I’m a massive music fan. Particularly where romance and storytelling are concerned. Wedding ceremony music is so important to settle guests, for an emotional anticipation when walking down the aisle, for serenity during certificate signing and/or during another symbolic act, and to celebrate the marriage as you exit; but the logistics can be a minefield if you don’t know what to expect!
Type of music
Wherever you are getting married, your wedding should be personal and whether you want drum and bass or opera, it’s your choice. Whilst classical music as you come down the aisle can portray an elegant and timeless entrance, you could also choose an instrumental or acoustic version of a song that holds particular meaning. The genre can follow through the ceremony, or change through either chart music, gaming music, film / EDM/ reggae/ jungle/ R&B / whatever you like.
It works well to choose something peaceful for solemn moments but try counter balancing that with some fabulous, celebratory exit music! Click through to my web page about wedding ceremony music to see my all time favourites on a Spotify playlist.
Live, Recorded or Bespoke Recorded
For the romantics out there, any song can be stripped down and laid bare if you like the tune and the lyrics. There are a whole load of talented musicians and singers out there who would relish the opportunity to sing or play for you for a reasonable sum. And you can even have a favourite song recorded and produced especially for you, which you can play through a sound system on the day, then keep for yourselves and play whenever you like. Your very own beautiful song. Here are a couple of examples that have particularly moved me recently:
The above video is to celebrate all the inspirational and loving mums involved in weddings, and also all those mums who were missed. Song: Someone You Loved, by Lewis Capaldi, covered by Sophie,
and recorded by Tom at White Noise Studio in Harrogate. Photography by Sira Studio
Or take a look at this one, an original song by Holy Moly and The Crackers, based in the North East . Facebook: Stripped Back version of All I Got is You Babe.
Although you may not think so, it can be more cost effective to hire a musician, singer, duo or trio for your ceremony than to play songs digitally. The benefit of live music is that it adds magic. It creates a sense of theatre and occasion. It’s beautiful to watch as well as to hear.
Musicians are skilled at timing so there are no awkward silences if a bride hasn’t quite made it to the top of the aisle, or if a certificate signing takes longer than anticipated! Your celebrant will work with them seamlessly. Musicians can fill gaps, play an extra verse and/or chorus easily; they add personality and emotion to a ceremony and they can arrange their own amplification if required!
It’s perfectly do-able and extremely popular to have songs played through a venue’s PA system, however if you go down this route, it’s advisable to have a rehearsal to check that your music operator is comfortable with the equipment, the timings and volume control. You may think it’ll be fine if you hand your bridesmaid’s boyfriend your phone with the instruction – ‘play this one first’. However, what happens if the phone screen saver kicks in, and the boyfriend doesn’t know your phone security code? What happens if you wanted the song to last only 40 seconds, but you wanted a certain verse to play just before you arrived at the head of the aisle, because of a certain lyric? And (this has happened) - how would you feel if the Sonos suddenly loses connectivity with your phone over Bluetooth because, with 100 people in the room, the Sonos is now battling with signals?
Don't skimp on sound! If you do have a PA system, (advisable if you have more than around 70 guests indoors and the acoustics aren’t great, or if your ceremony is outdoors and you are battling against road noise, air traffic or other ambient noise), then your celebrant, any reading contributors and indeed the happy couple will need amplification. In those cases, you will need mics, speakers and a mixing desk. Please ensure your system is wired with cables to the music source. There are portable systems, like the one I have, but if you or the venue is supplying one, please make sure it's up to the job! And also, ensure you download your songs if you are using a provider such as Spotify, and turn on the airplane mode on your phone to prevent any unplanned phone calls or text messages interrupting the big moment!
Some venues have their own PA system with a trained operator. If this is the case, you’re onto a winner. If not, then don’t panic! You can dry hire equipment that can operated with some brief training, so your own operator can develop a basic understanding of different mic types, radio mic set up and frequency selection, basic gain structure and equalisation.
Or you could engage an Audio-Visual professional for a great sound and a stress-free ceremony – whatever your choice of venue and music. Sometimes, it’s just worth it. There won’t be any nasty feedback screeching when switching between mics, musicians and digital tracks. And beautiful fading and timings will be perfect! You can then use the equipment (and operator) for ambient music during the drinks reception and even for the after party!
Here is a list of hire equipment from an AV supplier, that may be useful for a mid-sized to large outdoor or indoor ceremony, if you are mixing music with microphones.
Lapel mic for celebrant: Sennheiser G3 Ch38: Around £40.00
Hand held mic on a stand for vows and for readers of poems etc: Sennheiser G3 Ch38: Around £40.00
PA system with 2 or 4 speakers: Soundcraft mixer, KV2 Audio speakers and stands. 2 speakers - around £75.00. 4 speakers - around £100.00.
Music played from phone/ipod: - This can hook into main PA system, or some live musicians like to bring their own PA system.
Sound technician for the day: Around £200.00 for a full day, or a reduced amount if it’s just the set up and ceremony.
Alternatively, ask if your celebrant has a wired system that you can use. Mine is a portable, battery and mains operated professional speaker system with 2 microphone channels and Sennheiser mics, an input for audio from phone/ipod/laptop and channels for guitars/keyboards.
For any more advice or tips about your ceremony music or ceremony PA system requirements please send me an email and I will try to help! For some ideas about ceremony songs and tunes, please skip over to my website, where I have listed some of my favourites.
Thank you to FTAV, Harrogate , Sophie Meyer and White Noise Studio.