It’s time to think of the choices you want for wedding ceremony music. And there’s more to consider than you initially thought! It’s true that the ceremony is shorter than the reception, but the ceremony is the main event, as they say. And you have multiple portions of the ceremony for which to choose music.
You must decide whether you want religious (nonsecular) or nonreligious (secular) wedding ceremony music. Will your actual marriage take place in a church, or at the venue where you will also have your reception? That plays a big part in determining which songs you choose.
If you get married in a church, ask your clergyman if there are restrictions on the music you can choose. Most of them will allow anything that’s not raucous or boisterous. They view your wedding as a religious ceremony, and many feel that even if your music does not have to be religious it does need to be classical. Others will only require that the music is appropriate. Some churches allow vocals, others do not.
You will want to play something during your guests’ arrival. No matter whether you’ve invited twenty-five or two-hundred-fifty guests, they won’t show up at the church all at once! Selecting appropriate wedding ceremony music to play in the background while the guests arrive, choose seats, and chat softly among themselves is the key to establishing the ambience you want.
Once the guests have settled in, the mothers of the bride and groom are escorted to their seats. This is the signal to all that your wedding is about to begin.
You can have separate music for your attendants, if there are many of them. Obviously this does not work well if you have one honor attendant preceding you up the aisle. With several attendants, plus a flower girl and a ring bearer, you can play something short and melodic as a prelude to your entrance.
When the bride enters, everyone turns to face her entranceway. The bride can be escorted by her father, her mother, or any person that she chooses. The bride can even be escorted by the clergyman. If she has a father and stepfather, they can share the honor of giving her away.
At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom will leave the church, followed by their attendants. Another selection of wedding ceremony music will herald your departure. If the wedding is at your reception venue, you simply retrace your steps out of the room in which you were married. At this point you can leave the area for photographs, or you can form a reception line for your guests.
Throughout this website we’ve suggested a variety of religious and classical standards.
But consider these secular choices as possibilities. Any selections by these artists would constitute something truly different but still provide stately beauty to your wedding:
– Pachelbel offers much more than his Canon in D. Listen to his Air on the G String from Orchestral Suite No. 3.
– Thomas Newman’s movie instrumentals, especially the music used in Meet Joe Black or Revolutionary Road, offer beautiful alternative choices.
– Andre Rieu creates a more upbeat, orchestral sound, known and enjoyed by many.
– Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake offers a beautiful selection of wedding ceremony music…perhaps the Op.14, Act 2 for the processional, with the Op.20, No. 14 for the bridal presentation and the Op.20, No. 8 for the celebratory processional.
– Listen also to your favorite musicians, such as Vladimir Horowitz on the piano or Itzhak Perlman playing violin. Your wedding ceremony music is limited only by your imagination!
Good luck choosing the perfect songs for your wedding ceremony,