Articles

Great Advice for Wedding Planning

The Power of Ceremony Music

by Sam Milam

Cassarino Studios

How many times have you heard a song that bring s you back to a certain time, a specific moment, in your life? Music has the incredible power of binding a major life moment and the emotions associated with it. Choosing your ceremony music is an exciting opportunity to forge some of that musical nostalgia for your future anniversaries, and for injecting your personality and heart into your big day.

SELECTING THE MUSIC THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR WEDDING

Every bride and groom has different and similar tastes in music. The bride's mother or aunt or sister might have ideas of what they think the ceremony music should be like, along with the bride and groom and everyone else. There are many options for ceremony music ranging from classical to contemporary or alternative. At times you may feel a lot of external pressure associated with choosing the ceremony music. Whatever you choose, go with your heart and what speaks to you most. Music is a way for you to honor the diversity within your families, as well as honoring and acknowledging the differences in you as a couple. Incorporating music from different religions and cultures can also be a way to honor parents without having to abandon the music that is authentic to your tastes and vision.

When choosing musicians, it is important to communicate your wants, as well as finding out their capabilities. Sometimes strictly classical musicians may be uncomfortable straying too far from the original music, but oftentimes, most ceremony musicians are very capable and willing to create whatever music you might want. Musicians can be a useful guide for introducing you to options that you might not be familiar with, especially when you haven't found "the one" for your ceremony.

When selecting music, make sure to communicate with the venue, especially if it is a religious establishment. Some religious facilities do not permit you to bring in outside music. Others are more lenient regarding outside music, but may still charge you for their in-house musician. Whichever venue you choose, it's a good idea to have the hired ceremony musicians communicate directly with the music director of the venue to work out any details and issues.

CHOOSING THE INSTRUMENTS

There are almost unlimited options when it comes to live ceremony music, especially on Long Island; you can find a string quartet, a jazz trio, a harp solo, bagpipes, or an acoustic guitar, among other creative choices. You can also opt to go with recorded music or even vocalists. If you choose vocalists, it's a good idea to wait until everyone is seated for the ceremony before they sing. Guests may feel obligated to pay attention to the vocalist rather than the processional which could create awkwardness.

When interviewing the musicians that you would like to hire for your ceremony, take note of their temperament. Do they seem at ease playing for you? Do you have good chemistry? Do they have references? Trust your intuition and go with the person that seems most at ease with the requirements of the job. It's best to get the details spelled out and signed in a contract (same goes for the venue, photography, the cake, and so on).

What if a family member or friend offers or requests to play during your wedding ceremony? It's a sensitive decision, but the choice is ultimately up to you. Having a friend or family member play even a small part during your ceremony can add more depth to the entire experience. Just make sure that they have the personality necessary to stay calm and focused during a performance.

When choosing your instruments, an important factor to take into consideration is the setting. If you are outside with a crowd of hundreds of people, you won't hear a duo without some form of volume enhancer. If you are indoors, you can get away with less, thanks to the room acoustics.

COMPONENTS OF THE CEREMONY

The ceremony music usually consists of a variation of three main components; typically preludes, processionals, and recessionals.

THE PRELUDE

The prelude accompanies the guests as they enter and find their seats. It's more of an ambient music that usually begins when the doors open, setting the tone for the events to come. Sometimes the prelude starts as early as 45 minutes prior to the ceremony beginning, but no later than 20 minutes before. You can play a variety of pieces or a single piece during this time, but it's best to stay loose and flexible with scheduling music during this time.

THE PROCESSIONAL

The processional can be as simple or as complex as you like. The processional music accompanies the entry of the extended family and bridal party. You can seat grandparents and parents during this time. Next up during the processional will be the bridal party, and then finally the bride's grand entrance. You can choose to keep the same song during the entire processional, but changing the music just before the bride enters will add drama and highlight the bride's entrance. It is most common in weddings to change music for the bride's entrance, but there is nothing wrong with stepping outside of the traditional box.

THE RECESSIONAL

The recessional accompanies the bridal party as they walk back down the aisle after the bride and groom are pronounced husband and wife. The music is often more lively and bright, highlighting the happiness of the event that has just taken place. The recessional is a time of celebration and the beginning of letting out a collective breath after the buildup of excitement and tension that led up to the ceremony. There are a variety of choices regarding your recessional music, ranging from traditional to hip hop music.

ADDITIONAL IDEAS

There are many opportunities for adding in personal musical touches during the ceremony; during a unity candle lighting or during a communion. You can also choose to have a postlude. Once the bridal party exits, there will be a chunk of time where the guests are exiting. This time, known as the postlude, is a great moment to have someone play music to accompany them as they leave. Some weddings have a cocktail hour directly after the ceremony, this is also an opportune time for adding in some musical ambience. Basically anytime everyone is gathered together, but no one is formally speaking, is a great time for some tunes.

Music is such a big part of your wedding day. It adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to an already emotional event. The music you choose for your wedding ceremony will be cherished for years to come.

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How many times have you heard a song that bring s you back to a certain time, a specific moment, in your life? Music has the incredible power of binding a major life moment and the emotions associated with it. Choosing your ceremony music is an exciting opportunity to forge some of that musical nostalgia for your future anniversaries, and for injecting your personality and heart into your big day.

SELECTING THE MUSIC THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR WEDDING

Every bride and groom has different and similar tastes in music. The bride's mother or aunt or sister might have ideas of what they think the ceremony music should be like, along with the bride and groom and everyone else. There are many options for ceremony music ranging from classical to contemporary or alternative. At times you may feel a lot of external pressure associated with choosing the ceremony music. Whatever you choose, go with your heart and what speaks to you most. Music is a way for you to honor the diversity within your families, as well as honoring and acknowledging the differences in you as a couple. Incorporating music from different religions and cultures can also be a way to honor parents without having to abandon the music that is authentic to your tastes and vision.

When choosing musicians, it is important to communicate your wants, as well as finding out their capabilities. Sometimes strictly classical musicians may be uncomfortable straying too far from the original music, but oftentimes, most ceremony musicians are very capable and willing to create whatever music you might want. Musicians can be a useful guide for introducing you to options that you might not be familiar with, especially when you haven't found "the one" for your ceremony.

When selecting music, make sure to communicate with the venue, especially if it is a religious establishment. Some religious facilities do not permit you to bring in outside music. Others are more lenient regarding outside music, but may still charge you for their in-house musician. Whichever venue you choose, it's a good idea to have the hired ceremony musicians communicate directly with the music director of the venue to work out any details and issues.

CHOOSING THE INSTRUMENTS

There are almost unlimited options when it comes to live ceremony music, especially on Long Island; you can find a string quartet, a jazz trio, a harp solo, bagpipes, or an acoustic guitar, among other creative choices. You can also opt to go with recorded music or even vocalists. If you choose vocalists, it's a good idea to wait until everyone is seated for the ceremony before they sing. Guests may feel obligated to pay attention to the vocalist rather than the processional which could create awkwardness.

When interviewing the musicians that you would like to hire for your ceremony, take note of their temperament. Do they seem at ease playing for you? Do you have good chemistry? Do they have references? Trust your intuition and go with the person that seems most at ease with the requirements of the job. It's best to get the details spelled out and signed in a contract (same goes for the venue, photography, the cake, and so on).

What if a family member or friend offers or requests to play during your wedding ceremony? It's a sensitive decision, but the choice is ultimately up to you. Having a friend or family member play even a small part during your ceremony can add more depth to the entire experience. Just make sure that they have the personality necessary to stay calm and focused during a performance.

When choosing your instruments, an important factor to take into consideration is the setting. If you are outside with a crowd of hundreds of people, you won't hear a duo without some form of volume enhancer. If you are indoors, you can get away with less, thanks to the room acoustics.

COMPONENTS OF THE CEREMONY

The ceremony music usually consists of a variation of three main components; typically preludes, processionals, and recessionals.

THE PRELUDE

The prelude accompanies the guests as they enter and find their seats. It's more of an ambient music that usually begins when the doors open, setting the tone for the events to come. Sometimes the prelude starts as early as 45 minutes prior to the ceremony beginning, but no later than 20 minutes before. You can play a variety of pieces or a single piece during this time, but it's best to stay loose and flexible with scheduling music during this time.

THE PROCESSIONAL

The processional can be as simple or as complex as you like. The processional music accompanies the entry of the extended family and bridal party. You can seat grandparents and parents during this time. Next up during the processional will be the bridal party, and then finally the bride's grand entrance. You can choose to keep the same song during the entire processional, but changing the music just before the bride enters will add drama and highlight the bride's entrance. It is most common in weddings to change music for the bride's entrance, but there is nothing wrong with stepping outside of the traditional box.

THE RECESSIONAL

The recessional accompanies the bridal party as they walk back down the aisle after the bride and groom are pronounced husband and wife. The music is often more lively and bright, highlighting the happiness of the event that has just taken place. The recessional is a time of celebration and the beginning of letting out a collective breath after the buildup of excitement and tension that led up to the ceremony. There are a variety of choices regarding your recessional music, ranging from traditional to hip hop music.

ADDITIONAL IDEAS

There are many opportunities for adding in personal musical touches during the ceremony; during a unity candle lighting or during a communion. You can also choose to have a postlude. Once the bridal party exits, there will be a chunk of time where the guests are exiting. This time, known as the postlude, is a great moment to have someone play music to accompany them as they leave. Some weddings have a cocktail hour directly after the ceremony, this is also an opportune time for adding in some musical ambience. Basically anytime everyone is gathered together, but no one is formally speaking, is a great time for some tunes.

Music is such a big part of your wedding day. It adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to an already emotional event. The music you choose for your wedding ceremony will be cherished for years to come.

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