Live music adds drama, beauty, serenity and individuality. Musicians can be hired in most areas with recommendations from venues, or with a Google search. Or you could try asking for recommendations from Facebook forums such as DIY Bride, directories such as Hitched.co..uk or search on Instagram and Soundcloud for local bands, musicians, duos or trios.
We all have our favourite songs and pieces of music. Songs and instrumentals chosen for walking down the aisle, signing a certificate, warming the rings and your celebratory exit music all add to the emotional involvement of you and your guests. Think of an arc of emotion when planning your playlist.
Perhaps start with settling guests in with half a hour's worth of calming love songs or instrumental music.
How much music and what kind should I choose?
There are no rules regarding music for a humanist wedding ceremony. You can mix genres to your heart's content! I would suggest around half an hour of settling in music for guests to listen to while they wait for the wedding ceremony to begin, and then two or three specific tracks, depending on the structure of your ceremony.
You could walk down the aisle to a traditional piece of music, or an instrumental version a favourite song, or include the original version or a cover version if the lyrics are meaningful.
Remember that you may only take a minute to walk down the aisle, so think about where the song should start and end - whether you want it to fade out, include a certain verse or chorus, or whether you have a large bridal / groom party who would relish their own grand entrance and aisle walk before the arrival of the bride which adds to the anticipation. I've been at a ceremony where Songbird by Eva Cassidy had half the guests in tears before the bride even reached the top of the aisle so it's important to think of what emotional scene you want to set right from the start!
You may have a musical interlude or include a symbolic act where music would add significance, elegance or a sense of fun.
Your exit music should be celebratory, start off with a punch, rather than fade in, or you could fade the song in within the final, parting words of the celebrant, to get to exactly the right point as you make your way down the aisle as newly weds. All doable with planning and a little rehearsal!
Please click through to my blog to read about the logistics of PA systems vs live music - there is a lot of information there for those who are unsure of how the set up should work, and what to consider!
There is no right or wrong music choice for your wedding ceremony. It's your day and whether it's classical music, a romantic ballad, an old favourite or the latest garage tunes that moves you, music adds magic and personality.
Depending on your venue, you could opt for live music or you could play your favourite tracks through a sound system. Your wedding venue coordinator will be able to assist you with the logistics of using their PA system, but if you are a DIY bride or groom and/or you are having an outdoor ceremony, there are many things to consider for a stress free experience!