Music has the power to touch our souls at a place much deeper than language. And, your guests will probably remember the feel of your wedding long after the specific songs you chose for it, and even the specific words you used for your vows.
Music Plays An Important Role
Music plays a vital role in the atmosphere you are trying to create for the day. From the moment your guests first arrive at your wedding site, the prelude music will create for them an impression of the wedding to come, and even the rest of the day. Music will welcome them, it can be used to capture their attention, and to set the mood for many of the parts of your ceremony.
And, of course, music adds meaning to the wedding for you, the bridal couple.
Music Intensifies The Emotions
As we've mentioned elsewhere on this site, the music underscores the marriage ceremony like the soundtrack of a movie. It has the power to intensify the feeling behind almost any part of your ceremony by generating a dramatic range of emotions from calming to exhilarating, serious to celebratory, light to formal, and romantic to traditional.
Specific Examples Of Mood Enhancing Instruments, Genres, and Songs
Think about the mood or moods you'd like to create, and consider some of these possibilities to help you create that mood:
Traditional - Instruments: Organ, Bagpipes, Violin. Genres: Classical, Hymns. Songs: Bridal Chorus by Wagner, Wedding March by Mendelssohn.
Serenity - Instruments: Harp, Flute, Violin, Piano, Saxophone, Classical Guitar. Genres: Classical, New Age. Songs: Canon in D by Pachelbel, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by J.S. Bach.
Enchantment - Instruments: Harp, Flute. Genres: New Age, Celtic, Classical. Songs: Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire, The Swan (from Carnival of the Animals) by Saint-Saens.
Uplifting/Inspirational - Instruments: Violin, Guitar, Flute, Piano, Organ. Genres: Classical, Jazz, New Age, Pop, Orchestral, Showtunes. Songs: Processional by McDonald, Ode To Joy by Beethoven.
Fun - Instruments: Violin, Guitar, Flute, Piano, Drums. Genres: Celtic, Country, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Showtunes. Songs: Chapel Of Love, Linus and Lucy (Peanuts Theme).
Formal - Instruments: Organ, Violin, Harp. Genres: Classical, Hymns, Orchestral. Songs: Canon In D, Te Deum by Charpentier, Marc-Antoine.
Dramatic - Instruments: Strings, Bagpipes. Genres: Classical, Showtunes. Songs: Wedding March, Le Rondeau (theme from Masterpiece Theatre).
Religious - Instruments: Organ, Harp, Violin. Genres: Renaissance, Baroque, Gospel, Hymns. Songs: The Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria.
Elegant - Instruments: Strings, Violin, Harp, Flute. Genres: Classical, French Romantic. Songs: Alla Hornpipe (from Water Music) by Handel, Largo (from Xerses).
Contemporary - Instruments: Guitar, Piano. Genres: Pop, Jazz, Blues, Country, New Age, R&B. Songs: Breathless by Kenny G., Ribbon In The Sky by Stevie Wonder.
Romantic - Instruments: Violin, Piano. Genres: Celtic, Classical, R&B. Songs: A Time For Us (from Romeo & Juliet), Love Of My Life by BeBe & CeCe Winan.
Spiritual - Instruments: Organ, Harp, Strings. Genres: Hymns, Gospel, New Age. Songs: Joy by George Winston, From This Moment by Shania Twain & Bryan White.
Joyous - Instruments: Strings, Piano, Violin, Guitar, Flute. Genres: Classical, Celtic, Gospel, Pop. Songs: Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah, Toccata from Symphony 5, Opus 42 by Widor.
And those are just the beginning of some of the options you have. Use our website, and/or ask your DJ/Musicians to provide you with other possibilities.
Can I Mix Moods?
Don't be afraid to mix moods at your ceremony. You may want to process to a traditional tune, use a religious song during the ceremony, and recess to something fun. We wouldn't use too many moods however - you want to avoid sounding schizophrenic!
Also, if you are going to mix moods, our recommendations would be to move from more traditional/formal selections to more untraditional/informal/fun songs. (i.e. the mood would become more informal as the ceremony continued.) Recessing to something uplifting and having some fun postlude music can lay the groundwork for the reception to come.
One last recommendation: As you make your decisions always try to remember to choose music at least somewhat appropriate to the occasion of a wedding ceremony. (e.g. you would probably want to avoid the uncut versions of gangsta rap songs).
Above, we talked a bit about mixing moods. Let's briefly discuss a bit more about musical consistency, contrast, and the flow of your wedding.