If you can afford to have live musicians at your wedding ceremony, we say "Go for it!" Live music adds a special touch to a wedding ceremony that cannot be replicated with a CD in a boombox or a wedding disc jockey playing Here Comes the Bride. Live wedding ceremony music is not only a nod to wedding traditions of days gone by; it's also extremely elegant and entertaining for wedding guests waiting for the bride to make her grand entrance.
Of course, once you have hired live musicians to play at your wedding ceremony -- we recommend a classical quartet -- you still need to know what music happens when. Your musicians may or may not be familiar with the usual order of wedding ceremony events, which means it's your job to know everything you can about wedding ceremony music. Here's a primer to start you off:
As guests are arriving and being escorted down the aisle to their seats, a mix of classical pieces and soft contemporary songs lets them know that something special is about to happen.
Wedding music helps build emotion as family members and other honored guests who are not members of the wedding party are escorted down the aisle. The mother of the bride is usually the last to be seated before the wedding party comes down the aisle.
This is the point in the ceremony when the groomsmen, best man, groom, bridesmaids, maid of honor, ring bearer, and flower girl walk down the aisle. The bride and father of the bride are the last ones to walk down the aisle in the most dramatic part of the ceremony.
In a traditional Christian church wedding, hymns, calls to worship, or other wedding music that is part of the order of the wedding service can be performed by your wedding musicians as the ceremony unfolds. This is also the appropriate time for an instrumental or vocal solo.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the wedding officiant announces that the bride and groom are married and music is usually played at this point. This is when many couples let their personalities shine through with their music selection. During the recessional, the bride and groom are first, followed by the wedding party and the officiant.
Interlude or Postlude
This is when the guests exit the church. Wedding music can be played until the guests are out of the ceremony area.
With a few modifications, this order is appropriate for a quicker or less traditional ceremony. It's always a good idea to have wedding music as guests arrive, as the wedding party enters, and as the bride and groom exit together.
Click to learn more about choosing wedding musicians or the order of wedding ceremony events