What songs should I select for my upcoming wedding ceremony?
Of course, the answer is a very personal choice and one that only the bride and groom can provide. Typically, when selecting the music you will want to keep in mind the following "segments" of the ceremony:
1. The Prelude - This is a 15 to 30 minute period during which the guests are being seated. Although not an essential portion of the music selections, it is a very helpful segment to quiet chatty guests and prepare a reverent atmosphere for worship or fellowship.
2. The Processionals - These selections are played as the grandparents, parents, bridesmaids and bride process down the isle. Typically there would need to be three selections for this portion: a piece for the parents and grandparents, a selection for the bridesmaid and a separate piece for the bride's procession. The length of each depends on the size of the church aisle or venue size and size of the bridal party. Typical length is 1:30 to 3:00 minutes each.
3. The Unity Candle or Prayer (optional) - this segment most often involves some degree of "staging" while the couple symbolically "marries" their two families by lighting the unity candle. Depending on the size of the altar space, the length of the bridal gown and the trade off of bouquets with the bride, maid/matron of honor, etc, this portion typically lends itself to one musical selection.
4. The Recessional - This segment may include one selection during which the bride, groom and wedding party recess from the altar. You may choose to have a second selection on hand as the guests leave - particularly if your guest list is large or you are having the guests exit one aisle at a time with the direction of the ushers.
A few other questions to keep in mind:
Clarity is key! The more sharply you can "tune" your musical wish list, the faster you can find the perfect group of musicians to help make your ceremonial selections a reality.
Is the ceremony traditional (religious) or contemporary (spiritual, nondenominational, etc)?
What is the configuration of the church, venue or outdoor location? For your consideration: for outdoor weddings, it is always best to have a backup or contingency plan. Even sunny beach weddings may have a little good-luck rain!
Do we want live or pre-recorded music? There are several advantages to live music. First of all, things happen! :) For example, we have had numerous occasions, especially with weddings held in the city, where traffic may be a real concern and the ceremony starts late or there is a setback with the bridal party (wardrobe malfunctions, the little ring bearer doesn't want to walk down the aisle, the officiant is delayed etc). Live music provides beautiful flexibility for the unexpected. It also provides a very personal and elegant touch to the ceremony.
We hope this post has given you a little insight into planning your upcoming ceremony. We welcome you to Contact Us with questions regarding our services, ceremony and reception packages. All the best as you and your loved ones plan for your celebration of marriage and most of all have fun with the process!