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SELECTING CEREMONY MUSIC
Music has special power. It heightens expectation, directions attention, and inspires emotions that range
from quiet reflection to resounding joy. For this reason, special care should be taken to select music that
is just right for your wedding ceremony. Keep in mind that while our musicians are versatile and can play
most special-requests, your favorite pop tune may not sound the same played by a string quartet! Be familiar
with the sound of the ensemble you've selected and let our trained lead musicians help you as you choose
your unique musical program. Here are some links to several sites below that have a good collection of midi
and mp3 files of these tunes for you to listen to as you make your selections. Most of these traditional
tunes can work for any ensemble.
We are open to requests, but typically our musician will play their choice of delicate, thoughtful music
during this time as guests are seated and reflect on the commitment about to take place. We typically
play prelude music for 20 min prior to the start of the ceremony.
The processional traditionally begins with the seating of the mothers and/or grandmothers. The musicians
will need a cue to know when to stop the prelude music and begin the music you select for this seating,
or you can seat them as the prelude music is finishing. Often this cue is the entrance of the groomsmen
Music for the couple's attendants usually begins immediately after the parents are seated. There may
or may not be an aisle runner. If there is, and it is not already set in place, the ushers will come
forward to unroll the runner. The musicians usually change music for the entrance of the bridesmaids,
flower girls and ringbearers. Please let us know the exact number for each procession. (For example: 2
mothers, 1 grandmother, 5 bridesmaids, and one flowergirl, one ringbearer).
A third piece should be chosen for the bride's entrance. If, however, there is a very short aisle,
coupled with one attendant, then switching music at this point might be too "choppy" - not enough of the
piece to play. For very short distances/few people walking, we suggest keeping the music the same for the
bride and bridal party, and perhaps just increasing our volume as she enters. Since it is hard to predict
how long each of these processions may take, we suggest choosing pieces that have several potential
stopping points. Palchelbel's Canon in D is extremely popular for this reason.
Many weddings do not need any music during the ceremony. However, depending on which traditions you
choose to observe, you may want some short selections to be played during the course of the ceremony.
Examples of this include rose exchange, unity candle lighting, sand ceremony, communion, Blessed Virgin
Mary dedication, meditation music, music between readings, etc.
We suggest that you choose a lively and loud recessional piece. It is often drowned out by the wild
applause of your friends and family as you run down the aisle with your new spouse. The musicians will
need to know the very last thing that is said (for example: Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Smith) or done
(smashing a glass) before you begin your recessional.
Let us know if you are planning on greeting your guests row by row as they exit, or if there is a
receiving line at the location of the ceremony. This helps us plan how much postlude music we'll need.
We will play up to fifteen minutes after the ceremony to allow your guests to continue to hear the joyous
music as they exit. Typically this music is the musicians' choice, but we welcome your suggestions.
Below is an outline of a standard Catholic Wedding Mass. You may decide to leave some of these items out
of your mass. Some of the suggestions may not be applicable depending on the ensemble. If you are
hiring the church organist, rehearsal/coordination will be minimal if our repertoire is separated from
theirs (see below). If working with a vocalist, the short mass parts (Alleluia, Memorial Acclamation,
etc.) are most easily done with ensembles that use organ/piano. The Ave Maria we can do with all our
instrumentations. We have several wonderful professional cantors on our roster who can lead your guests
through the mass comfortably. If you would like us to work with a vocalist or cantor other than our own,
we will need to discuss keys/cuts, etc. If they require a different key/arrangement than we have, they
will need to provide us with copies of their parts, adaptable to the given instrumentation.
- Prelude and Procession Music - See above.
- First Reading
- Responsorial Psalm (Spoken, Sung or Instrumental Interlude)
- Second Reading
- Alleluia - (Spoken or Sung -Acapella if no organ)
- Exchange of Vows/Rings
- Unity Candle (Spoken or Sung - One Hand, One Heart)
- Prayers of the Faithful
- Presentation of Gifts (Spoken or Sung)
- If Sung, One Bread, One Body.
- Lord's Prayer
- Mass Parts (Spoken or Sung):
- Holy, Holy
- Memorial Acclamation
- The Great Amen
- Sign of Peace (Sung or Instrumental)
- Communion (Sung or Instrumental)
- Presentation to Mary (Sung or Instrumental)
- Recessional -See Above