Deciding on wedding ceremony music requires thought and planning as you will need to choose pieces for the various stages of the ceremony, such as the procession, the recession and the signing of the marriage register, and you will also need to make sure that the genre of the music matches the overall style and feel of your wedding.
Here are some tips on choosing the most appropriate wedding ceremony music:
Wedding prelude music
This will be the first music your guests hear when they enter your ceremony venue and it will set the mood for the whole ceremony, and in fact the wedding day. The prelude should consist of light ambient music, preferably without vocals so guests don’t feel the need to be quiet and listen.
Great options include a flutist, harpist, or string duo or you can simply have recorded music playing. A selection of tunes from musicals such as Phantom of the Opera’s ‘All I ask of you’ can work well, or for something classical consider ‘Adagio for strings’ by Samuel Barber, ‘Water Music’ by Handel, or ‘Serenade’ by Franz Schubert. Your prelude music should start at least twenty minutes before the proceedings start, and possibly earlier, depending what time your venue opens for guests.
Wedding procession music
Look for something uplifting and dramatic to walk down the aisle to. If you have a large bridal party to walk down the aisle, you might consider choosing two pieces of complementary music, one for the bride and another for the remainder of the bridal party. You can follow tradition and choose Wagner’s ‘Bridal chorus’ or look for something more modern such as ‘Fairytale’ by Enya.
Wedding hymns and songs
If you’re having a religious wedding ceremony you’ll need to choose some appropriate hymns. Ask your minister to recommend hymns and songs. Have the words to hymns and songs printed in the order of service to avoid confusion if there are various versions. Make sure they are well known, and that they are in a moderate range, so your guests can sing along to them.
Music to accompany the register signing
Signing the register is a critical part of the wedding ceremony as it legalises the marriage, but it’s not be particularly interesting for your guests to watch, and sometimes takes place in another room. Provide musical entertainment during this time, perhaps with a solo vocalist accompanied by a two other musicians. Choose a song that you love and your singer is comfortable with in order to get the best effect.
Wedding recessional music
The music you select to walk back down the aisle to should be joyful and uplifting to symbolise your happiness that the marriage has taken place. Popular choices for recessional music include ‘Hallelujah chorus’ or ‘The arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ by Handel, or ‘Ode to joy’ by Beethoven. For more modern tunes try ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder, or ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2.