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The Wedding March music is more commonly known as Here Comes the Bride because it is the march that is played to announce to everyone that the bride is about to make her way down the aisle. Once everyone hears the familiar music, everything becomes quiet, and all heads turn toward the back of the church from where the bride will make her grand entrance. At some weddings, when the Wedding March starts, all the guests will rise in respect.
Written in 1848 by the German composer, Wilhelm Richard Wagner, the piece is also referred to as The Bridal Chorus, the original name by which it was known in the opera Lohengrin. Interestingly, although the marriage between Lohengrin and Elsa was ill-fated and within minutes quickly ended, wedding goers do not consider the song to be ominous at all. In fact, most brides would not even contemplate being married without the signature piece of music. Evilness and superstition would probably be much more evident if the bride avoided the march than playing it.
The Wedding March did not necessarily become popular, however, as a result of the opera itself. Victoria, The Princess Royal loved the piece and chose it for her wedding to Crown Prince of Prussia on January 25, 1858. In those days, everyone wanted to copy the royals, as well as the upper echelon of society. Thus, it quickly became a tradition for wedding ceremonies of commoners, to include Wagner's Wedding March as the processional music.
In addition, Victoria chose another piece of music for her wedding. It, too, is known as The Wedding March, but it is the recessional, the music played as the bride and groom leave the church after their marriage is pronounced. This piece was written in 1842 by Felix Mendelssohn, also a German composer. It was specifically created for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play about a marriage celebration.
Because the play is about festivities and does not convey any sort of deep meaning, but rather, is meant to be more of a diversion, the music is quite joyful, hopeful and celebratory - it's a symbol, much like the white doves flying off. It is actually more in line with wishing the bride and groom good luck, prosperity and a long life. It helps to create the party atmosphere, as everyone gathers around the newlywed couple congratulating them on their union, and waiting for the reception to begin.
It is also interesting to note that even small children quickly learn The Wedding March and understand its significance in their lives.
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