Brides often ask me for recommendations of wedding music. This sounds like a simple request, but there is no one size fits all answer.
Some couples are planning a wedding that is very traditional, while others are planning a ceremony that is quirky and off the beaten track.
My number one recommendation is that you pick music that will fit your style for your wedding. Music is a powerful way to reinforce the mood that you want to create.
The most common request I have for my string quartet is music that is classy and elegant, but not overplayed. I have created such a list of wedding tunes here.
Here are my general recommendations for music choice through the ceremony.
Prelude Music: Prelude music should usually be calming, and peaceful. It should set the mood for the event, while still allowing the guests to talk with each other. Keep in mind that the Bridal Party will not be in the sanctuary while this music is playing, so it’s not the time to play your most personally meaningful selections.
Seating of the Grandmothers: Depending on how many grandparents you have between the two of you, this is often combined with the seating of the mothers. If you do want to have an individual tune for the seating of the grandmothers, it makes sense to pick a tune that is meaningful to one or more of the grandparents, or to the relationship that the bride or groom has with a grandparent.
Seating of the Mothers: This is a great opportunity to get sentimental. This song should still be understated. This is the beginning of the ceremony, and the mood should build as the ceremony proceeds. Sometimes the Mothers will also light a candle in preparation for the unity candle ceremony later.
Processional of the Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: This song should build the emotion, but should not be overpowering – afterall, this song is for the Bridesmaids, not the Bride. It’s nice to have a song that has a pulse to it so that the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen can feel the beat and walk to it. This will keep them moving down the aisle at the same speed. The speed of this song should be a slow, comfortable walking pace. If you have a ring bearer and flower girl, they will also walk down the aisle to this song.
Processional of the Bride: This is the second most charged song of the Wedding. It is the announcement of the bride, and her triumphal entrance. Make no mistake, this song is important. Here comes the bride! Now, if you are going to the expense of hiring a string quartet, there is a good chance that you want to make a departure from the most traditional of traditional wedding tunes. This tune should be BIG. It should give the guests no chance to question if this is the time to stand up. This is the announcement!
Lighting of the Unity Candle / Sand Ceremony: This is an intimate moment between the bride and groom, and the music should reflect the solemnity of the moment. This is the point in the ceremony where the bride and groom mark their departure from being separate, and signify becoming one. Side note: If your wedding is outdoors, do a sand ceremony or other alternative to the unity candle unless you want to deal with your candle being blown out. It is a great place for a reflective ballad, or peaceful classical piece.
Recessional: This is the big sendoff. Everybody is excited and there is much rejoicing. Pick an upbeat tune that reflects this jubilant tone.
Postlude: Continue the jubilant tone in these 2-3 tunes as people begin to leave the ceremony and make their way to the reception. Think happy!
Keep these general tips in mind when you select your music, regardless of what style you want to represent you. And, whatever you do, keep you music choices authentic, and true to your style.