Yes, we all know that traditional wedding ceremony music isn’t particularly exciting. Fear not. There is hope! You can do this without boring yourself to tears (and save the tears for your vows). Great wedding ceremony music puts your personal twist on traditional ideas. Let’s start by understanding what the tradition is, then we’ll talk about how to (mostly) ignore it and go your own way.
1. Remember that this is your wedding!
Keep this in mind while you think of everything else. Sure tradition matters, but this is your freakin’ wedding!
2. Don’t get too crazy.
Ok, ok, so I started off by telling you to hell with tradition, but let’s not get out-of-control here.
3. Use the tradition as a guide, not a rule.
You can fit the traditional mood of a wedding ceremony without using the actual traditional music.
Parts of a wedding ceremony
This is what’s playing while your guests are being seated. Traditionally, this is string music. *yawn* Fear not! You can add lots of your own flavor here. One way is to have the same songs, but played on a different instrument. Like the guitar. Guitar is always cool, right?
Another way is to have string music, but of different songs. Like, really different songs. A cool option is a group called Vitamin String Quartet who do covers. I played a pretty sweet wedding where the prelude was all goth covers by this guys. Yep, it was pretty awesome. Here are some examples.
What’s that? Oh yes, you’re right. That’s Joy Division. This is a cool way to maintain your, well, coolness while still fitting the traditional mood.
Not too bad, eh? I also love gypsy jazz for prelude music. The style has a great atmosphere that’s equally sophisticated and relaxed and cool.
This is where your wedding party walks down the aisle. The traditional song is Pachabel’s Canon in D.
One option is to have a different version of this song. There are several good versions out there.
The O’Neill Brothers have a version that’s pretty traditional, but has a bit more modern feel.
But really, you can go lots of places here. I’ve listed a couple of my favorites from past weddings.
This is an intensely personal choice. The traditional song is Wagner’s Bridal Chorus. You know, Here Comes the Bride and all that good stuff. Think about a church organ.
Nope? Ok, I’m with you. Seriously, you can go just about anywhere you want here. Canon in D is also sometimes used for the bridal march, so you can take a look at the versions of that listed above. In the end, it’s still your freakin’ wedding, right? Cool. Since we’re together on this one, here are some songs that I thought were amazing.
Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years has gained a lot of popularity for weddings over the past couple of years. The original is a bit hard to work for ceremonies, but this version by The Piano Guys works great.
Vitamin String Quartet is a great option again here for playing songs you love that aren’t quite wedding ceremony appropriate. I had a bride who LOVED Radiohead, but as you can imagine, Tom Yorke doesn’t exactly set the mood for getting hitched. This version of No Surprises was pure awesome.
And of course, who doesn’t love The Beatles?
Here’s my ALL TIME FAVORITE. Yes, it warranted all caps.
The traditional song is Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking. That’s ok. You can really have fun with the recessional. Unlike the snoozefest of the traditional prelude, this should be big and exciting! I mean you just got married, right? Here are some recessional ideas that I really love.