Settling the Score
Choosing the music for your
William Shakespeare certainly understood the connection between music and
romance. Music is not only the food of love, but the perfect accompaniment to
The music you select to precede, underscore and follow your wedding ceremony is
perhaps the most immediate and effective way you can create the mood or
establish the tone for your event. The music you choose can, depending on the
formality of your wedding, be an additional means of expressing your feelings
for each other.
The first thing to do when thinking about the music for your wedding is to speak
to your officiator (priest, rabbi, minister, etc.) and the person in charge of
music at the site of the ceremony. In the case of Christian or Jewish
ceremonies, this will likely be the organist or music director. Set up an
appointment to discuss your vision of the ceremony, the kind of atmosphere you'd
like, your musical taste and so on. And ask the musical director for her or his
suggestions for music you might want to consider.
Most importantly, be sure to ask whether there are any rules or restrictions on
the kind of music that can be played in the church, synagogue or other wedding
location. Many houses of worship will not allow any type of non-religious music
to be played during a religious ceremony, weddings included. This means that,
even though Wagner's "Here Comes The Bride" and Mendelssohn's "Wedding March"
are the two most popular pieces of wedding music in the Western tradition, they
may not be allowed in the site of your ceremony. The same is true of any popular
or contemporary selections you might wish to include. But many wedding sites do
provide the kind of flexibility some couples desire, and if you're committed to
putting your personal stamp(s) on your event, then you might want to make that a
priority in your search for a location.
The possible aural backdrops for your wedding, while not endless, are certainly
varied. Do you want to go the standard route and stick with an organist or do
you want to do something a bit different? Would you prefer live or recorded
music? A single instrumentalist, a small ensemble or a choir? Is a strictly
classical program appropriate for the wedding you envision? Or would you like to
incorporate popular songs or other more contemporary music? Is there traditional
folk music from your or your parents' country of origin which you would like to
incorporate into your ceremony? It's a lot to think about.
If your wedding is fairly formal and/or traditional, there's a wealth of
tried-and-true (primarily classical) selections available to you. Your
officiator will be able to provide you with a list of popular wedding standards.
If, though, your plans lead you off the beaten track in terms of the mood, theme
or location of your wedding, it's easy to be paralyzed by choice.
The music you choose will be determined by the nature of your event (religious
or civil; formal or casual), your own musical tastes, the attitude of your
officiator and the abilities of your musicians, if you opt for live music. We
hope you'll find here suggestions that will suit your needs, spark your
imagination or both.
The Processional The music for
Interlude/signing of the register
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - Stainer
Panis Angelicus - Franck
Canon in D - Pachelbel
Ave Maria - Bach
Ave Maria - Schubert
Air on the G String - Bach
A Wedding Prayer - Williams
Six months to a year before your wedding.
What they do
Musicians hired for your wedding ceremony
can play at various points throughout the service (prelude, processional, during
communion, while signing the registry, recessional), performing music that
you've chosen in conjunction with your organist or officiator. They may have to
rehearse with your church organist a few times before the ceremony.
Depending on who you hire, musicians for
your reception will play everything from classical to popular music. (Your
musical taste will determine the band you hire.) Most bands will be willing to
play any special requests you have.
How to work with them
Make an appointment to listen to a live
demonstration; if that's not possible, they may have a tape for you to listen
to. You should specify in your contract the attire you expect the musicians to
wear during their performance. If you're hiring musicians for the ceremony,
check with your officiator or organist regarding their policy for hiring outside
musicians. If you hire musicians for the reception, let them know in writing,
well in advance of the wedding, of any special requests you have. Make sure that
there is access and ample time for them to set up their equipment at the
ceremony and/or reception sites.