Top 5 Tips for Choosing Wedding Ceremony Music

November 23, 2012


When we talk about entertainment at weddings, we often jump straight to the reception; first dances, function bands, DJs, music during the Wedding Breakfast and so on. But it’s important not to overlook the music during the ceremony. For some it’s a simple case of getting a great classical ensemble to perform Pachebel’s Canon, The Wedding March and the Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba at the right points in the ceremony – there’s a reason they’re traditions, they work.

But for some couples there are other elements to take into consideration when booking music for wedding ceremonies, so we’ve put together a list of our Top 5 Tips for Choosing Your Ceremony Music to help the process along. Read on for more. 

 Pick The Appropriate Act for your Music Choices

Perhaps this goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people make requests for pop songs from string ensembles or harpists. Of course, musicians are always happy to arrange pieces for any ensemble given the time and suitable compensation for their work – but certain songs don’t suit the classical treatment and sometimes it’s better to pick a more contemporary act. Conversely, Wandering Hands aren’t exactly the people to ask for Pachebel’s Canon.

 Timings are of the Essence

It’s a good idea to think about the timings of the ceremony and when you want music to be played. Classical pieces work well for the entrance of the bride because they have natural breaks that fit in with pauses in the ceremony – for contemporary music, the first verse and chorus of a pop song usually works just as well. Later on for the signing of the register, a piece of around 5-8 minutes is usually sufficient or two shorter pop covers. Also bear in mind that while guests enter and the bride and groom visit the registrar, guests will be left waiting in the ceremony and it’s nice to provide some music during this time.

 Make it Portable

Getting value for money in wedding entertainment is a huge concern for couples and we try to make sure that couples get the most out of our acts at a wedding. One of the best ways to do this is to have acts that can perform during both the ceremony and dinner which obviously means a little moving around. Some acts are custom made for moving between performance spaces (like Wandering Hands or Iona who plays a lighter, more portable electric harp) other times it’s a case of making changes to the instrumentation of acts – Cajon instead of drums in an acoustic act, guitar instead of keys in a Jazz band.

 Incorporate Music from Different Countries and Cultures

As well as being a coming together of people and families, a wedding can also be a coming together of cultures and nationalities. Often a bride or groom may want to celebrate their heritage during the ceremony not only for themselves, but for family members in attendance who’ll really appreciate the extra thought and effort involved. It can range from booking acts that are strongly linked to certain cultures (Steel Bands, Bhangra Drummers, even something like a Swedish Nyckelharpa pictured above) or it could be as simple as having an act play something from a certain composer from the relevant country. We’re always happy to discuss these kinds of things, so don’t be shy!

 Check Your Song Choices with the Venue

We’re constantly telling couples to express themselves through their music and entertainment choices and while we’re always eager to help fulfil any desires a bride or groom may have for their big day, there are some instances where this is taken out of our hands. Case in point - religious music at civil ceremonies. Many wedding venues, by law, aren’t allowed to have religious music or songs with religious connotations played during secular ceremonies. It’s important to check with the venue as to what songs are actually allowed. These rules differ from venue to venue so make sure you know before you make your choices.

For more information on booking entertainment for your wedding, head over to our contact page and get in touch.

By Alice Chorley