And congratulations if you’ve recently got engaged or have set a date for your wedding. This is part 3 in my 5 part series on how to add the ‘wow factor’ to your wedding ceremony.
I’m Sam Goodchild and I’m a Sussex based wedding celebrant. We’ve already looked at lots of ideas in parts 1 and 2. So if you missed them, do check them out for some extra inspiration.
So today, Part 3, is all about music.
You may have been putting some thought into the music to be played throughout your wedding day and at the celebrations after the ceremony; but have you reflected on the way music could be used during your ceremony?
Music is so important. It affects our mood, stirs our emotions and getting it right for you will really up the ‘wow factor’ at your wedding.
Here are my top tips for adding the musical ‘wow’ to your ceremony:
Entrance music – This is the music that traditionally the bride will walk up the aisle to. (Nowadays, it may be the brides, bride and groom or grooms making an entrance). It signifies the beginning of your ceremony and can immediately make a statement or set the mood. So choose a song or piece of music that really reflects you or you and your partner. If both you and your partner are making an entrance and walking up the aisle separately, you could choose two different pieces to walk in to. If you are a musical couple then this is the perfect chance to use your talent and make it very personal.
For example, one Groom I worked with serenaded his bride with the guitar as she made her entrance.
Another couple were huge classical music lovers and the Groom was a classical pianist. As the ceremony began, he was waiting at the front, and as everyone was asked to stand for the bride, he suddenly nipped over to the piano in the corner and played beautifully. She walked down the aisle as he played and everyone was moved and surprised – including the bride.
Live music. Adding live music during your ceremony can really take it to the next level. You can choose to include a performance from either a talented friend or a hired professional. Or you could have live musical participation with everyone singing and this can really bond you and your guests in joyful way.
Live Performance Last summer, I officiated a wedding at a French Chateau and one of the guests sung John Legends ‘All of Me’ during the ceremony – it was absolutely stunning.
Participation Traditionally people sang hymns at weddings and that’s certainly still the case if you’re having a church wedding. You can choose to have a hymn if you’re using a celebrant however it is not currently allowed at a registrar led wedding ceremony. But it doesn’t have to be a hymn. You could choose to sing any song and this can be great fun – songs some of my couples have chosen are ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ and ‘Lean on Me’
Participation mixed with Live Performance You could mix this idea of guests singing and a performance together. One bride I worked with was in a Kazoo band. During her ceremony, we all sang ‘Silly Love Songs’ accompanied by the couple’s friend on guitar. Mid way through the song, first one Kazoo player stood and started playing along to the tune and then a whole row of them stood up and tooted out the tune as we sang. It was a brilliant surprise – a bit like that moment in Love Actually when all the trumpeters stand and start playing.
Music during the ceremony. There are some key moments when you might want some music playing during the ceremony.
Signing your certificate. If you are signing the register or a commemorative certificate, you could have your guests listen to an appropriate song choice or some live music.
During your vows. You could have some music played gently in the background while you say your vows. One couple I worked with chose some modern pop music but played by a live harpist*. It added an additional emotional layer as they said their vows. It was really beautiful to listen to and the song had a special meaning between the couple too.
During your ‘mini ceremony’. If you are having a ‘ceremony within a ceremony’, this is another opportunity to include some music. See Part 4 in this series for more on that!
Recessional music. This is played as you walk back up the aisle together. It’s a perfect time for something upbeat and celebratory to get the party started. Again, make it about you and your partner, either by choosing a song you both love or doing something your guests would recognise as very you. Live music, a friend playing, or have all your guests sing you back up the aisle. Two fantastic brides I worked with chose this option and all their guests serenade them with ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ as they danced out together.
If you’re not a musical couple or find singing along very off-putting then this isn’t for you. Instead you could keep it simple with an appropriate piece chosen to enter the ceremony and one to leave. Everyone’s ‘wow factor’ is different. For more ideas join me in Part 4 when we’ll look at ‘mini ceremonies’. Hope to see you there. *Their harpist was Fiona Hosford www.harpist.uk.com and she was amazing! If you would like me to help you add the ‘wow factor’ to your ceremony then drop me and email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call TEL 07512 347498
Infinite love is run by Sam Goodchild, a non-religious minister, independent wedding celebrant, and funeral celebrant. Sam is based in Brighton, Sussex and has a wealth of training and experience in personalised wedding and funeral celebrations, as well as handfasting, baby naming ceremonies and pet memorials and is able to officiate at services in Sussex and beyond.