Planning the music portion of a wedding requires time and focus not unlike the many other details that need your attention! Flowers, food, attire, vows – there are many elements to creating the perfect day and the more you attend to them in advance, the better guarantee you have of pulling off a day everyone will remember. What follows is information and advice specific to the musical part of the ceremony. Hopefully it will make your day all the more special!
There are some basic types of ceremony music that may be woven into the musical backdrop of your day. These include preludes, processionals and recessionals.
The term prelude means opening or preparation. It is also an opening piece of music such as the opening of an orchestral act to an opera or first movement of a suite. In terms of a wedding, a prelude is the soft music that plays in the background while your guests are seated for the wedding. It can begin as early as an hour before the ceremony begins and while people are filing in to be seated. It is appropriate for any setting, whether it be an indoor or outdoor event. It is also adaptable to various types of weddings – afternoon, evening, lighthearted or sophisticated.
The processional is much shorter and is best characterized as ‘ceremonious’. It is the music that plays while the guests of honor, including the groomsmen and bridesmaids, proceed down the aisle then while the families of the bride and groom, and finally the bride herself, are escorted to the front of the church.
The recessional is the opposite of a processional. A recessional is played as the parties ‘recess’ or exit the ceremony at its completion. It is meant to be a reflection of the joy of the ceremony so it will likely be light and reflect the high spirits of the wedding.
Depending on the type of wedding you have there may be opportunities to include shorter pieces of music, such as interludes or music that plays during specific moments of the ceremony and postludes, which may be played as the guests exit the wedding.
Remember, there are other parts of the event that music will enhance but the wedding ceremony itself is separate and will be more memorable if you give it the attention it’s due.