The Musical Score of a Marriage


Photo by Britney Gardner of Turn Loose the Art.

There is no denying how important music is in our daily lives—one need only walk down the street to see scores of people, ear buds in place, listening to their favorite songs. From movie soundtracks to muzak in public places, music of all varieties envelope our daily activities. And reams of academic research confirm what we all know: music elevates our mood and makes us more productive. Yet, I sometimes regret that relatively little attention is paid to the musical aspect of the wedding ceremony; I suspect that the focus of the day’s music is placed on the reception. In any event, I like to remind my couples that we can make the ceremony even more special if we creatively consider music for the ceremony.

There are wonderful options for wedding music, regardless of the size or location of a wedding ceremony. For larger affairs, couples consider both recorded music with a DJ and live music performed by all sorts of individual musicians or ensembles. The particular selections for processional and recessional options are bound only by our imaginations. And, while at first blush, it would seem that music is not possible or necessary for an elopement or small outdoor ceremony, I disagree!

I have started to bringing my IPod and portable speaker to outside elopement ceremonies so that music can be played before, during and/or after the ceremony. I do my best to see if couples have particular artists or songs that they prefer. (Recent requests have ranged from the Beatles to Eva Cassidy…) Otherwise, I have a long playlist that serves any couple quite nicely. If there is a desire for live music, I am happy to locate and secure musicians from guitar players to bag pipers. I recently officiated a Central Park wedding for the stunning Candice and Dan, who came to America to marry, from Australia. While we had discussed certain selections that would be appropriate for Candice’s processional across the Gapstow Bridge, I made an impromptu decision that pleased the couple. As we set up the ceremony, I noticed an older gentleman playing various tunes on his alto saxophone—a street performer if you will. I invited him to be a part of our wedding ceremony and offered a nominal fee for his services. And, so, our new Russian friend played jazz tunes and wedding standards that really enhanced the celebratory atmosphere.

So, brides and grooms, I say to you—don’t forget that fantastic musical additions can be made to the wedding ceremony….ones that do not require extraordinary planning or expense!

p.s. There was another way in which music touched this super-romantic ceremony: prior to the wedding, I met up with Candice at her hotel where she was having her hair and make-up done. The bridal suite, always a festive environment, was even more so as the bride played a special CD of songs, prepared by her loving sister. The CD contained a bunch of sentimental favorites that touched the bride, and her Celebrant, too!

It was a pleasure working with Joe & Britney from Turn Loose the Art Photography.  They took amazing photographs of this sweet wedding.