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The right note

Posted: Thursday, Apr. 02, 2009

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Music has been called the universal language. It expresses the many different emotions of the day and is, literally, instrumental in controlling the flow of events. Because music plays such an important role in your wedding, you will want to start early and decide what type of music you will have and who will provide it.


The music can be provided by an organist, pianist, flutist, violinist, harpist, guitarist, trumpeter, piper, or a brass, string, or wind ensemble. A vocalist (or several) can make your ceremony even more memorable with selections of tunes and lyrics that are especially meaningful to you. Be sure to research your venue’s policies before deciding on your music, especially if the setting is a temple or a church, or other house of worship.

The prelude typically begins 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony and is traditionally classical, although other styles can be used. Your guests will be seated during this time, and the music will help to set the tone for their sharing in the celebration of your marriage.

The processional signals the entry of your attendants. It should be somewhat majestic, as it also heralds the arrival of you, the bride. Many compositions are appropriate for the processional. Ask your musicians or musical director for guidance.

The recessional announces both the end of the ceremony and the beginning of your married life. It should have the same feel as the processional, but with a quicker, more joyful tempo. Listen to several selections to find the one you want.


For your reception you may have a pianist, a disc jockey, a band, or even an orchestra to provide background or dance music. Keep in mind there will probably be different age groups present, so you will want the musical menu to be diverse.

Before making your decision on any musicians, ask for references and obtain an audio or video tape of a previous performance. Or better yet, listen to them in person, if possible.

To ease your search, entertainment agencies can offer suggestions for booking musical groups best suited for your reception. Once you have consulted with a talent professional and decided on your entertainment, the agency will handle the details. While you will definitely want a personal consultation, visiting an agency’s Web site can help provide advance knowledge of available services and performers.

Musicians should be booked at least 10 to 12 months before the wedding to ensure you get the group you want. Provide a list of songs you want to have played at the reception and get a written agreement. Both parties should go over the agreement thoroughly before signing.

If you use a DJ, follow the same guidelines as in selecting other musical professionals. Be sure that they can provide a wide range of music. You might also ask them to serve as master/mistress of ceremonies by introducing family members and making announcements.

Check out our list of Music/Entertainment Vendors.

Read more of our Planning Articles.

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