Whilst these two pieces of music keep being requested (and for good reason) don’t forget that your music for your wedding need not be traditional if you would prefer it not to be. Make it as personal as you like – but there is a reason why everyone likes to hear ‘Dum, Dum di Daaaa!’.