The lyrics to "Here Comes the Bride" are not the modern words often heard at contemporary weddings. The original music and lyrics come from the piece "Bridal Chorus" at the beginning of Act III in Richard Wagner's opera "Lohengrin." Moments after the piece is sung by the chorus, the main characters talk in the bridal chamber before a fight ensues and the marriage is never consummated.
The irony of the "Bridal Chorus" is that the song talks about the "happiest of couples" and a huge "wedding feast" for Lohengrin and his new bride, Elsa. The bride talks to her husband in an attempt to get him to reveal his true identity as Lohengrin. Lohengrin's rival, Telramund, breaks into the room. Elsa hands Lohengrin his sword and he kills the interloper. The death changes the couple forever as Lohengrin disappears and Elsa dies alone after his abandonment.
"Bridal Chorus" was first performed publicly in 1850, according to The Telegraph. The source material is a Medieval romance. The opera is set in 10th century Germany and revolves around Elsa and the men surrounding her. Telramund is supposed to marry her, but he distrusts Elsa because she is accused of drowning Telramund's brother. All Elsa wants is to have her knight in shining armor prove her innocence, and her wish almost comes true in the form of the mysterious Lohengrin.
Modern, alternative lyrics, include versions such as:
Here comes the bride,
All dressed in white,
Sweetly, serenely, in the soft glowing light.
Lovely to see, running to thee,
True love united for eternity.
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Adventure | Western | Comedy
Here she comes on down the aisle Behind her veil she wears a smile