A wedding is an event that is filled with music. Before the ceremony, you will hear music playing to keep the guests and bridal party at ease as they await the ceremony. During the ceremony, as the bride makes her way down the aisle you here the wedding march, “Here Comes the Bride” playing. Then after the ceremony, it is on to the reception for more music, dancing, and entertainment.
Sometimes the music played at a wedding will be performed by a live band; other times a DJ is hired to play the couple’s favourite mix of music. Whatever music is played is dependent upon the couple’s religious and traditional values are, and their prevailing cultures as well as what their primary wishes are.
During the Entry and Ceremony
Different traditions and cultures make up the differences in music styles at weddings. Western cultures typically use the wedding march theme song, “Here comes the Bride”, originating from the 1850’s Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s Lohengrin. This wedding march is very popular and is typically played on a pipe organ or string quartet.
Some couples are opting for less clichéd versions of the wedding march and prefer a more alternative musical selection, such as “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel. There has become an increased popularity in Jeremiah Clarke’s “Prince of Denmark’s March,” ever since the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
In Western services, it is traditional for the bride and groom to march back up aisle, at the end of the service to a lively tune such as Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from the popular Midsummer’s Night Dream (1826).
Other cultures have different ways of doing the wedding march. For instance, in Egypt, there is the zaffa, a dance rhythm that involves a belly dancer leading the bride’s way to the wedding hall. This procession takes place while musicians play the elzaff using drums and trumpets, and sometimes they use flaming torches—this practice is an older practice that actually may be dated back to pre-Islamic days.
The groom’s entrance during a Jewish wedding is announced by the tune of Baruch Haba. Meanwhile, as an all purpose song for celebrations the tune Simon Tov (“Good Tidings”) is played.
When a marriage is of interfaith, the ceremonies involve the compositions of musical processions that will match both the bride and groom’s traditional beliefs.
After the Wedding Ceremony
The activities following the wedding ceremony are based upon the traditions of the parties in the wedding. There are ceremonial dances, mother/son and father/daughter dances as well as the first dance of the married couple. All these dances are done to the genre of music that is most popular with the married couple and their guests. Some wedding planners hire a wedding singer to perform at the wedding reception; others hire a professional wedding band, or a DJ to play a mix of some favourite musical tunes. However, you choose to handle the music for your wedding and wedding reception is completely up to you.