Wedding music, yes, comes in all shapes and sizes. Like drums, microphones, and brides themselves.
But what I’ve seen has been a pretty homogeneous sampling: Plenty of pianists, a few organists here and there, guitars, violins, a harp or two, small string ensembles, vocalists (from country-twanged stylings to straight-up opera) and recorded music galore. The facts are, most brides just don’t have the budget to hire a woodwind quintet for the ceremony or a steel drum band to play for the cocktail hour.
If the instruments at weddings I’ve attended have been limited, the styles of music have been a bit farther-reaching — from the traditional “Bridal Chorus” by Wagner and Pachabel’s ubiquitous “Canon in D” to elegant arrangements from favorite movies (Pride & Prejudice) to hymns and praise choruses (“Be Thou My Vision;” “Amazing Grace;” “Revelation Song”) to classic pop tunes (one friend’s cousin exited her ceremony by dancing back up the aisle to “Shout!”).
Whatever kind of music you want for your wedding, bear in mind, there’s no right or wrong. It’s all about personal taste, showing your style, and setting the tone for a fabulous day. And gettin’ your boogie on at the reception, of course.
So if you are absolutely set on having a bass guitar thump under your aisle walk or a harpsichord spin out period tunes for the prelude, as long as it doesn’t clash with your wedding’s overall feel, go for it.
You’re setting your soundtrack for one special day — and there’s no rule that says a wedding must unfold to the tune of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” Think outside the box and close to your heart, and you’re destined to have fonder memories of your wedding’s warblings than if you simply follow the old bride’s playbook.
My wedding music selection stuck to the Romantics and Impressionists I love, including Schubert’s “Impromptu,” Debussy’s “Arabesque” and my favorite, Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” for my own entrance. I love thinking back on how the church overflowed with beauty that afternoon — from the decorations, the smiling faces, and the emotional music.
Choose pieces that are equally special to you, and your memories will be just as sweet.