Providing Music for a Wedding Ceremony

April 8, 2008 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

It seems like our company is being asked more often than I can ever remember to provide music for the actual ceremony. This requires that you pay careful attention to details, both in advance and the day of the wedding. A lot of clients that call to inquire about our services are sold on my company, because we express a willingness to provide this service, and demonstrate that we have the experience necessary to ensure that things are done professionally. I have provided you with a step by step process for providing wedding ceremony music that is directly out of my company training manual. It has served us very well.Set up speakers where the sound will be projected in the area in which the wedding ceremony will take place.
Make contact with the Bride or Coordinator. If not already done, have the bride designate a person to contact you and give you the signal as to when the Processional is to start. If you are playing at a facility that regularly hosts weddings, the contact person may be the banquet hall manager.
For definition purposes, the Processional is the “here comes the bride” melody, and is played when the bride is coming down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony. You should note that it is not uncommon for the bride to select some other song to play as the processional song.
The Recessional is the song used when the bride and groom come back down the aisle at the end of the ceremony.
You should pre-plan exactly what pieces of music to use for the processional and recessional PRIOR to the wedding day. However, unless otherwise specified, use the traditional wedding march processional and recessional. These can be found on most wedding music CDs, which are available in stores.
In most cases, you will have to take the place of a traditional organist. One-half hour prior to the wedding ceremony, start the “pre-ceremony” music. Sometimes the pre-ceremony music will consist of light classical music. Other times, popular wedding related love songs are used, such as The Wedding Song by Paul Stookey. The pre-ceremony music should be pre-planned with the client prior to the wedding.
Just prior to the actual processional, the bride may request a specific song to be played for the seating of the parents. This song is usually played five minutes prior to the starting of the ceremony. You should ask the person in charge to give you “the signal” when the parents are ready to be seated, and start this designated song when directed to do so.
There may be a specific song used for the processional for the bridesmaids, and then a separate song for just the bride and her escort (usually her father). Again, you must preplan all of this. Important!!! Make sure that you provide the bride with the time of the song used for the bridesmaids and/or bride to come down the aisle to!!! A short song may very well end before all of the attendants complete their entrance. This is especially true with larger wedding parties and you will have to take that into consideration!
Keep contact with the designated coordinator and start the processional when given the “go signal”.
When the Bride goes down the aisle and stops, you should gradually fade the processional out as she and her escort reach the awaiting groom and minister.
The bride may ask you to play a song or two during the ceremony and may even provide you with an instrumental tape to play for a live soloist to sing along with. It is important that you determine exactly when to start this song. Consult with the clergy prior to the ceremony to get specifics about when to play specific songs during the ceremony. A wedding “program”, if available, can be extremely helpful to use as a guide. Get the assistance of the person in charge to assist you with this. Playing a song, or a tape for a soloist during the ceremony is usually done at a very specific point of the ceremony, such as after a reading from the bible or a prayer. You must determine EXACTLY where you are to play the song or tape!!
Make sure that you know exactly when to start the recessional. In most instances, it will be obvious when the bride and groom kiss, and are presented by the minister as husband and wife. You should not start the song until you are certain that the bride and groom are coming down the aisle. It is important for you to have the recessional song cued up and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Again, consult with the clergy to determine when to begin the recessional.
Fade out the recessional after all bridal party members and parents/grandparents have come back down the aisle. Immediately go into background music, and proceed with the rest of the reception events as usual.
Popular Wedding Processional and
Recessional Pieces

1. Wedding March – Processional – Traditional

2. Wedding March – Recessional – Traditional

3. Cannon In “D”

4. Trumpet Voluntary

5. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

6. Trumpet Tune & Air

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Mobile Beat Staff Writer (228 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.


Filed Under: Weddings