Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ceremony music: from prelude to recessional

Ceremony music. Have you ever given it much thought? It was one of the first things I "planned" for the wedding. I always knew I wanted a string quartet at my wedding. Part of this is because as a little girl, I fell in love with the sound of the cello when my brother started playing it. There is something about the deep, rich tones that is literally, "music to my ears."

One of the first things I had to do was find a string quartet that was within our budget. This proved to be pretty difficult. When I found out how costly it would be, I quickly realized that a trio was a much more affordable option, and could sound just as good. I also had to find musicians who would be willing to play the specific songs I had in mind, which were not necessarily going to be in their repertoire.

I knew what music I wanted to play during the Processional and Bride's Processional before I even began thinking about a date, location, or my dress. I knew for the Bride's Processional that I wanted Pachelbel's Canon in D. This is a very special song to my dad and I. I first heard it in fifth grade, and my dad and I especially like the recording by James Galway. I actually surprised my dad with this. He never asked what song we were walking to until right before the ceremony. I told him it would be a surprise...and when they started playing it, he said, "I know this song!" It was really cute. :)

I "fell in love" with Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg when I first heard it in this AT&T commercial. I thought the music would be perfect for the bridal party to walk to during the Processional. Another song that (both David) and I love is Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Mark√©ta Irglov√°, from the movie, Once. It was perfect for the Seating of the Grandmothers and Mothers. David was okay with all of my selections, except he had one special request for the ceremony: a Tenth Avenue North song. We ended up choosing Beloved, which my good friend, Vince, from Army of Me, was so gracious to play for us. It was the perfect backdrop to our Tea Ceremony. For the Recessional, we both agreed that I'm Yours by Jason Mraz would be perfect. We love Jason Mraz and even choreographed our first dance to Lucky, (his duet with Colbie Caillat), and picked A Beautiful Mess for our last dance.

There were a number of other songs that I love and wanted to include, but obviously couldn't fit into the ceremony...but they were perfect for the Prelude, and songs I felt that would sound good on strings. After finding a wonderful string trio, and figuring out which songs they already had, and which songs I had to find arrangements to or have transcribed, we came up with the following list:

  • Air in G (Bach)
  • The Way I am (Ingrid Michaelson)
  • Largo (Vivaldi)
  • Con te Partiro (Sartori & Quarantotto)
  • Blackbird (The Beatles)
  • Lucky (Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat)
  • Annie's Song (John Denver)
  • Over the Rainbow (Arlen & Harburg)
All in all, I am really happy with how it turned out. I wish I could have been there to hear the Prelude music, but alas, I was busy being the bride! David assured me that everything sounded great. I was also really pleased with how the arrangements to Falling Slowly and Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop turned out.

Ceremony music is such an afterthought for many brides and most guests...but as a music lover, I really feel that it sets the tone and mood of a wedding. I enjoy seeing what a bride picks as her Processional music. I also think it's really fun and neat when people choose instrumental (string) versions of contemporary music. Our friends Jesse and Brooke had their (string) musicians play a number of songs by Coldplay, which sounded awesome.

To hear strings versions of some of the above songs, check out the Vitamin String Quartet.* Enjoy.

the Bride

*These are not the musicians we used at our wedding, but they are famous for doing some really great covers of contemporary songs.


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