Music is a vital element for most people and adds considerably to the joy and excitement of the celebration. Readings can have special significance and speeches are an opportunity for others to toast the newlyweds and lighten the tone, marking the end of the formalities and the start of the more, informal part of the day. Only you can decide exactly what music you want to hear as you walk up the aisle. Only you can decide what texts might be read during your wedding ceremony. Only you can decide whom you want to deliver speeches at your wedding reception. Others will certainly have opinions and those close to you are worth listening to when they offer the wisdom of experience. Family politics can involve compromise, however, so be prepared to give ground on certain issues if you have to in order to make sure that whatever is most important to you goes the way you want.
MUSIC FOR CIVIL WEDDINGS
The choice of music is entirely up to you although it should be nonreligious. You should tell the registrar your choices and check that the facilities for playing music are adequate. If you want to hire musicians to play, you should make sure they are appropriate for the size of the venue.
MUSIC FOR RELIGIOUS WEDDINGS
Roman Catholic and Baptist churches will allow only religious music to be played, while the Society of Friends do not include music of any kind in their wedding ceremonies.
The church minister is responsible, not only for the worship but also for the music played in his church so you should discuss your choices with him or her beforehand. The organist or choir master will also be able to help and give you some idea of their abilities – it would be pointless to choose a beautiful but exceptionally tricky piece if the organist was unable to play it well.
MUSIC IN CHURCH
Organ music is the most usual accompaniment to church weddings. Most churches have organs and the sound is rich and powerful enough to fill the space. It is possible to include solo instruments, groups of musicians or singers in your ceremony, but you should always speak to the minister and, as a courtesy, to the organist first. You could also play CDs or other recordings but these are often not so effective. It is usual for the organist to begin playing while the guests are taking their places before the arrival of the bride. You may ask for specific pieces to be played or you can leave the choice to the organist. The bride and groom normally decide on the music to be played at the arrival of the bride. The other key points when music is played are during the signing of the register and the recessional, when the newlywed couple and the bridal party process back down the aisle and leave the church. You may already have firm favourites which you would like to hear at your wedding. If not, the vicar and organist can make suggestions and there are CDs and cassettes of wedding music which you could listen to before making your final selection. All wedding services are different and there is no rule for a set order of service.