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Make the music sing at your wedding

Don’t be afraid to think outside the string quartet. Mariachi bands are popular choices for Coastal Bend weddings.

Before your guests get down with the rock 'n’ roll DJ, country band, folk singers or jazz quartet at the reception, you have to come up with the tender tunes for the ceremony and first dance. Here are six quick tips on how to select just the right sounds.

1. Pick music to match the ceremony

If you’re going with a more traditional look and feel, you might want to stick with wedding standards such as “The Bridal Chorus” by Richard Wagner or “Canon in D” by Pachelbel. If you have decided on a more modern approach, you can pick from a wider variety. Popular favorites include “Marry Me” by Train or “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole. Whatever you choose should reflect the ceremony and atmosphere.

2. You’ll need more than one or two selections

When choosing for the prelude, processional and recessional, keep in mind the significance of each part of the ceremony. A prelude sets a tone as people are seated in the venue, while the processional introduces the bride and her wedding party. The recessional should be upbeat and celebratory. Select pieces that fit with the type of ceremony you’ve chosen. The music you select adds a personal touch that goes beyond the physical vision you’ve created to the emotional foundation of the day.

3. Listen to the music before making a decision

Whether you borrow it, buy it or stream it or listen live, turn your ear to the tunes from start to finish. Close your eyes. Imagine the ceremony with the music playing and determine if it works for you. Ask yourself how it makes you feel as each piece moves from one part of the ceremony into the next. Consider how well each fits with the other. Think of these three pieces of music as the emotional and spiritual tone of your ceremony.

4. Work together

While you might seek advice from family and friends, you want to be sure you and your fiancé both agree on the music chosen. Do the research and listen to the selections as a couple. The music should reflect you both, so the decision should be made together.

5. How to present a ceremony in song

Once you pick the music, you have to decide how to play it. Depending on the music, you can use a recording, an organist, an ensemble, a quartet, a vocalist or even a band. Be sure to check with your venue to see what is available or even allowed. Check on acoustics as well.

6. The first dance

This is a big one because all eyes will be on you and your betrothed. Find something you both like and can dance to well. Look at your history together and choose a song that sincerely reflects how you feel about each other and your dreams together. You might want to consider taking dancing lessons before the big day. It’s all part of the planning process!

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