Ceremony Music Advice
MUSIC FOR WEDDING CEREMONIES:
Ceremony music is an important decision. Music is so emotive so choosing the right songs for the right moments is crucial. Invest a little more time thinking about this than perhaps your music playlist for the reception. Don’t rush into this because you have a favourite song, think about the feel of the ceremony. A ceremony is a very formal affair. An important half hour and quite a dramatic thing. (In a good way).
THINK ABOUT THE EVENT ITSELF
When choosing the music, whether it be live or from a CD or iPod, make sure you factor in the emotional feel of the event itself. This is arguably the most important few moments of your life, so make it powerful. Music can create an atmosphere like nothing else. As a musician I would offer this advice. Select something that means a great deal to you, but also something that has a rhythm and feel conducive to an epic event to set the ‘dramatic’ tone of the ceremony, especially for the walk down the aisle.
WHAT NOT TO CHOOSE
Try to avoid choosing your favourite party song or anything that is too ‘happy’ or fast. Although this is a very happy event, having happy music can often make light of an event which deserves more serious reflection. I would suggest using your favourite party song for the first song after the bridal dance at the reception, when all the formalities are over and it really is time to party.
LIVE OR CD?
Live: It is nice to have a live musician to play for the ceremony, it adds not only the live sound, but a visual addition to the ceremony. It is also a nice feel for when guests arrive. A little tip: Make sure you ask your musician to start playing prior to your arrival as some will just play from the walk down the aisle. Specifically ask them to ‘warm up’ your guests with some nice background music that isn’t overpowering and just sits nicely behind the excited chatter of your guests. The only downside of the live option is that it can be expensive for this option because the musician has to take time to set up and play for just a few songs, so they will generally charge a few hundred. I charge 3 – $400 for ceremonies depending on location.
CD: If you have favourite songs that are from divas such as Mariah Carey or Celine Dion, it may be best to choose the CD option. Similarly if you want something that is highly produced or requires a big sound such as an orchestra, it is impossible for one musician to recreate that kind of sound so go with the CD. If you are timing your walk because you have a few in the bridal party and you want to arrive at a certain climax of the song, it may be best to rehearse with the original track so you know exactly where you are and when.
WHAT SONGS FOR WHEN:
I have done hundreds of ceremonies and it almost always breaks down into 4 song choices. 1: The Processional. (The walk down the aisle). This song needs to be the most dramatic, emotional and powerful song of the bunch. 2 and 3: The Signing. Many couples only choose one song for this but it usually times out to be one and a half songs. These songs can be nice love songs with a positive vibe. Not as emotional as the first, but more emotional than the last. 4. The recessional: This is when your celebrant will announce to the world those famous words, “I now give you, for the first time as husband and wife, Mr and Mrs Johnson” The music needs to jump in right at that moment and be a very up-beat, happy tune, preferably something that most people would know.
Remember these are just guidelines from my experience as a musician and there are no hard fast rules. If you want to walk down the aisle to The West Coast Eagles or Dockers theme song, then go for it. It is your day and you are the boss so go with what you think will make a memorable wedding ceremony to remember for all time.