Are you looking for a beautiful religious hymn for your church wedding?

If you are looking for a beautiful religious hymn for your church wedding – I have come across some alternative words to Gustav Holst’s beautiful hymn “I vow to Thee my Country” (Thaxted 192)

I think he would have much prefered these alternative words, as he wasn’t patriotic at all and would have hated how patriotic his beautiful song has become with the words, we know mostly know it for.

Here are the alternative words by Cecil Spring-Rice:

We pledge to one another before the Lord above,
Entire and whole and perfect, this union of our love;
a love that will be patient, a love that will be wise, that will not
twist with envy nor lose itself in lies;
a love that will not falter, a love to hold us fast, and bind us together
as long as life shall last.

We pray that God will guide us through all the years to be.
Our lives be shaped by courage, hope and serenity.
Through joy and celebration, through loneliness and pain,
may loyalty, compassion and tenderness remain, that those
who share the blessing of love that cannot cease, may walk the paths of gentleness, into the place of peace.

Posted in Singing for Special Occasions | Leave a comment

Why do grooms carry brides over the threshold?

Customs, Rituals & Traditions: Why do grooms carry brides over the threshold?

Written on January 11, 2012 by in Rituals & Traditions, Seattle Wedding Officiants
See their wonderful website with more interesting information here:


Bride on wedding day being carried over threshold

Bride being carried over threshold

Carrying the Bride: Exactly Why?

As it turns out, weddings in the days of yore sometimes followed kidnappings. This explains not only the role of the best man but also why the bride and groom customarily leave the wedding celebration before everyone else. It’s symbolic of the groom stealing away with his bride, whisking her from her family and into a new life with him. The kidnapping theme also explains why grooms carry their brides over the threshold in some cultures. In Medieval Europe, carrying a bride into her new home prevented her from seeming too enthusiastic about losing her virginity. By picking her up and taking her into their home, the groom provided an alibi for his wife’s chastity.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only origin and rationale for a groom carrying his bride across the threshold after their wedding. It appears that this custom also developed in other cultures for different reasons. Chief among these reasons was to thwart bad luck and evil spirits.

Bride and groom over the threshold

Bride being happily carried over the threshold

Superstitious Western Europeans believed that a bride who tripped over the threshold of her new home would irrevocably bring bad luck to her home and marriage. Since the husband appears to have been immune from such happenstance, the groom carrying the bride into the home proved a good way to avoid such a mishap altogether. This fear of tripping appears to have its roots in ancient Roman culture, which held a similar belief.

Much, if not all, of the original meaning behind a groom carrying his bride across the threshold has been lost in modern Western weddings. It’s remarkable that the practice continues, even if a newly wed couple isn’t entirely sure why to do it. It’s almost as if a collective memory of the danger with which a threshold may be fraught remains. And after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Did you get carried over the threshold on your wedding day?  Was your threshold in some other country on your honeymoon?  I invite you to share your threshold stories with my readers!


Again thanks to the Seattle Wedding Officiants for this interesting article!

If you are looking for a wedding singer for your wedding, – do have a look at my websites, which you can find here:

All the best

Marianne Lihannah

Posted in celebration singing, classical singing, Singing for Special Occasions, wedding singing, weddings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do people wear black at funerals? — thanks to wiki answers for this surprising answer

Why do people wear black at funerals? — thanks to wiki answers for this surprising answer

The history of wearing black at funerals according to wiki answers

It is said to have originated from a time when people believed that when a loved one passed away, that the souls of the dead would leave that body any enter the body of a mourning loved one. So people started wearing black robes to hide their faces so that the lost soul would not find them and continue on to the after life. As years went by it transformed into a showing of respect for the dead.

Read more:

Posted in classical singing, funeral singing, funerals, Singing for Special Occasions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The colour of deepest mourning was ‘white’ in Medieval times, – thanks again Wikipedia and Wiki answers

The colour of deepest mourning was ‘white’ in Medieval times, – thanks again Wikipedia and Wiki answers

White mourning

Mary, Queen of Scots, in deuil blanc c. 1559 following the deaths of her father-in-law, mother, and first husband Francis II of France.

The colour of deepest mourning among medieval European queens was white. In 1393, Parisians were treated to the unusual spectacle of a royal funeral carried out in white, for Leo V, King of Armenia, who died in exile.[1] This royal tradition survived in Spain until the end of the fifteenth century. In 1993, it was revived by the Spanish-born Queen Fabiola for the funeral of her husband, King Baudouin I of Belgium. Additionally, in 2004, the four daughters of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands all wore white to their mother’s funeral. The custom for the Queens of France to wear deuil blanc [white mourning] was the origin of the White Wardrobe created in 1938 by Norman Hartnell for Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). She was required to make a State visit to France while in mourning for her mother.

Other Cultures still wear white at funerals

White is associated with spirituality, truth and above all Purity. So, it is somewhat related to all sacred things. Hence all wear white to show respect for the departed on the occasion.

Hindus believe that after a person is dead his soul is at peace and is free from all material and worldly desires. so to represent this idea Hindus wear white to funerals.

BUT , please note that it is not just Hindus that wear White. As part of the common culture in the Indian subcontinent, people from Most Religions wear white to show respect at funerals or other ceremonies.

Read more:





Posted in celebration singing, classical singing, funeral singing, Singing for Special Occasions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bridal Veil and the History of the Veil from Wikipedia

The Bridal Veil and the History of the Veil from Wikipedia

This wedding tradition was brought to Medieval Europe by knights returning from the Crusades. According to the wonderful web site; it was used to protect the bride from ‘the evil eye’ and was a symbol of purity. Veils during the Renaissance could have been any colour. ‘Blue’ however was the traditional colour symbolizing ‘purity. To wear a white wedding veil is a fairly recent tradition.

Wedding veils  (From Wikipedia)

An occasion on which a Western woman is likely to wear a veil is on her white wedding day. Brides once used to wear their hair flowing down their back at their wedding to symbolise their virginity. Veils covering the hair and face became a symbolic reference to the virginity of the bride thereafter. Often in modern weddings, the ceremony of removing a face veil after the wedding to present the groom with a virgin bride is skipped, since many couples have already entered into conjugal relations prior to their wedding day – the bride either wears no face veil, or it is lifted before the ceremony begins, but this is not always the case. Further, if a bride is a virgin, she often wears the face veil through the ceremony, and then either her father lifts the veil, presenting the bride to her groom, or the groom lifts the veil to symbolically consummate the marriage, which will later become literal. Brides who are virgins may make use of the veil to symbolize and emphasize their status of purity during their wedding however, and if they do, the lifting of the veil may be ceremonially recognized as the crowning event of the wedding, when the beauty of the bride is finally revealed to the groom and the guests. It is not altogether clear that the wedding veil is a non-religious use of this item, since weddings have almost always had religious underpinnings, especially in the West. Veils, however, had been used in the West for weddings long before this. Roman brides, for instance, wore an intensely flame-colored and fulsome veil, called the flammeum, apparently intended to protect the bride from evil spirits on her wedding day. Later, the socalled velatio virginum became part of the rite of the consecration of virgins, the liturgical action in which the church celebrates an act of God who has called a Christian virgin to consecrate her virginity to Christ.

In the 19th century, wedding veils came to symbolise the woman’s virginity and modesty. The tradition of a veiled bride’s face continues even today wherein, a virgin bride, especially in Christian or Jewish culture, enters the marriage ritual with a veiled face and head, and remains fully veiled, both head and face, until the ceremony concludes. After the full conclusion of the wedding ceremony, either the bride’s father lifts the veil giving the bride to the groom who then kisses her, or the new groom lifts her face veil in order to kiss her, which symbolizes the groom’s right to enter into conjugal relations with his bride.[12]

The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient wedding ritual, symbolising the groom taking possession of the wife, either as lover or as property, or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval.

A bride wearing a typical wedding veil

In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical times. According to the Torah in Genesis 24:65, Isaac is brought Rebekah to marry by his father Abraham’s servant. It is important to note that Rebekah did not veil herself when traveling with her lady attendants and Abraham’s servant and his men to meet Isaac, but she only did so when Isaac was approaching. Just before the wedding ceremony the badeken or bedeken is held. The groom places the veil over the bride’s face, and either he or the officiating Rabbi gives her a blessing. The veil stays on her face until just before the end of the wedding ceremony – when they are legally married according to Jewish law – then the groom helps lift the veil from off her face.

The most often cited interpretation for the badeken is that, according to Genesis 29, when Jacob went to marry Rachel, his father in law Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, Rachel’s older and homlier sister. Many say that the veiling ceremony takes place to make sure that the groom is marrying the right bride! Some say that as the groom places the veil over his bride, he makes an implicit promise to clothe and protect her. Finally, by covering her face, the groom recognizes that he his marrying the bride for her inner beauty; while looks will fade with time, his love will be everlasting. In some ultra-orthodox traditions the bride wears an opaque veil as she is escorted down the aisle to meet her groom. This shows her complete willingness to enter into the marriage and her absolute trust that she is marrying the right man. In Judaism, a wedding is not considered valid unless the bride willingly consents to it.

In ancient Judaism the lifting of the veil took place just prior to the consummation of the marriage in sexual union. The uncovering or unveiling that takes place in the wedding ceremony is a symbol of what will take place in the marriage bed. Just as the two become one through their words spoken in wedding vows, so these words are a sign of the physical oneness that they will consummate later on. The lifting of the veil is a symbol and an anticipation of this.

In the Western world, St. Paul’s words concerning how marriage symbolizes the union of Christ and His Church may underlie part of the tradition of veiling in the marriage ceremony.[13]


The first recorded instance of veiling for women is recorded in an Assyrian legal text from the 13th century BC, which restricted its use to noble women and forbade prostitutes and common women from adopting it. The Mycenaean Greek term a-pu-ko-wo-ko meaning “craftsman of horse veil” written in Linear B syllabic script is also attested since ca. 1300 BC.[3][4] Ancient Greek texts have also spoken of veiling and seclusion of women being practiced among the Persian elite.[citation needed] Statues from Persepolis depict women both veiled and unveiled.[citation needed]

Classical Greek and Hellenistic statues sometimes depict Greek women with both their head and face covered by a veil. Caroline Galt and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones have both argued from such representations and literary references that it was commonplace for women (at least those of higher status) in ancient Greece to cover their hair and face in public.

For many centuries, until around 1175, Anglo-Saxon and then Anglo-Norman women, with the exception of young unmarried girls, wore veils that entirely covered their hair, and often their necks up to their chins (see wimple). Only in the Tudor period (1485), when hoods became increasingly popular, did veils of this type become less common.

For centuries, women have worn sheer veils, but only under certain circumstances. Sometimes a veil of this type was draped over and pinned to the bonnet or hat of a woman in mourning, especially at the funeral and during the subsequent period of “high mourning”. They would also have been used, as an alternative to a mask, as a simple method of hiding the identity of a woman who was traveling to meet a lover, or doing anything she didn’t want other people to find out about. More pragmatically, veils were also sometimes worn to protect the complexion from sun and wind damage (when un-tanned skin was fashionable), or to keep dust out of a woman’s face, much as the keffiyeh is used today.

Looking for a Wedding Singer for your Wedding?  For more info about Wedding Singer UK – visit      www.celebrationsongs


Posted in celebration singing, classical singing, Singing for Special Occasions, wedding singing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello world!

‘Celebration Songs’

is a business that specialize in beautiful folk singing and/or classical song for special occasions; – like weddings, blessings, christenings, name ceremonies, memorials and funerals.

I am the director of  ‘Celebration Songs’ and my name is Marianne  Lihannah. I am originally from Denmark, but I have lived in the south west of the UK since 1993. I am  also the main singer and has studied singing with Michael Deason-Barrow (The Musical Director of Tonalis and award winning baritone from the Royal College of Music) for many years now.

I wanted to create a possibility for people who particularly wanted something else than pop music for a special day, – be it a wedding or a funeral for a loved one. I hope to be able to record many more songs than the ones I have recorded presently. -In this way people can hear a real alternative of music that is perfectly suited for churches and for more intimate  funeral gatherings or wedding ceremonies.

A well-chosen song, sung well, has the power to move people in such a way that they will remember the special day for many years to come.

You can hear a small selection here

I have created large repertoire lists on my website  and included lots of notes and information about the songs to make it easier for you to make a good choice. You can also ring or write to me, should you require any guidance. Every celebration is equally important to me, so I will always do my outmost to give you a quality service and beautiful singing.

Do let me know about special celebrations you have experienced, – where the music helped to make it a memorable occasion. I would love to hear what the special occasion was and what music it was?

I am always looking to extend my already wide repertoire, -so any stories you can write to me are most welcome.

Well that is enough for today, – I am still  only getting to know how this blog works.

x Marianne x

Posted in Singing for Special Occasions | Leave a comment