Music for Civil Ceremonies
Whether you choose classical or modern, upbeat or melodic, your wedding ceremony music can change the atmosphere of your civil ceremony and make it meaningful to you.
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. Just remember that the music for your civil ceremony must not have any religious connection.
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, there is also pre-recorded piped music, which gives a hearty start to the wedding. When choosing the processional wedding music for the ceremony, it is important to remember that the bride’s entrance will not take as long as when it is in a church, therefore you do not want any long introductions in the music.
The signing of the register takes from 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 which meaningful lyrics.
Finally, your recessional music is the music that plays as you leave the ceremony. This is a very memorable part of the wedding, so it is important to get the music right. It rounds off the civil ceremony and sets the atmosphere for the rest of the day, and is also when a large number of the photos are taken, so you want everybody to look like they are enjoying themselves! You could choose your string quartet once more, or perhaps a pre-recorded modern piece which is meaningful to you and your groom.
Due to legalities, religious material cannot be used during a civil partnership or civil wedding ceremony, so traditional 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.