Music can be used effectively in other parts of the ceremony as well though. However, there are a few things that should be taken into consideration to ensure the music adds to the ritual and doesn't detract from it. For example, while it may seem like a good idea to have music playing during a sand ceremony, unity candle or other such ritual, it doesn't actually work that well. These rituals do not last very long and the officiant usually speaks throughout. The spoken word helps guide the participants by giving them directions and explains the symbolism to the guests. Background music is fine, but it will not be the focal point at such moments within the wedding.
The following recommendations will ensure your special song or cherished tune stands on its own as an important element in your Order of Service no matter if it is placed towards the beginning of the wedding, right in the middle or closer to the end.
1. Whether the piece is live or recorded matters less than if it evokes just the right emotional response in you and your guests. So select a piece that is meaningful to you! If you let a soloist choose a piece he or she finds easy to sing or ask your DJ to play his favorite song, your guests will spot the disconnect in a heartbeat. If a piece of music doesn't spring readily to mind as something you would want to hear during your wedding, don't feel you need to include any special music at all.
2. Although many of the most common rituals are not conducive to music, you might want to consider some sort of activity during a musical interlude. Try this. Play your favorite song while standing in your living room facing one another and holding hands. Now imagine your guests staring at you while you are facing one another holding hands. I can promise you a three minute song will feel like thirty. Here are some ideas for activities that will keep everyone engaged without detracting from the music.
- Give close family members (or all guests!) hugs and kisses.
- Have your witnesses come forward and sign the marriage license or a marriage certificate.
- Hand out flowers or other small tokens to close family and friends.
- Watch as your guests participate in a Warming of the Rings or a Laying Hands on the Bouquet ritual.
3. Pay attention to the length of the piece and edit for brevity if necessary. Musical interludes should not exceed three minutes in length if you want to keep guests engaged, especially if your favorite song has lots of verses or is particularly repetitive.
4. Invest in quality when it comes to live musicians! This is not an issue if you are using a recorded piece, but can be huge if you are engaging a live musician. Okay, I'll be the bad guy and say it. This is not the time to agree to let your cousin sing if she cannot carry a tune in a bucket. Nor is it the time for your nephew to scratch out "Ode to Joy" on the violin he just started learning a few months ago. Promise me you will not torture your guests with low musical standards.
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