Yes, Music Matters

I’m often surprised, when I meet with couples to discuss their wedding day, that music for one’s ceremony often takes a back seat to choosing flowers, gowns and other physical elements.  After years of watching brides during the planning stages, I’ve concluded they don’t really mean to undervalue music, it’s just that when you don’t know Mozart from Beethoven, it can be easier to buy matching gloves for the bridesmaids than selecting your wedding march. That’s where a wedding coordinator or a knowledgeable officiant can be of great assistance.

On some web sites that sell CDs you can search for wedding music and hear 30 second clips. The main criterion is that you like it!  After all, it’s a matter of personal taste.  If you’re using  live music, don’t let them place restrictions on what is considered proper for ceremonies.  My number one rule for weddings; whether it’s the music or any other part of the ceremony, is that there is no right or wrong way to get married.  It’s what will be meaningful and memorable for you.

That’s why it is important to consult with your musician(s) or DJ before hiring them.  This way you, and your fiancee, can audition pieces from their repertoire, or listen to recordings and inform them of your choices.  If you have a favorite song, tape or CD, play it for your musician(s) or DJ when you meet.  Couples frequently elect to have me suggest music they might use which I’m happy to do, after discussing with them what their tastes are. I have a large selection of CDs of every style, from traditional to contemporary they can choose from. 

Also, if you plan to have a song sung or played during the ceremony, be conscious of the length of the song.  If you’re listening to “your song” while driving in the car it probably doesn’t seem very long but that same song, played while you’re standing in front of your friends and family, can seem like an eternity.  I sometimes take the CD and edit the length, keeping the beginning and ending, and some of the middle, so it still has the impact but in a shorter version.

If you are having your ceremony in a church, use discretion when requesting love songs and other secular music, keeping in mind the sacred nature of the event and place.  If your ceremony is less religious in tone, find musicians who are open to non-traditional styles of music. Plan ahead. There has to be time to obtain sheet music for specially requested songs, to work out arrangements and to practice or, in the case of a DJ, they might have to order the CD of the song you want.

One last word of advice: Take your rehearsal seriously. The walkthrough of the processional, bridal march, and recessional should be done in real time to give the music provider a sense of exactly how much is required to get people from point A to point B. It also alerts the bridal party to their cues so everything runs smoothly.

Even though it seems fleeting, music is as concrete a presence at your ceremony as the candles and boutonnieres. Make it as much a priority as planning your other details.

By Dr. Dick Caldwell  |  email us
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