Many of our clients know that they want beautiful music at their wedding but feel nervous about what to expect during the ceremony. It is my hope that this article will put some of your anxieties to rest. Remember, it’s your special day so you can pick and choose the musical selections and when they should be played! To hear some great tunes, click HERE.
Depending on your religious persuasion (or lack of), there will be variations to this explanation. Yet, one can still usually assume that there will be three main parts of the wedding ceremony: The Processional, the Interlude, and the Recessional. From a musical standpoint, however, I like to see the wedding in 5 sections.
1. As guests enter the house of worship or wedding venue
This is a great time to play calm, gentle music to soothe the wedding party and their guests who are full of energy and expectation. At this stage, they do not need further stimulation – enough said!
2a. The Bride’s Processional
This is the part everyone has been waiting for. Are you a traditionalist? Perhaps you’d like something more contemporary? Whatever your decision, all eyes will be on the bride and you want to have a piece played that’s equally beautiful. Traditionally, it was the Wagner Bridal Chorus that was played here. Today, there are many other options for those who wish (and, of course, for Jewish weddings). Pachelbel Canon is a big hit. Just make sure that someone from your wedding party can signal the musicians to start playing if the bride is coming from a far distance!
2b. Honored Guests
The information in the above paragraph still applies, but perhaps here you would like something lighter to balance out the bride’s processional (and of course, to not overshadow her!)
3. The Interlude
This part is heavily dependent on your personal preference. Some ask for a religious piece to be played during the Unity Candle. Others like a short excerpt to be played during the Offertory. Non-religious individuals might just want a meaningful piece to be played to celebrate the ceremony.
4. The Recessional
The groom has immediately kissed the bride here, or in the case of Jewish weddings, stepped on the glass. The guests have erupted in applause and everyone is either joyfully smiling or crying. Now is the time for exciting music that captures the event! Traditionally, it was the Mendelssohn Wedding March that was played here. Today, there are many other options for those who wish.
5. As guests leave
By now, there is usually so much fuss going on that the musicians are playing background music. While no one is paying attention to the musicians, they certainly have a function! Much like in a cocktail-hour setting, the performers are feeding the atmosphere with the happy and excited energy that mirrors what everyone is feeling.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! To hear wedding music samples, click HERE!
Daniel Broniatowski, D.M.A.
Wedding music contractor