choosing your music For Your wedding Day

The three main parts of your wedding day celebrations

There are usuallly three main sections of your wedding day

The ceremony with background music then the bride's procession to the front of the room/church, The signing of the register when photos are usually taken to extend the time a little, and the celebratory music while wedding party and guests leave

The drinks reception which may have background music until the wedding meal is ready. This can take between one and two hours depending when your wedding tables are laid out and the kitchen and serving staff ready

The wedding meal, with the announcement of the bride and groom to their table by hotel staff, the meal, the cutting of the cake and finally the speeches, normally the cut off point for your pianist to pack up and slip quietly away (having been paid earlier!)

What music to organise for your Wedding Day

It is up to you what styles of instrumentalists, singers, bands etc. you would like to book for the various parts of your wedding day and there are now many possibilities

Amongst instrumentalists, particularly for the wedding ceremony, pianists, harpists, string quartets, and more are popular.

Being a solo piano or accordion player myself (I do not sing but rely on my special keyboard technique for effect) I recommend the instrumental rather than vocal route particularly during the wedding meal. Despite my obvious prejudice in this regard there is the point that words of a song can conflict with conversations of guests during a meal or while waiting for the bride.

Additional uses of music

I have on occasion led a festive musical procession of wedding guests with my accordion from the nearby church to the reception, where I proceeded to play for them on piano. Thus taking advantage of the accordion's portability and creating a unique rural event.

Family members and friends often do readings during the ceremony as a special feature. Or you may have your own family vocalist and if your wedding pianist can read music he can, given the sheet copy, provide professional accompaniment. If not, or if you have a specially well rehearsed family duo he/she may at his discretion possibly allow the temporary use of his prized valuable instrument.n This should be arranged beforehand with the owner of the instrument

By the way I do read music, even though my musical memory normally means you do not see me using it!

When the new Mr and Mrs are announced at the wedding meal and make their way to their table 'i usually reprise Mendelsohnn's Wedding March as a reminder of their new married status. Before going into my selection of song titles as soon as they are settled and it is established no-one is saying grace, or making any other quick inifo statements for guests.

And What music will your registrar allow?

This is not a major problem, in my experience registrars are very nice helpful people, and only need to be concerned with choice of music between the bride's entrance and exit, including incidental music such as during the signing of the register or solo songs and readings during the ceremony.

You may wish to consult with your registrar`s office about your choice of music at the marriage ceremony as there are restrictions on religious music being used in civil ceremonies, which are the exact reverse of those which used to hold true for church ceremonies.

However avoiding religious music during the ceremony is not as restrictive as you might think as most of the incidental music used traditionally in church weddings actually come from secular sources.

The usual suspects are, surprisingly, fine to use!

The Bridal March often used for the arrival of the bride is from a Wagner opera for example while the Mendelsohnn Wedding March is from his incidental music to Shakespeare`s Midsummer Night`s Dream. They are not religious pieces, even though used habitually in church weddings.

The Entry of the Queen of Sheba, another popular choice, also normally invokes no opposition from the registrar`s office, and some more examples are given of this in the organ section below. Even the ones illustrated in the organ selection page are not religious in character. Some are obviously not, but sound remarkably majestic when played in that context!

Do Brides Walk Too Fast?

A popular choice for entry is Pachelbel Canon in D but there is a problem in that this is a piece that cumulatively develops and the simple first theme before that happens may be all you need to get from the door to the front of the room.

Some brides compensate for this by bringing birdesmaids or close family members in first to take up more time but it is a complication and this is a tune that it will effortlessly fill the period of the signing of the register however many photos your photographer and guests may want to take.

The problem of music being too long for the bride's arrival can even occur in church weddings. Even playing the organ in a large church I have usually had to cut off sharply at the end of the first section of the Wagner Bridal March

Apart from the restriction against religion of course you are totally free to choose any music which will work well and add to the joy of the occasion! Be aware that I am not particularly good at punk rock and that recent pop ballads which have not had time to sink into the public consciouslness, may need to be sung rather than just played because so that the message comes across.

Music styles changing through the Day

There are many parts of your great day of course and that was just about the ceremony part. I can be booked separately for various combinations of the day's celebrations and I frequently find that a large classical influence is used in the wedding ceremony itself, going further away from that concept as the day progresses.

The classic standards jazz tunes exemplified by Sinatra and so on seem to fit the background of the drinks reception before the wedding breakfast. And that gradually merges later into more of the classic pop songs and ballads that all your guests will appreciate.

If you want some special songs it is helpful to tell the piano playera couple of weeks before the wedding in case they are not inside his head already. He or she canthen learn them and put them iin when you are able to hear them and not slipped out for a moment! (It happens, but I would certainly be watching to make sure you are actually there to hear them after that effort!)

A good place for any of your special songs may be during the signing of the register during the ceremony if your musician is covering the ceremony, though any part is fine, iicluding the drinks reception.

Music For The "Wedding Breakfast"

t the wedding meal I still think it good to keep things relatively cool to avoid your guests choking on their food but with you in a position to enjoy it this can be a good time to interpolate one or two of your own special favourite songs, when you are relaxed and the background noise is relatively quiet to enjoy it.

Some recent songs (those which are just guitar based for example) do not lend themselves to be recognised easily just on piano unless you have someone to sing them, but I will do my best, but am definitely not recommending hip-hop and rap tunes!

In general I like to include pop ballads and more film music and so on at this time when it can be heard.

Some special Wedding Breakfast Music Occasions

I have had some weddings where we had some fun during the wedding meal. One for example, trying to emulate the Julia Roberts film "My Best Friend's Wedding" with all the guests joining in with Burt Bacharach's I Say a Little Prayer (not an easy song to sing!)

I also did a wedding breakfast where the lovely young bride (who I recall was actually Transylvanian) engagingly sang the American Songbook Standard "It Had to Be You" (rehearsed with mepreviously) to her groom during the speeches. And, since you were longing to ask, no blood was spilled on either occasion

Although the focus is on sitting back listening I have occasionally very successfully put in something "silly" for everyone to join in singing, such as "Do Re Mi" that everyone knows (there may be other newer titles which qualify also). This depends on gauging and guiding the mood of the audience.

I never have a set list of songs, but pull out intuitively from my decades-spanning musical memory (and a list of hundreds of titles on my iPhone!)This is based on the vibes I glean from the audience and even what music I feel will suit individual guests as I look around the room.

The evening reception music

The evening reception is the time of course for a knees-up and to let everyone's hair down when anything goes, but this is usually a job for a pop band of your choice rather than myself. I have played during the evening for a quiet reception on occasion, still playing quietly but with guests having the chance to come up and discuss their requests and this was quite satisfying for both parties I thought.

When you hire me to play for you I am of course entirely at your service to help with your choice if you need it. If you are within the Cornwall area you can even meet me before the event to check my suitability or choose your music.

lease feel free to contact me at any time by ringing my mobile 07769 732287 or email me at MisterPianoMan@aol.com