Almost Hits: Paul Stookey - The Wedding Song (There Is Love) (1971)

Paul Stookey's "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)" has a more personal connection for me than any other music I've written about on this blog, and that's because it was played at my wedding way back when folk music could still reach the top 40. The single achieved #24 on Billboard's Hot 100 and #3 on their Easy Listening Chart in 1971.

My wife asked her college friend to sing the beautiful tune at our ceremony accompanied by his acoustic guitar in addition to a song she wrote especially for the big day. At that time, Stookey's masterpiece hadn't yet become the wedding cliché it is today and our guests loved every note of it.

Many years later the well loved ballad also became a part of my daughter's wedding.

"The Wedding Song" appeared on Stookey's solo LP, Paul and, around the same time all three former members of Peter, Paul and Mary recorded separate albums during their long, 70s hiatus.

Stookey, a born-again Christian, said the song came to him through divine inspiration. According to Songfacts, he was "given" the song and all he had to do was "allow the pencil to move across the page." On his own website he wrote, "Into every songwriter's life comes a song, the source of which cannot be explained by personal experience."

The onetime stand up comedian first played this classic in 1969 at Peter Yarrow's wedding to Mary Beth McCarthy, the daughter of the late Senator Eugene McCarthy.

Stookey's guitar work and melody, his lyrics and very appealing voice combined to make "The Wedding Song" a perfect celebratory tradition for the ages.

Cover versions were recorded by Petula Clark, Captain & Tennille, Harry Belafonte and The Lettermen.

Stookey donated his copyright to Music to Life (formerly called the Public Domain Foundation) - a nonprofit he founded - whose mission it is to "connect socially conscious musicians with the mentors, resources and training needed to realize their bold visions for community change."


Almost Hits is an occasional exploration into songs that failed to reach the top 20 on the American Billboard Hot 100. Many have become classics despite what their chart position would indicate.