Congratulations! You’ve hired a great band to perform live music at your wedding! As your wedding approaches, you’ll want to select specific music for various phases of the wedding. For some couples, it feels like a daunting choice. It needn’t be…there’s no right or wrong answers! In this blog, and our next couple blogs, we’ll discuss some helpful pointers that you may find useful, in making your music decisions. Below, we’ll examine ceremony music choices.
Here’s a quick rundown on ceremony music:
Prelude music: Prior to the ceremony start, ceremony musicians will generally perform 15 to 30 minutes of general, assorted music.This is done for two primary reasons: One is that with almost any event or occasion, some guests arrive extra early. It’s just human nature that some arrive early. So Prelude music provides something nice for early-arriving guests to listen to…as opposed to them just sitting there, getting bored as they wait for the ceremony to start.
Second, Prelude music provides a more gradual, gentle transition into the ceremony. Imagine absolute silence, no music whatsoever, and then boom, all of a sudden the ceremony starts. That can be a little abrupt. Prelude music provides a beautiful, stately and gentle “build-up” to the ceremony’s official start. Most ceremony ensembles don’t charge extra to perform prelude music. We want you to have a beautiful ceremony, and prelude music is a very nice touch.
No need to pick specific songs for the Prelude period. Usually, ceremony musicians just perform appropriate, nice selections from their repertoire.
Seating of the Families:
The first official, specific musical selection for wedding couples is typically the Seating of the Families song. Often, the first row or two of seating will be reserved for those family members of the couple who don’t have an official, specific role in the ceremony. While not required, it’s often nice to have ceremony musicians perform a specific song to honor and acknowledge the couple’s family members who are in the process of taking their seats. Be sure to ask your ceremony ensemble for their song list, and let them know what song from it you’d like performed for the Seating of the Families.
After the family members have taken their seats, the bridesmaids will generally make their entrance, and walk (or “process,” as in processional) to the front, where they’ll take their places facing the audience, alongside the groomsmen and the officiant. Just as it’s nice to have a special song selection for the families, it’s nice to have specific music for the bridesmaids. While looking at your ceremony ensemble’s song list, think about what might be a nice musical selection for the bridesmaids, and convey your choice to your musicians.
At last! The ultimate song selection is the one that the musicians perform while the bride and/or couple (and, often, a parent or two) are walking down the aisle. This piece of music is known as the processional. Be sure to look over your ceremony musicians’ song list and consider what you’d like to walk down the aisle to. It’s good to choose a beautiful, stately (typically slower) song, so that you can walk down the aisle to a slow, dignified and beautiful cadence. On your wedding day, realize you are royalty. Kings and queens of yore had their processionals, so should you on your wedding day. And remember, kings and queens were never in a hurry to get anywhere. Processionals are for savoring the moment, taking it all in, and walking slow enough to allow your guests to appreciate you and take photos (if appropriate) as you walk down the aisle.
Then, the officiant generally makes some opening remarks, and the ceremony officially begins.
One last ceremony song selection you’ll want to think about is the song at the very end of the ceremony, after the officiant pronounces you to be married and introduces you to the audience as such. As you and your spouse exit and walk back down the aisle, it’s a great idea to have your ceremony musicians perform a celebratory piece of music. This can be a more up tempo song…after all, you’re now successfully married. It’s time to celebrate!
You can really enable a great ceremony by getting one of your friends to serve as the music cue person. Many times, musicians are so intently reading their sheet music that it’s difficult to keep track of whether all the family members have been seated, or whether all the bridesmaids have taken their place. Peripheral vision while one is concentrating on another task is limited, at best. One of the best ways to ensure a perfect, seamless ceremony is to provide a cue person to help the ceremony musicians. In our next blog, we’ll discuss the important role of a ceremony cue person.