#ISaidYes? Congratulations! Then you need to read my tips on how to choose your perfect processional music…
Create the right atmosphere: Whether you want sophisticated, romantic, vintage, traditional or quirky, the music to which you choose to walk down the aisle sets the whole tone (pun intended) not only for your ceremony, but for your whole day. Think about your theme and choose something that fits perfectly with your vision.
Match the music to the musicians: If you are having live music – and if not why not? – then work with your musicians to choose something that will work with their style of playing and ensemble. For example, your jazz quintet might not be 100% suited to ‘The Arrival of The Queen of Sheba,’ but then again, they might be able to pull it off! Or, they will be able to suggest similar alternatives. Any experienced wedding musician these days will be happy to record and upload a sample for you to listen to, so don’t think you are asking too much if you want something not listed on their repertoire, or out of their usual comfort zone. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. But, be prepared to pay for special arrangements – soloists may offer this service free of charge, but ensembles will charge arrangement fees (count on between €50 -€100 per song) to cover the time and expense of buying or preparing the sheet music, and rehearsals.
Make sure your choice is venue appropriate: I really can’t stress this enough. Please, please, please discuss your musical choices with your celebrant before the day of the wedding! For a church service or religious blessing, it is very likely that the officiant will insist on vetting your musical choices and will often be able and willing to make suggestions. And for a non-denominational ceremony, you may find that some classical pieces -especially those mentioning religious figures in the title – may be deemed inappropriate. It might sound like overkill, but it is so important to avoid your disappointment, and possibly, albeit unintentionally, causing offence to others involved in your celebrations.
Think carefully about any associated lyrics: Even if you are having an instrumental version of your favourite song, somebody in the congregation will be singing along in their heads, and may be wondering what exactly it is you are trying to say about the proceedings. If you don’t care, that’s fine, but Google the lyrics and check up, just in case…
Consider the pace and length of the music: You will be walking down the aisle/red carpet or otherwise processing to this, so is it a suitable walking pace for you and the person or persons accompanying you. You can dance back up the aisle with your new husband, but be kind to your father, flower girls and maids-who-aren’t-that-used-to-wearing-heels. If you have a large wedding party with lots of attendants, you might want to have different pieces for your mothers, maids and yourself, as is popular with US and Australian brides. Bear in mind that you will probably only hear a very short section of any piece chosen, so talk to your venue about how long you will need to make your entrance, and let your musicians know who will be coming out in what order, and discuss which sections of the music you want to hear.
Will it stand the test of time? If you want to make your entrance to One Direction or Ed Sheeran, or even the soundtrack of the first movie you saw together/gig you first met at/song you first kissed to, then what could be more perfect and personal than that? But, and especially if you are having a video record of the ceremony, (or if you think people will be shooting it on their mobile phones – ugh!) do think about what it might look like in twenty years time, or even to your grandchildren… If you don’t care, then good for you, do what you feel and live in the moment. If you are in any doubt, play it a little safer and include your ‘special song’ as part of the ceremony itself, in the cocktail hour, or as your first dance.