Guidelines   For Your Ceremony Music - Introduction

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Ceremony Music - A General Introduction


There are many different kinds of ceremony, religious, humanist, civil ceremonies, civil partnerships, hand-fastings, which can be based in churches, stately homes, parks, by the side of a lake, in the grounds of a ruined castle. In fact anywhere you can imagine having your ceremony, I am happy to play there for you.


You can also think about whether you would like me to sing for you, or just play everything instrumentally, or a mixture, and this depends on whether you want to keep it very low-profile and as background music, or whether you want to draw attention to the songs you have chosen.


Civil Ceremonies:

For civil ceremonies you need to choose the following:

  • Bridal Party Entrance Music (I can play more than one piece here if you want, with bridesmaids and ushers entering to one piece, and the bride to another. This can be sung or instrumental. For more details, check out my article #10 Steps To Your Perfect Entrance Music)

  • Featured song in place of one of the readings (If you like, I can sing a special song for you at this point instead of one of the readings.)

  • Signing of the Registers (We usually need about 3 pieces of music here to cover the signing and then photo-taking, and it is at this point that many couples have asked me to sing for them.)

  • Exit Music (Something usually up tempo for you both to leave the ceremony space to, and usually works best as an instrumental.)

Included as standard in the ceremony cost, I play a selection of music whilst the guests are gathering in the ceremony space and awaiting the bride. You can request pieces here or you can leave me to simply play a gentle selection of popular and classical pieces whilst your guests are waiting. NB. For civil ceremonies you cannot select any music with religious content.


Church Weddings:

Usually there will be an organist in residence, and you do need to talk to the church and the organist to make sure they are happy to share musical duties with an outside musician. Most of the time this will not be a problem as the vast majority of organists are only too pleased to help you achieve your vision for the ceremony even if that means they hardly do anything at all, but do check just in case. Also, please bear in mind that although the ceremony is in church, the songs and music do not all need to be religious. These are the options you can consider for the church ceremony:

  • Either myself or the organist can play music whilst the guests are arriving.

  • Bridal Party Entrance Music. (Either played by myself or the organist, and again two pieces can be chosen if you wish to send the bridesmaids in first, and you wish to follow to a different piece of music.)

  • Hymns and songs. (It is most likely that the organist will accompany these, but if you wish to use more modern songs, such as Shine Jesus Shine, then you might like to ask them to play piano for that, or I can accompany it with guitar or harp. Many churches have music groups that might be happy to play for you at your wedding if you wish to use more contemporary worship music. Also, it is possible for me to bring my electric harp and a microphone to lead the hymn singing if you would rather not have the organ at all. It is entirely up to you as far as I'm concerned, but do check as I said above, as some organists or vicars may not share that view.)

  • Featured item during the ceremony. (This does not necessarily need to be in place of a reading, but check with the vicar of your church to be sure.)

  • Signing of the Registers. (It is rare in a church ceremony that I need more than two choices at this point but it's good to have three just in case. If your church has a choir, this is a good place for them to sing something if you would like that. And you do not need to choose religious anthems here either, our local church does a choral version of Fields of Gold, for example.)

  • Exit Music (This usually works best with the organ, rather than the harp, but it is up to you. If you would like the harp to play you out, that is fine. Another alternative is that as I'm also a trumpeter I have on a couple of occasions played The Prince Of Denmark's March accompanied by the organist.)

Other Ceremonies:

Whether humanist ceremonies, Pagan hand-fastings, church blessings, or any other kind of ceremony which you may create, the music needs will be different and individual, depending on where the ceremony is taking place. So if you have any ideas that fall outside of the usual pattern of church or civil weddings, do contact me to discuss what you have in mind.


2016, Alison Eve Cudby


You might also like the following articles:


#10 Steps To Your Perfect Entrance Music

Coming Soon...

Practical Ideas For Your Entrance Music




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