Ceremony Music Answers

Live music will contribute immeasurably to the mood of any wedding ceremony as opposed to “canned music” provided by a DJ, no matter how large or small the ceremony or number of guests. Typically, the classical guitar is ideal for smaller, more intimate settings. A DJ or band is generally hired for the reception, although the classical guitar is quite appropriate for more intimate receptions as well. Joel’s most common wedding ‘package’ is the ceremony plus a cocktail hour, when the guest enjoy a mix of music and drinks, and the bride and groom take photographs. Joel also offers an additional low-cost Do-It-Yourself DJ service for dinners and receptions- You program a playlist on your Ipod, and plug it in to Joel’s state-of-the-art sound system and speakers. A microphone is also provided for toasts and announcements.

The main parts of the ceremony which require music are 1)Prelude/seating music 2)Processional and 3)Recessional. In addition, many couples request additional music for certain points of the ceremony, such as candle-lighting, rose exchange, or a wine ceremony.

Prelude and Seating Music

Prior to the ceremony proper, generally a period or 15-30 minutes of light classical music, as guests are being seated. It is generally best not to go on too long, as many guests start seating themselves once they hear the music begin. Generally, 20 minutes is an ideal amount of time.
Please check out the “Music Samples” page on this site for examples of seating music selections.

Processional Music

Entrance processional of the wedding party and bride. Generally very stately, elegant music at a walking tempo. The bridal processional should be a separate piece of music from the bridesmaids’ processional. The bridal processional is the most personal and important piece of music in the ceremony. Joel plays most of the popular wedding choices, many non-traditional choices, or can arrange a classical guitar version of your song for guitar. The advance music consultation is devoted mostly to choosing the processional music, and Joel will work very patiently with you and play through a number of selections. Please check out the “Music Samples” page on this site for examples of processional music selections.
Joel will require a very clear visible cue from someone not in the wedding party, generally the wedding coordinator, assistant or guest. A clear hand signal with clear eye contact, as well as a ‘five minute warning’ worked out in advance, is best.

Recessional Music

Departure or the wedding party from the ceremony site. Generally celebratory, jubilant music. This selection should scream out “Let’s go Party!” Often non-traditional contemporary songs are used for this purpose with great effect, and Joel knows many songs that are appropriate. Guests generally depart immediately or very soon after the wedding party to reception area or site. This is the last piece of music for the ceremony. Please check out the “Music Samples” page on this site for examples of recessional music selections.

Additional Points and requirements

  • It is very rarely necessary for the ceremony musician to attend the wedding rehearsal.
  • Joel requires dry, level ground, access to power for amplification (if there is none available, Joel needs to know in advance, in which case he brings a battery-powered amplifier), shade, and a chair without arms. It is best to arrange to place for him to the side of the ceremony area and away from food and beverage tables to avoid spills and distractions. In addition, musicians should not be placed next to heaters, fireplaces, drafty windows, or doors.
  • It is very important that Joel receive clear directions to the ceremony site and as much information regarding parking and set-up in advance as possible. Joel always arrives very early, and double-checks directions with MapQuest.
  • Applause is not necessary or encouraged at any time during Joel’s performance. The ceremony musician is there to serve the client and enhance the mood of the gathering, nothing more.
  • The classical guitar is a physically demanding instrument, and as such Joel takes a 10-15 minute break every hour on longer engagements. The breaks can be coordinated in advance or, more commonly, left to Joel’s discretion. For a wedding ceremony only, this is of course not applicable.