WEDDING MUSIC PLANNING FORM
Compliments of Eric Redmond, Pianist-Vocalist
I recommend printing this form and making notes while listening through the Wedding Ceremony Music Guide. My blog, Piano Is My Forte, has many more ideas, including selections from other wedding ceremonies, that you may want to consider.
Note: The selections suggested here are wonderful classics that work beautifully for weddings. But this is your special day, so please don't feel limited by these ideas. I have an extensive repertoire, and am happy to suggest ideas and play samples for my clients over the phone or here at my home studio. Many couples plan all their music while listening to my Wedding Music Guide, are done quickly, and have great classics for their wedding. Other couples use some songs from this guide, along with a few selections of their own. A few couples have wanted to be completely distinctive. I can arrange favorite songs to adjust the length, the ending, the intensity, etc. so that they suit your vision for the ceremony. My goal is to provide music that delights my clients!
Thirty minutes before your ceremony is scheduled to begin, as your guests arrive, I will play a non-stop tapestry of songs that sets an elegant, expectant tone for the wedding. I've carefully selected suitable music for the prelude, (demo ), but there may be a certain style you want to emphasize or de-emphasize (or eliminate completely). For example, some churches require (or couples desire) only Classical and/or Christian songs at wedding ceremonies.
Seating of the Family
I will continue the prelude until you're ready to start the ceremony. The seating of your families can be a great cue to your guests that the ceremony is actually beginning. I stop playing for the first time in about 30-45 minutes, and then play a song while your families are seated. However, some couples prefer to simply seat their families as part of the prelude. Here are the options for this portion of the ceremony that I talk about and demonstrate on my website:
____ No special song; just part of the prelude
____ Canon in D ~ Pachelbel
____ Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring ~ J.S. Bach
____ Other (piano or vocal solo) ______________________________ Note: This can be a great time to use a vocal solo. PROS: 1) It can really highlight this point in the ceremony. 2) No one is yet standing up front, feeling like they're being stared at while the soloist is singing (songs are often 4+ minutes, and that can feel somewhat awkward when all eyes are on you). CON: The Wedding Party isn't in yet to hear and enjoy the song.
Entrance of Officiant, Groom, and Attendants
For most weddings, the Officiant and Groom enter together, often followed immediately by the Groom's attendants (though sometimes they escort the Bride's attendants down the aisle instead). In most cases, one song works well for all of the wedding party except the Bride. However, if you have a very long aisle and/or more than ten attendants, it's probably wise to have two songs. I'll bring the music to an end as the last attendant steps into place.
____ One of the songs above _____________________________ (my favorite is Bach's Jesu)
____ Praeludium ~ J.S. Bach
____ Other ______________________________
____ "Bridal Chorus" from Lohengrin ~ Wagner (traditional) - This song makes for a grand entrance, bringing your guests automatically to their feet. However, some brides ask me to play it in a softer, more flowing style. Though I don't demonstrate this on the demo, I'm happy to play it like this if you prefer. Another softer choice that works beautifully is Pachelbel's Canon in D (demonstrated earlier in the Wedding Ceremony Music Guide).
____ Prince of Denmark's March (aka Trumpet Voluntary) ~ Clarke
____ Other ______________________________________
Other Moments in the Ceremony
Usually I improvise music that perfectly fits the mood and length of time needed for a special moment in your ceremony. However, sometimes couples choose a solo for these portions of the ceremony.
____ Unity Candle or Sand Ceremony
____ Other _________________________________________
Most weddings these days do not have solos, but if there's a song that's very special to the two of you, we can find a great spot in the ceremony to have it performed. If I sing and accompany myself, there's no extra charge to you. If you have me accompany someone else, I charge $50/song because of the extra coordination/rehearsal time. It certainly does not hurt my feelings if you have a soloist use a CD background instead of live accompaniment. Just keep in mind that an accompaniment track will play the entire song, with all the repeats, which can feel very long when the couple is gazing into each other's eyes there in front of everyone. I can adapt/arrange a song to be shorter than the full version, while still featuring your favorite parts of the song.
____ Eric singing/accompanying himself; Song(s):___________________________
____ Another vocalist/instrumentalist:
This is a very celebratory time, as you leave the building as a married couple for the first time! Other than the prelude, this is the longest music portion in your ceremony, because I'll keep playing as you exit, followed by the rest of the wedding party, your families, then all your guests. To avoid playing the same song over and over (and over...), I'll play the song you select as the Wedding Party exits, and then continue with the other great songs I list below so that there's a nice musical variety while the guests exit. (Just let me know if you prefer that I not play one of the songs below as your guests leave.)
____ "Wedding March" from Midsummer Night's Dream ~ Mendelssohn (traditional)
____ "Ode to Joy" from the Ninth Symphony ~ Beethoven
____ Prince of Denmark's March ~ Clarke [I would recommend this only if it was NOT used for the Bride's entrance. When I play it for the Recessional, I play it a bit faster to fit the celebratory mood.]
____ Other _____________________________________________