Wedding Music

Wedding Music

A wedding is one of the important ceremonies imaginable.

Whether it is formal or informal, traditional or modern, beautifully chosen music can add significantly to the character and atmosphere of any ceremony.

A celebrant can contribute greatly here. Although these are my thoughts, obviously each person will have their own preferences. I don’t expect this to meet everybody’s taste!

Music – when?

Quite often, music is played before the ceremony begins. It can be ambient and isn’t usually overpowering. Then, you can expect to hear the music that marks the arrival of the bride (and train, if any). This may well have significance to the couple.

The same goes for the Recessional (when the couple walk out at the end), although this music may well be louder and more upbeat.

Potentially, there could be music during the ceremony, but this tends to be less usual. However, if there is a signing of the Register (towards the end), that is a potential slot for music. Works by Baroque or Classical composers (eg Bach, Handel, Beethoven) are often played during the signing. These pieces need to last long enough (at least five minutes) to avoid a potentially uncomfortable silence.

Music – which?

Commonly, wedding marches are played at the Processional and Recessional. Classical music is popular for this, but there is no need for it to be classical, of course. You can have any genre, depending on the wishes of the couple. Indeed, there may be good reasons to choose music from other cultures, and this can be fascinating as well as moving for guests.

Music – how?

Live music can make a ceremony very special indeed. It can be quite costly, of course, but, as long as musician(s) and the celebrant agree beforehand when the music is going to be played, this can be a lovely touch.

Modern technology offers far more possibilities and is often cheaper than live music. A lot of reliance may need to be placed on both the audio equipment and the operator.

To ensure smooth running of the ceremony, a rehearsal (with musicians/audio equipment) can be recommended, although responsibility for paying for this would be the couple’s.

Music – why?

Music heightens the emotions and gives meaning to the moment.  Of course, it can mask “dead time”. More importantly, it will help bring about a wonderful feel-good sensation and contribute to ensuring that the ceremony is memorable for all the guests and a highlight of the couple’s life together.

 

Do contact me for more information.

 

Photo: Neli Prahova.

 

Ceremony Music

Ceremony Music

When I’m planning a ceremony with clients, the question of music often comes up. Of course, some people know exactly what they want, but many need guidance. Advice will vary from person to person, but one thing to understand is that we’re not planning a standard ceremony. The whole point is that we are personalising it.

That means that there is not really a right or a wrong. It’s what you want that matters. Obviously, one consideration will be the guests! A piece that goes on and on would soon lose the audience, and not every genre will go down well. However, if that’s what reflects your personality, then it can go in to the melting-pot.

Therefore you’re not obliged to start a wedding with Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”, lovely as it is. Nor do you need a religious or even classical piece, while the coffin is borne in at a funeral.

Celebration

Many brides at weddings I have conducted have entered to Pachelbel’s “Canon”. There have also been harpists or string quartets to accompany the bride. Oddly, I have also heard “Moonriver” and, by contrast, an aria from Handel’s “Samson and Delilah”. Schubert’s “Ave Maria” has been another choice. So there’s no real rhyme or reason.

From other people’s blogs I’ve selected some of the most popular pop songs.

Adele – “Make you feel my Love”

Al Green – “let’s Stay Together”

Stevie Wonder – “Isn’t she lovely”

Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie – “Endless Love”

Elton John – “Can you feel the love tonight?”

Elvis Presley – “Can’t help falling in Love”

Bruno Mars – “Just the Way you are”

Doubtless, you could suggest your own favourite.

Funerals

Again, there’s a huge range of music genres in the funeral canon. The most popular exit music nationally seems to be either “My Way” by Frank Sinatra or Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side”. Andrea Bocelli seems to get in somewhere a lot of the time.

Music at my most recent funerals has ranged from George Formby and Dean Martin to Lesley Garrett and Eva Cassidy, Chris Barber to Chuck Berry, and Judy Garland to Richard & Adam, and Audrey Hepburn.

I usually shy away from heavy metal, but for the funeral of a biker (suicide), the family requested Metallica and “Nothing else Matters”. Until I actually listened to it, I assumed the worst, but it is a fine piece of music and was highly appropriate. I’ve suggested it subsequently too!

So, to revert to my opening remarks, unless you’re having a full religious service (in which case, you will have few – if any – options for the music), the world is your oyster, and you can have fun choosing something fitting.

Feel free to contact me, to discuss this further.

Wedding Music

Wedding Music

Don’t believe anyone who claims that wedding music does not play an essential part in the proceedings.

Whatever the tone of the ceremony (formal, semi-formal or informal, traditional or modern), music can make a huge difference to the character and atmosphere.

The final choice of music has to be down to the couple themselves. However, as celebrant, I am occasionally called upon to give advice or guidance. The following are my own thoughts, but, of course, are only general in nature.

Music – when?

The ‘normal’ places for music are during the Processional (as the bride comes in) and the Recessional (when the couple walk out at the end). If you’re having a signing of the Register, that can also be a good time for music.

However, you can air a piece of music as part of the ceremony. Perhaps you have a trained opera singer as an aunt, or know a child-prodigy violinist. Or you may want to play some recorded music that means a lot to you both.

You may opt for music either side of the vows, although that is less common.

There could certainly be music while guests are waiting before the ceremony. Your choices will set the tone for what follows, so think about this too.

But beware of too much music – the ceremony (however beautiful) shouldn’t go on for ever.

Music – which?

Wedding marches are commonly played at the Processional and Recessional. But there’s no obligation to use these.

The music does not have to be classical, of course. It can be any genre, depending on the wishes of the couple. Indeed, there may be good reasons to choose music from other cultures, and this can be fascinating as well as moving for guests.

For a religious ceremony, you will probably want a hymn or two.

Baroque or Classical composers’ music (eg Bach, Handel, Beethoven) is often played during the signing of the Register. Make sure these pieces are long enough.

Music – how?

Live music can make a ceremony very special indeed. It can be quite costly, of course, but, as long as musician(s) and celebrant agree beforehand when the music is going to be played, this can be a lovely touch.

A PA system comes cheaper, naturally, but a lot of reliance will then need to be placed on both the audio equipment and the operator.

To ensure smooth running of the ceremony, a rehearsal (with musicians/audio equipment) can be recommended, although responsibility for paying for this would be the couple’s.

Music – why?

Music heightens the emotions and gives meaning to the moment.  It will help bring about a wonderful feel-good sensation and contribute to ensuring that the ceremony will be memorable for all the guests and a highlight of the couple’s life together.

 

Wedding Music

Wedding Music

Wedding music is a huge area, and oh, so important.

Music touches emotions. It is atmospheric and can set the tone for the whole ceremony. As a celebrant, I am quite often asked if I have any thoughts about music (even for funerals, by the way). I certainly have my opinions, but it really goes down to what sort of ceremony you will be having (ie the tone, degree of formality etc.) and the sort of music you actually like.

 

So plenty of generalising and sitting on the fence for Michael now!

When do you want music?

There may be music in the middle of the service, but most commonly you expect it at the beginning and at the end. To be more precise, for maybe a quarter of an hour before the bride arrives, and then for the processional. If there is certificate signing at the end, music could be played, and it’s almost obligatory for the recessional.

Live or recorded?

Recorded music critically depends on the apparatus functioning correctly. Things can go wrong for live musicians too, of course, but they are probably better placed to sort things out. Live performers may well cost more than, say, the DJ who is already going to do your reception. However, I feel that live music has the edge when it comes to conjuring up an atmosphere.

Traditional or Modern?

If you are having a big, traditional ceremony, then you may well opt for the trusted works, like Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” or Pachelbel’s “Canon”. They are absolutely fine, but you don’t need to raid the classical repertoire for suitable music.

Pop songs or ethnic music have their place at many weddings. It all depends on the tone, of course. Youngsters may appreciate Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love”, or “Circle of Life” or Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way you are “.

Choice

The other obvious element for a couple to consider is their own personal taste. They need to agree on whatever is to be played, and they need actually to like the music! (There’s little point choosing it, otherwise.) If it’s a personalised ceremony, then the music can reflect the personalities of the pair.

However, think carefully before you organise loud rock music blasting out to a room full of middle-aged aunties! A little moderation may work wonders!

It possibly doesn’t need saying that, while the entry music can be reflective, the recessional should be upbeat.

It’s worthwhile carefully weighing up the various pros and cons, and deciding what matters to you. Once you know the degree of formality you are expecting, choose music that you love or that means something to both of you. Then you’ll be well on the way to inspiring a wonderful atmosphere for your big day.

And that is precisely what the right music can provide.

For more advice, feel free to contact Michael.

Controlling Your wedding Costs (i)

Controlling Your wedding Costs (i)

As a civil celebrant, I come across some wonderful professionals, and I’m extremely fortunate to have enlisted the help of Event Planners, Mish & Katy of KP Events, who have written a marvellous article about controlling your wedding costs. Something that affects us all! There’s so much useful information here that I’m dividing the piece up. That means you’ll have to come back next week!

Enjoy.

IS THE COST OF YOUR WEDDING SPIRALLING OUT OF CONTROL?

Here’s some advice on where and where not to compromise.

So we’re all agreed … low key, nothing fancy, just an intimate celebration with close family …

Until … “Darling, you know my Mum’s rellies in LA – that weird family with 6 kids … we can’t not invite them. I know they’re not close, but they are 1st cousins after all …” or …
“You know, it’s going to have to be proper über-kosher. I know we’re not into all that, but we just can’t make assumptions about all our guests.” or …

“I know it was stupid but I promised your niece she could have a frilly pink bridesmaid’s dress with ruby sequins … I just can’t let her down. I know, I know – it means we have to get all five of them matching dresses …”

Familiar? Of course it is – that’s just the way it always pans out!

But is there a way to prevent it? Is it actually possible to stop the whole thing from spiralling totally out of control and ending up with a bill of stratospheric proportions?

The answer is yes … to an extent. After many years in the business we might not be able to solve the extended overseas family issue but we’re confident we know where to compromise and where not – in order to ensure your event is everything and more without having to spend everything and more!

Here are 10 elements of your wedding spend in which savings can undoubtedly be made … Food, music (band or DJ) and photography are what we call The Untouchables. Great food and real musical entertainment are absolutely key to the day’s success, and fabulous images are what will provide the memories for years to come. There is no middle-ground here – you simply have to get these three aspects right, so cutting corners can prove disastrous. Despite that, even here you’ll find some room for manoeuvre.

Food
Food is (and should be) your biggest spend and you should be as generous as you possibly can with this element of your budget. Get it right and your guests are more than half-way to having a great time; get it wrong and you’ll be hard pushed to salvage the situation. There are, however, many ways of holding back the reins without skimping on quality and quantity.

If you don’t have to have supervised, but the majority of your guests are kosher, then a caterer using kosher ingredients is a cheaper and perfectly acceptable option. By eliminating kosher meat altogether and sticking to fish and vegetarian options, you can bring the menu cost down further, while a good caterer will still be able to produce an exciting and creative menu within those parameters. If you only have a handful of strict kosher guests, and a non-kosher majority, then you could just buy in supervised kosher meals for them, while opening up more options for the majority of guests. That would almost certainly prove cheaper than the fully kosher-catered option for the entire party.

The buffet vs sit-down comparison is always worth a visit, though a buffet may not always work out cheaper. Although the staffing costs are considerably less than silver service, the preparation is usually more labour intensive.

Do investigate the options however as there will usually be a price differential as well as a more fundamental difference in relation to the style and atmosphere of your event.

Music (band or DJ)
Unlike most other events that have “sideshow” entertainment, wedding entertainment is usually fully focussed on the music. As a consequence it needs to be good. Lacklustre function bands and DJs who manage to clear the dance floor are big no-nos. While live music always has the potential to really enhance the atmosphere of an event, it isn’t a cheap option. A top tried and tested band will often come with a top tried and tested price tag. You generally get what you pay for, but there are ways of cutting your cloth to suit.

A very effective compromise is what’s called the Live DJ – a set up in which you have a DJ accompanied by 2 or 3 instrumentalists – sax and percussion usually work well. Another option is to find a couple of great singers who can sing to track. That way you’re paying fees to 2 or 3 musicians rather than a full band which could amount of 8 or 9 people plus significant production costs.

Photographer
If you get the food and music right, you’ve ostensibly got an event. If you get the photographer right, you’ve got memories. If you get the partner right, you’ve got a marriage! While we can’t help you with the choice of partner, we can help with the rest. And a good photographer – who understands what you as a couple are all about – is critical. There’s a thing with wedding photos – you can’t re-take them if they’re bad !

Do your research on photographers as the price range can be enormous and don’t be tempted to buy into packages of services and products that you don’t necessarily need or want. Some will charge a lot in return for a beautiful gilt-edged coffee table book along with a DVD slideshow of your images set to schmaltzy music. If that’s what you want (perhaps as a gift for your future in-laws) then great, but if it’s not what you’re into, don’t get sucked in.

We work with several photographers, some of whom do provide the full ‘platinum service’, while others simply produce great reportage style imagery that they pass onto their clients simply edited but essentially raw, so you can do whatever you want in terms of printing. Nowadays there are plenty of internet-based photo printing companies that can produce quality prints at hugely competitive rates. The proviso of course is that the original images are professional high resolution files – so by all means take over the printing but don’t leave the actual photography to a friend even if he or she did win the Amateur Photographer of the Month competition back in May. As already mentioned, you need to be careful when tinkering with the above trio of “untouchables”. However, with the remaining elements of your budget there are plenty of ways of keeping things in check without begrudgingly having to accept an unwanted compromise option.

There will be more next time, as promised, but if you can’t wait,  please conatct Mish or Kati on 020 8883 7411 www.kpevents.co.uk | www.facebook.com/kpeventslondon