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Ceremony music - make a song and dance about it!

Posted by Rachael Meyer on Saturday 20th April 2019
Ceremony music - make a song and dance about it!

I’m a massive music fan. Particularly where romance and storytelling are concerned. Wedding ceremony music is so important to settle guests, for an emotional anticipation when walking down the aisle, for serenity during certificate signing and/or during another symbolic act, and to celebrate the marriage as you exit; but the logistics can be a minefield if you don’t know what to expect!

Type of music

Wherever you are getting married, your wedding should be personal and whether you want drum and bass or opera, it’s your choice. Whilst classical music as you come down the aisle can portray an elegant and timeless entrance, you could also choose an instrumental or acoustic version of a song that holds particular meaning. The genre can follow through the ceremony, or change through either chart music, gaming music, film / EDM/ reggae/ jungle/ R&B / whatever you like. It works well to choose something peaceful for solemn moments but try counter balancing that with some fabulous, celebratory exit music! Have some fun at the end!

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Live, Bespoke or Recorded

For the romantics out there, any song can be stripped down and laid bare if you like the tune and the lyrics. There are a whole load of talented musicians and singers out there who would relish the opportunity to sing or play for you for a reasonable sum. You can even have a favourite song recorded and produced especially for you, which you can play through a sound system on the day, then keep for yourselves and play whenever you like. Your very own beautiful song. Here are a couple of examples that have particularly moved me recently:

A Celebration of Mums – An acoustic cover version of Someone You Loved, by Lewis Capaldi – sung by Sophie Meyer and recorded/produced by Tom Meyer at White Noise Studio, Harrogate.

Holy Moly and the Crackers –Acoustic version of original song: All I Got is You Babe.

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Live musicians

Although you may not think so, it can be more cost effective to hire a musician, singer, duo or trio for your ceremony than to play songs digitally. The benefit of live music is that it adds magic. It creates a sense of theatre and occasion. It’s beautiful to watch as well as to hear. Musicians are skilled at timing so there are no awkward silences if a bride hasn’t quite made it to the top of the aisle, or if a certificate signing takes longer than anticipated! Your celebrant will work with them seamlessly. Musicians can fill gaps, play an extra verse and/or chorus easily; they add personality and emotion to a ceremony and they can arrange their own amplification if required!

Sound Equipment

It’s perfectly do-able and very popular to play your favourite songs or music through a venue’s PA system if there is one. If you choose this route, it’s advisable to have a full rehearsal to check that your music operator is comfortable with the equipment, the timings and volume control and that the music files will play on demand from your device! You may think it’ll be fine if you hand your bridesmaid’s boyfriend your phone with the instruction – ‘play this one first’. But what happens if the phone screen saver kicks in, and the boyfriend doesn’t know your phone security code? What happens if you wanted the song to last only 40 seconds, but you wanted a certain verse to play just before you arrived at the head of the aisle, because of a certain lyric?

If you do have a PA system, (advisable if you have more than around 70 guests indoors and the acoustics aren’t great, or if your ceremony is outdoors and you are battling against road noise, air traffic or other ambient noise), then your celebrant, any reading contributors and indeed the happy couple will need amplification. In those cases, you will need mics, speakers and a mixing desk. There are portable systems, but make sure they are up to the job – don’t skimp on sound!

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Some venues have their own PA system with a trained operator. If this is the case, you’re onto a winner. If not, then don’t panic! You can dry hire equipment that can operated with some brief training, so your own operator can develop a basic understanding of different mic types, radio mic set up and frequency selection, basic gain structure and equalisation.

The professionals

Or you could engage an Audio-Visual professional for a great sound and a stress-free ceremony – whatever your choice of venue and music. Sometimes, it’s just worth it. There won’t be any nasty feedback screeching when switching between mics, musicians and digital tracks. And beautiful fading and timings will be perfect! You can then use the equipment (and operator) for ambient music during the drinks reception and even for the after party!

Photography by Sira Studio

Guitarist photo by Ann Aveyard Photography

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Featured Blog: Rachael Meyer

Featured Blog: Rachael Meyer

I’m a creative wedding celebrant, accredited by Humanists UK. I have a background in writing, photography, video production and event management and I love being a wedding celebrant as it allows me to meet fabulous people, write bespoke scripts and deliver a ceremony that really reflects a couple’s ideas and personalities. 

See Rachael's profile here

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