Jessica + Danny's Bilingual Wedding
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
When Jessica first shared with me her "royal wedding" vision which also honors her Mexican heritage, I could hardly contain myself. Live music is especially important in Hispanic culture, and I am fascinated learning about new traditions.
Although she didn't have any specific music requests, as she described her wedding ceremony to me, important elements began to emerge. The couple's vows and the ceremony music would all be in English to honor Jessica's husband-to-be, but the ceremony itself would be bilingual, since many of her family members, including her mother, speak only Spanish.
A question rose for me: how to create a music plan that welcomes and honors family members and guests from two different languages and cultures?
I was ready for a challenge.
We started by choosing her musicians. Jessica loves the sound of strings, and was considering a string quartet. Knowing that she was expecting a lot of guests, and that her venue is carpeted (factors which both will mute sound quality quite a bit), I asked her also to consider the organ. We settled on an elegant combo of organ, cello and violin. The organ gave versatility, volume and support, while the strings provided the syrupy, romantic vibe that she loves so much.
Choosing the music. Jessica's bridal procession was especially important to her, so we decided to wait to bring all the instruments together until this moment.
The first two processions utilized simply the organ. For the first procession of family, Padrinos and Madrinas, I suggested we honor her Mexican heritage with an instrumental version of “El Amor Nunca Pasará”, a popular Spanish hymn about the love of God. This was followed by the elegant "Canon in D" by Pachelbel, a classic choice for the procession of a large wedding party with a royal wedding vibe.
When the last couple had finished walking up the aisle, there was a pause. All the world seemed to stop for just a moment. Then the instruments began. I could feel goosebumps as Jane played "Air on G" by Bach with flawless expression on the violin. Jessica regally processed down the aisle, cathedral veil cascading behind her.
The Catholic Hispanic customs Jessica chose to incorporate were exceptionally beautiful.
The Lazo (Unity Rope), is a rope or oversized rosary that is placed around the bride’s and the groom’s shoulders. Shaped in the number eight, which symbolizes infinity, the Lazo is a declaration of an infinite, everlasting union.
The Arraz (Coins) are small gold or silver coins passed down through family generations, and are exchanged during the ceremony, symbolizing that everything the couple has is going to be shared from now on between them.
Several other special gifts were exchanged as well.
The rest of the ceremony music was a romantic weave of organ, vocals, and strings. The triumphant setting of the Alleluia had special meaning, having been composed by our organist, Ben, for his own wedding just a couple months earlier. At the offertory, the soprano melody and violin echo in "Panis Angelicus" by Franck was regal perfection. For communion, Jessica opted for "Amén (El Cuerpo de Cristo)” by Schiavone, a bilingual English/Spanish hymn. And what Catholic wedding is complete without the singing of a classic "Ave Maria"?
The couple left the church amid thunderous applause to the joyful “La Réjouissance” by Handel, and were met by the Saint Louis mariachi band, Mariachi Show Los Reyes, hired especially for the occasion by the bride's mother. After pictures, their sweet and oh-so-talented photographer Carly Sullens whisked them off for their next adventure.
"For anyone that is looking for beautiful music pieces and talented people to play at your wedding ceremony... Angela is the way to go! She was literally my favorite vendor to work with. As soon as we spoke I knew that she was the person I wanted to work with. I told her everything I wanted and she hit everything to the 'T'. She makes you feel so comfortable because she really cares about all her customers and wants to genuinely celebrate with you and make your ceremony the best possible. She found the perfect organist and strings for my ceremony. She also sang beautifully herself! I recommend her to everyone. Thank you so much again Angela!!" - Jessica
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Photos by Carly Sullens Photography
Venue: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Florissant, MO
Facebook: Angela Marie Rocchio, Soprano