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Can I have live music performed during my marriage ceremony?
Live musical performance is generally welcomed during wedding ceremonies in a church or chapel, as well as at the majority of civil ceremony venues. Organ, choir, string quartet, brass ensemble, harpist, guitarist, pianist, vocalist, flautist; just some of the potential options available to perform live music suitable for a marriage ceremony.
Inform the vicar, registrar or venue manager of your plans
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Discuss your ceremony music at an early stage with the vicar or registrar, who will be able to advise on what is or is not permissible, or indeed logistically viable. Remember that they will naturally make the final decisions in such matters, so ensure everything is agreed beforehand.
Music played before the ceremony will help to settle your guests and set an atmosphere of anticipation. The bridal procession is most often announced with a special slow march, the lull in proceedings while the register is signed and witnessed can be wiled away with a suitably contemplative piece, and a joyful recessional march makes an effective climax as the newlyweds are received by their family and friends.
Examine the physical logistics of your ceremony venue
Look carefully at the physical limitations of your chosen venue, be it a church, registry office or other independent location. It is usually possible to arrange for live music to be performed at most venues, although you may need to call on your powers of persuasion when dealing with a registry office! However, in most locations it is limitations of space that will be the decisive factor, depending on the number of musicians you are ideally planning to deploy.
For a church service, it would be advisable to choose acoustic musicians, for instance a string quartet or harpist, as a readily available power source may not be available for instruments requiring amplification. Other locations should generally be less problematic, but space might remain an issue.
Ensure your choice of music is appropriate for your chosen ceremony
The golden rule to always bear in mind is that any music performed as part of a church service should be religious in nature and content, but conversely, music of a specifically religious nature is not admissible in a civil ceremony. As with most regulations, there are grey areas, and much depends on their strict or otherwise interpretation. Discuss your ideal choices of music with the vicar or registrar – it’s up to them to make the final decision on anything contentious.
Above all, choose music that suits the ambience of your surroundings – ‘Pie Jesu’ or ‘Stabat Mater’ would be equally inappropriate in a posh hotel as ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Match Of The Day’ would be in a church!
It is important to be fully aware of any potential restrictions on live music during your marriage ceremony, perhaps even before you finalise your choice of venue. Try to choose music appropriate to the location that can be effectively performed by your chosen musicians, and discuss your selections in detail with the vicar, registrar or venue manager so everyone is in the picture.
So long as certain guidelines are observed and logistics allow, it should easily be possible to have live music performed during your wedding ceremony.