Wedding ceremony music advice from the experts!
Choosing the wedding ceremony music for your bridal entrance music, wedding recession music and wedding hymns can be a daunting task!
Perhaps you are stuck for inspiration, or maybe you know how the music sounds but you don’t know the name of the piece…this easy to use guide will take the stress out of choosing the music for your wedding ceremony.
Processional (Entrance of the Bride)
“Will you please stand….”
[music starts playing]
The bride and her bridal party enter the church/ceremony room and process down the aisle, past friends and family, towards her husband-to-be. It is the most important wedding ceremony music choice that you will make so make it top of your priorities.
1) The Speed of the Music
In considering the music for your entrance, you should remember that you will probably be wearing a long, flowing dress with some new shoes/high heels.
On top of this, you will be excited and perhaps a little nervous.
The last thing that you want is to be running along to a fast piece of music.
This is your moment – take it in and enjoy every second.
2) The Distance You Have to Walk
If your wedding is in a big church with a long aisle, your will need a longer piece of wedding ceremony processional music that will last for the whole length of the procession.
If you are getting married in a small and intimate ceremony room, the music will not need to last as long.
You should also consider asking your musician to play the famous section from the piece that you have chosen…you don’t just want the long introduction that nobody knows!
Signing of the Register
“You may now kiss your bride.”
You can relax now, you are now married…all you have to do now is sign on the dotted line!
1) Choose Quiet Background Music
When you are signing the legal documents, it is important for you to be able to clearly hear the registrar/minister’s instructions.
Your guests will now be chatting amongst themselves until it is time for them to take their photographs.
We recommend that you choose a piece of wedding ceremony music that can be played quietly in the background so that it sets a nice mood, but does not distract you from the task at hand.
2) The Length of the Music
This part of the service usually takes the longest amount of time.
You both have to sign the register, as do your witnesses and the registrar/minister who is marrying you.
Your wedding photographer will then take posed photographs of you around the marriage register.
In some ceremonies, your guests are also invited to come up to the front and take photographs.
We recommend that you have either a long, slow piece of wedding music played for the signing of the register, or instead, two shorter pieces that are played at this point.
Recessional (Departure of the Bridal Party)
“Will the bridal party please assemble behind the bride and groom.”
You process out of the church/ceremony room as the newly married Mr and Mrs, followed by your bridal party and all of your guests. This is the last of the wedding ceremony music choices that you will make and it will set the tone for the next part of your day.
1) Choose a Triumphant piece
You are now officially married…it is time to start celebrating!
We recommend that you choose a loud, triumphant, celebratory piece of wedding recessional music that will add to the excitement of the occasion.
2) How Long Will It Take to Clear The Room/Church?
The piece that you choose to be played at the end of your wedding ceremony should last until all of your guests have left the building.
It is important to remember that your photographer may want to take some photographs of you at the entrance of the church/ceremony room.
Your guests will be waiting behind you during these photos, and it is nice for the final piece of wedding ceremony music to still be playing during this time.
Well Known Hymns
“Please turn to page 3 in your service booklet for the final hymn.”
The congregation stands and starts singing (at the tops of their voices)!
1) How Many Hymns Should I Have?
If you enjoy singing hymns and have a musical family, then I would recommend choosing three of your favourite Christian wedding hymns. Singing hymns is a great way to make everybody feel involved in the service.
If, however, you do not often go to church and singing hymns is a new thing for you, then I would recommend choosing two really famous hymns that your friends and family might remember singing in school assemblies.
2) What Hymns am I Allowed to Choose?
The well known hymns that we have recorded are recommended for wedding ceremonies by the Church of England website. You will be able to discuss your hymn choices further with your vicar who will be keen to guide you through the process.
The following advice is taken from an article by David Rooke (Rector) that I found online. The full pdf document can be found on the Stockton Deanery website
3) Are the Words Understandable and Appropriate?
There are many appropriate hymns, but some popular choices have words that people find difficult to grasp, while others (such as Jerusalem) are simply not very appropriate on closer inspection.
4) What Proportion of the Congregation Will Know the Hymns?
It is worth bearing in mind the age range of the congregation and their experience of ‘church’. Some of the younger generation may only know what could be called ‘school hymns’. It is embarrassing for everyone if the minister is the only one singing heartily.
5) Is the Hymn Easy to Learn and Sing?
There will aleays be some of your guests who don’t know any hymns, so a good sing-able tune is essential – not too tricky, and not too high nor too low.
6) How Long is the Hymn?
Some popular hymn choices are quite long and repetitive. The temptation is then to prune out one or more verses, but that often makes the hymn disjointed.
7) What is the Level of Your Faith and the Likely Congregation?
Some popular hymns are only really appropriate at the marriage of a comitted Christian couple, and perhaps even then only when a significant proportion of the congregation also have a strong faith. This is usually because the words express clear, firm beliefs which some people may find hard to affirm and sing with enthusiasm.
For specific information about each hymn, I recommend checking out David’s really good guide. He has taken the time to explain why each hymn could be appropriate for your wedding.
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