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Getting Started: Seven Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Sing

Canon in D. The Wedding March. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. With the sheer number of songs to choose from, the task of selecting the right wedding music — and the right musicians — for your big day can be overwhelming. As you plan your wedding music, keep in mind these seven suggestions designed to help make the walk down the aisle a harmonious one:

Consult with your spouse-to-be

You might be surprised at his or her interests or preferences. Your husband-to-be might have his heart set on a particular song, or your wife-to-be might want to include a traditional family favorite.

Look at the big picture

Determine the best style of music to use based on the overall theme and feel of your wedding ceremony. Is it traditional? Contemporary? Religious? Romantic? Fun? Not all music is the right fit for all types of weddings.

Determine the parts of the ceremony that you’d like to set to music

You can select as little or as much music as you like for the ceremony, but keep in mind that your guests will be there to celebrate with you, not listen to a concert. Make sure that you select just enough so there are no “bare spots” during which your guests might become fidgety. Potential parts of the ceremony to be set to music may include the prelude, the processional (you can select separate pieces for the wedding party and the bridal entrance), congregational hymns and religious ceremony responses, the lighting of the unity candle, the recessional and the postlude. You could add a vocalist to any of these pieces. If you’re having trouble narrowing your selections, you can always save some of the songs for the band or DJ to play at the reception rather than trying to cram them all into the ceremony. If you’re marrying in a place of worship, remember to get your list of selections approved by the wedding coordinator or celebrant.

Not all musicians are created equal

Select musicians who are comfortable with your chosen style. If your ceremony is traditional, how about a string quartet? Contemporary? Maybe just a solo pianist, or perhaps a saxophone player. Religious? Check with the wedding coordinator at your venue to get the names of the most sought-after musicians on her list. Does someone in your family sing beautifully? Consider inviting them to sing for your wedding to make the experience even more special. But remember that if you ask someone who’s not a professional, you’ll have to cut them a little slack if they’re not exactly perfect. You might want your uncle to play the accordion, but be sure to find a song that fits your style and his ability.

Ask for advice — if you need it

If you’re particular about your musical choices for the big event, you may want to wait to book instrumentalists or vocalists until you’ve made your music selections. If you’re not fussy, and would welcome the help choosing music, hire professional musicians and trust their advice. They’ve likely played for many weddings before, and will have great song ideas. For several options to get you started, pop in CD of popular wedding music selections.

Provide the necessary tools

Once you have finalized the song list and booked your wedding musicians, don’t forget to provide the sheet music for the pieces you’ve chosen. Work with the contact person at your venue to arrange for a rehearsal session in the space prior to the event.

Trust your instincts

Bottom line — it’s your wedding. Don’t feel pressured to include a particular song just because Cousin Betty says you should.

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