In the days when weddings were exclusively conducted in religious locations, the music used to punctuate and beautify the service and celebrations was mostly spiritual in nature – hymns, songs of praise and instrumental pieces composed to the glory of Deity and the unions which they were considered to have brought together. Strangely, though, one of the pieces we most associate with church weddings is a secular piece. What we know as “Here Comes the Bride” is actually the “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s opera Lohengrin (and doesn’t even contain those words…nor any references to banana peels…). When it first became fashionable to use the piece as a wedding processional several churches opposed its use, though that would seem odd considering how widely accepted it is today.
The entrance of the bride (or more often now the whole bridal party) to the wedding location is so very important, as it marks the first moments of the new stage of life that the couple are beginning together. Although there comes a moment where the celebrant pronounces them married and invites them to kiss, emotionally for the couple themselves the moment of union is really when they first set eyes on each other. They are at their most joyful, their most visible and their most vulnerable – shouldn’t the music reflect this?
I have attended weddings where I’ve heard majestic bridal processions played on cathedral organs, and others where a single piano, harp or guitar was played. I’ve heard Disney songs, country ballads, heavy metal and classic jazz. In all cases, when those couples look back on their wedding, they will remember the song that was playing when they first saw each other and thought, “This is the person I will give my promise to”. Consider the music before, during and after as part of your ceremony rather than an afterthought or decoration.
The same could also be said for the music played at the reception. A good wedding DJ will be willing to listen and respond, both before and during the reception, to what matters to you and energises your guests. If (as I mentioned in my last post) there is a call for the classics then that is part of the touchstone of the couple and their guests as to what makes a wedding celebration meaningful. But don’t be afraid to throw in a couple of songs that maybe only you and your spouse will want to dance to. There’s nothing that says you can only have one wedding dance!
My very first wedding clients (as with most couples) were keen to make their wedding something deeply personal, and from the decorations to the ceremony that’s exactly what they did. The music at the reception, although it included many “classic” weddings songs, also brought up a few newer gems. The video below was for me one of the most touching songs to hear played, hopefully its honesty and joy will make it a great addition to the traditional fare.