There are several factors that go into pulling off a successful wedding ceremony. At the top of the list is the ceremonial music.
After all preparations have been completed and all considerations met, your choice in ceremonial music will ultimately serve as the "core ingredient," that will propel everyones' emotions over-the-top.
Using your ceremony music in the right way will transform pinnacle moments of your wedding ceremony into a completely magical moment for everyone involved!
Annie's Walk Down the Aisle
Watch this scene in "Father of the Bride," and reflect on the feelings and emotions evoked from this touching moment. Now, watch it again, but this time on mute. Does it have the same feeling or emotional appeal? Perhaps consider listening to a different music track over this scene. Do you think you could change the overall meaning and feeling of this scene?
But even more important than your song choices are their strategic placement at key precise moments, as well as the manipulation of each respective song track. This is known in the industry as a “track editing” (see illustration below).
Together, these 3 factors are sure to evoke inspired moments your audience will never forget!
- Music Choice: Choose the songs that are right for you and your fiancé.
- Music Placement: Place these songs at key points within your ceremony.
- Music Edits: Customize the song track to achieve the desired effect.
Logic Pro X [pictured above] is an example of a sound mixing and editing software that will allow the user to manipulate a track, or series of tracks, to achieve a desired effect. Perhaps you may need to stretch out the chorus to allow for the entire wedding party to walk down the aisle, or bridge an instrumental track with the original vocal to coincide with the moment the bride makes her appearance.. It can all be accomplished by manipulating the song track in this type of music editing software.
Special Note: Make sure to scroll all the way down to download the Wedding Ceremony Music Catalog!
Lets Start By "Defying Gravity"
This strategy is a classic tactic utilized by animation studios and Broadway theater to produce a singular desired effect.
Take the pinnacle moment in the Broadway hit, Wicked for instance. I remember watching this live production for the first time myself. I was deeply impacted. At the end of Act I, Elphaba (aka the "Wicked Witch of the West") and Galinda (later known as "Glinda the Good Witch") come together at a key point in the storyline to sing the broadway hit, "Defying Gravity".
It was an extremely powerful moment in which Elphaba experiences an epiphany about her own life and subsequently refuses to be exploited by The Wizard (or anyone else) ever again. Then, at the perfect moment, she vows to make her own way in life even if doing so feels like she’s “Defying Gravity”.
This musical number carried with it a powerful message and a highly charged emotional energy that was transmitted directly into the hearts of each audience member.
It's about to begin! I was excited to watch Wicked for the very first time at Seattle's, 5th Avenue Theater. Here is a photo of myself (L), and my partner Amos immediately before curtain time. This production turned out to be one of my favorite plays. I highly recommend watching it if you haven't already!
I was so moved that I was compelled out of my seat to cheer Elphaba on, as were most members of the audience! I remember it perfectly and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house by the time we were excused for intermission. These were not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy and shared adulation for Elphaba's breakthrough.
The point here is that this moment was not spontaneous or accidental.
It was an intentional pre-planned moment designed by the collective genius of Stephen Schwartz (composer) and Joe Montello (musical and lead director). Everything came together to make this moment sizzle: the narrative, scenery, lighting, and cast. But at the heart of it all, was the melody.
Music truly is the gateway to the soul and your wedding ceremony is no exception. Once you choose the style of music you want to use, along with the appropriate song titles, then you're at a point where the magic can really begin to take shape!
Let me illustrate my point...
One of my proudest moments took place several years ago with my clients, Jim and Terry. They decided on a destination wedding right in the heart of Old Town Santa Fe. Needless to say, Santa Fe is an enchanting place in its own right, but what made this wedding so special was how this couple decided to wow their guests during their ceremony.
You see both Terry and Jim were active military (and I believe Terry still is today). She was stationed in El Paso, TX and Jim had just come home after a long deployment overseas.
By the time their wedding day arrived, neither of them had spent any quality time with their closest friends or family members. As a matter of fact, they had not seen most of them in several years. Therefore this particular destination wedding fulfilled another clear purpose; a long-deserved and overdue reunion.
I was over-the moon- about this opportunity! I knew instantly that we could take advantage of this “double-whammy” celebration by incorporating the 3 key tactics mentioned earlier to create a magical moment for everyone involved.
My team and I decided to hone-in on the Bridal March and treat it as a “Big Reveal” because we knew that the anticipation to see Terry would be at an all time high. Needless to say it was a bit challenging to keep Terry concealed before the wedding because she was just as excited to see her friends and family as they were to see her.
But the payoff was totally worth it! All the guests were seated and the ceremony commenced. The anticipation in the courtyard grew into something palpable. You could feel it in the air!
And then it happened...
The processional started and the wedding party walked through the double doors and down the aisle on cue. They each took their mark near the wedding officiant and the double doors closed. As this was happening, the music level slowly faded and everyone stood up in unison.
It is worthy to mention that the guests were not asked to stand but rather stood naturally as though under the influence of a spell. This is the power that music possesses to direct, inform, and guide an audience without speaking a single word... or perhaps Elphaba was nearby.
Several seconds passed. All eyeballs were fixated on the double doors. Then the music swelled into this beautiful crescendo as the doors parted open once again. Terry stood there at the threshold, luminescent and absolutely stunning in her wedding dress! You could hear an audible collective gasp from the audience! Everyone was tingly and in awe.
Most guests were clutching their hearts as Terry floated down the aisle. It was all timed perfectly and the magic, music, and emotion filled the air. Everyone felt goose-pimples when the bride made her appearance and marched down the aisle with her father at her side.
Terry later described this moment as a “surreal experience” where she felt like she was “...living through a fairytale moment”.
Now there were other memorable moments that night, but this one moment definitely stood out. It was one of my proudest moments as someone who worked really hard to make this moment happen. The good news is you can create moments like this one too! All you need is a bit of guidance to get you started.
Here is what you can do...
Just ask yourself, which emotions do you want to evoke? What about ambience and around visual style? Which moments do you really want to hone into and highlight? Keep these in mind as you review your music choices. Once you have determined "the what," you can collaborate with both your wedding planner and DJ to have them carry out "the how".
I have compiled this list over the years and they have been categorized into sections for easy reference. These include music recommendations for your:
I have included several song titles I have used at several of my own weddings, as well as those used for Jim and Terry's wedding ceremony below. This will serve as the perfect springboard to get your creative juices flowing. The price of the Ceremony Music Catalog is $14.95 and you can download it instantly!
Wedding Ceremony Music Recommendations
The cost of the catalog of music recommendations is $14.99. The PDF will be delivered via email immediately after purchase. Purchase is restricted to a total of 5 downloads within a 45 days of purchase. After that, the link to download will become inactive. Catalog contains a list of music recommendations, not the actual song files themselves. If you are a current client, please contact us directly for access to the list.
Tell us what you think...
Wedding trends are constantly changing, and vary from culture to culture. Your insights and ideas are important to us and may even serve as inspiration to another engaged couple who is reading this article.
I would love to know your opinion. If you have a creative idea, or feedback for this article, please share them in the comment section below. I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. I look forward to hearing your feedback!