Wedding Etiquette For Dummies
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Personalizing your music selections is one of the ways you can make your ceremony your own. While some officiants require you to stick to traditions, others are happy to work with you in personalizing the ceremony.

Music is one of the most important components of your ceremony because it sets the mood for your special day. If playing a record of “Here Comes the Bride” isn’t your style, choosing something more contemporary or personal is perfectly appropriate.

Choosing your selections

  • In general, a wedding ceremony has five main pieces to choose selections for:

  • Prelude: Played for 15 minutes before to a half our before the ceremony, this music welcomes the guests and is the background by which they’re seated.

  • Procession: This music sets the pace for attendants walking down the aisle. Really ambitious couples plan their music so that it changes for each portion of the procession. One piece for the ushers, another for the bridesmaids, then a pause before a flourish for the entrance of the bride.

  • Ceremony: Couples might designate music to be played or a choir or soloist to sing at some points in the ceremony, like before a reading or during the lighting of a unity candle.

  • Recession: This music at the end of the ceremony should be powerful and joyous. It’s usually louder and quicker than the processional.

  • Postlude: A continuation of upbeat and celebratory music that keeps the guests feeling they’re a part of the wedding until they have all filed out of the ceremony space.

If you’re having a nonreligious ceremony, your music options are open. You can add personal touches through your music selections to create a memorable wedding. If you’re having a religious ceremony in a house of worship, be sure to clear your music selections with your officiant; some houses of worship don’t allow secular music and have limited options for what you can play.

Give it some thought

A few other things to keep in mind while choosing music:

  • Try to keep the music within the framework of the style and formality of the wedding. Although a church wedding doesn’t dictate that all music must be religious, you want to be respectful of the location and the event taking place. Don’t forget to mention the titles of the songs and music on your program.

  • Check with the officiant or the person in charge of your ceremony location to find out whether you need to work with a particular music coordinator or use a particular musician or singer.

  • Keep your religious and cultural backgrounds in mind when selecting your music. Your officiant can guide you on acceptable selections.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Sue Fox is the author of Etiquette For Dummies and Business Etiquette For Dummies. She is the founder and president of The Etiquette Survival Group, a California-based professional development and publishing company.

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