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The Wedding March Around the World
Although the Wedding March processional music by Wagner is a solid tradition in Western culture, it is not necessarily viewed that way by everyone. You'll see it in Bloomington and in Prague, but not in Israel. In fact, some cultures and religions view it as openly vulgar and completely unacceptable. Sadly, it is not the great music itself that is the problem, but rather the composer. Nevertheless, the negatives that were associated with Wagner have been deeply rooted in many cultures, and although today many do not know the history of The Wedding March, either why it is tradition in their own culture, or why another culture equally rejects the music, the long ago perceptions are still instilled in modern day people.
Undoubtedly, you will not hear the music being played at a strict Jewish wedding. Wagner was known to openly object against the Jewish people, and thus, his music was said to be full of anti-semitism. Further, the scene in which the march is played is quite controversial, although today, no-one would even bother with its imagery. Apparently, the music is played as the transition between the marriage ceremony and the entrance into the bridal chamber. A large bed is the focal point of the opera scene and this would have been scandalous in that time period. As a result, The Wedding March is not acceptable in other parts of the world where it was deemed to coincide with inappropriate behavior.
In addition, there are religions that believe the music to be paganistic. And this would not bode well for the bride and groom who are married in deeply religious ceremonies. Likewise, for cultures that are superstitious, the Bridal Chorus would not be used, as it would certainly be an evil omen to the newlywed couple. Since Lohengrin and his bride did not remain happy for more than a few minutes in the opera, why would any bride and groom wish to take that same chance and tempt fate with their own marriage?
Mendelssohn's piece is equally offensive to many churches, as the one of the woman in the story is drugged and in this state marries an ass. Nothing about the story is sacred, and therefore, objectionable to many religious people. When you're requesting wedding catalogs, make sure to request whether or not the locations objects to it, as this happens more often than you'd expect! The strange part is many people are only looking to continue tradition that started with royalty. They are not necessarily condoning the play, as they probably do not even realize the meaning.
Indeed, in North America, The Wedding March refers to a specific piece of music. But, in reality, the term wedding march really just means, any march or hymn that is used to guide the bride to the altar, and conversely, walk the couple out of the church.