Wedding Music

Apr 11, 2018

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.