How to Select Music for Your Wedding
Tips from Celia
Often 15-30 minutes before your ceremony start time, I perform while guests are being seated. If you do not have particular requests for this music, select a category of music you would like performed, such as light classical music or popular love songs, or leave it completely up to me.
You may wish to choose a special selection for the seating of the mothers and grandparents, which occurs just before the start of the ceremony. Give your ceremony that extra special touch by having the music be a request that is a favorite of those being seated.
Your ceremony officially begins when the officiant and the groom approach the altar. The bridesmaids (along with the groomsmen who may join them) enter while this selection continues. Traditionally, this is a majestic piece played at a pace that is easy to walk to. However, you may choose to create a different ambiance for your wedding: perhaps gentle or contemplative, fun or personally connected. No matter, the selection should flow at an easy walking tempo. This piece ends when the entire wedding party reaches the altar.
Processional Favorites: Pachelbel Canon, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Air from Water Music, Hymne
The Bride’s Entrance
Traditionally, the bride enters to fanfare music (such as the well-known “Wedding March”) that announces her arrival. Other music may be chosen to suit the bride’s taste, as long as it sounds good played at an easy walking pace. This piece ends when the bride reaches the altar. Occasionally, especially when the wedding party is small, the bride may choose to enter to the same piece of music as the maid or matron of honor.
Bride’s Favorites: Pachelbel Canon, Traditional Wedding March, Trumpet Voluntary by Clarke or Trumpet Tune by Purcell, a favorite romantic love song. Recently I have been asked to play Across the Stars from Star Wars and while unusual, it was quite beautiful and suited the couple perfectly. Another choice that worked well for the couple’s desire to have the entrance meaningful and elegantly slow-paced was their choice of Adagio from Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, a selection featured in the movie Master and Commander–The Far Side of the World.
You may also select special pieces to be performed during the ceremony proper such as any of the following highlights: lighting of the unity candle, sand ceremony, communion, or a scriptural or poetry reading. These selections usually have special meaning to the bride and groom. Remember, additional music added within the ceremony tends to lengthen the ceremony. Therefore, the selections ought to be shorter. (How long can you look adoringly into each others eyes???!)
Wedding Couple’s Favorites: All I Ask of You, Hymne, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring or Ave Maria for solemn moments in the Nuptial Mass, or your favorite love song.
Some couples request music performed lightly as background during the entire ceremony. The harp can play quietly enough that it blends in beautifully with what else is going on without taking away from the ceremony and spoken word. I have played with a wide variety of officiant styles and am very sensitive to what works best during the ceremony. As well, I know when to not play, I know when to play out because there will not be any speaking for a few moments, etc. I like to chat with the officiant briefly before the wedding ceremony just to touch base about such details.
Traditionally, the bride and groom, now husband and wife, leave the altar to the tune of a triumphant and/or joyful, rather quickly-paced piece. The wedding party recesses out immediately after to the same selection. However, you may choose to create a different ambiance for your recessional: perhaps romantic or flowing.
Bride & Groom Favorites: Traditional Wedding March (from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream), Spring (from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons), Ode to Joy (from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony) Water Music selections (by Handel), especially La Réjouissance. Coldplay’s Clocks is quite a popular choice right now.
As guests leave the ceremonial area, lively music accompanies their exit. As with pre-ceremony music, if you do not have particular requests, choose the category of selections you would like performed.
To reserve a Heavenly Harpist for your special occasion, please