Your 101 guide to wedding music

The wedding dress, the flowers, and the candles all make a wedding special, but what about the music? Music is used throughout a wedding ceremony for a very good reason.

You may have heard the saying, “Music makes the moment.” Nothing could be truer. We all have a special song or melody that brings back good (or maybe not-so-good) memories.

Whether it’s that special song you share with your partner, the song played at your high school dance, or even the fast and furious tune playing during the chase scene in a movie, music can bring out vivid emotions in all of us.

A simple musical phrase can give you goose bumps, cold chills, make you smile, bring you to tears, or even upset you. It’s for reasons like this that you should be sure to make your wedding music special, not only for you and your spouse-to-be, but also for your family, friends and guests.

Your musical choices may so impact somebody attending your wedding that they will choose to make it a part of their own future wedding. What a responsibility you have!

The good news is that in most weddings your only have six “featured” places for the really special music you want. These are:

1. The entrance and seating of the grandparents

2. The entrance and seating of the parents

3. The entrance of the bridesmaids, ring bearer, and flower girl

4. The entrance of the bride

5. The lighting of the unity candle (or similar) during the ceremony

6. The recessional and exit music

Typically most wedding musicians will begin playing background music 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. This “prelude” music is setting the mood as your guests arrive.

While it is important, remember that it serves as background music. During this time, your guests are entering, looking for a seat, and saying hello to friends. The music is important, but not to the degree of the six events listed above.

During the six events listed above, your guests are really paying attention. They are watching and taking it all in. And they should be; your “moment” is about to occur. Even though 75 percent of a wedding is visual, the rest is all being taken in, including sounds and smells.

Pick your music to reflect your personality, but it also needs to fit the action taking place. For example, for your elderly grandparents’ entrance, you might not want to play a fast-paced song. Also, during the first four entrance pieces, the music should reflect the changes in excitement your guests are feeling.

Play calm music for the entrance and seating of the grandparents, but gradually build in excitement as the mothers, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and finally you enter the room. The music should build in excitement to climax with your entrance.

This can be accomplished by a DJ or a solo musician, but do you want more? There are so many choices. Do you want modern and trendy music, or will you stick with the classics? Will it be a church organist, a recording, strings, trumpets, horns, or something more memorable for you and your guests?

Live music always makes the best impression, but only if you use experienced professionals. Ask your venue for suggestions if you are having difficulty choosing musicians.

It’s not easy getting the timings and transitions of the musical changes seamless, so professionals are always your best bet. And remember, a close friend or family member may sound absolutely fantastic in your living room or singing karaoke at the local pub, but are they comfortable performing in front of a quiet room full of people?

Again, well-trained, seasoned professionals will take all the anxiety out of your decision.

At the end of the day, you want to reflect on how much you enjoyed your wedding. Make well-informed decisions, rest easy, and enjoy the music.