Wedding Ceremony Music and the Ceremony Format
Music is performed during this portion of the ceremony as your guests walk into the ceremony area, whether it is a church, temple, outdoor garden, banquet facility ceremony area, or other location. Usually, this is soft background music, and popular instruments are the piano, violin or guitar, or some combination of those instruments (i.e., like piano and guitar/violin). The music should have the effect of setting the dramatic scene so that your guests know that the ceremony is about to begin.
Music as the bridal party begins the walk down the aisle. Most of the time, the groom’s wedding party, along with the Officient, are already in place at the spot under the canopy or some other designated area. This is not always the case, but I would say it is true in 80% of the weddings that I do.
As I experience so much these days, it has become fairly common to do away with the traditional “bridal march” and instead play music that is more meaningful to the couple. e.g.” Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins”, “I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders”, or hundreds of other appropriate wedding ceremony music selections. This is an in-depth topic that really deserves some additional thought, and I promise I will dedicate another blog post to specific ceremony songs.
Your best bet is to talk to a seasoned wedding music professional who performs lots of ceremonies. He or she can give you ideas that have worked well, as well as discuss song selections that have not been so successful for one reason or another. Feel free to give me a call anytime to discuss…I would be more than happy to talk about it with you.
Traditionally, music played just during the lighting of the candle, the sand ceremony, rose ceremony, or some other customary practice during the main portion of the ceremony. Many times, a vocalist performs during this time, and it can be a wonderfully dramatic portion of your ceremony. I often play the piano and accompany one of my female vocalists for a song chosen by the bride and groom. This really adds a touch of drama to the process, especially if your wedding ceremony music is special to you and your fiancé.
Music is played as the newly married couple and the wedding party exit the ceremony area, whether it is a church, temple, or other venue. This is almost always a very upbeat musical selection, and can be traditional or contemporary. This is one of the most important portions of the ceremony, as it really serves as the end of the beginning of the day of celebrating two separate lives combining into one, loving couple.
This is the exit music played after the bride, groom, and wedding party have left the ceremony area, and when your guests begin leaving the ceremony area and proceed on their way to the cocktail or reception area. There are many song selections appropriate for this portion, and should be upbeat and happy giving the final musical finale on the wonderful journey you are now going to take with the love of your life.
Arnie’s Final Comments:
I typically suggest to couples that they should think about their wedding ceremony music and format as far in advance as possible so they can have a perfectly tailored wedding to their exact specification. Usually the officiant will go over the wedding ceremony and the music only a couple of weeks before the wedding date, which does not leave a lot of time for the bride and groom to think about the song selections that mark their special day.
It’s always better for you to be able to choose your music rather than to have someone else choose it for you. Be sure to talk with a professional musician who has significant experience in this area and you will always be the wiser.