Popular Wedding Hymns for 2021

Popular Wedding Hymns for 2021

An introduction to wedding hymns - updated for 2021

When it comes to choosing the best hymns for your wedding day, there are hundreds of beautiful songs to choose from, from both modern and traditional repertoires. Along with your first dance song, these wedding ceremony songs are especially important as they'll form the foundation of your wedding soundtrack.

There are some things to be made aware of that you may or may not already know when deciding on which wedding hymns to pick. Our wedding hymn guide aims to cover everything you need to know!

What hymns can I have at my wedding ceremony? The rules explained.

Hymns are typically broken up into two categories, religious and secular/non-religious. Typically the lyrics of a hymn will determine whether it does or doesn’t have religious connotations. In this guide we've showcased the most popular hymns for both religious and non-religious weddings (including lyric and video links) to give you some planning ideas.

TIP Many popular hymns can have multiple known versions, whether that be alternate lyrics or melodies which can cause some confusion. Whatever you decide, make sure the version you want is made known to the relevant parties in advance.

Depending on your chosen wedding venue, the songs that you may want performed or sung during the service may or may not be allowed. This is because there are rules that apply to certain aspects of a wedding service such as musical choices and chosen readings.

If you decide to marry in a venue that doesn’t have a religious connection then unfortunately you won’t be permitted to sing any hymns that reference religion or God. Ultimately, if you’re set on traditional hymns being sung on your wedding day then a church venue is the way to go.

best wedding hymns

How many hymns should I choose?

You’ll find that the first hymn is most often sung at the start of the ceremony once everyone is seated and the vicar or priest has made introductions. This is generally followed by another after the exchange of vows and then finally right before the bride and groom exit the venue. This would give you a choice of three songs in total.

If you’ve decided to have a longer ceremony then of course you’ll have room for a few more hymns. It might be a good idea to mix of the style of hymn, for example a gentle and welcoming hymn at that start followed by an uplifting, upbeat hymn after the wedding blessing has taken place.

What are the best wedding hymns?

As a rule of thumb you'll want to pick songs that the majority of your guests will know, so that more people can join in and sing along. If your guests are regular church-goers then they will undoubtedly already know a good handful of the most popular hymns. Here are just a few of our favourites below...

Popular Religious Hymns for Church Weddings for 2021

  • Amazing GraceAmazing Grace
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  • Abide With MeAbide With Me
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  • All Things Bright and BeautifulAll Things Bright and Beautiful
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  • Ava MariaAva Maria
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  • Be Thou My VisionBe Thou My Vision
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  • Be Still, My SoulBe Still, My Soul
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  • Be StillBe Still
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  • Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)
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  • Dear Lord And Father of MankindDear Lord And Father of Mankind
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  • Guide Me, O My Great RedeemerGuide Me, O My Great Redeemer
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  • Great Is Thy FaithfulnessGreat Is Thy Faithfulness
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  • God, That Madest Earth and HeavenGod, That Madest Earth and Heaven
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  • How Firm A FoundationHow Firm A Foundation
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  • Holy, Holy, HolyHoly, Holy, Holy
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  • In Christ AloneIn Christ Alone
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  • I, The Lord Of Sea And SkyI, The Lord Of Sea And Sky
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  • I Vow to Thee, My CountryI Vow to Thee, My Country
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  • Jesu Joy of Man’s DesiringJesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
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  • Jesus Love Me, This I KnowJesus Love Me, This I Know
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  • Just As I AmJust As I Am
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  • Love Divine, All Loves ExcellingLove Divine, All Loves Excelling
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  • Lord Of Earth And All CreationLord Of Earth And All Creation
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  • Ode To JoyOde To Joy
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  • Praise, my soul, the King of HeavenPraise, my soul, the King of Heaven
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  • Praise to the Lord, the AlmightyPraise to the Lord, the Almighty
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  • Shine, Jesus ShineShine, Jesus Shine
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  • The Lord’s My SheperdThe Lord’s My Sheperd
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Musical accompaniment, what are my options?

When you mention hymns, the thing that often springs to mind is the sound of a church organ. This grand instrument can be a wonderful accompaniment to a choir of voices and is often a cost effective way of adding some musical background to your chosen hymns.

Typically you'd be looking at adding £50-£100 or so to your wedding bill to have the church organist accompany the singing on the day.

TIP Not all hymns have to include singing - There are a many hymns out there that work as an instrumental and can be ideal for certain parts of the service, such as the bridal entrance/exit.

Solo Wedding Musicians and Wedding Singers

One thing to bear in mind is that not every church will have an organ so make sure you factor this in when deciding on where to marry. If that’s the case and you’re looking for a little more flexibility when it comes to the musical aspect of the day, then you may decide to hire a wedding singer or solo wedding musician such as a guitarist or pianist.

Most artists are happy to learn several song requests in advance of the day for each part of the ceremony which gives you more freedom and flexibility with song choice. Why not head over to our wedding music page where you can browse a wide selection of available acts? We've got wedding string quartets, harpists, pianists, guitarists and solo singers available to hire nationwide.

Best Non-Religious/Secular Hymns for UK Weddings

  • Joy To The WorldJoy To The WorldPlay
  • HallelujahHallelujahPlay
  • Many Rivers To CrossMany Rivers To CrossPlay
  • Both Sides NowBoth Sides NowPlay
  • Somewhere Over The RainbowSomewhere Over The RainbowPlay
  • Fire and RainFire and RainPlay
  • Blowin’ in the WindBlowin’ in the WindPlay
  • Let It BeLet It BePlay

Our Top Picks for the Best Gospel Songs for Weddings

Last but not least, if you’re after the quintessential ‘gospel sound’ then why not consider booking a full-on gospel choir? These acts typically offer a variety of line-ups to suit any venue size and can be a great musical addition to any wedding ceremony.

Final Thoughts

The hymns you choose will be forever in your memory and a reminder of your special day together as a couple in the years to come. With this in mind, it’s important to make the right choice - but don’t let it become a chore. These are meant to be the fun aspects of planning a wedding so take your time and enjoy the moment.

Hopefully this guide has helped get you started searching for your perfect wedding hymns. If you’re still in need of help with choosing a song for a First Dance or Father/Daughter dance then why not check out our other popular blogs below.