Communicate important wedding ceremony details with your musicians!

What are the wedding ceremony details that musicians need sorted?

Yes, there are often hidden wedding ceremony details that your musicians need you to make obvious! And, importantly, we cannot replace the function of a planner or an onsite helper that provides cues and smooths out hiccups. It is vital that you have a planner, person in the wedding party or friend not in the wedding party who might be feeling calmer and can dedicate time and thought on the day-of to smoothing through the days’ potential hiccups.

Often we sort out our cues with the officiant, and if this person is accustomed to cuing the musicians very clearly, we always have success. If this person is confused, then we can’t get an accurate cue of when to start, for example, the processional. This is because, seated and stationary, we don’t often have line of sight to the start or finish of the processional!

Selfie of Aleksandra and Rosanna at St. Luke's on Aug 5
Selfie of Aleksandra and Rosanna at St. Luke’s on Aug 5

What are some examples of wedding ceremony details we need to know about? How does communication get overlooked? Sometimes the officiant, bridal party and planner are so used to sharing details with one another that they forget to pass on important details to the musicians. Usually it’s just a simple oversight. These important ceremony details are just taken for granted by those on the inner circle, since these parties are so immersed in the process.

Wedding ceremony music does a lot to smooth out glitches. Wedding ceremony details…well, if the bridal party is late, if there is an issue with the signing of the registry, if there is a need for liturgical support, and to set the mood for your guests: your music takes care of all this. That’s why we need to be a part of your inner circle. If you want us to help make your dream day go as smoothly as possible, we will do our best to coax these important wedding ceremony details from you!

For example, don’t forget that sometimes we, at the front of the church, can’t see the back of the church once the congregation stands up to honour bride’s entrance. For this reason, we need to get our cues and timing straight for the processional. Sometimes the bridal party is gathered in the church vestibule, with groom and his parents looking ready to go, but the bride hasn’t arrived yet, so we can’t start the processional yet.

Basically your musicians need a very obvious visual signal for when the bridal party’s processional should begin. This signal should be agreed upon at the rehearsal and practiced a couple times so the bridal party doesn’t forget in the heat of the moment.

Then, in case we can’t see very well once the congregation stands up, we need someone in the bridal party, like the maid of honor or a groomsman (who is already up at the front of the church or ceremony room and has great vantage), to cue us in an obvious manner when the bride is ready to go. Usually the cue is a deep nod, especially if the person signaling is already up at the front closer to us, or an arm upraised and lowered. The person giving the cue can cue us again to cease the processional in case we can’t see at all; just a deep nod will let us know that the bride has arrived at her destination!

If we are doing liturgical music, and you have lectors that are not very familiar with the ceremony liturgy (yes, this is pretty common now!), it’s important that we communicate during rehearsal with the lectors (readers) to let them know when we’ll be helping, and when they are supposed to go. That way there is no confusion during the ceremony. At any point that we will be playing, we and your celebrant/officiant need to have agreed upon exactly what and when.

Finally: have you asked your guests to wait in the ceremony room  / church rather than follow you out after the recessional? If so, you must let us know, otherwise we won’t know to stop playing your recessional music. If there are photographs in the church after the ceremony, would you like us to play for this? Would you like us to exit quietly? All of this must be agreed upon ahead of time.

These are some key wedding ceremony details your musicians need to understand in order to make your day go as smoothly as possible! We are there to support you and to make everything perfect!

Thanks, Rosanna from Alchemy Rose