Wedding music applies to music played at wedding celebrations, including the ceremony and any festivities before or after the event. The music can be performed live by instrumentalists and/or vocalists or may use pre-recorded songs, depending on the format of the event, traditions associated with the prevailing culture and the wishes of the couple being married.
Entry and ceremony
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Music can be used to announce the arrival of the participants of the wedding (such as a bride's processional), and in many western cultures, this takes the form of a wedding march. For over 100 years, the most popular processional has been the Bridal Chorus from Wagner's Lohengrin (1850), often called "Here Comes The Bride", traditionally played on a church organ or by a string quartet.The piece became a popular wedding song after it was played during the processional of Princess Royal Victoria and Prince Frederick William of Prussia's wedding in 1858.
Some couples may consider the traditional wedding marches clichéd and choose a more modern piece of music or an alternative such as Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel. Since the televised wedding of Lady Diana to Prince Charles, there has been an upsurge in popularity of Jeremiah Clarke's "Prince of Denmark's March" for use as processional music, a piece that was formerly (and incorrectly) attributed to Henry Purcell as "Trumpet Voluntary".
Weddings in other cultures vary from this format; for example in Egypt there is a specific rhythm called the zaffa. Traditionally a belly dancer will lead the bride to the Wedding Hall, accompanied by musicians playing the elzaff, on drums and trumpets, sometimes the flaming torches. This is of unknown antiquity, and may even be from the pre-Islamic era.
During the service there may be a few hymns, especially in liturgical settings.
At the end of the service, in Western services, the bride and groom march down the aisle to a lively recessional tune, one popular tune being Mendelssohn's Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream(1826). Another popular choice is Widor's Toccata from Symphony for Organ No. 5 (1880).
There are many different styles of music that can be played during the entrance and ceremony.
After the ceremony, there is often a celebratory dance, or reception, where there may be musical entertainment such as a wedding singer, live wedding band, or DJ to play songs for the couple and guests.
Some cultures have specific post-ceremony dance ceremonies. Among Scottish people there may be a traditional Scottish ceilidh and may have an element of formation dancing or folk dances of the region, such as "Strip the Willow", "Dashing White Sergeant", and "The Gay Gordons". "Mairi's Wedding" is also popular in weddings with a Scottish theme.
- Emmett, William (1996). The national and religious song reader. New York: Haworth Press. p. 755
- Dan Fox (2007) World's Greatest Wedding Music: 50 of the Most Requested Wedding Pieces p.7. Alfred Music Publishing, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2011
- Lefevre, Holly (2010) The Everything Wedding Checklist Book: All You Need to Remember for a Day You'll Never Forget p.127. Adams Media, 2010
- "Classical Wedding Songs". My Wedding Music. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "Classical Wedding Music". A-M Classical. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "Wedding Ceremony Songs"
- "Wedding Entertainment: U.S. Consumers Dig the DJ [Infographic]". Music Makes You Move. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.