17 Jun Music and Lyrics in your Ceremony
“If music be the food of love, play on”.
We think any couples we have worked with will agree, here in Coastal Ceremonies, we love music. We love how a perfect piece, can evoke such emotion when a bride or groom makes their grand entrance. Yes, I have been known to shed a tear during the processional (I always have tissues). We love how a haunting melody can fit so perfectly mid-way during the ceremony and we encourage the most rousing, celebratory music once the couple are pronounced and ready to walk back up the aisle. Music can really enhance a ceremony and the perfect pieces can tie the whole ceremony together in an unforgettable way.
We are often asked by couples during our consultations to advise on music choices, and while we are always happy to do so, music is such a personal thing so instead we ask couples to think about the music they both love, the first gig they went to, their first dance, what music was playing when they went on their first date, had their first kiss, went on their first drive and so on. Commonalities always appear; the couple who went to Mumford and Sons and still had the ticket stubs which the engagement ring was wrapped in, the couple who bonded during their first date due to their love of Elvis or the couple who discovered Dermot Kennedy at the start of their relationship and included his lyrics throughout their ceremony, Sometimes we don’t realise how much music plays a role in our lives, and I think it’s so important to express this throughout your ceremony.
“It’s Now or Never” Elvis Presley
“When I first saw you, With your smile so tender, My heart was captured, My soul surrendered. I’d spend a lifetime, Waiting for the right time, Now that you’re near, The time is here at last.
Trust your musician
We have had the pleasure of working with some incredible musicians in the past. Our ceremonies have included harpists, string quartets, singers, pianists, uileann pipes and guitarists. Trust your musicians, they have a wealth of experience and will guide you throughout the process and help you pick the perfect music.
Sometimes couples opt not to have musicians during the ceremony and most venues have excellent PA systems so couples have chosen to put together a playlist and play via the PA system. It’s always worked out, but my advice is; pick someone very reliable and knowledgeable to manage the system in case something happens during the ceremony.
We officiate a lot of ceremonies outside on the Cliffs of Moher or Loop Head and sometimes it’s not possible to include musicians or music, so instead we often include song lyrics from favourite bands or songwriters. Some lyrics are ideal to read in place of a piece of music. We also love weaving favourite lyrics throughout the ceremony. On one memorable occasion last year, a passing tourist took out his guitar and sang Ed Sheeran songs throughout the ceremony. It was totally unexpected and the couple absolutely loved the spontaneity.
“Thinking out loud”, Ed Sheeran
But baby now Take me into your loving arms Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars Place your head on my beating heart I'm thinking out loud That maybe we found love right where we are
We always include ceremony enhancements in our ceremonies and music accompanying these can be so lovely. To hear a harpist play “For the love of a Princess” during a Celtic Handfasting on the Cliffs of Moher is pretty amazing. I will always remember a cold but sunny day last November when the Uilleann pipes heralded the brides arrival on the Cliffs of Moher. Unforgettable.
Where do we include Music
We typically include three pieces of music. During the processional, between readings and just after the pronouncement. We can also include music during ceremony enhancements. So you could have up to five pieces of music.
The processional music can be anything you want. Most couples choose something slow and melodic but some opt for big, loud and fun. It’s up to you, and choose whatever suits you both and reflects you both as a couple. Here are some we have included in the past and all worked perfectly.
- Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla
- “Lovely Day”, Bill Withers
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, Elvis Presley
- “Unknown Legend”, Neil Young.
- “Canon in D”, Pachelbel
- “There it was”, Gomez
- “Praise You”, Hannah Grace
Mid way and Ceremony Enhancements
Mid way during the ceremony, typically between readings, is a perfect place to include a stand alone song if you have a singer for your ceremony, or a favourite aunt who learned the Ukulele just for your wedding (this happened and was absolutely brilliant), or your favourite piece of music of all time. The following examples are ideal for mid ceremony and for ceremony enhancements as long as they are instrumentals;
- “ The Lark in the Clear Air” Instrumental
- “At Last”, Etta James
- “The Voyage” Christy Moore
- “Mo Gra Thu”, Instrumental
- “Your song”, Elton John
- “Forever”, Ben Harper
- “Somewhere only we know”, Lily Allen cover
- “She moves through the fair”
- “For the love of a Princess”, Braveheart. (this works best during a Handfasting).
Once each couple are pronounced, we encourage everyone to cheer and clap, the couple kiss, and the best accompanying music, is big, loud and fun. This is where all your personalities come to the fore. Think outside the box, do what suits you both and have fun. Some fabulous music that has accompanied some of our couples back up the aisle have included;
- “ Mary Keanes Introduction”, Daithi
- “Cosmic Love”, Florence and the Machine
- “Something Just Like This”, Coldplay
- “Home”, Edward Sharpe
- “For Once in My Life”, Stevie Wonder
Our main advice is to have fun; have fun choosing the pieces for your ceremony, have fun reminiscing about the memories that come up when a particular song comes on, have fun dancing to your favourite song and most of all have fun during your ceremony. Your celebrant will look after everything else.
“If I should fall behind”, Bruce Springsteen
Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead There 'neath the oak's bough soon we will be wed Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees I'll wait for you And should I fall behind Wait for me Darlin' I'll wait for you