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If music be the food of love

07 Jul 2011

If music be the food of love

Music is a big part of modern weddings. It features throughout the whole day and is one of the best ways to create an atmosphere.

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Image gallery

The ceremony

There are key moments in all wedding ceremonies that can be punctuated with music. You’ll need to think about what music will greet your guests as they find their seats, what you would like to accompany you walking up the aisle, a piece for the signing of the register and possibly a final piece while leaving the ceremony area.

If you are having a civil ceremony you should always discuss your music choices with the registrar beforehand as the music must be non-religious. You’d be surprised at some of the songs that are disallowed due to religious references – Robbie Williams’ Angels is a prime example.

Those having a church ceremony will also need to think about hymns. It’s always a good idea to have well-known tunes as there is nothing worse than a half-hearted attempt by guests at singing songs they don’t know.

Your vicar will be able to make suggestions and suggest where in the ceremony it is appropriate to sing hymns.

If you are going to reproduce the words to your hymns in your order of service, then you also need to keep in mind that copyright exists in creative works for 70 years after the death of the writer. During that time, it is illegal to reproduce the works in any form without the permission of the copyright holder (or their appointed agent), for which a charge of between £10 and £25 is usually made.

First dance

If you and your partner already have an “our” song, then this one won’t be a problem. It’s normally a song that you were both listening to while you were dating, or one that reminds you of a special event.

If, on the other hand, you’re like chalk and cheese when it comes to musical taste, then you may have to spend a bit more time to work it out. Try each writing a list of appropriate songs that you like, and then bring them together to see if any match.

If you’ve got a band playing at the reception then it’s worth asking for a copy of their play list to see if they’ve got anything that you both like. Similarly, if you already know the song you want then it is also a good idea to check if the band can play it, if not they may be able to learn it before the day, or you might have to bring it on CD for them to play through their equipment.

When trying to decide, think what you want in your first dance song. Is it the sound of the music that’s important, or the meaning of the words?

If you’ve decided to really push the boat out and have dance lessons beforehand, then this will effect your decision. You can either choose the song first and learn a dance that fits with the rhythm, whether that be a whirling waltz, a tantalizing tango or a sexy salsa, or, you can find the style of dance that is easiest to perform first and then choose a song to match.

The personal touch

If you have time, it’s nice to take your music choices even further. Some couples find that putting together a compilation of their favourite songs to play during the wedding breakfast is a nice way of sharing some of the preparation work. Others will simply choose some additional songs to play after the first dance, suitable for the bride to dance with her father etc.

If you have chosen your attendants well (see page 32), and have them all doing their fair share of the arranging, then you may even want to go the whole nine yards and give your band or DJ an entire set list.

This is a bit extreme however, and to make sure you don’t offended the musical tastes of your guests when they try and make requests and are told “If it’s not on the list, it’s not on the turntable” it’s a good idea not to make it entirely exclusive – impromptu requests from guests having a good time will add to the party feel.

Live music works really well at weddings. Whether it’s a friend singing a solo during the ceremony, or a relative playing an instrument during the reception drinks, if you know someone who is musically talented, get them involved. It will add the ultimate personal touch to your day.

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