You’re engaged! Congratulations. Let the wedding planning begin, including selecting the songs that play while you walk down the aisle. Your ceremony music is one of the first parts of your wedding that your guests experience, so make sure you give your ceremony music the due attention it deserves and don’t let your big day (or your guests) down. Here are five tips to help you choose the ceremony music—and the musicians—that makes your wedding ceremony even more meaningful.
Know how much ceremony music you need/want.
Every wedding is unique; the amount of songs vary but we can talk in generalities. Typically, your ceremony music consists of prelude, processional, and recessional music, and any interlude songs that are played during special moments during the ceremony (lighting a unity candle, etc.).
- Prelude music is soft background music played as guests enter and are seated.
- As the wedding party enters, there are usually two songs played during the processional. The second processional song is a more joyous song signifying the bride’s entrance and walk down the aisle.
- During the recessional, a louder song is played as the bride and groom exits followed by softer music as the guests leave (called postlude music).
If you’re holding the wedding in a religious setting, ask about ceremony music restrictions.
Don’t wait to do this important step; ask first so you can avoid heartache later. Talk to the coordinator at your ceremony venue, or discuss any limitations with your officiant. If your service is in a church, synagogue, or temple, ask about hymns or traditional religious music that was played at other weddings.
Consider your ceremony setting.
The amount of, type, and kind of ceremony musicians you hire depends on a lot of different factors. If your wedding ceremony is outside, you may need more musicians to ensure that you have adequate volume. For a small, intimate, interior ceremony setting, a quartet may be overwhelming—and, from a practical standpoint, there may not be adequate room for your musicians. If you are unsure, contact a professional who can select the right professional musician or musicians appropriate for your wedding and coordinate all the details.
Your music is your choice.
Don’t feel limited by traditional songs. For example, just because your mother walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D doesn’t mean you have to do the same. We found this list of songs to work from; don’t be afraid to ask an entertainment agent for quality musician and song suggestions (they can draw on their experience to make modern, contemporary or traditional recommendations for music). Good musicians have the experience and skill to play a variety of songs that you choose.
Don’t hire amateur musicians.
You don’t want just any hack musician setting the mood for your special day. This is the time when you are committing to your wedding partner formally, and you shouldn’t have to settle for amateur musicians who haven’t touched an instrument since grade school. Instead of relying on a ‘friend of a friend’ who may or may not have the skills to play at your ceremony (do you know for sure?), contact an entertainment agent who can choose skilled professionals perfect for your ceremony, venue, and budget.