WEDDING CEREMONY PLANNING AND SUGGESTIONS
There are many decisions involved in the wedding planning process. Here we will focus in on the ceremony music styles: traditional vs. contemporary. I will guide you in setting up an ideal music program for your ceremony followed by examples and suggestions for contemporary and traditional songs.
First thing to mention, if you are getting married in a church/synagogue, check in with the music director. Some churches, especially the Roman Catholic church may only allow sacred music or certain classical selections to be performed.
Here’s a good planning tip: Start with your walk down song, then you can start incorporating other songs for the mothers/grandmothers, bridal party, and recessional carrying that similar style if that is what you desire. We have also seen many brides mix and match traditional and contemporary songs in the ceremony which is perfectly fine and can create a nice variety.
Let me first mention prelude music which is light, ambient music meant to set the mood. This is played about 20-30 minutes before the ceremony as guests are being seated. We certainly encourage requests on songs to be played during this time. Some brides may feel pressured they need to pick all the songs which they certainly may but in most cases we provide a nice program of music to fit the music style of the ceremony.
Lets start with a “style template” for ceremony music (I will provide music examples later):
*Grandmothers/Mothers Start with something slower and more melodic , you are starting to build up to your moment!
*Bridal Party Have a song that moves a bit more and has a faster tempo. Since there will probably be more people walking then the mothers, it is wise to have something upbeat and lively but not too much that it will overshadow the bride’s song.
*Bride Whatever will put a smile on the bride’s face!
*Unity Candle or Interlude (which is optional) This is usually quieter and meditative music
*Recessional Should also be upbeat and a faster tempo, it is a moment of celebration and joy!
Now, in this section I have listed music recommendations for a Traditional music program.
Seating for the Mothers/Grandmothers
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach
Air from the “Water Music” – Handel
Ave Maria – Schubert
Wachet Auf (Sleepers Awake) – Bach
Bridal Party La Rejouissance from Royal Fireworks – Handel
Minuet from the Royal Fireworks – Handel
Sheep May Safely Graze – Bach
Rondeau – Mouret
Trumpet Voluntary – Clarke
Canon in D – Pachelbel
Bridal Chorus – Wagner
Trumpet Tune – Purcell
Unity Candle or Interlude
The Lord’s Prayer – Malotte
Ave Maria – Schubert
Ave Maria – Bach
Air on the G String – Bach
Wedding March – Mendelssohn
Hornpipe – Handel
Spring from the Four Seasons – Vivaldi
Ode to Joy – Beethoven
*One note about Canon in D. Due to its immense popularity many brides still love to walk down to this song and it can work best for the bridal party or the bride’s walk down.
Now, for all you modernists out there, here are some things to think about with contemporary music in a wedding ceremony:
*Be practical in finding contemporary songs that will be performed on strings. If you have a song in mind, check in with the performer/ensemble coordinator to see if its a possibility for string ensemble. There are certain songs out there that may be highly difficult, close to impossible to arrange because of unusual instrumentations and may not sound the best that it can sound, even with highly skilled musicians.
*As good courtesy, inquire about contemporary songs that would need to be arranged at least 3 months in advance to allow for special preparations to be made such as ordering the music and arranging all the parts for the music ensemble.
Onto the recommendations we go….Now, we are taking the recommended songs from our own repertoire list, so if you do not see a song you wanted, please inquire!
Moon River or Simple Gifts
Seasons of Love from “Rent” or In My Life – Beatles
In My Life or At Last – Etta James
Viva La Vida – Coldplay or Beautiful Day – U2
*In My Life comes most recommended from our repertoire list. Here it can work very well for either the bridal party or the bride.