How To Choose Ceremony Music to Express Your Wedding Vision – Part 1

wedding sheet musicThe style of music and the particular wedding songs you choose for your ceremony is an important element in creating and expressing the style and feel for your entire wedding day. This week we talk about choosing your ceremony music.

Unfortunately, unless you are familiar with the different styles and musical options available, the choice of ceremony music often goes something like this:

The bride (and/or groom) meets with the person who will be playing the ceremony music (quite often the church organist). The bride (to the organist), “What songs should we have?” The organist (to the bride), “How about this as you girls walk down the aisle.” The organist proceeds to play a few bars of something wedding-ish. “This for the recessional, and something like this as the guests are coming in.” Likewise playing a few bars of something wedding-ish.

Which is fine since you’ll definitely end up with appropriate wedding ceremony music. The suggested music will most likely be the most traditional ceremony music selections, including Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” (Here Comes the Bride)and Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” But will this style of music fit your wedding vision? Is this what you and your fiance really want?

Here are some ideas to help you choose music that will truly be right for YOU.

1) Start by considering the location of your ceremony. If in a church you will need to check with the minister or the music director regarding the church guidelines for ceremony music before you make any music choices. It’s best to know their rules and/or restrictions beforehand so you’ll know what types of music you can and cannot have before making any music selection choices.

How To Choose Ceremony Music to Express Your Wedding Vision – Part 2

The next step is to answer the following:

2) How formal will your ceremony be? The three key types are “formal,” “semi-formal” and “informal.” Clues to determining this are: a) What time is the ceremony starts, (late afternoon and early evening weddings are usually, although not always, more formal than late morning or early afternoon weddings); b) what will you, the bride, be wearing, (a more elaborate, full-length gown with a train and veil indicates “formal,” full-length or tea-length gown, no train, with or without a veil is “semi-formal”, and a suit or fancy street-length dress is “informal”; and c) the ceremony location, (a church is more formal than a venue that is not a house of worship).

How To Choose Ceremony Music to Express Your Wedding Vision – Part 3

3) What type(s) of instrument(s) will be played? You’ll probably find that some music selections just seem to sound better to you if played on certain types of instruments. There’s no real right or wrong, it’s more of a personal preference. Then again, don’t automatically nix a particular song until you hear it on your instrument of choice. Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” sounds wonderful on strings.

How To Choose Ceremony Music to Express Your Wedding Vision – Part 4

4) What is the date of the ceremony? If you’re wanting music that is unfamiliar to the musicians will there be enough time for them to learn new music?

By knowing the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to determine how you want your ceremony to “feel.” The formality and elegance of classical works and hymns may be the best choice for you, or you may prefer music that is more modern.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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