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TOTW : Ceremony Music Demystified

Holy batman! Lauren Daversa Events is BUSY! We've got weddings going on all over the place and we couldn't be more excited. I've been asked a lot lately to explain the different parts of the ceremony music. If my brides are asking, chances are some of my readers would like to know too! So without further ado, the latest installment of our famous Tip Of The Week.

There are four parts that make up the ceremony music: prelude, processional, recessional and postlude. Below is a succinct description of each area to help solve the mystery behind ceremony music.

The prelude music is the background music played prior to the start of the ceremony for anywhere between fifteen to thirty minutes as your guests are being seated. Don't let the idea of this being background music trick you, as the prelude helps to set the mood for your wedding. Ask yourself, "Is my wedding religious, romantic, chic and modern, elegant, unique, ethnic, joyous?" Or, is your wedding a combination? Once you've picked your selections, remember to have the music played quiet enough for your guests to be able to carry on a conversation once they've found their seats.

The procession is the music played while key members of your ceremony walk, or process, down the aisle. The key members are grandparents of the groom, parents of the groom, grandparents of the parents of the bride, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, ushers who unroll the aisle runner, and most importantly, the bride. You may select different pieces to accompany the different members of the party (parents / attendants / bride) however, limit your selection to three or less. Decide whether you want to have a grand or understated entrance as this dictates whether you should select pieces to build up the intensity to create the huge anticipation of the arrival of, well you - the bride. Or, whether you should select pieces that are more subdued to create a more quiet, peaceful entrance.

Whichever way you go, make sure to have a designated friend/family member to cue the musicians, or even better, hire a planner like Lauren Daversa Events. Or else you really run the risk of the processional turning into a whole mess with bridal party members wondering when to go, musicians wondering when to play, musicians wondering when to stop playing, doors opening with people peering out to see what is going on, guests looking around knowing crazy behind the scenes shenanigans are happening, groomsmen continuing to be confused. Just madness, and certainly not what you want for your once in a lifetime wedding ceremony.

The recessional is celebratory music played as you and your new husband and your entire wedding party exit the building! Musicians should be ready for the cue - unique to every ceremony - that signals them to begin the recessional. It could be the kiss or the officiant's introduction of, "Mr. and Mrs. We Just Got Married." Again, make sure to have this worked out in advance. Vendors are not mind readers and it this has not been discussed then it is a perfect opportunity for a little ceremony music drama to be infused into your service.

The postlude is the background music played as the guests are being dismissed, similar to the prelude.

The Secret Fifth Part of Ceremony Music
The secret fifth part of ceremony music refers to any optional points during the ceremony where you may want to have music or singer(s) perform. For instance, the lighting of the unity candle, interlude between readings, responses, alleluias, mass parts, during the sign of peace, immediately following the vow exchange, during and after communion, a moment of reflection, a rose presentation, sand ceremony, memorial candle ... just to list a few. As you work with the officiant on your service, you will learn the specific moments where music would be an appropriate addition.

Photo courtesy of Reception -Wedding

1 comment :

  1. Great advice on keeping the processional simple! I have done one or two ceremonies in the past (while working for another contractor and not having the opportunity to advise the couple) that didn't go so smoothly. What was the reason? Too many song changes during the processional. The trouble with doing this is you never get to hear enough of each selection and there is too much page rustling in between.

    Three songs max. Trust me, you will be happy you didn't try to be too fancy.