Readings, Hymns & Music


It is customary to have a least one reading from the Bible. There is a list of suitable readings on the Church of England website at

You may like to choose another reading for your wedding from another source. Various lists can be found at


You may well have your own choices for personal reasons, but there is a list (with texts) of common marriage hymns at and the list of the pieces that work well at All Saints and St Mary’s includes the hymns we most often sing. The most critical thing is that the hymns you choose will be sung with enthusiasm by your guests.


Music at wedding services MUST be ‘live’ music.

The parish has a professional Director of Music, who help you please talk to him so that you can discuss the music for your wedding as it is part of the role to ensure that the music at services is appropriate. Please talk to the Director of Music as you start planning the music for your service. Then you will avoid being told at the last minute that the music you are thinking of is either inappropriate or impractical!

Recorded music is not permitted except in exceptional circumstances. We will not authorize the use of CD’s, Ipods, etc for music in your church wedding, the only exception that may be made is where you have an instrumentalist or singer who needs to use a battery powered system for a backing track, but they must operate it themselves. Neither church has any form of sound system and St Mary’s has no electricity which makes things even more difficult.

You must talk to the Director of Music if you want other musicians to take part in the service and it is important that you do this before booking them as if it proves impractical and they cannot take part in the service you will be liable for their cancellation fees if you’ve already booked them!

If you have a family member or friend you would like to act as your organist or would like to incorporate other musicians (e.g. harpist, string quartet) that can be arranged subject to the approval of the Director of Music – but the “Organist’s Fee” is still payable.

The Director of Music is happy to accompany visiting singers and instrumentalists and will advise on singers and musicians we have worked with before.

Both churches have modest organs with a pleasant tone, and are ideal to accompany singing at services (though not for all organ music). At Orchardleigh there is no electricity in the church so the wind is generated by a hand-operated pump which is why you will see somebody beside the organ pumping away! The organs are very valuable assets and receive careful and regular maintenance and are both listed as being of historic importance.

It is important that you tell us your preferred music / hymns at least six weeks before your marriage date.