Weddings as we have them today are attached to some pretty strange, often unsavory historical practices. Marriage, however, is so much more than doing things the same way, it’s about making your journey with your partner something uniquely about the two of you.
It’s All About the Bride?
A long time ago, marriage was anything but the bride’s day. In a nutshell, it began as a financial transaction solidified in a social exchange called marriage. Wedding guests bore witness to the exchange, making the contract legitimate. Suitors would first come to a young woman’s father and offer gifts to him in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. They’d basically pay for a wife-to-be and if the father found the price is right, she’s now belongs to the suitor.
Ok so there was perhaps a little more to it than that, but that’s essentially the gist of how things worked in days gone by. The point is, the girls to be married generally had little or no say in the matter. Today, when you see a father walking his daughter down the aisle to marry the handsome looking guy at the other end, it’ll be adorable to see as there isn’t a dry eye in the place. However, it began as a father literally selling her.
Ceremony Music – Entrance of the Bride
The entrance of the bride is clearly one of the most important parts of the wedding ceremony. And this moment needs the right music to accompany it. No matter whether your taste is for classical – the ever popular Pachelbel’s Canon for example, or something more contemporary – A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, the key is to choose a song which really heralds the arrival of the bride.
From our experience this song is typically chosen by the bride. It is of course her big moment. Dashing as the groom might be, once the bride enters, all eyes will be on her!
The songs above are just a small selection of the more popular choices we have played at weddings over the last year or so. For a wider selection and more inspiration please head over to our listen page where you will find around 150 songs recorded for cello and piano.
Music for Signing the Register
The painting, ‘Signing the Marriage Register’, painted around 1895 by James Charles, is in the permanent collection of Bradford Museums & Galleries Service, and is currently on display at Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, Bradford. It is a good example of 19th century genre paintings.
The wedding ceremony is almost over. The bride has walked down the aisle. The veil has been lifted and the tears have started. The critique of the wedding dress is in full flow. The vows have been exchanged and perhaps words stumbled and missed. The vicar or registrar has pronounced the couple husband and wife. The groom has been given permission to kiss his bride. There is happiness and joy.
And then the couple retreat, surrounded by close family and duly sign the marriage certificate. Often the groom tucks it away in his suit, hoping to remember to remove it before the drycleaners or the return hire. But it’s there. They have the certificate. They are man and wife. They are happily married and they go into the future, or at least their honeymoon, metaphorically clutching their marriage certificate.
But no more. In 2019, a single electronic marriage register was created to make the system simpler and more efficient.
It also corrects a historic anomaly to allow for the names of both parents of the couple to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates for the first time, instead of only their fathers’ names.
These regulations to amend the Marriage Act mark the biggest changes to the marriage registration system since 1837.
What this means in a nutshell is that the ‘signing’ is now more about being photographed holding a pen than it is about writing your name on a piece of paper!
Musically therefore we would suggest you choose 1 or 2 pieces for this point in the service. If you choose more, we can play you an ‘edited highlights’ seamlessly merging the songs together. But. bear in mind the total time for music is probably around 5-8 minutes at the most.
Music for the exit of the Newly Weds
The final part of your wedding ceremony for which music is required is the exit of the married couple. At this point we would recommend something upbeat which heralds your arrival into a new life together.
Sometimes for this moment we switch to our electric cello to provide more impact and also ensure the music can be heard above the cheering and applause which always happens once you are announced as ‘The New Mr and Mrs….’
The choice of song here is really a case of ‘anything goes’. Most couples will choose a song which has a personal meaning for both of them. Some people just want something upbeat and lively so they can ‘dance’ their way out of the ceremony. There are no rules and no right or wrong choices.
It’s your wedding day and it’s important to choose music which matters to you.
JAM Duo provide music for weddings all over the UK. Cello and Piano is well suited to the wedding ceremony. We can also provide music for your Drinks Reception, Wedding Breakfast and Evening Party. Please get in touch for more details.