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. It serves to set the tone for the day, from the ceremony itself through to the final dance of evening. In many ways, choosing the music for your wedding is like scoring a film or musical. Each piece has a specific part to play, and needs to be chosen with care. So let’s look at the role music has to play throughout the entirety of your wedding day, with an eye towards helping you make the best, and most fulfilling, song choices.
This is the music that will be played prior to the ceremony itself, and will act as an aural backdrop while your guests are being seated. The music you choose as a prelude will help to set the tone of the ceremony. For example, if you are planning a traditional wedding you might want to choose a classical piece such as a Chopin Prelude or a Concerto from Bach. If the theme of your wedding is more lighthearted, you might go with a selection of jazz standards or pop tunes. The choice is entirely yours, and should match the tone and theme you have chosen for your wedding. You should prepare 15 or 20 minutes of music to act as a prelude to the ceremony.
The processional music is played while family members are being seated, and as the wedding party takes 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 pop for a more lighthearted affair. You could even choose to bridge the gap, by selecting classical arrangements of popular tunes.
The Bride’s Entrance
For the bride’s entrance and walk down the aisle, a separate, and distinct, processional piece should be chosen. 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, be it ‘At Last’ from Etta James or ‘Go Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys.
Some wedding ceremonies feature a short interlude for the couple to light a candle for their love, or to exchange personal vows not meant for the attending guests. If your ceremony includes an interlude such as this, a short piece of music should be played to accompany your special moment together.
With the ceremony finished 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 song should reflect that joyous moment, and should accompany you as you leave the wedding ceremony. Whether you have gone for a traditional wedding or not, the recessional music you choose should be uplifting and representative of the new life and bond you are sharing. Nearly any song is suitable, from Handel’s ‘Allegro Maestoso’ to Heatwave’s ‘Always and Forever’.
This is the music that will be played at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, following the recessional, and as the guests exit the wedding venue. Like your prelude music, you should prepare at least 15 to 20 minutes of music to give your guests ample time to compose themselves and exit the hall. You will want to choose something uplifting and joyous to mark the end of the wedding, and to prepare your guests for the reception to follow.
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.