Music is the most universal expression of joy. From the moment your guests arrive at your wedding site, your choice of music will set the mood and expression for your special day.
Choose music that will compliment the atmosphere that you wish to achieve such as religious, classically elegant, contemporary or perhaps a mixture of styles. Many brides prefer a traditional classical wedding ceremony while others will select music that will enhance a special theme that they have chosen for their wedding such as Baroque, New Age, Classical, Jazz or Scottish, Irish or Celtic.
If you are being married in a church it is always wise to check out the music policies with the music staff to avoid disappointment. Protestant churches usually allow a mixture of popular and religious music. Some Catholic clergy may ask that you avoid popular music in favor of religious selections and hymns sung at regular masses. For Jewish weddings, secular music, including the usual wedding marches, is permitted at many Reform and Conservative weddings, but Orthodox rabbis may prefer you use only traditional music.
If your church has no restrictions regarding the type of music you can choose for your wedding, good taste should always prevail. Many songs which are "hits" at the moment, do not last in popularity beyond a few months. It would be best for those selections to be played or sung at your reception. Ask yourself: Will the music I choose from my wedding today be the memory I want in the years to come?
There are generally five categories of music at wedding ceremonies:
The pre-wedding or "Prelude" music sets the theme for the actual ceremony. This usually begins approximately thirty minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin while guests are being seated. The music selections are often light and lively, and played in a low volume allowing guests to converse.
Music for the entrance of the Bridesmaids is usually more formal, and presented at a higher volume than the pre-ceremony music. Although marches are popular, other beautiful classical selections such as Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" and Pachabel's "Canon In D" are often selected.
The first notes of the "Processional" music announce the arrival of the Bride and inform the guests to stand! Because of this, processional music should be joyful and triumphant. Wagner's "Here Comes The Bride" is the overwhelming choice of Brides to enter their wedding ceremony area. Brides who are marrying for the second time or more often select a less formal musical selection.
During the ceremony, a soloist may sing or play a musical instrument just before the actual wedding vows begin. This is called the "Interlude" Music. Sometimes a reading by a guest may substitute for music. This activity allows the Bride and Groom time to pause, catch their breath, and more fully enjoy the moment!
The "Recessional" music usually begins immediately after the officiant introduces the new couple to the guests as husband and wife. Like the processional, this music is generally joyful and triumphant. It is often accompanied with the ringing of church bells or chimes. Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" is the music selection chosen by most newlyweds at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony.
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