Almanac Music: Wedding Music?

Clare Boyd-Macrae’s Stereo Stories piece on Bach’s ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’ has prompted some nice memories.

When The Handicapper and I were married (on the day Sunline won the Doncaster – Easter Saturday, 2002) the organist – our great friend Jilly Bartsch, now Stoll – played ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’ as we signed the Registry. A brilliant (professional) musician, JB managed to work the Geelong Football Club song into Bach’s theme.

We were married in a little Lutheran church in the wheatfields, St John’s at Aubigny, by a brilliant philosopher-theologian-musician, Neal Nuske. Neal had grown up in the parish before becoming a pastor and was a chaplain at St Peters, Indooroopilly, where I had also taught. He is an inspirational fellow.

Like Clare, Neal believes the music of Bach brings you closer to a sense of the Divine. Bach is magnificent. I like to find one of those two-hour Bach compilations on Youtube and have it fill the room.

But it also made me think of the other music we had at our wedding.

The MC, Anthony W Collins, had the DJ crank out ‘I am a Man of Constant Sorrow’ as we cut the cake. The wedding waltz was The Proclaimers ‘I would walk 500 miles’. One of the hymns was ‘Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation’. ‘Eagle Rock’ got a run, and the great Union College down-trou tradition was enacted.

So, I’m interested to know what music did you have at your wedding?

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Great topic. Got married at St John The Baptist Catholic Church in Clifton Hill. Reception (an afternoon reception) at 9 Darling Street, South Yarra (if you don’t mind!). So everyone was Adrian by 4.30pm. Thus my memory is foggy. But I will forever remember the magnificent rendition of Bach’s “Ave Maria” sung during the ceremony by the very gifted cantor John Caddy.

  2. She walked in to Pachabel’s Canon, so a bit traditional.

    According to the cassette tapes we still have of the wedding, recessional was Handel’s Rinaldo, and there was a bit of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in there too, probably for registry signing.

    But the bridal waltz was “You do something to me” done by Sinead O’Connor off Red, Hot and Blue, then a version of Fever (may have been Wendy Matthews?) then Kiss by Prince.

    Remember the dance floor going off to Special AKA “Free Nelson Mandela”

    She also danced with her dad to “To Sir with Love” , not a dry eye in the house

    Final song/circle/farewell was Waiting for the Great Leap Forward” by B> Bragg


  3. We were also married in 2002, but on WS Cox Plate day (Northerly- back to back) at Cummins House just up the road from where we lived in Glenelg.

    A cool, sunny spring day, we had the ceremony on the wide lawns and then the festivities began.

    We had long enjoyed the band Gumbo Ya Ya in pubs and at wine festivals so booked them. They do lots of blues, jazz, pop, zydeco standards. Think Iko Iko and Dr John. Fun, infectious music.

    However, the lead singer was turning fifty and heading overseas so they had to cancel a month or so out.

    Instead we had Jessie- Dean Freeman and the Rhythm Aces who played similar music. A snappy three piece featuring a double bass- surely a winner at any function!

    Knowing the photographable thirsts of our family and friends, we thought we’d over-catered. But at about 2 o’clock they’d drank everything so the supplies for the venue’s Sunday wedding were called up, and steadily dispatched.

    In an inexcusable oversight Eagle Rock didn’t get a run.

    Great day.

  4. Earl O'Neill says

    My first wife had a well-to-do Dad; ceremony at North Head, reception at an a-la-carte restaurant on Harbord Beach. My friends Dave (guitarist) and Mandy (singer) performed ‘Let It Be Me’ and ‘Pledging My Love’ at the ceremony, Gary DJed the reception and our wedding dance was to Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together.’ After we split, it was years before I could listen to Al Green again.

    My second wedding, and first marriage, we tuned up the crowd of 50 with The Meters’ ‘Sophisticated Cissy’, entered Petersham Bowling Club to The Hollies’ ‘Bus Stop’, squeezed Jackie Wilson’s ‘The Who Who Song’ in there somewhere, Perky Girl and I hugged and kissed to Garnet Mimms’ ‘As Long As I Have You’, something of a signature song for us, signed the register to the sound of Del-Lords’ ‘Pledge Of Love’ and Afghan Whigs’ wonderful take on ‘Come See About Me.’

    By then the club was open and the locals started shuffling in and heard my ‘100 by 100’ compilation until about 2pm when the older folks and the parents of young kids started moving on and the rest came back to our house for the after party.

    I did suggest that we ask New Christs to play the wedding but, well, y’know, I’d’ve had to ask them to learn those six songs and not play any of their own.

  5. Rick Kane says

    At the ceremony we had Matty Q deliver stand-up about the perils of marriage, had Vicki’s cousin recite an ancient Greek poem (in Greek) and had a couple of friends sing Dance Me To The End Of Love by Mr Cohen.

    At the reception, at a pub on Nicholson St in Fitzroy, our wedding dance was to Steve Earle’s Valentine’s Day. Here are the lyrics:

    I come to you with empty hands
    I guess I just forgot again
    I only got my love to send
    On Valentine’s Day
    I ain’t got a card to sign
    Roses have been hard to find
    I only hope that you’ll be mine
    On Valentine’s Day
    I know that I swore that I wouldn’t forget
    I wrote it all down: I lost it I guess
    There’s so much I want to say
    But all the words just slip away

    The way you love me every day
    Is Valentine’s Day

    If I could I would deliver to you
    Diamonds and gold; it’s the least I can do
    So if you’ll take my IOU
    I could make it up to you
    Until then I hope my heart will do
    For Valentine’s Day

  6. RK – the pub? Was it the appropriately named “Pump House”?

  7. Rick Kane says

    Inappropriately Dips, inappropriately. Wink, wink, say no more. Cheers

  8. Kath Presdee says

    I was such a considerate bride that I told my husband we could walk in to Bizet’s March of the Toreodors. Yes, I know it’s the Geelong theme song. He was well pleased.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Brought back many happy memories JTH.
    We got married in mum’s village in the north west of Greece. Leanne Rimes version of ‘Unchained Melody’ was bride/groom song. Lots of old Greek folk, rebetika and modern Greco-Arabic rhythms.

    However the highlight was getting the relos to dance a Greek three step to ‘Roaring Days’ by Weddings, Parties, Anything’. Me and my brother led the way and most of the village just joined in. The ‘Weddos’ were echoing across the Albanian border on the night of the 31st of August 1997.

  10. Cat from the Country says

    Nice one Kate.
    At our marriage 46 years ago, on May 24, I walked down the aisle to Bach: Cantata, BWV 147 – Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring.
    It stays with us still and we always stop and listen. If we are alone when we heat it we share on getting together again again. (He travels frequently)
    In fact I will find it on YouTube and play it again!
    And we both love Bach

  11. The People's Elbow says

    Unfortunately my wife vetoed Van Halen’s “Panama”… and “Dreams”. Even “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “Love Walks In” were vetoed.

    Basically it was a blanket ban on Van Halen.

    I give us a year.

  12. ned_wilson says

    We had Heartbeats by the Knife/Jose Gonzalez as the bride walked down the isle. I’ve just looked up the meaning of the lyrics. Apparently its about a one night stand…. hmmm.

  13. Litza

    What, that wedding standard “Hot for Teacher” was banned as well?

    So, you don’t spend time debating the David Lee Roth years vs Sammy Hagar I imagine?

    Cruel and unusual punishment, my sympathies

    No Panama? The compromises we make for those we love


  14. The People's Elbow says

    The conversation was shut down long before “Hot For Teacher”.

    Wife thinks David Lee Roth is “kinda weird”, so have given the DLR v Hagar debate a wide birth, should I start having to sort out what pots and pans are mine.

  15. Rick Kane says

    I give your wife a round of applause TPE. (Notwithstanding that Van Roth does have many quotable quotes).

  16. St. Paul’s cathedral in Wellington New Zealand was the venue 26 years ago for the ceremony. No recollection of any of the music there but do recall the Bridal Waltz started with White Wedding (Billy Idol) into What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong). An unlikely running double.

  17. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Despite 18 years of intermittent asking from the man, there has been no wedding here. The man is a director and I am guessing that 90% of the reason he would still like to get married would be to direct the show. He doesn’t argue much with this hypothesis. In the event, though, my pitch would be that I would ‘walk the aisle’ to Michael Franti & Spearhead’s song ‘Home’. At only 1min 21 long, it would have to be quick.

    Given that I see no reason to marry, I have also said that he could play it as the coffin approaches … should he be there.

  18. Pamela Sherpa says

    Did I have music at my wedding? Now you’ve got me thinking . Got married at the Sherpa Gompa at Bhoudanath in Kathmandu in 1986 and remember the ceremony eventually happening after many hours of people turning up and asking what time the ceremony was taking place . I had no idea , but in typical Nepalese fashion it did eventually happen . I recall some traditional Sherpa dancing – ceremonial foot plodding sort of stuff where people link up with arms around shoulders where no instruments are required but a chanting type of singing is done and then later some Nepali music where someone plays a drum and people dance in an individual uninhibited way.

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