Choosing musicians for your wedding ceremony

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Wedding ceremony music sorted!

Choosing musicians for your wedding ceremony
How to choose your ceremony music

Nothing will bring a tear to your eye quite like hearing a poignant and meaningful processional song. Your wedding ceremony music has the power to set the scene for your vows and have everyone blinking back tears. It’s also a great way to surprise your partner as they walk down the aisle or wait for you to arrive.

The songs you choose might remind you of a great summer at a music festival, or the first time you stayed up talking all night, or it might be a traditional piece that simply sets the right tone. It doesn’t matter if you book a harpist to play an indie song or a jazz musician to sing a John Legend number, what’s important is how your wedding ceremony music makes you feel.

Function Central, a wedding band and musician booking agency, have put together this list of things to consider when deciding on your ceremony music:

The type and size of venue, number of guests and whether your ceremony is in- or outdoors will all dictate the sort of instruments and performers you can book for your wedding ceremony. If the service is in a traditional church then you’ll likely have beautiful acoustics whatever the instrument but some performers might still need amplification. It’s really important to discuss the venue space available and amplification with your live music act, both so you can be sure everyone will hear them and so they fit in. If your ceremony is outside and your band needs a PA system – singers in particular might struggle to be heard (or hear themselves on windy days) – you’ll need to ensure there’s a safe power supply, either from a generator or an extension cable. To protect equipment from the rain or the rays, you’ll also need to ensure there’s cover such as a gazebo or marquee.

It doesn’t matter if you’re after a folk trio, a lively steel pan duo or a string quartet for your wedding ceremony – these days, anything goes! If you've already hired a wedding band for your reception, the simplest option is to ask them if one or two performers can arrive earlier and perform acoustically for your ceremony. Many singers and wedding musicians will do this for a small additional fee, which saves you forking out on a whole new act, as well as simplifying things like equipment and load-in.

Booking musicians from your evening wedding band also means they’ll build a rapport with you and your guests over the day, making the evening show even more personal.

How many songs?
Most couples choose three or four songs throughout their ceremony – one for walking down the aisle, one during the signing of the register, and then one or two as they leave the ceremony room. You might also want some music 10 minutes or so before the ceremony starts to fill the room as people take their seats.

Which songs?
If you’re having a civil ceremony the law states that any music must be secular and have no reference to the Bible or religion. Some registrars aren’t too strict in enforcing this, but check before you book a soloist to perform a hymn.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve booked a classical harpist or an acoustic pop duo, they should be able to play the songs you want to hear, from Adele to Handel. It can help to jot down key moments in your life and songs that take you back to those special times to make the ceremony music all the more meaningful.

If you need inspiration, here are some of Function Central's top picks:

Top five suggestions for the processional (entrance)
1. Canon in D, Pachelbel – this is the most popular processional for brides. It’s everything you’d wish to hear as you walk down the aisle: elegant, romantic and beautiful.
2. Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen – another popular choice, who can beat a bit of Leonard Cohen (or the Jeff Buckley version if you prefer)
3. Make You Feel My Love, Adele – the title says it all, and it doesn’t matter which instruments or vocalists perform it, there are some spectacular arrangements to take your breath away.
4. All of Me, John Legend – a recent favourite with couples, this song is perfect as it’s not only achingly romantic, it gives a real sense of the promises couples make to each other with open eyes.
5. Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran – guaranteed to turn you into a sniveling wreck as you walk down the aisle – in a good way. Watch your makeup doesn’t run though!

Top five suggestions for the signing of the register
1. Air on a G String, Bach – this piece of music is simple and beautiful. It’s calming and slow, and as it’s fairly short it’s perfect if you want to have more than one piece.
2. Truly, Madly, Deeply, Savage Garden – a relaxed romantic song, this will take you back and sweep you off your feet.
3. Songbird, Eva Cassidy – you can’t beat Eva Cassidy’s vocals for a gorgeous song while signing the register. Her pure tone and the heartfelt lyrics capture the mood of the moment perfectly.
4. Aria from Xerxes, Handel – this is a heart tugger for sure. If you want to choose music that will get everyone emotional post-vows then this should do the trick!
5. I’m Yours, Jason Mraz – another relaxed tune that will have your aunts and uncles bobbing in their seats.

Top five suggestions for the recessional (exit)
The first time you leave the ceremony as a married couple calls for a joyous song, so forget the slow and soppy ones and go for something lively that will put a smile on everyone’s faces. Here are some of our customers’ favourites.

1. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, Stevie Wonder – not to compare your special day to a parcel delivery, but this one will get everyone smiling, and even singing along.
2. One Day Like This, Elbow – this stunning song fills the room with a glorious sense of occasion.
3. Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Handel – a vibrant classical piece bound to create a jubilant atmosphere.
4. Hornpipe in D from The Water Music, Handel – a regal choice for a traditional wedding.
5. All You Need is Love, The Beatles – it doesn’t have to be the Love Actually spectacular for these five words to sum up what’s really important on your wedding day: “All You Need is Love!”

Still not sure what would work best for your wedding? Get in touch with one of the experts at Function Central and they'll help you choose the best soundtrack for your ceremony!


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