Planning Your Ceremony Music
Part 3 : 4 Questions to ask yourself when planning ceremony music:
As I started writing this, I realized that I had a lot to say about choosing ceremony songs, so I'm going to split the " four questions" into two installments...Two questions today and two more in my next posting.
Question 1: What mood and atmosphere do you want ?
*You probably have a vision of your wedding ceremony, so before you choose your music, think about how you would describe the atmosphere you're after. Part of the purpose of the music is to enhance the mood. As I talk with my clients, I find it easiest to float some key words and pay attention to their reactions. Words like "Elegant", "Relaxed" ,"formal " or "informal", "Fun", "Different" will tell me a lot. So , float those words to yourself or your fiancé' and see how you react.
*Surprisingly, I have learned that the best wedding music line-ups often have some contrast in mood...like relaxed paired with elegant. It's similar to playing a gig, I like to follow an upbeat, lighter song with a serious song because the contrast makes each stand out more. I find the same sort of contrast very effective in weddings. ( See Question 2 below). Maybe a lighter Processional for the party, followed by something elegant for the bride...each enhances the other. A great example of this from a recent wedding was "Here Comes The Sun" for the party, followed by "The Canon in D" for the bride. It flowed really nicely... and a month before that, I played these same two songs in the opposite order...both were very effective.
*And remember that the mood that a particular song elicits for you, may not be the same that it elicits for your guests, say Aunt Ethel ...just something to consider.
Question 2: How many processionals ?
*So do you want two separate processionals, one for the wedding party and one for the bride ? If the party is really small , maybe one or two bridesmaids, a single song will work fine...usually with a pause before the bride enters.
*With a larger party,( especially with flower girls or ring bearers, who are wonderfully unpredictable), two processionals is usually a better choice. After the same song plays for an extended time, it can start to become like crickets chirping and be lost...you don't want that happening as the bride is entering, especially if it's a special song .
*Also two songs allow you to have a contrast in mood as I mentioned in question #1 above, or as I'll discuss in my next post, you can have both a traditional and a contemporary song to satisfy different tastes.
* Timing-wise, it will probably take less time than you imagine to come down the aisle. Consider allowing the music to continue a bit after you arrive at the front to allow the song you've chosen to breathe a bit and end gracefully...also a nice few quiet moments for the bride and groom to reconnect , take a breath, and get centered.
*Probably 80% of the couples I work with have two processionals, but either way comes out beautifully...so you really just need to decide what will work for you.
Next time : Question three: "Traditional vs. Contemporary ( and special songs)
Question four: " Vocal vs. Instrumental"
Feel free to e-mail me if you have questions about this topic or your wedding music ideas.
Dwight Phetteplace; Dwight's Wedding Guitar
SIX TIME WINNER:
TheKnot "Best of Weddings" and WeddingWire "Brides' Choice"