Today's Bride

Selecting your Ceremony Music

Music is an essential component of any wedding ceremony, whether in a house of worship or a less traditional setting. Most couples want to hear something romantic to create an emotional atmosphere. Many couples also prefer something upbeat and joyful as the happily married couple recedes down the aisle. There are truly an unlimited number of musical avenues to make a couple’s ceremony unique!

Ceremony Music | New Image Photography | As seen on

New Image Photography

Hiring Live Musicians

In most cases, it is typically more affordable to have a DJ or sound technician provide speakers and mp3 music. However, there is a certain charm and elegance to hiring live musicians for the ceremony. It is like a little mini-concert customized just for you. A string quartet playing “Canon in D” can bring tears to mom’s eyes before any bridesmaids or groomsmen even proceed down the aisle.

Selecting your Instruments

The most popular instruments for live ceremony music are classical strings (such as violin, cello, viola), harp, piano, acoustic guitar, brass instruments (trumpet or saxophone), and vocalists. It is not at all uncommon for couples to request instruments that have a cultural significance to their family backgrounds, like bagpipes. The most common ceremony ensemble would be a traditional string quartet. There is a reason those instruments have remained fixtures for centuries! Classical strings bring a magical sense of drama and grace to any environment.
Ceremony Music | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on

Genevieve Nisly Photography | Cleveland Music Group

Ceremony Music | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on

Genevieve Nisly Photography

A more “Indie” couple may prefer an acoustic guitar or banjo and upright bass for something more “folksy.” A harp can be paired with a flute for a very soft and sweet sound. The possibilities are endless!

When to Start Playing

There should be some music playing as guests arrive and find their seats – typically 20 to 30 minutes ahead before the ceremony begins. Soft music can set the mood, whereas dead silence can be a bit awkward. Most ceremony musicians will charge a flat rate for the first full hour. Overtime rates start at 15 or 30 minutes beyond the first hour.
Ceremony Music | Klodt Photography | As seen on

Klodt Photography

Choosing your Song Selection

A couple can get creative and infuse their own unique vibe into the ceremony when choosing their songs. There is nothing wrong with selecting some of the more “traditional” pieces (“Wedding March”, “Bridal Chorus”). Many couples want something played that really tells their story. You can ask your musicians to learn a contemporary song performed on classical instruments. Pricing may increase if your musicians have to purchase new sheet music or write out music from scratch. Selections that require more research and rehearsal prior to the ceremony will most likely result in a higher overall cost for the performance.
Blog Content Contributed by Cleveland Music Group
If you’re looking for Reception Music, check out these blogs for Father-Daughter Dance Songs and Classic, Current, and Unconventional First Dance Songs!

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