Renaissance wedding playlist

Guest post by Stefanie Renee
A costumed royal Renaissance affair with a sword in the stone cake(!)
Photo by Michelle Gunton Photography

A Renaissance playlist can set the mood for your Renaissance-themed wedding, or just supply romantic and racy wedding songs. Renaissance music is gorgeous, accessible, and uncommon. Hardly any wedding guest will feel like they just can't listen to “Pur ti miro” again.

Bride Stefanie Renee shared her Renaissance playlist.

We had a Renaissance-themed wedding, so that settled the main genre for our music. At the end of the night we played a CD that I burned to get our groove on. I'm an opera singer and sang two arias to my sweetie during the ceremony.

Reception: Various Renaissance pieces and holiday carols from a flute and recorder duo, Flutes of Fancy.

End of Reception: The CD

Your own Renaissance playlist

Even if you and your partner aren't early music geeks, you might enjoy the offbeat fun of a Renaissance wedding song or two. Here are some of the greatest hits of Renaissance music:

  • “Pachelbel Canon” is a Renaissance piece, even though it has become insanely popular in the 21st century.
  • “If Ye Love Me,” by Thomas Tallis, was played at the wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle. It's religious rather than romantic, but extremely beautiful.
  • “Pur ti miro,” by Monteverdi, has to be one of the most romantic songs ever. “I adore you, I embrace you, I desire you, I enchain you, no more grieving, no more sorrow, O my dearest, O my beloved. I am yours, O my love, tell me so, you are mine, mine alone, O my love.”
  • “It Was a Lover and His Lass,” by Thomas Morley, is a sweet madrigal from one of the most popular composers of madrigals.
  • “Sing We and Chant It,” also by Thomas Morley, is a bit more sophisticated.
  • “Now Is the Month of Maying,” one more by Morley, is overtly sexy, saying, “Now is the month of maying, when merry lads are playing, Each with his bonny lass upon the greeny grass.” In the last verse listeners are invited to “play barley break” — in other words, offered “a roll in the hay.” Okay, it's not that racy by modern standards, but it was hot stuff in the 1500s.
  • “Weep O mine eyes,” by John Bennet, can be understood as a sad piece, but many singers consider “O when begin you to swell so high that I may drown me in you?” code for something much sexier. However you interpret it, the tune its very passionate.
  • ‘L'Amor Dona Ch'lo Te Porto,” by Jacopo da Fogliano is a song from a lover to his love, revealing the passione that burns inside him.
  • “Dolce amoroso foco,” another popular Italian madrigal, calls the lover to enjoy, at last, pleasure without haste.

Click through to listen to these pieces on Amazon, or contact your local college music department for moderately priced musician referrals.

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Comments on Renaissance wedding playlist

  1. Thank you for these articles! When we were trying to figure out a theme for our wedding and my SIL suggested we marry at a renaissance festival, my fiance paused from his usually quiet, introverted demeanor and asked, “Could I wear a sword?” That was all it took. ? Ladies and gentlemen, we have a theme!! However, the vast majority (and yes, as it’s been put on hold twice now because of Covid, it’s been vast) of medieval/renaissance weddings I’ve seen online stopped around 2016. I fretted a wee bit, concerned that people would consider it passe and not enjoy it nearly as much as we would. Then I realized, it’s OUR wedding! We can do whatever the heck we want, and the people we invite are close friends & family. They’re just as crazy as we are! I’ve already been told by several that they’re planning on dressing up in medieval attire for the occasion (several in our families already cosplay).
    So thank you, O.B.! You’ve helped me feel a bit more confident about our choice…and hey, if anyone has a problem with it, they can take it up with my guy. He’s the one with the big ass sword.

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