The most magical moment of any wedding day is right at the beginning, when a bride or groom walks down the aisle on the arm of their attendant and meets the eyes of the person who is about to become their partner for the rest of their life. You spend hours (and a lot of money!) choosing your outfit, practising your hairdo and deciding who will walk with you, so here are some things to think about to make it even more special.
Music does something to us. To all of us. No one can really explain how or why, but there is something in sound waves that can make profound emotional connections in each one of us. It can make us happy or sad. Bring back memories of places or people. Hype us up to go to the gym (although I’m not too familiar with that sensation…!) or relax us during a spa day. However it does it, music can take any situation to another level simply by being there. Of course, this is also true of wedding days. Music enhances all aspects of such a special celebration, from some light background entertainment during dinner to partying the night away to a band or DJ. Music can be one of the hardest (and costliest!) parts of your wedding planning, deciding how best to create the perfect atmosphere and occasion with that medium that we all connect with: music.
That moment of the entrance of the bridal party at any wedding will be mesmerising, but to really make it truly magical you should choose the music that is played at this point particularly carefully. Any music will create an emotional response in all who listen to it, so not only is it important that you like it, but remember that the effect that it will have on your guests. Traditionally chosen music, such as Wagner’s Bridal March (frequently know as ‘Here Comes the Bride’) will stir a certain set of emotions or memories within your guests. Not everyone is a fan, and what you can be certain of is that at least half of those listening will be thinking about someone else’s wedding when they hear it, rather that focussing on yours! Instead, use your entrance music to create an atmosphere that is truly unique to your wedding day, to you and your partner and to connect everyone in the room with that time and place.
Depending on the theme of your wedding, you may wish to consider different types of music. For those who wish to have a more traditional piece, but aren’t sold on the idea of ‘Here Comes the Bride’, consider something gentle and elegant, such as Pachebel’s ‘Canon in D’. This piece has become a popular choice for bridal entrances due to its elegant nature, good walking pace and gradual build up as the piece goes on.
If that doesn’t create a connection in you and if you prefer more modern music then it’s really important that you think about something that will. How about the song that you have chosen for your first dance? Having an acoustic version as you walk down the aisle creates a lovely unity for the special music for your day, without having exactly the same version of the song twice. Others will choose family favourites, pieces that perhaps parents, or even grandparents had played on their wedding days, such as this love-song classic, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
Some couples chose music from their favourite films, or that go along with their wedding theme. Alan Menken, for example and his colleagues at Disney have written some fabulous love songs over the years, and I regularly am asked to play pieces from Disney films (the good ones are the old ones!) as they create a connection with family and childhood memories which is always so special on your wedding day. Only recently I was given a list of a fabulous selection of Disney music, from ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ through to ‘Married Life’ from the new(ish!) movie Up! for a wedding ceremony in a Kentish Castle! For another wedding this summer that I was priviledged to play at, the bride (as a surprise to the groom) requested the theme from their favourite film The Holiday which I arranged especially for them (see her comment on my testimonials page).
If a specific film or song doesn’t spring to mind, how about something that connects you to being you. A hobby or interest; you would be surprised how you can find music that connects to a whole range of things. I have played football themes for dedicated fans, the music from the British Airways advert for one of their pilots, and even music from a Japanese computer game for an expert gamer! In all of these instances, several guests came up to me afterwards and commented on the choice of music as they understood the connection with the couple, which were made even more memorable having been performed live on a harp! Some of these I have continued to play to this day and are still in my repertoire – click here to have a look at the current list.
Whatever you choose for your wedding ceremony, make sure that it represents you and your wedding in some way. Something that, for years to come, all of those who were honoured enough to be in attendance will hear the same piece of music and think about your magical moment.