photo: Letter10 Creative
Flash forward in time. It’s your 10th, 25th, or maybe 50th anniversary and you’re looking back on your wedding day. You chuckle together about the flower girl who unexpectedly stopped half way down the aisle, mesmerized by all the people, and the sweet if slightly embarrassing words shared about you by your minister or rabbi or officiant. You look at the lilacs growing outside the window of your home, smell the scent, and revel in the same soft purple grace you enjoyed at your wedding. When you hum your special song, or play the recording on the stereo, and dance through the halls of your home, your breath catches as you remember the moment of your walk down the aisle, the moment the musicians played your special song in the middle of the ceremony, or your first dance together as a married couple, and the music that filled the room on that day.
Music can be one of the most significant factors which will establish the ambiance, and color the memories, of your wedding day. With so many options available to today’s couples, where do you start in making music choices that will resonate for both of you – and leave memories that will still catch your breath on your 50th anniversary?
First, talk with your partner about what you like in music. Do you dream of a quartet serenading you down the aisle with your favorite classical music standards, or would you prefer a soloist or a duo with a Celtic lilt? Or perhaps you want to steer clear of traditional choices and pick some favorite pop or Broadway tunes. Do you have a special song already that you’d like to include in the ceremony? Or would you like to choose a special tune together that will become “your song?” What sort of musician would be best suited to play that tune? Do you have an ensemble in mind, or will you be finding a soloist or group of musicians that will play the repertoire you have in mind? Do you have any special memories of playing or hearing music in the past in a way that really influenced you? And what can you afford for music? The greater the number of musicians, the greater the price – so you’ll need to keep that in mind when choosing between a soloist, a duo, a quartet, or a full band. These are all important questions to explore together before you get too far in the planning!
You may have no idea what you’d like, and that’s ok too! Here are some thoughts on the next steps.
First, consider the value of live music. The feeling, the vibrancy, the life, the color of the mood of live music played by live musicians is something that will resonate in your experience of the day, in the experience of your guests, and in your memories. Ever been at a wedding where the bride is ready to walk down the aisle and a relative is having difficulty finding the right spot on the CD, or the speaker is blasting shrieks of feedback, the plug gets disconnected, or someone can’t find the off button after the bride reaches the front? With live music, there will be real and experienced people who have tailored the thoughts of you and your interests into their preparation, and who enjoy reveling in your dreams for the day and weave them into your repertoire choices, while shaping the music to fit each portion of your wedding.
The next step: browse some web sites. You can either do this together or have one of you do the initial research and report back. For starters, click here for an overview of some of the top musicians in the state. Talk about what each of you likes and doesn’t like about a particular option, laugh a little at the differences of perspective, and revel in the similarities. Check with musicians about availability, pricing, and any other questions you may have. The joy that you find in making the choices, and in the memories created, may end up being a part of the glue that holds your marriage together and keeps a lift in your step and a glimmer in your eye for many years to come.
Lisa Carlson is a freelance flutist, performing for weddings and other occasions throughout Vermont and beyond, with musical offerings ranging from a quartet of flute with violin, viola and cello, to solo flute, to duos and trios of flute with harp, violin, piano, cello, oboe, and more. She also teaches flute in Montpelier, Vermont Lebanon, New Hampshire, and online to students worldwide.
Kristin and Walter, who goes by Woody, are avid travelers and they often take little weekend getaways when their schedule allows it. One such weekend, they headed to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, for one such trip. After pushing through the jet lag Saturday morning, Kristin was ready to take a nap but Woody insisted they meet up with a tour group he had already paid for. As they stood waiting on a stunning bridge in the middle of Amsterdam, they spent a couple of minutes just taking in the beauty all around them. Kristin started to suspect there really was no tour group coming and then suddenly Woody got down on one knee and proposed! He had even arranged for a photographer to capture the entire thing and then they had an hour long engagement shoot around the city.
Kristin spent the first ten years of her life living in Vermont and even after her family moved to Florida they often vacationed at a summer camp in Highgate Springs. The family lake house is a beautiful spot and perfect for Kristin and Woody to hold their wedding. Having their celebration in a place that held so many childhood memories, set on a beautiful cliff overlooking the lake, was the perfect fit for the couple. The weather was gorgeous and every detail came together better than they had imagined. It was an intimate gathering of their closest friends and family with a balance of their love of the outdoors and Vermont, but still formal and elegant.
Some of their favorite moments happen to have stemmed from mishaps. After all of the flowers died due to a heatwave, Kristin and her bridesmaids went out into the nearby fields and picked buckets of wildflowers. The flowers ended up being more beautiful than Kristin had imagined. While lighting off their wish lanterns some became caught in the trees. There was a brief panic that they would catch the trees on fire, but they eventually floated away in a beautiful display. The lanterns floated across the lake and into the water, which made for a stunning sight for all of their guests.
featured professionals | VENUE: Private Family Lake House | PHOTOGRAPHER: Sarah Kjelleren and Bryant Norman | CATERER & CAKE: Have Your Cake Catering | MUSICIANS: Made In The Shade | WEDDING GOWN: Hayley Paige | HAIR & MAKEUP: Hope Gorman | TENT RENTALS: Fosters Tent Rental | TRANSPORTATION: Charter Bus & Limos | WEDDING OFFICIANT: Carter Smith