Close your eyes. You are sitting outside on a beautiful, sunny afternoon in May waiting for a wedding ceremony to begin. The sky is blue and the sun is shining. You can smell the fragrance of fresh flowers. You feel great wearing a brand new outfit. Nice... What this scene needs now is music.
How important is the music? Extremely important! Next time you watch TV or a movie, turn down the volume for a few seconds. What happens to that high speed chase scene or romantic scene without music? The scenes lose their impact. Even if the background music is soft, it is still there to help create the mood.
The same thing goes for a wedding ceremony, cocktail or dinner party. Silence is empty. The proper music will create the mood that you want and your guests will enjoy.
What are your options?
Vocal or Instrumental Music Most of the music for a wedding ceremony will be in the background so instrumental music will create the mood without being intrusive. However, one song might be nice just before the wedding ceremony and maybe one during the ceremony. A live singer can make it really special. Songs with vocals don’t work well for the Bride’s Processional because of the length of the actual processional. The actual processional usually takes between 30 seconds and a minute. Instrumental music can fade out gracefully whereas a three minute song would need to be played in its entirety, which could be very awkward if the Bride has to stand at the altar for two minutes while the song is sung.
Instrumentation If the wedding ceremony is in a church, a pipe organ, piano, string quartet or solo instruments work well.
If the wedding ceremony is in a hotel lobby or ballroom, piano (live or recorded) is nice. Any small ensemble will also work well. (Flute Solo or Duet, Violin Solo or Duet, Cello Solo, Guitar Solo, String Trio or Quartet) (live or recorded) Pipe organ or large instrumental groups really aren’t appropriate.
If the wedding ceremony is to be held outside in a park, by a lake, by a pool, at a gazebo etc. the instrumentation should be organic in order to be believable. Any musical instruments that don’t require electronic amplification will be nice. (Flute, Violin, String Quartet or Trio)
Musical Selections Of course, there are the old wedding ceremony music standards, “Here Comes The Bride”, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”, The “Wedding March” etc. If you want your wedding to be unique, these will not work.
Since the Bride and Groom and Bridal Party are usually dressed formally, elegant music will fit perfectly. New classical music or at least music that is not tired and overplayed is a good choice.
Many wedding ceremony music performers now offer arrangements of songs by the Beatles, Journey and other more modern music. This is an attempt to be more “hip or modern.” Actually, it is an attempt to perform anything besides the tired traditional wedding ceremony music. Some arrangements sound nice but some sound really out of place. If you decide to go in this direction, make sure you hear the arrangements for yourself. Sometimes, just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. Imagine a heavy metal guitarist rocking out on an orchestral melody, an opera singer performing a country song, a symphony orchestra playing songs by Jimi Hendrix. Some things just don’t fit.
I hope this helps.
R.J. Mitchell - Wedding Music Expert, Composer, Professional Musician, 30 Years Experience as a Wedding Entertainer
Purchase wedding ceremony music HERE!