Choosing Wedding Music

Fred Cory, B.Mus.

Weddings are festive occasions and music should be a key consideration in every couple’s wedding plans. There is room for all kinds of music because weddings include not only boisterous celebration but also moments where deeply felt pledges are given and an atmosphere of poised serenity is called for. Music can help accentuate these two contrasting aspects and help to keep them separate. During the ceremony, elegant music encourages people to be elegant; sometimes boisterous celebration is impatient and can spoil a sacred moment. But at the reception, energetic music will help get the party in gear.

During the ceremony, live music is always the best choice especially in a church setting. Live music is more flexible than recorded music and can easily respond to the flow of events and make transitions seamless. Having recorded music during the ceremony seems artificial and out of place, like having plastic flowers. Simple, graceful pieces of classical music are ideal. Most musical groups have websites where sound clips can be heard. Small ensembles can easily play in garden settings so long as there is shade. Ethnic instruments such as bagpipes can represent cultural heritage and cross- cultural weddings can make for some delightful contrast.

The ceremony music consists of pre-service music, a processional, registry signing, communion (optional), and finally a recessional. The pre-service music can be a mix of styles and the recessional is always up tempo and festive. All other ceremonial music should be serene and elegant.

Having a friend or family member sing or play a solo is a great idea but if they are inexperienced you may not want them to provide all the music. Professionals lend a sense of ease and confidence to the ceremony.

It is at the reception where recorded music can be a logical choice. There can be a span of three generations present and they all have favourites that they want to hear. A good DJ can accommodate a very broad range of taste and it is their business to be abreast of all the latest trends. Make sure your DJ is sensitive to all age groups, has a broad knowledge of music, and shows discretion with the volume settings. A light jazz or classical group can be very classy early in the reception, but later, people often want to let loose and take it up a notch or two and a DJ can deliver the goods.

Music should be everywhere at a wedding. Musicians and DJs should be secured well in advance. And remember: “if you pay peanuts, all you’ll get is monkeys”.

 

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