Being wedding musicians, we're obviously biased when we say that choosing the right music for your ceremony is an important decision. Music has the ability to set the tone of an environment. If you want a classic feel to your wedding, obviously choosing techno music doesn't exactly fit. Choosing your own music also adds a personal touch that reveals your personality. If you're on a tight budget, it might be hard to bring a specific "look" to your wedding with expensive frills, but the right music can certainly add the intended "feel".
So where to start? We've played for a myriad of musical tastes, from Canon in D to Rains of Castamere from Game of Thrones. In general, your ceremony has these main areas to address for music:
Prelude: We personally offer 30 minutes of prelude music prior to beginning the ceremony. The prelude sets the tone for the wedding and welcomes the guests as they enter the venue. Often couples prefer a more classical feel for this, as the ceremony is the more formal part of the wedding day, but this isn't an exclusive rule. Couples also may want music more commonly featured in a cocktail hour for their prelude music if they want a more lighthearted tone to their nuptials.
Processional: This music represents the beginning of the ceremony and pace for the bridal party as they enter. Often couples want a separate piece for each entrance i.e., groomsmen, bridesmaids, etc., prior to the grand entrance of the bride. We will often switch instruments from the previous violin classical duets from the prelude to guitar and violin to signify the entrance of the bride, for example.
Ceremony: Religious ceremonies often include more instrumentation throughout the ceremony, ie after each reading, during communion, and the sand ceremony. We find that most outdoor ceremonies we have done are more brief, and only include a piece during the unity candle/sand ceremony, but again this is not exclusive. Providing your musicians with an outline of the ceremony will allow them to help you find the appropriate "musical moments".
Recessional: This music signifies the end of the ceremony. It is typically more energetic and fast paced as the couple exits, and as the guests exit the venue.
When selecting your wedding music, it can often be confusing, as there are millions of potential options. Let your music pro be your guide; after all, that's partly why you hired them! Most musicians have a general repertoire that they work from, but are also open to selecting music to help couples find that certain feel that they're looking for. It's also important to take your venue into consideration, as religious ceremonies may be more restricted and less permitting of secular music. Also keep in mind, that not all music translates to every instrument. You might love The Bee Gees, but that doesn't necessarily mean that your pros will be able to pull off Stayin' Alive during a violin duet!
For more information on the repertoire we offer at UpScale Strings, we invite you to visit our list of musical selections here.