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Planning Your Wedding Ceremony with live Music

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

You said, "yes", and suddenly, you are an event planner! Even if you hire a professional coordinator, there are many decisions that you will want to make yourself. Music is one of the parts of a wedding that you may have thought about for a long time, or like some people, you may have never thought about wedding music at all.

Our first bit of advice is that you don't have to pick every tune. Focus first on the biggie, the procession of the bride. Some people start there and leave the rest to us. What is that one song or classical piece that you always envisioned for your entrance? Many people want to pick the bridal party processional and the recessional as well. Some stop there and leave all the seating music and cocktail hour choices to us. On the other hand, some people get very specific with the seating and cocktail hour tunes by taking the time to choose everything. Others just give a general instruction to play a certain style.

You can pick everything, or just some pieces, and leave the rest to us.

We are happy to consult with you on your music choices. We usually do this via email or a phone call. We are also happy to meet with you in person to help work out the details. About 30 days before your event, we like to complete your list with you.

1. SEATING OF THE GUESTS We recommend starting the prelude 30 minutes before the ceremony. This will set an ambiance for the entire event. You may want to choose music that is lighter and happy-sounding. Keep in mind that it is best to consult with the musicians' playlist first for pieces they already own. The prelude music can be all your specific picks, or just give the musicians general guidelines in regard to style. We had a wedding recently where we were directed to play all contemporary pop songs but not play anything by the group U2. We thought that was an unusual request. We found out later that they had hired a U2 cover band for the reception! Some of our clients like to set a theme such as Jane Austen, Disney, country, classical music, etc.

Suggested Prelude Songs

CLASSICAL - "Spring" by Vivaldi, "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3," by Bach, "Jesu Joy" by Bach, "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart, "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven.

POP MUSIC - "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors, Marry You by Bruno Mars, "Viva la Vida by Coldplay, "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles

Our Pop Music Repertoire List 2. PROCESSIONAL We recommend not more than two processional songs. Any more than that, and you get quick snippets of music and none of the songs have time to really develop.  Have one great song for the parents and the bridal party, then another special song just for the bride.  Traditionally, the groomsmen and the officiant are not part of the official procession because they generally enter from the side and not down the center aisle.  Of course, it is entirely up to you! An amazing addition is to add a trumpet for the entrance of the bride.

Pro tip 1 No matter what anyone says, this is your day.  Enjoy every moment. Do not be in a hurry to get down the aisle. Take your time; this is not a Hollywood production, and your event planner is not Stephen Spielberg! As you walk down the aisle, people are going to be looking at you. Smile at them and remember their faces. Take your time, look around, enjoy the music and the setting.

Suggested Songs

CLASSICAL - "Trumpet Voluntary by Purcell (add a trumpet WOW), "Canon in D" by Pachelbel, "Jesu Joy" by Bach, "Air from Water Music" by Handel

POP MUSIC - I Choose You by Sara Bareilles, A Thousand Years by Christina Perry, Viva la Vida by Coldplay, Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, All of Me by John Legend, A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman, I Can't Help Falling in Love.

Something Unique:

Add a Trumpet for the WOW FACTOR 3. During: Sand Ceremony/Communion/Ketuvah, etc. We recommend a bit of music for any unspoken events during the ceremony.  If you choose to have music at this time, let the officiant know not to talk over it. This music is usually rather short and not a big production. The musicians call it "musical wallpaper". It's pretty, but not the center of attention; YOU ARE! 4. RECESSIONAL After the introduction of the new couple, there is usually hearty applause. We recommend something robust to accompany the exit of the new couple and the bridal party.  After they have exited, we usually bring the volume down a bit as the crowd begins to mingle. 

Suggested Songs

CLASSICAL - "The Rejoicing" by Handel (add a trumpet WOW), "Trumpet Tune" by Clarke, "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart

POP MUSIC - Marry You by Bruno Mars, This Will Be: Natalie Cole, Best Day of My Life: American Authors, Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles,

Pro tip 2 Remind the officiant that the recessional music is going to start right after the introduction of the couple. Please do all announcements such as "the cocktail hour will be over there" prior to the kiss and the introduction of the couple. When the music starts there should be no more instructions given. We have seen officiants try to yell over the music or gesture to us to play softer so they can speak. This can really destroy the excitement of the moment.

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