The question I’m most often asked as a musician with over a decade of experience in the wedding industry is “How do I pick music for my ceremony?” I believe that music is a design element of your wedding like any other choice, from the linens to the flowers to the color selections to the venue itself. Music can work together with those other choices to create an atmosphere that will have you and your guests feeling like they’ve just walked into a perfect movie moment.
FIRST, CONSIDER THE WEDDING ITSELF.
Where will your wedding be held? What time of day? What is your wedding party wearing, and what would you like your guests to wear? If you’re having a ceremony at a religious venue, check with them about music, because many denominations have specific rules about what is appropriate to play during a wedding ceremony. If they don’t, it’s still best to stick with more traditional selections. If you’re having your wedding in a secular venue, you can really pick anything, but it’s nice to think about things like those big things mentioned above. Ideally, your music should work with those choices. In other words, a black tie ceremony might not be the right time for the Foo Fighters, but a summertime garden party? Anything goes!
…THEN, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR.
When it comes to music, most people have much stronger opinions about what they don’t like than what they do! If your ceremony musicians can nix a few bands, composers, or a genre or two right off the bat, it helps me narrow down and define what you might like.
After the prelude, the first processional should be a contrast to what we’ve been playing to show that the ceremony is beginning. A tempo change to SLOW things down is an effective way to do that. The family processional should feel relaxed and elegant- nothing that’s going to make someone feel rushed down the aisle, particularly if any elder members of your family will be processing. Then, we can transition to something FASTER for your wedding party. Again, think lively but not frantic, but this is typically a more youthful bunch, so the contrast will work well with the demographic. The music for your entrance should be something that feels BIG to you- whatever that is! It could be your favorite movie theme, a time-honored classical selection, or a famous love song. This is your moment to relish with a selection that will make you remember it forever. Then, your recessional should be something HAPPY! Energetic, joyful, and celebratory are good adjectives to consider here. Now- get the party started!