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Copyright © 1997-2017 Robert David Billington

The Billington and Gonzalez Duo The LGEM Duo A Wedding Music Primer LGEM Musical Offerings Information Request Form Robert David Billington, solo flutist

A Wedding Music Primer

There are several uses for music at a wedding. The first and most obvious use of music is for the entrance (processional) and exit (recessional) music for the bride and groom and for the members of the wedding party. Our suggestions for entrance music include the Pachelbel Canon, the usual Wagner Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, and the Mouret Rondeau (known to many as the theme from Masterpiece Theater).

Of course, the bride may select just about any piece of music that she deems appropriate. We've performed as processional music everything from the Entr'acte from Bizet's Carmen, to beautiful new-age music from Enya, to Jewish favorites such as Jerusalem of Gold, Dodi Li, and Erev Shel Shoshamin. The key is to provide music that best fits the occasion and location and is relevant to the bride and groom.

For exit music we suggest either the usual Mendelssohn Wedding March from a Midsummer Night's Dream, or the Mouret Rondeau. Of course, for Jewish weddings we also have Siman Tov and Mazel Tov.

Another use of music at the wedding is to set the mood for the ceremony. The musicians are usually in place performing for the guest's enjoyment about fifteen or twenty minutes before the scheduled beginning of the ceremony. The choice of music here is important as this sets the scene for the ceremony. Usually, light classical music mixed with some religious or ethnic music works well. A piece that works very well for classical flute and guitar and which is quite effective just before the processional music is the Aria from the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5.

It is very important to have a person at the wedding to coordinate with the musicians regarding the actual schedule of events, and to coordinate when to start the various phases of the entrance music. This is especially important if there are several changes in the entrance music - say, for example, there may be different pieces for the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom, for the wedding party, and for the bride and groom. It is important to discuss the number of grandparents, parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower children, ring-bearers, maids of honor, best men, etc. with the musicians in advance to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible for the wedding ceremony.

During the course of the wedding there may be an opportunity for a musical selection. For a secular wedding, this could be in the form of a meditation. Usually, in a religious wedding the music will be part of the service. If this is the case, the bride should consult with her minister, priest, rabbi, or cantor to provide the musicians with the best opportunity to prepare for the wedding. For example, if there is soloist singing the Schubert Ave Maria, the bride should have the soloist provide the musicians with music to make sure that they have the right version and key. If the cantor has music for his or her preferred version of the Seven Blessings, the bride should encourage the cantor to get in touch with the musicians before the service.

If there is going to be additional music during the service, it may be necessary for the musicians to meet with the soloist in advance of the service. Usually, this can be accomplished just before the guest seating begins. If more elaborate music is planned, a separate rehearsal may be called for, possibly at additional expense.

After the ceremony, there is usually a cocktail hour. Cocktail hour music should be a little more upbeat, whether it is classical or popular. Another consideration is that the music be heard without being overly loud. Our groups are discretely amplified to ensure audibility.

The wedding dinner usually follows the cocktail hour. Some weddings are elegant affairs with no dancing, but with a great deal of camaraderie. Other weddings have dancing with a DJ or a Big Band. We can provide a small band with music suitable for dancing, or we can provide a continuation of the previous background music. Another possibility is to switch from primarily classical music to popular music after either the ceremony, or the cocktail hour.

We hope that this information is of help to you in planning the musical portion of your wedding. As wedding musicians, we have participated in all sorts of weddings at all sorts of venues. Our job is to help make your event a success.