There once was a time when wedding ceremonies had no music. Originally western weddings were a pretty quiet affair and music would not be played until the reception following the event. At some point, this tradition changed and today we have people who dance down the aisle, summersault to the altar, and have anything from adorable kids to strange animals bring the rings. It is clear that weddings have changed a lot over the years. Despite all the changes, there are still so many traditions in place. Once music did appear there soon became traditions in that aspect too. We are all familiar with the ‘Here comes the bride’ song as well as the ‘Wedding march’ tune. Both of these songs are now locked in as part of many weddings. Where did they come from?
To better understand when these songs entered tradition we must first ask how did music enter the ceremony at all. The answer takes us all the way back to 1858, England. At that time Queen Victoria ruled and her daughter Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise was set to be married. On January 25th she married Frederick William IV of Prussia. The wedding was set to be like any other with no music playing but Princess Victoria was a fan of music and theatre and tried to mix things up. A few years earlier a German composer had penned the ‘Wedding March’ for a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ the famous Shakespeare play. In 1850 Richard Wagner created the ‘Here comes the bride’ tune for a Bridal Chorus in the opera Lohengrin.
Keep in mind that Princess Victoria was only born in 1840 so at the time of the wedding she would have been 18 years old. Is it any surprise that the teenager had a rebellious streak and wanted to incorporate some popular music in the ceremony? How often does this same conversation happen nowadays when young brides want to have Ed Sheeran or One Direction as part of the honors. The only difference between those who choose Ed now and Princess Vicky’s choice of Wagner was that Vicky was a princess. Whenever there is a royal wedding there are so many people who are watching that trends inevitably take place.
So many watched and adored the wedding of Princess Victoria that both songs soon became the common themes at the wedding. Princess Victoria walked the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride” and left with her new husband to the sound of “The Wedding March”. Today, countless couples choose the same setup. While Princess Victoria was clearly an independent woman she was following the approach of her own mother. It was her mother, Queen Victoria, that actually started the tradition of wearing a white dress at a wedding ceremony.
While the importance of the royal family is often questioned and clearly decreasing in the importance they have clearly had an impact on the world. Even today when a royal wedding takes place the world stands up and takes notice. When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry it was the biggest wedding of recent history.
While we can be grateful that Meghan didn’t include One Direction in her wedding she did start a lot of trends. Her wedding dress has changed how many people want to look with the sophisticated sleek gown now highly popular. She also brought into view a large veil, a small bouquet, a gospel choir, and a blue convertible. The blue convertible to the reception has become a hit ever since her wedding and perhaps the new tradition for something blue will be something blue with the top down.