Planning a wedding is normally really exciting but sometimes a little overwhelming! While some couples know exactly what they want, sometimes there are words and ideas that just hadn’t occurred to you, to the point where you don’t even know what to ask! I’m hoping this blog entry will make it clear that, first, that’s ok! It will all come clear, and there’s no question that’s too small. You don’t plan weddings very often, and we’re here to help with ANY planning details that come up, and to ask the questions that you weren’t aware you had.
With that in mind, here’s a little overview of how wedding music is likely to fit into your big day. Just a quick mention that absolutely nothing here is etched in stone – if you want your wedding to be completely unique this is also an option! The vast majority of weddings, however, will follow the basics mentioned below.
First, the word “repertoire” refers to specific lists of pieces of music – specific songs, tunes, selections, pieces of music. This is a handy word to know when discussing wedding music!
The Prelude: This is the music that’s played as guests are arriving. Normally prelude music begins 20 – 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and continues until the wedding party is ready to make their entrance. Most commonly, the musicians choose repertoire for the prelude, based on general style preferences stated by the couple, as well as a knowledge of what we feel works best for the combination of instruments chosen. So the couple need not worry about choosing specific repertoire for the prelude unless you have a particular interest – in which case do let us know! Occasionally couples will choose a special music selection to be played shortly before the end of the prelude. Sometimes there will be a special piece to signal the entrance of the parents of the couple.
The Processional: This is the signal for the big events – the entrance of the wedding party, and then the bride. In the vast majority of weddings, in my experience, the parents, the groomsmen, and the groom enter during the prelude. After the groom is in place, there may be 1 or 2 or 3 processionals (on rare occasions more). The first processional may be for the bridesmaids, the maid of honor, and the flower girl(s)/ring bearer. In that case, the second processional would signal the entrance of the bride. Some choose more than 1 processional for the wedding party – I have had some weddings that choose a special processional for the bridesmaids, one for the maid of honor, and yet another for the flower girls, but this many is definitely not common. Bottom line: this is your wedding, so do as you most would like! But it’s sometimes helpful to have a perspective of what’s frequently done.
Music during the ceremony/Interlude: Often couples choose to have music during the ceremony, perhaps during candle lighting or similar ritual, but often just for a peaceful, meditative moment. I think more than half the weddings I’ve played request music during the ceremony, but many do not. Again – your choice!
Recessional: This is the moment when you’re pronounced to be married and walk joyfully back down the aisle and off to your new life together, and the party is about to begin!
Cocktail Hour/Reception: Music during the cocktail hour/reception is normally chosen by the musicians, again based on general style preference stated by the couple combined with musicians’ judgment of what specific repertoire works best for our particular combination of instruments. Specific requests are certainly welcome – but not something you need to worry about unless you wish to.
So the specific repertoire you choose will be: 1) Most importantly: the processional(s); 2) the recessional; and 3) possibly an interlude. Again, it’s also possible to choose specific pieces for the prelude or reception, but not required!
I’ll be posting an additional blog entry with some thoughts about options for each of these important choices soon!