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October 10, 2016  TAGS:  MUSIC  CEREMONY  INSPIRATION  RESOURCES

Personalize Your Wedding Music: Paint Your Ceremony Your Way!

Ceremony Music Tips | Paint Your Ceremony Your Way | Vermont Bride Magazine
photo by Letter10 Creative

Classical music wafting through the air, elegantly winding through the gathered group of family and friends – or would you prefer a little Celtic lilt to put a spring in your step on your special day? Or what about that special hymn grandma always used to sing? Or that pop tune or show tune you always sang as a kid - or first danced to as a couple? Or what about something totally different - something composed just for your special day?

When most people think of “wedding music” what pops to mind is often Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” (“Here comes the bride…”) or Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” or perhaps Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” You might imagine a church organ or perhaps a classical quartet. Many couples do choose some variation on the above for their wedding music - and why not? Classic, elegant choices that are easy to walk to, and that are tested by time, will never go out of style. Would a bride avoid wearing a long gown and decide not to exchange rings simply because everyone else does? Traditional choices can say as much about you as non-traditional choices, if chosen from the heart.  This type of connection with tradition and the past can be comforting, sentimental, and certainly can make your decision-making simpler!

 But sometimes couples choose music that’s a little different - and again, why not? It’s your day to paint the town - the music will paint the atmosphere and color the feeling of your celebration - why not choose music that has significance for you personally? That touch of you in the music will touch your guests as well as bringing you smiles - or tears - or a lift in your every move. Again, if the tunes that are significant for you are also popular with others, then go for it! If not, the sky’s the limit!

I had the honor of playing for a wedding where the bride had arranged or composed the music for her own wedding - including a special song performed by a friend. At another, the bride commissioned a friend to create medleys of a series of special songs - primarily Broadway songs and hymns, and chose popular but non-traditional classical music for the prelude. Many couples wish to have entirely classical music for their weddings, but prefer to completely avoid the traditional wedding standards. There are too many options to list here, but you may wish to look into music by Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, for the classic sound that’s not “wedding standard.” And by the way - don’t think of these composers as the stodgy old men you often see in pictures - if Bach really were the person we think of when we see his stiff representation in portrait, do you honestly believe he would have fathered 20 children? Or composed the intensely energetic music he did? Bach, in particular, composed some of the most versatile and awe-inspiring music ever heard - and a great deal of his music has been arranged for many different combinations of instruments, and is often heard at weddings, though never as the standards that could be considered “over-used” - so check him out! I’ve also recently played as recessionals:  “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles and “Landler” from Sound of Music; as processionals: “Til’ There Was You” and “Fanny Power.” I’ve played two weddings where the request was for music throughout the ceremony – essentially a soundtrack - a mix of styles, in one case with music continuing even as background for the vows, and the entire ceremony built on musical selections that were particularly special for the couple.

Want to get even more unique? Vermont boasts a huge variety of composers and song writers. If this is of interest, you may wish to contact Steve Klimowski, clarinetist from  the ”Classic Consort” - also director of the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble – for names of Vermont composers who might suit your style. Why not consider having a special song composed just for your special day? It would lend a whole new meaning to the phrase “playing our song!”

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 and online to students worldwide.