Silence is not Golden - Selecting Ceremony Music
So you’ve scheduled your wedding. Finished planning it yet?
Let’s see. Planner hired? You bet!
Venue reserved? Yep!
Photographer booked? Yep!
Florist booked? Yep!
Ceremony musicians contracted? Wait, we still need to hire the ceremony musicians!!
Photo Credit: Ivory Door Studio
Often, when we talk about music and weddings, the focus naturally tends to turn to thoughts of entertainment and the wedding reception. However, music plays a much more important part in the wedding service than mere entertainment. The importance of ceremony music cannot be underestimated. It is the first impression your guests will have of your wedding and sets up the mood for the entire day. This is the part of the day when you make a promise to each other to spend the rest of your lives together and your choice of music adds greatly to this very special day! After all, what could be more uncomfortable than a large assembly of people sitting and waiting for a wedding ceremony to begin…in silence?
Things to consider when selecting your ceremony music...
The prelude is the music that will be played prior to the ceremony itself. This will act as an aural backdrop while your guests are being seated. The music you choose as a prelude will help set the tone for your ceremony. For example, if you are planning a traditional wedding you might want to choose a classical piece. If the theme of your wedding is more lighthearted, you might go with a more jazzy selection. The choice is yours. We just recommend matching the tone and theme you have selected for your wedding. Estimate at least 20 minutes of prelude music leading up to your the ceremony. Music sets the mood and tone of your ceremony. It provides a sense of comfort and familiarity, encourages sociability among friends and family and expresses the solemnness of the wedding. Live music during the wedding ceremony adds depth to the experience, helps your guests focus on the spiritual and emotional aspects of the occasion and share in the moments of happiness and joy!
The processional is played while your immediate family members are being seated, and as your wedding party makes their way to their assigned places. As always, the choice of processional music should reflect the theme and tone of your wedding. Classical for a more traditional wedding, or something jazzy for a more lighthearted affair. You could even choose to bridge the gap, by selecting classical arrangements of popular tunes.
The Bridal Entrance
For the bride’s entrance and walk down the aisle, a separate and distinct processional piece should be selected. This will be an audio cue to all your guests to rise for the bridal entrance.. Again, if you are planning a more traditional wedding, something like Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’ or the ‘Wedding March from Lohengrin’ would be appropriate. That being said, there is nothing wrong with picking a popular tune you both feel represents the love you feel for each other, whether it is ‘At Last’ by Etta James or ‘Go Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys.
Some wedding ceremonies feature a short interlude for the couple to participate in a unity ceremony, visually intertwining their hearts and souls. Couples also, on occasion, choose to exchange personal vows not meant for the attending guests listening ears. If your ceremony includes a brief interlude such as this, a short piece of music should be played to accompany your special moment together since silence is not always golden.
With the ceremony reaching its completion, it will be time for you both to walk back down the aisle as a happily married couple. The music you choose for your recessional should reflect that joyous moment accompanying your egress from the wedding ceremony. Whether you have opted for a traditional wedding or not, the recessional music you select should be uplifting and representative of the new life, love and bond you are sharing. Nearly any song is suitable, from Handel’s ‘Allegro Maestoso’ to ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2.
The postlude will be played at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, following the recessional, and as the guests exit the ceremony site. Similar to your prelude music, you should prepare at least 20 minutes of music to give your guests ample time to compose themselves, greet loved ones and exit the venue. You will want to choose something uplifting and cheerful to mark the end of your wedding. This will serve to set the stage for your guests as they move on to the reception to follow.
Music creates an atmosphere of feelings so it’s important to pick the music that matches you and your wedding. Flowers are gorgeous, drapery is stunning, and lighting is flashy, but the bottom line? Your wedding guests will pay the most attention to what they hear— especially if it’s live. While your friends and family members may not be highly skilled musicians, they know what quality music should sound like. Especially when it comes to significant life events like a wedding ceremony. Its always best NOT to hire the runner up winner of your local Karaoke night. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without placing that wild card in the deck. You’ll alleviate a lot of stress by putting your ceremony music in the hands of professional musicians who not only meet your expectations…but surpass them. And remember, the best musicians get booked early! So plan accordingly. Our favorite musicians for your special day include...
Liana Alpino, harpist
Viva la Strings, chamber music ensemble
Michael Brown of Amalgam Recordings, jazz guitarist
Adam Troxler - flute, saxophone and trumpet
The choice of wedding music goes far beyond hiring a DJ or a band for the reception. Music plays an integral role in the ceremony itself, and your musical choices are an opportunity to set the tone for your big day. Let the theme of your wedding be your guide, and choose the songs and musical pieces that best represent your taste and the love that you have come together to celebrate. Your ceremony playlist reveals more information about the personality you share as a couple than any other aspect of your wedding ceremony. Music is deeply personal. Also, your preferred style of music—likes and dislikes—are unique to the two of you. Whether it’s timeless hits, well-known classical pieces or a mix of both our favorite ceremony musicians offer a wide range of musical stylings as well as offerings to select from. Just remember, the music you choose does more than reflect your personal tastes. It expresses who you are as a couple. Your wedding is a once in a life time experience. So do right by your music and go pro!
Photo Credit: Ivory Door Studio