The wedding ceremony is used to create the appropriate atmosphere. The actual music selections are usually determined by the personal preferences of the newlyweds, and sometimes the religions attitudes of clergymen (do not expect to hear Bob Marley or Michael Jackson at most churches).
There are five categories of music at wedding ceremonies:
1. Prelude music
This is the music that sets the tone for the actual ceremony. This usually begins approximately 15-30 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin while guests are being seated. Selections are often light and lively, and played in a low volume allowing guests to socialize.
2. Bridesmaids’ entrance music
The first few notes at a higher volume are a cue that the ceremony is about to begin. The build up begins with the bridesmaids entrance music being more formal. While many couples use traditional marches, others choose other beautiful classical selections such as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Pachabel’s “Canon In D”.
3. Processional music
When there is an obvious change in the music, the Procession is to begin. Everyone knows the Bride is about to arrive and the guests should stand in honor of her! This calls for joyful and triumphant music selections. Wagner’s “Here Comes The Bride” is the overwhelming choice of Brides to enter their wedding ceremony area. Brides who are marrying for the second time or more often select a less formal musical selection.
4. In-Ceremony music
During the ceremony, a soloist may sing or play a musical instrument just before the actual wedding vows begin. Sometimes a poem read by a guest may be included.
5. Recessional music
The recessional music usually begins immediately after the officiant declares to the guests “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you, the new MR. & Mrs. … ” or similar introduction.
Music for the Recessional is similar to the processional in that it is generally joyful and triumphant. It is often accompanied with the ringing of church bells or chimes. Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” is the music selection chosen by most newlyweds at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony.
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