Choosing your Wedding Music
With the choice of wedding music CD's now available, not to mention easily accessible music available on the internet, there is no excuse for lacking inspiration for your choice of wedding music.
Consider the atmosphere you are aiming to create with each piece of music; stately and regal for the entrance of the bridal party, meaningful and romantic during the signing of the register, triumphant and joyful for the recessional.
There are a number of pieces associated with weddings, which instantly evoke the right atmosphere, but don't be afraid to choose something different that really means something to you as a couple. Remember that if you are getting married in a venue licensed for weddings, the music for your civil ceremony must not have any religious connection.
Before the service and processional music
Before the service, the music needs to set the atmosphere of the wedding. Therefore you need to consider if you want it to be upbeat and cheerful or more elegant and relaxed. A good option is usually a wedding harpist or string quartet. If live music is not for you, or budgets won’t stretch that far, choose pre-recorded piped music, which gives a hearty start to the wedding. When choosing the processional wedding music for the start of the ceremony, check how long it takes for the bride to walk down the aisle to ensure that the music isn’t too short, or far too long.
The signing of the register takes at least three to four minutes and therefore you want a piece of music which will last approximately five minutes long. The signing music should be calmer and more relaxed so it contrasts with the more upbeat and celebratory recessional music. It is popular to use a classical piece of instrumental music, perhaps by a string quartet, or alternatively you could pick a modern piece with meaningful lyrics.
The exit or recessional
It is important to get your recessional music just right. It rounds of the wedding ceremony and whether the music is chosen to accompany you as you march victoriously out of church, or glide serenely along on your husband’s arm, it sets the atmosphere for the rest of the day. Your photographer will be taking photos straight after the ceremony so you want everybody to look like they are enjoying themselves, and music is a great way to give them that feel good factor after they have been sitting quietly throughout the ceremony. Again, live music is ideal, or perhaps a pre-recorded modern piece which is meaningful to you and your groom.
What music can't we have?
Due to legalities, religious material cannot be used during a Civil Partnership or Civil Wedding Ceremony, so traditional popular religious hymns are out of the question. Do ensure that your readings and any music you intend to use have been approved by your Registrar. Different Registrars will have slightly differing views - but do be cautious of any religious connotations - for example the song "Angels" by Robbie Williams will be denied at a Civil Wedding for its religious (angelic) references. If you are unsure whether or not a particular piece is permissible, or if you feel that your Registrar is unreasonably preventing you from having a particular piece, you can consult the General Register Office on 0151 4714803.
Film sound tracks
If you are having a Civil Ceremony it can be a challenge to find a meaningful piece of music that doesn't have religious content. Look to instrumental versions of film soundtracks for some great classics that all your guests will recognise:
- Armageddon - Aerosmith’s "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing"
- Batman - Seal's "Kiss From A Rose"
- Dirty Dancing - "The Time of My Life"
- Four Weddings & A Funeral - Wet Wet Wet's "Love Is All Around"
- Grease - "Hopelessly Devoted To You"
- Pulp Fiction - Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell"
- Robin Hood - Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do, I Do it for You"
- Titanic - "My Heart Will Go On"
- Top Gun - "Take My Breath Away"
- When Harry Met Sally - "It Had To Be You"
- The theme tunes from Braveheart, Love Story or The Never Ending Story
Getting value for money
Having performed at your ceremony, most musicians will charge very little extra to play during your drinks reception too, or may even include it in their basic package. We would always recommend using a professional musician to play at your wedding, but if you are happy to take the risk there is no reason why a student at Grade 5 upwards wouldn’t be capable of performing.
What music should I have during my wedding ceremony?
You want each piece of music to highlighting a certain atmosphere for the different moments within the ceremony; stately and regal for the bridal party entrance, meaningful and romantic during the signing of the register, triumphant and joyful for the recessional. There are several pieces traditionally associated with weddings, but don't be afraid to choose something different that really means something to you as a couple, such as instrumental versions of film soundtracks.
Should I have live music at my wedding ceremony?
During the ceremony, a wedding harpist or string quartet are good options, creating a lovely atmosphere. But, If live music is not for you, or budgets won’t stretch that far, choosing pre-recorded piped music also gives a hearty start to the wedding.
When should I have music during my wedding ceremony?
There are four key musical moments during the ceremony; before the service, the procession, the signing of the register and the recession. Before the service, the music should establish the wedding’s atmosphere, whether that be upbeat and cheerful or more elegant and relaxed. When choosing the processional wedding music, check the timing fits with the bride’s walk down the aisle. For the signing of the register, you want a calm and relaxed piece of music lasting approximately five minutes. Your recessional music rounds off the wedding ceremony and tends to be more upbeat and celebratory, setting the tone for the rest of the day.
What music can’t I have at my wedding ceremony?
Music with religious material or connections cannot legally be used during a civil wedding ceremony, so hymns and some classical pieces are often not possible.
What music should I have at my reception?
Broadly, there are three ways to have music at your wedding: self-DJ, hire a DJ, or hire a band. Keeping your guests entertained with a professional wedding musician or band can range from a delicate harpist to a four-piece jazz band. The choice is entirely down to your preference!