choosing music For Your wedding Day

The four main parts of your wedding day celebrations

There are usually three main sections of your wedding day. Of course if the ceremony is at a church or register office, then the hotel part starts with the drinks reception, but the church service includes most of the same details, even though the effect is a little different.


The ceremony
with background music then the bride's procession to the front of the room or church, There may optionally be readings or music or songs from family members before the vows are exchanged and a short address from the person officiating.Then there is the signing of the register when photos are usually which extends the time a little, and the celebratory music while wedding party and guests leave.


The drinks reception
where you may have live or recorded background music until the wedding meal is ready. This can take between one and two hours depending on when your wedding tables are laid out and decorated and when the kitchen and serving staff are ready. During this time there may be the official photos . Your photographer may take family and guests individually or in groups to a suitable location for the photos.


The wedding meal
traditionally, with the announcement of the bride and groom to their table by hotel master of cermonies (sometimes the hotel manager, wedding planner or similar), the meal, the cutting of the cake and finally the speeches.

Background music is normally continuous
throughout the meal except for announcements and guests may walk up to the musician and request songs at their own risk(!) though the bride and groom need to ask for any special requests before the date. Normally the cut off point for your pianist to pack up and slip quietly away (having been paid earlier!). If the wedding party includes singers who are going to perform an accompanied song during the speeches of course you can request that this is included when booking your piano player.


The evening reception
You have the option of your guests just socialising, milling around to background music or having a band or a DJ. If you have a band they may put out some music during their breaks. Even if they do not however most hotels will have suitable music to filll in on CD anyway


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What musicians you need 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.

If you are having the wedding at a church you will need to book the church organist separately, unless of course your pianist (or accordionist!) is an accomplished organist also. (Ahem)

For a long evening reception you may need a DJ or a band and a DJ to keep a lively party going.

It is also possible that you will find a single musician suitable for more than one segment of your wedding day. This will save a lot of money in travel costs etc.and possibly contribute a feeling of continuity.

 

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 or little poems during the ceremony as a special feature. Or you may have your own family vocalist sing a song 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 your pianist may at his or her discretion possibly allow the temporary use of his prized valuable instrument. 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.

Sometimes I am asked about song lists, but not only do I have in my miind sufficient songs to last six or seven hours, but I instinctively feel the mood and age range of various audience members and adjust the music as I go along.

The speeches which traditionally conclude the wedding breakfast
Not strictly within my remit, but to complete most of your wedding planning, usually after all the music ends and by the father of the bride, the groom and the best man. It is not vital that all should be scandalous but it often turns out that way . I found more detailed info for you here at confetti.co.uk

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.

The basic rule is this is a civil wedding and not a religious one so no religious music is allowed during the ceremony.. In otheer words theis is exactly the 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!


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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 and/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

What music should you come in to?
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 and has a pulse suitable to a stately arrival by the bride rather than a stampede!!

 

Music styles change 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 drinks reception
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 you need to ask your piano player a couple of weeks before the wedding in case they are not inside his head already. He or she can then 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"

At 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 and lyrics 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 guests are relaxed .


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 me previously) 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 massivet list of hundreds of songs inside my head, and pull out intuitively from my decades-spanning musical memory. (I keep 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.

Throughout the day there is a chance for you to express your personality and special interests or hobbies by items reflecting them to add to the fun of the occasion.


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 (or even a celidh band with a caller giving instructions to dance to if you are celtically inclined) of your choice rather than myself.

One of my recent weddings which was extremely successful was however an evening reception dinner where I played my Roland accordion including lots of Italian based music. I received major plaudits from everyone for this one and they told me the hotel staff too were extremely impressed with this one and started dancing along in the background!

I have also played piano during the evening for a quiet reception on occasion, still playing quietly but with guests having a chance to just socialise generally and to come up and ask for requests and talk to me. This was nice too..


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 texting me or ringing my mobile 07769 732287 or email me at MisterPianoMan@aol.com