Music Guide for Planning Your Wedding
The choice of music for your wedding ceremony is completely the choice of the bride and groom. The following are only suggestions to help plan your wedding.
Prelude music usually begins about 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony while the guests are being seated. Your input is welcome, or if you wish, our quartet can choose from our standard repertoire to entertain your guests. Flexibility is important to be sure that everything begins on time.
Mothers & Family Seated:
It is not unusual to have no special music for this part of the ceremony, but if you want separate music for the Mothers. Be sure to keep it short. This is really the start of the ceremony. Decide on how many family members will be seated to special music, including grandmothers, stepparents, aunts etc. Are the mothers to light candles on the altar? All of these facts will help determine how long the quartet is to play. The music can be the bride's choice or it can be a song that would be sentimental to a mother or a grandmother. Mothers usually prefer walking to a slow, elegant piece like Handel's Air from The Water Music Suite or Ode to Joy by Beethoven. Remember that the quartet will need to have someone cue us when the mothers are ready to proceed.
How many bridesmaids and groomsmen will there be? Will a flower girl and a ring bearer walk down the aisle? Will the attendants walk separately or together as they enter? How far do they have to walk? All of this must be considered when determining the length of the music you will need. Two different options you can choose from are:
A. Music that matches the music chosen for the mothers. For this we recommend Pachelbel's Canon in D, Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring or Bach's Air.
B. Music that contrasts with the music for the mothers. We recommend for your attendants to choose a more upbeat piece such as Water Music by Handel, Alleluia or the Wedding March from the opera Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.
This is the most important part of all! Think about the mood you want to portray as you walk along to your processional music: joyous and regal, or perhaps tender and romantic. How far is your walk down the aisle? Again, it would is advisable to assigne someone the responsability of cueing the quartet when the bride is ready to begin her procession.
A. To help contrast the character of the previous music, we suggest that you choose a little bit faster piece to usher you down the isle. Besides the traditional Bridal Chorus by Wagner we have numerous other selections to choose from, i.e., Spring by Vivaldi, Trumpet Voluntary or Trumpet Tune by Clarke or Rondeau by Mouret.
B. If you have chosen the above option B for the procession of the Attendants, you might want to choose something calmer to contrast the previous character. Some of our most beautiful processionals are: Arioso by Bach, Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach, Romanza from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, Ave Maria by Schubert, the slow movement of Winter from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
There can be several places during the ceremony where special music is performed. First have your ceremony prepared by your priest, minister, rabbi or officiate. After you have your ceremony planned out, you can determine where you would like music to be played or sung. An effective way to set the mood with beautiful music would be during the lighting the Unity Candle or special moments, such as when you give flowers to your mother, etc. Our quartet would be very happy to accompany a soloist that you want in your wedding. An example of quartet music would be Ave Maria by Bach-Gounod or Largo from Xerxes by Handel.
When you are pronounced "husband and wife", a joyous piece should be played while you and the attendants walk out. Possible selections besides the traditional Wedding March by Mendelssohn would be: Finale from The Water Music by Handel, Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba by Handel, La Rejouissance from The Royal Fireworks Music by Handel, Allelujah from Exultate Jubilate by Mozart, and Spring from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
A couple of very happy, upbeat postlude pieces can be performed while the guests are leaving or to set the mood for the reception following the recessional.