Music: Just the Right Note

Music has been called the universal language. It can bethe single most important element of your wedding andreception, as it expresses the many different emotions ofthe day and is, literally, instrumental in controlling thefl ow of events. Because music plays such an importantrole in your wedding, you will want to start early anddecide what type of music you will have and who will provideit. Th e right music for your ceremony and receptionwill help to make your wedding day more meaningful.


The music can be provided by an organist,pianist, flutist, violinist, harpist, guitarist,trumpeter, piper or a brass, string or windensemble. A vocalist (or several) can makeyour ceremony even more memorable withselections of tunes and lyrics that are especiallymeaningful to you. Be sure to researchyour venue’s policies before deciding onyour music, especially if the setting is atemple, a church or other house of worship.

The prelude typically begins 30 minutesbefore the start of the ceremony and is traditionallyclassical, although other styles canbe used. Your guests will be seated duringthis time, and the music will help to set thetone for their sharing in the celebration ofyour marriage.

The processional signals the entry ofyour attendants. It should be somewhatmajestic, as it also heralds the arrival of you,the bride. Many compositions are appropriatefor the processional. Ask your musiciansor the musical director for guidance.

The recessional announces both the endof the ceremony and the beginning of yourmarried life. It should have much the samefeel as the processional but with a quicker,more joyful tempo. Listen to several selectionsto find the one you want.

Reception music

For your reception you may have apianist, a disc jockey, a band or even anorchestra to provide background or dancemusic. Keep in mind that various age groupswill be present, so you will want the musicalmenu to be diverse.

Before making your decision on any musicians,ask for references and obtain a CD or aDVD of a previous performance. Or, better yet,listen to them in person, if possible.

To ease your search, entertainment agenciescan offer suggestions for booking musicalgroups best suited for your reception. Onceyou have consulted with a talent professionaland decided on your entertainment,the agency will handle the details. While youwill definitely want a personal consultation,visiting an agency’s Web site can help provideadvance knowledge of available services andperformers.

Musicians should be booked at least eightto ten months (or more) before the weddingto ensure you get the group you want. Providea list of songs you want to have playedat the reception and get a written agreement.Both parties should go over the agreementthoroughly before signing.

If you use a disc jockey, follow the sameguidelines as in selecting other musicalprofessionals. Be sure that the disc jockey canprovide a wide range of music. You also mightask the DJ to serve as master of ceremoniesby introducing family members and makingannouncements. Start your search early. Aquality disc jockey, like quality musicians, willbe booked months in advance.