How To Choose Wedding Ceremony Music

Romantic photo of newlyweds

Finding your wedding ceremony music can present many challenges including the type of music to play and the way to play it, whether it is a string quartet or the church's organist. The music you select sets the mood for the entire day and should not only be appropriate, but should means something to you.

  1. Church setting. The setting is important because it will have a major bearing on the type of music you select. You can opt for a traditional church ceremony or a more non-religious outdoor ceremony. If you are getting married in a church, you need to inquire about the guidelines for music. Some churches will not allow recorded music or disc jockeys. Inquire about acceptable music and if there are any restrictions on the types of music in the particular house of worship. Most churches will not allow non-religious music during a wedding but some may allow it during the prelude or interlude. If your ceremony is outside of the church but is still officiated by a clergy, you need to keep these same considerations in mind.
  2. Non-religious setting. You can choose any music you would like for this type of ceremony. It is a personal decision but make sure the music is in good taste for your special day!
  3. Music Types. Weddings can have a wide range of music and even a wider range of the presentation. Here are some ideas:
    • Vocalists. This adds a very personal, meaningful touch and has an added effect when accompanied by guitar or harp.
    • Instrumental. A string quartet, harpist, organist or pianist is appropriate for an elegant or classic setting.
    • Disc jockey. There are many options with a disc jockey. They have virtually every type of music available and often in differing styles.
    • Classical music. Very appropriate for wedding ceremonies. It can be played in any way, through musicians, an organist or even the disc jockey.
    • Contemporary.  Incorporating contemporary music can be fun.  Just make sure the music is appropriate!
  4. Ask for suggestions. If you are at a loss of what music to even begin with, talk to your disc jockey, band leader or church organist. They often have play lists and suggestions to get you started. You can also research via the internet to find common songs.
  5. Wedding sections. The typical wedding ceremony has six parts.
    • Prelude. This lasts about 20-30 minutes prior to the ceremony while guests are seated and conversing. Music should be light, lively and played at a low volume.
    • Wedding party processional. This is the official beginning of the ceremony. Music should be played at a higher volume.
    • Bride's processional.  Here comes the bride! The music here casts the mood for your special moment. The obvious traditional choice for this moment is Wagner's Bridal Chorus.
    • Interlude. This can be more than one occasion in the ceremony where words are not spoken for a short while. It can be played during lighting of a unity or memorial candle and moments of reflection. Calm, classical music such as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach is a popular selection.
    • Recessional.  After the married couple is introduced, it's time for some upbeat and joyous music as the happy couple makes their way down the aisle.  Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" is the most popular musical selection.
    • Postlude. The postlude lasts anywhere from 10-30 minutes as guests are leaving the ceremony area. It should be upbeat and fun!

 

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