There are several places in your wedding where music can be played, as well as the hymns that will be sung. There’s lots of scope to be creative with choices that make your wedding really personal to you.
Your vicar (or the organist at the church) will be delighted to help you decide on all the music for your ceremony and will want to make sure everything works well together. Some churches have special facilities, for example, if you wanted any recorded music playing from a CD or MP3 player, but talk to your vicar about what may be possible in the church.
1. Choosing musicians and instruments
Some couples like to use the church’s musicians, like the organist or choir, throughout the whole service because their sound suits the church acoustics so well. If the church has musicians and you’d like them to be part of your ceremony, talk to the vicar about their availability, costs and capabilities for the music you have in mind.
But you might also like to hire your own musicians, and you can, from classical soloists to rock bands. You may have friends or relatives who are talented with a particular instrument and you’d like them to be involved in the service. The scope is very broad, but the vicar will be happy to support you in choosing suitable pieces for particular parts of the service.
2. Choosing music
Some popular choices of music are offered below, but you can discuss other ideas too with your vicar or the church organist; the organist’s capabilities and the type and size of organ they use all need to be taken into account.
For the bride’s entrance
Music for this moment might be gentle, dramatic, emotional and touching, but always positive. The type of music you choose may depend on the size of the church and which songs or music really mean something to you both. These are some popular, classic pieces:
Trumpet Tune, Purcell
Canon in D, Pachelbel
St Anthony Chorale, Brahms
Salut D’Amour, Elgar – or it could be played while the guests are arriving
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, J S Bach – another choice which could be played while the guests are arriving
For signing the register
You and your two witnesses may move to a different part of the church, (or even go into a separate room), to sign the register. Either way, it is a moment of pause in the ceremony and music is often played at this point.
You can choose a hymn for your guests to sing, or have a piece of music played, either by a live musician, or from a CD/MP3 player if the church has the facilities.
For leaving the church
Music for this part of your ceremony is always upbeat and cheerful. These are some popular, traditional classics, but you can talk to your vicar if you’d like something different:-
The Queen of Sheba, from ‘Solomon’, Handel (sometimes called ‘The arrival of the Queen of Sheba’)
Trumpet Tune in D, John Stanley
Hornpipe in D, from Handel’s Water Music
Canon in D, Pachelbel
Toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony in F – this works well on larger organs
Nun Danket (March Triomphale), Karg-Elert – also works well on larger organs
For something special
There may be another part of the service where a piece of music is appropriate for your ceremony, for example if you have chosen an additional reading and you’d like it read out while some music is played quietly in the background.
See what the vicar says about all your choices – they’ll want to ensure your service reflects your story, but also that it runs smoothly and looks and sounds the best that it possibly can in the church.